Mormon Church: Women have
priesthood kind of sort of
To see women using their sort-of priesthood, asserts the essay, you need look no further than inside Mormon temples, provided, of course, that you are permitted inside, where women perform for women* an “initiatory ordinance.” The policy undoubtedly exists to reduce the discomfort of having a stranger touch your bare skin inches from parts you wouldn’t normally allow a stranger’s hands near unless the stranger first took you out to dinner and the next day sent you flowers.
Note this attempt at slippery language, about two-thirds of the way into the essay:
“In some respects, the relationship between Latter-day Saint women and priesthood has remained remarkably constant since Joseph Smith’s day.”
And indeed there have been. Early Mormon women performed priesthood ordinances not just inside but outside of the temple. That’s why women perform priesthood ordinances in a number of Mormon splinter groups like the TLC, the polygamist cult in which author Joanne Hanks spent seven years of her adult life. It’s one of many ways in which such groups more closely resemble the original church than does today’s mainstream version.