From December 15th:
I am an LDS woman. I feel equal to the men in the LDS Church. I understand, deeply, that men and women have different divine gifts and roles and that this is a good thing because we balance each other out in church just as we do in families. We have our own women's organization called Relief Society, just as the men are organized in priesthood quorums.
(See also The Family: A Proclamation to the World. First revealed to the women in the LDS in 1995 at a women's General Relief Society meeting by President Gordon B. Hinckley, the prophet at the time, and then reiterated at the subsequent General Conference of the LDS Church with full membership participating.)
The LDS Church will not be giving women the priesthood because it is a role for men, from the foundation of the world. It was designed by God to be as it is. Priesthood is the authority of God given to men to act for Him. Priesthood service teaches men, among other things, to think of others before themselves - to love as Christ loves, something that comes much more naturally to women, just by virtue of the God-given gifts of nurturing and loving given to women at birth. Watch little girls, and you will see them practice these traits instinctively.
The blessings of the priesthood as opposed to the priesthood itself, however, are available to each and every member of the Church. There is no discrimination. Blessings of the priesthood include baptism, marriage and eternal families, partaking of the sacrament, etc.
Tomorrow, some LDS women will wear pants to church in protest of women's inequality in the LDS Church. This pants issue has nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ and everything to do with Mormon culture, and their own misperceptions of the differences inherent between men's and women's God-given roles.
I have attended the LDS Church in many different kinds of places in many congregations large and small. How I was raised and with the various places I've lived or visited, I wouldn't look twice or hardly notice if another woman wore pants to church. I don't care. It's none of my business. It doesn't matter. We go to church to worship God and renew the sacred covenants we made with Him, not to judge each other. I have never felt second place as a woman in the LDS Church, but rather respected and listened to and valued.
The deeper reason behind the pants "protest" is that some women feel unequal. This is a real, and sad, problem. This is a problem in their understanding, and perhaps their experiences in their congregations have lent them these misunderstandings between gospel and culture. Not every congregation is as loving and respectful towards women as it should be if fully living and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm guessing that at times the leadership in those congregations are ignorantly rather than deliberately slighting women, if they even are at all. As in anything else, many offenses are perceived, rather than rooted in reality.
As much as these feminist LDS women are acting in solidarity to show their numbers, this act doesn't solve anything. Better for them to talk to their local church leadership about their concerns. Better for them to talk with them about ways that they can both understand and appreciate each other better. Understanding, like tolerance, is a two-way street.
I hope these women will learn that they are valued and indeed that they are valued within their particular LDS congregations, but that it doesn't matter what they wear or what responsibilities they hold in the Church. Their value is separate from those things.
They are daughters of God. God created all things. His last creation - the most special - was a woman.