Lack of female ordination is an issue for some Mormon women

(Photo: REUTERS / George Frey)Director Mack Wilburg directs the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during the fourth session of the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah October 2, 2011. Thousands of Mormon's from around the world gathered for the two day conference to be instructed by church leaders.

When around 200 women gathered outside an all-male Mormon meeting last weekend seeking entrance they were denied entry after marching together from a nearby park.

The meeting was part of the semiannual General Conference held over the weekend in Salt Lake City and attended by 100,000 members of the Mormon church.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, under the direction of Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy, provided music for three sessions of conference, according to the church's website.

Women may hold different leadership positions in The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints outside of being bishops of congregations or presidents of stakes (a dozen congregations).

The Ordain Women group stood at the stand-by line of the all-male meeting of church priesthood holders for men aged 12 and older.

Kate Kelly, Ordain Women's founder, said, "We're hoping to demonstrate with our actions and our bodies that we are ready not only for the blessings, but the responsibilities of the priesthood."

Ordain Women launched this past year with a website that profiles 150 different people who support the cause. The group's facebook page has more than 1,000 followers.

Among other declarations from the LDS church over the weekend, including denying same-sex marriage, the Leaders of the church reaffirmed that the priesthood is meant for men alone.

Two Mormon leaders said on Sunday that altough human laws may change to include same-sex marriage, moral laws do not change.

"Gender is an essential characteristic of both our moral and eternal identity and purpose. Sacred responsibilities are given to each gender," Neil L. Andersen, a Mormon church apostle, told the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper while affirming the church's denial of female ordination.

Quentin L. Cook, also an apostle and leader in the Mormon church, noted, "If we allow our culture to reduce the special relationship that children have with mothers and grandmothers and others who nurture them, we will come to regret it."

The Pew Research Center found that many women in the LDS church disagree with Ordain Women.

Pew released statistics collected in 2011 suggest 90 percent of Mormon women believe that women should not be ordained. Eighty-four percent of Mormon men agree that women should not enter into the LDS priesthood.

The Mormon priesthood is open to all men in the church beginning at age 12. Positions available within the priesthood include deacon, teacher, priest, elder or high priest, depending on the member's age.

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