Personal Response by Karen R. Merkley
Mormon women are key players and equal partners in the work of the Lord, in families, in communities and in the world. In the words of Brigham Young, early President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Women serve in the Mormon Church as presidents and counselors of local, area, and worldwide organizations for children, youth, and adults–known as the Primary, Young Women’s Organization, and the Relief Society. They sit in councils with their priesthood brethren and work hand-in-hand to identify issues, solve problems, bring light to ministering needs of those they serve. They pray in Church meetings, participate in ordinance work in the temples, and join in every worthy endeavor in building the kingdom. Mormon women lead, teach, and nurture children in their homes in the sacred calling of motherhood, and educate the world in their community service.
One thing is very true and we believe it, and that is that a woman is the glory of the man. …
When I reflect upon the duties and responsibilities devolving upon our mothers and sisters, and the influence they wield, I look upon them as the mainspring and soul of our being here. Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 199).
A misunderstanding of women’s roles in the Mormon Church is engendered by those who don’t know themselves and by those who wish to claim that the patriarchal order de facto creates suppression. This is false. While a coercive order (patriarchal or matriarchal) represses, such an order is outside every tenet of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Patriarchy is not synonymous with presumption and unrighteous power; it is an organized divine pattern for the release of power equally for men and women.