Decision been made for you, LDS feminists

My good friend Bridget Jack Jeffries has a thoughtful and important piece in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Decision been made for you, LDS feminists

In case you don’t know her, Bridget is an Evangelical Christian who graduated from LDS-owned Brigham Young University and is currently studying church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I have always appreciated her insight and perspective into LDS issues.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard a lot of ad hoc rationalizations of why LDS women cannot have priesthood authority, from “men get the priesthood because women have to endure the pain of childbirth” (I’m not making that up) to “that’s just how it is.” Bridget’s piece asks a telling question: If not being able to exercise priesthood authority doesn’t make women inferior, why is it a punishment for men not to be able exercise priesthood authority?

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32 Responses to Decision been made for you, LDS feminists

  1. If I may, there are some holes in Ms. Jack’s Op-ed. I address it in full on her website, here…

    http://www.clobberblog.com/?p=4921

    But the main point is as follows…

    I recognize that the article is an Op-ed. It is Ms. Jack’s opinion, but I saw it slightly differently. I have done a lot of interfaith study and a lot of interfaith work in my life. I think the Op-ed misses on the main point of interfaith study, which is superimposing your own values on another faith.

    Ms. Jack starts out discussing her child’s blessing at her Evangelical Church. The perception she gives was that her religious experience was significant. She specifically writes “tears slipped from my eyes as we finished. To say it was a special moment for me as a mother would be an understatement.” I do not doubt that it was a very moving event in her life. It is her next sentence that is problematic. She follows with “I have to wonder why the LDS Church is so determined to ensure that its own women can never write what I just wrote, that its new mothers only experience such ceremonies as bystanders rather than as participants.”

    While I do not think it was necessarily intentional, she has denigrated the religious experience of the LDS mother having her baby blessed calling her (Ms. Jack’s) experience the far superior. This is an unfair statement. For one, I do not know how she can unequivocally claim superiority in terms of religious experience. I know a number of LDS congregations where the mother has held her baby during a blessing, but that is beside the point. Even if it never happened, how can she say that the experience was not as moving to the LDS member? How can she say that her tears were somehow better than the LDS mother’s tears?

    I have attended Synagogues that had mixed gender seating, and those that were segregated. Is the religious experience of a woman in a segregated synagogue somehow lesser than the religious experience of a woman that sat next to her husband? In studying Judaism and attending synagogues, including the more Orthodox sects where seating is segregated, it is unfair to superimpose my own beliefs on those sects. It would be even more unfair to say something like “Too bad you could not sit with your spouse during this important religious event.” That would borderline on the outright offensive, but you praise the same here? The belief systems in the Orthodox Jewish community are just as important to them as mine are to me, so how can I criticize how they pray, how they sit, or how they bless?

    I know many, many, MANY Mormon women who do not want what Ms. Jack did. Her attempts to liberate them are empty in that they do not want or need liberated. They draw as much religious satisfaction from their beliefs as Ms. Jack does from hers. This is the primary flaw, the perception of superiority. I generally like Ms. Jack’s writing, but I think this flaw is clear. Most Mormon women that I know want their own faith, and the insinuation that they are somehow inferior in Ms. Jack’s estimate, is completely unfair to them.

    I also know some women who are dissatisfied. I know some who want to be ordained to the Priesthood. For them, perhaps Ms. Jack’s experience was far superior, that I do not know. Nevertheless, this is an internal problem that I think we are dealing with now. The thinking is certainly not done; we are going to debate this for some time, though it clearly is not going to happen tomorrow. I suspect that before I die women will be Ordained, but it will take some time.

    • runtu says:

      I do not believe she said anything about “superior” religious experience, so I don’t know what you’re talking about. What she said is that she was able to participate in the child’s blessing, and LDS women are “bystanders” in watching their own children blessed. You can’t really argue with that, can you? As she said, it’s considered a punishment for men not to be able to participate in such ordinances, but it is normal for women. What you seem to be suggesting is that it’s improper, even offensive, for non-LDS women to have an opinion about the consequences of LDS practice, especially since she is supporting LDS women who feel exactly the way she does. Would you be equally offended if I expressed my disapproval for some Southern American sects that prohibit interracial dating?

      • She states that she had a deeply moving religious experience, was touched, cried. Her next sentence states that LDS women cannot experience what she did, that she was a participant and LDS women are bystanders.

        That is as clear a statement that her experience was superior to the LDS woman’s as I can find.

        The question that no one has asked is whether or not LDS women feel like bystanders. Some certainly do, but the vast majority do not. Nevertheless there is no allowance that this majority does not want to worship as Ms. Jack does, their wishes do not matter.

        I’ve attended several Catholic infant baptisms. I am not Catholic. Nevertheless I did not feel like a bystander, but I was made to feel like an active participant. Why is this? I did not touch the child, I did not administer the sacrament. We were all participants. How does this happen? How is it that I could celebrate the rite and feel included? The grandparents and extended family did not overtly participate either, so how is it that no one complained of bystander status?

        Theological punishment for that priest would have been different from the congregation, but I do not see Catholics calling for universal ordination for all people. In their theology there is no universal ordination, it would net even be possible (even if women were ordained). Nevertheless, does this mean that the lay Catholic is inferior?

        I am simply saying that when someone makes a conscious choice to practice their faith in the manner they feel appropriate, it is inappropriate to tell them that they should change their religious tradition to fit your beliefs. Particularly as an outsider.

        I know many Muslim women who want to wear the hijab. It is not forced, but it is part of their faith and something they feel is important. Looking down on them and telling them that they are marginalized and inferior is wrong, particularly when they do not feel that they are.

      • runtu says:

        Seems to me that a mother who has experienced two religious services for the same child has a unique perspective on how those two services are carried out. I am baffled that you not only think it’s inappropriate for her to comment but believe her to be denigrating LDS religious experience. Sometimes I think people are just trying too hard to be offended.

      • I have done a LOT of interfaith study and work, and I think my experiences have been very different. As a Bishop we had a family that was mixed Catholic/Mormon. There was a baby. The question was raised about what to do. Both parents wanted their respective baby traditions followed. A baptism and a blessing.

        We decided that we had no problem with the baby being baptized Catholic; theologically we saw no real issue, since Mormons do not recognize Catholic Priesthood as authoritative. We considered it a nice ceremony that had no real spiritual connotations. While I have a number of friends who are Catholic and a few who are priests, I did not like the parish priest very much (he had office hours, if you came to see him outside of these hours he would not see you). So we had a tradition I did not consider authoritative, and a priest I did not like, and the decision was made that there would be no issue.

        Naturally, I had a wonderful time at the baptism (I was invited). While I do not agree with Catholic theological claims (or else I would be Catholic), and while I was not a fan of this priest, I greatly respect Catholicism. I respect the tradition, the history, and meaning that it brings to the lives of the members. I was deeply moved by the ceremony, in part because of the understanding of what it meant to the family, and because I find that I can find beauty in faiths that are not my own. Thich Nhat Hanh taught that when you genuinely touch another religious tradition, you touch your own (“Living Buddha Living Christ” I believe). I have spent years studying Catholicism, and Orthodoxy for that matter, and think they are beautiful, meaningful, and moving faiths, despite not believing in them. I have done the same with Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism.

        So the question might be why weren’t the experiences similar? I felt the presence of God in the Blessing, and in the Baptism. I am still Mormon, but I can appreciate the religious celebration of others. So I have to turn your question around on you. Why did Ms. Jack have two different experiences? Why does she criticize the one, while extolling the other? Why does she not understand the meaning that a baby blessing has to an LDS mother, and instead focus on something as insignificant as who holds the baby?

        Why would you assume that Ms. Jack’s experience would be similar considering her differing views on the respective faiths? I had similar experiences at a Catholic Baptism and an LDS Blessing, but I respect Catholicism. I have attempted to engage Catholicism as the Catholics engage it and see the faith as THEY see it. Ms. Jack is more than a little critical of Mormons. I would be curious to know if she acquiesced to the blessing, or actively wanted it to happen. I wonder if she was even happy that her baby was being blessed in the Mormon tradition, or if she simply tolerated it.

        I went to a religious rite that I did not believe in, but one I respected and one I attempted to understand from the point of the believer. I had a wonderful time. I do not know why Ms. Jack did not have a similarly positive experience at an LDS rite. I agree some people try too hard to be offended.

      • runtu says:

        I think Ms. Jack has demonstrated considerable respect for Mormons and Mormonism over the years. I assume you would disagree.

      • I think Ms. Jack has still has some prejudices she should examine. I could not call her anti-Mormon, just biased. Everyone has biases, it is just important to examine them. I think Ms. Jack is on her way to bein an academic, but not an interfaith participant.

        You can be an academic, study Catholicism, have a functional working knowledge of the theology, history, and practice, but to someone truly invested in the faith, there is a personal involvement. This is only the second time since I was an undergrad that I have not spent Ramadan at a local mosque. I am not Muslim, however. I love celebrating Ramadan, I love studying Islam, and I love Muslims. I would say that the difference is I am personally invested. I learned how to pray, fasted, and invested myself in understanding the faith.

        When I travel I occasionally attend evening Mass simply because I like the ceremony and like the Mass. This is a personal love, not just academic pursuit. I have made an active effort to understand the people, not just the practice, ritual, or theology, and this is important.

        I think Jan Shipps would stop by a local LDS Church just to sit and listen. She is an excellent scholar, not a Mormon, but seems invested in the people. I think Ms. Jack is relatively fair-minded, but I just do not think she is Jan Shipps.

        The questions I asked above are still pertinent. Why did Ms. Jack have two different experiences? Why does she criticize the one, while extolling the other? Why does she not understand the meaning that a baby blessing has to an LDS mother, and instead focus on something as insignificant as who holds the baby?

      • runtu says:

        Perhaps it’s because, unlike you, she was a mother who had children experiencing an LDS baby blessing and a similar event at her own church. It’s just so strange that you don’t think a mother is allowed to comment on her own experiences. If she were so biased, I can’t imagine she would have allowed her own children to be blessed in the LDS church. I’m just not sure what you are getting at, as it seems obvious to me that, as a parent, she has the right to say which experiences are more meaningful to her as a parent.

      • And I fully believe you do not see the difference. That does not mean it is not fairly obvious.

        She is commenting on having participated in an event she does not believe in and that she does not respect. Given that she is making statements about women who DO believe in the ritual, and that do respect it.

        I guess I do not see that as a valid comparison. Apparently you do. I would say the same thing about a Mormon who was criticizing her Evangelical Christian ritual.

        And as an observer I am confused why pointing out that one experience was based on her belief and love and the other contained neither is somehow unacceptable?

      • runtu says:

        Again, your assertion that she “does not respect” LDS ordinances is wholly without merit, as there is no evidence whatsoever that she doesn’t respect LDS ordinances.

      • What would lead you to believe she respected LDS ordinances?

        Her opening to the Op-ed laments that no LDS woman can experience what she did, when LDS women experience what she did all of the time (she just does not know it). How can she claim to truly respect LDS ordinances when she seems unaware of the meaning those ordinances have for the believing LDS member?

        She starts her editorial with a mischaracterization of how LDS mothers view themselves stating…

        “its new mothers only experience such ceremonies as bystanders rather than as participants.”

        As the husband of a very strong willed LDS woman, I asked, and she did not consider herself a “bystander”. In all honesty, how can Ms. Jack misunderstand how the vast majority of LDS women see themselves?

      • runtu says:

        As someone else stated already, that other people are happy not being involved in the ordinance makes no difference to those LDS women who would like to participate. Are LDS women who feel like bystanders denigrating the ordinance? Do they misunderstand how they feel? Or is it OK for them to express an opinion because they are LDS?

      • Once again, those women who are happy do not feel like they are “not involved.” That is a fiction that is being used to support a bad argument. To the believing LDS woman, her involvement is a matter of fact. To those women who do not feel involved, or who would like greater involvement? Their feelings are real as well. But thank you for pointing this out (though I already admitted it well before now).

        I can easily recognize that there are some women who would like more and who may not be happy with current status. This does not change the fact that the majority of women like the current status. But this further goes on to invalidate the basis of the Op-ed. The article Ms. Jack wrote fails not because it recognizes that there is certainly some disagreement or what that disagreement is, but because it cannot balance the differing opinions. The Op-ed does not say

        “I have to wonder why the LDS Church is so determined to ensure that SOME OF its own women can never write what I just wrote, that A SMALL BUT IMPORTANT SEGMENT OF new mothers only experience such ceremonies as bystanders rather than as participants.”

        Instead the Op-ed ignored the majority voice and instead elevated the minority to the universal status. Why is this? Why was there no attention given to the large majority of women who are happy with the current status, feminists included? Why are these feminists being disenfranchised in the editorial?

        My wife considers herself a feminist, attended an all-girls school, minored in women’s leadership, has been recognized for her work with underprivileged girls, and was even on NBC Nightly News a few years ago in their closing segment about good things going on around the nation for a project she was working on (and she has a crush on Brian Williams, which irritated me a little) related to special needs children. She has solid feminist credentials, and she is completely indifferent to being ordained.

        As for the women who do want more, I honestly do not know what to say to them. I think the policy will change, that there will be more available in the future, and that there is room for them in the Church now, but challenging the organization as Ms. Kelly did will likely not work. For Jewish women who do not want segregated synagogues, there is always Conservative or Reform Judaism. Even Catholics can attend some reform groups that may not be recognized by Rome, but at least have all of the ritual and ceremony of Catholicism. Mormons do not have that option. If the individual cannot wait, I do not really know what to say. I think this is an internal debate that is currently ongoing, and will likely continue for some time to come. I wish I knew the answer, but I don’t.

      • runtu says:

        I suppose we just disagree, especially on the propriety of a non-Mormon having an opinion about Mormon practice. I don’t have a problem with it, and I don’t expect an op-ed piece to “balance the differing opinions.” Oh, well.

      • That is interesting, where have I ever expressed that Ms. Jack is not welcome to her opinions? I am not sure I ever stated that. Also you do not think that balance is necessary? Why not? If balance is not provided then a position can misrepresent the issue. Why would you advocate for an unbalanced picture?

    • Frank Fourth says:

      I don’t see anywhere Ms. Jack is claiming to be doing an interfaith study. She is taking a position and advocating for it.

    • Ms. Jack says:

      Joseph ~ My intention was not to denigrate the experiences of LDS mothers. Maybe watching their baby’s blessing as a bystander and not a participant has not been an inferior experience for them. But I’ve had two children blessed and named in the LDS church, and experiencing those ceremonies as a bystander was an inferior experience for me.

      As far as whether or not women themselves want to do these things, here’s the thing: only one system can accommodate both parties. If women are welcome to participate in the blessing, then those women who really feel passionately about having men do it can simply opt out. But when women are barred from participation in these things, then women like me pay the price. So even if it’s only a minority of women who would participate if offered the chance (it isn’t, but let’s just say that it is), why should we be excluded when both parties could be accommodated?

      In any case, I didn’t write my op-ed to liberate anybody. I haven’t written a letter to Church HQ about women and the priesthood since I was 17. I wore pants to church on Wear Pants to Church day both years, and I think I gave $5 to LDS WAVE one time. That is the extent of my advocacy on behalf of LDS women. If Mormon women want to make Mormonism a better place for them, they’ll have to figure out how to do that themselves, because that really isn’t my place. All I do is observe and comment.

      • I think your language is sort of denigrating and I am surprised you do not see it. The phrasing you use, “bystander” and “participant” as effectively superlatives, are hardly accurate. Why do you assume that an LDS mother is not a participant in her child’s blessing?

        Let’s assume a completely believing Mormon mother with a completely believing Mormon husband. She was sealed in an LDS temple in what she believes is the highest level of earthly covenant. Both she and her husband believe he can trace his priestly ordination back to Christ. The Mother believes in this Priesthood. She has dreams for her new child, hopes, and she sees the infant’s blessing as a continuation of a tradition that goes back to Adam. She is more invested in this child than anything she has ever done in her life. She is overjoyed.

        She sees her role as almost unparalleled. This is her child, she literally created and nurtured it for months. This is her everything. Why are you diminishing her role?

        Are you really saying she is not participating? Your characterization of this as simple bystanding is a very unnecessary editorialization. You could easily see her as a bystander, but she is invested in this child, this marriage, this ritual, and this belief system. For her, this is not being a bystander. She is as active a participant in this as you ever would be in your own similar ritual.

        You have elevated the simple act of holding the baby for this event to the height of involvement, but this is arbitrary. It is entirely possible that the same mother would find your ceremony laughable and silly. You have no Temple Covenant, you have not Priesthood connection, you have no dignitas, or whatever metric she might apply to your ritual to find it wanting. I would have the same reaction to her that I have to you. If she wants to understand the ritual you had, she should do it from your POV, not hers.

        If you are going to honestly conduct interfaith work, it is essential that you see the other faith through the eyes of their adherents and see how they want their faith to run. For whatever reason the vast majority want the current system, or one that is largely the same. I myself would be fairly comfortable with women’s ordination, but my wife, who has fairly solid feminist credentials, could not care less. I do not know why. I asked, she is not interested.

        As for the change, I am confused. You say “But when women are barred from participation in these things, then women like me pay the price.”

        You are not part of the equation. You are not LDS, so….? Admittedly this is going to be a disagreement, likely for some time, about the current LDS attitudes, but it will largely need to be an internal discussion.

        The ending of your comment confuses me, since you just said that people like you are left out, then you say it has nothing to do with you? Which is it?

        For the record I am still confused about this whole holding the baby thing, since it is common in a number of places I am aware of including my current ward.

  2. R.T. says:

    There were many, many, many, MANY women who didn’t want the vote. If one, some or many women do not want access to something do we deny access to all women? No, we don’t.

    A problem I see is that no criticism can be taken seriously by the LDS church or its members. If you are not a member, your opinion doesn’t count. If you’ve left the church, your opinion doesn’t count. If you don’t agree with the status quo the leaders have outlined, your opinion doesn’t count. The deck is stacked against those who are being treated unfairly and their allies.

    Equality is not a feeling.

    • There is a difference between political processes and theological connotations.

      The gender segregated synagogue I mentioned above exists, and this is the way the congregation wants it. Are the genders unequal in this situation? They do not think so, but you seem to.

      Who is right? Is it unfair?

      • R.T. says:

        Equality is not a feeling. Someone can say the feel equal even when the facts bear out that they are not.

        The sexes are separated in the temple, as well. No, the sexes are not equal in the LDS church. The sexes are not equal in many religions and that inequity still permeates our entire culture.

        Patriarchy is unfair and always unequal. Always.

        While you may not agree, there is a lot of similarity between women wanting the vote and women wanting the priesthood. I agree there are differences, as well, but we have seen those differences overcome in past situations and I am sure we will see it again. (see Blacks and the Priesthood, polygamy, slavery)

      • So is the synagogue I attended unequal since they are segregated?

      • R.T. says:

        Do they allow women to do everything that men do within the church organization? If not than they are not equal.

      • “Do they allow women to do everything that men do within the church organization? If not than they are not equal.”

        That is a fascinating question. To answer it directly, no, women are not allowed to do everything that men do. To provide further information, however, men are not allowed to do everything women do.

        Where is the inequality? Who is being discriminated against?

        I am not sure about the kids. I saw youth, but no smaller children. It never occurred to me to ask.

      • R.T. says:

        Where do the children sit?

  3. Justin says:

    Funny you should mention Bridget “denigrating” other people’s spiritual experiences and prouncing hers superior, since the entire justification of Mormonism’s existence is to denigrate other people’s spiritual experiences and prounounce that of Mormons as superior. “They were all wrong; their creeds were an abomination in his sight; having a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.” Remember how Jesus is supposed to have told Joseph Smith those things, in that particular version of the First Vision?

    Since Bridget is the one supposedly denigrating others’ spiritual experiences and pronouncing hers as superior, would the LDS Church recognize baptisms performed by her church as being valid? Why or why not?

    • Mormons believe they are correct. As do Catholics. And Orthodox. And Baptists, And any number of faiths in the world. I would recommend you read “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World”.

      It is possible to have a definitive, strong, and vibrant faith in a multi-faith world.

      • R.T. says:

        Does that mean you agree that Mormons denigrate the faith of others?

      • Mormons are different and believe in their belief system. So do Catholics, and Baptists, and Muslims, and Jews. Being different is not denigrating. Being different is actually good. We are stronger for differences. Having a strong Catholicism makes it easier to be a strong Mormon.

  4. Since it appears that discussion is over, there are a number of issues that I think deserve some attention if not further elaboration. As I have had the time to consider this article as well as read the discussions concerning it, the article continues to fall in my estimation in terms of its applicability and its overall quality. In short I think it a very bad op-ed that should have been immediately dismissed. The clear divisions seem based entirely on the predetermined feelings of Mormonism, which is a poor way to look at the article. My bases for considering it poor have nothing to do with being Mormon (though I may be somewhat unaware of my own biases which I admit up front) but instead come from my history of interfaith work, and I would add my own editorialization what I consider legitimate interfaith work.

    I know Junia from CARM, many, many, many years ago. I was an amateur LDS apologist, and like most apologists absolutely dedicated to defense of the LDS faith. Thanks to some other LDS apologists, who were honestly some fairly terrible people, I was disillusioned with apologetics and left the effort after a short time. My interest in religion and faith never ended, however, and I pursued studying faiths of all varieties, though I was more interested in the Abrahamic faiths, concentrating on Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. I embraced Buddhism as a philosophical practice some years ago, and I have dabbled in studying Hinduism, Sikhism, and offshoots like Baha’ism.

    One of the issues I had a problem with in apologetics was the emphasis on “right” and “wrong” without actually understanding the basis for faith and practice. It is easy to say that Muslims are “wrong” without making an effort to understand their beliefs, their practice, or their lives. Even more confusing are the legions of devoted men and women from other faiths who exude spiritual peace and comfort like a lamp gives off light. These individuals’ experiences and dedication cannot simply be dismissed as “heretical” or “wrong”. I am far more questioning in how and why God would grant them such spiritual power, if their faiths are corrupt, as people like Matt Slick or James White would say. So I went another way. I studied to see their faiths as they saw them, independent of my own opinions. And I remained Mormon. Many of those I found completely distasteful as LDS apologists, many of whom are no longer LDS, were so immersed in the desire to prove others “wrong” that I think it negatively impacted their own psyche and development. The hate they continually voiced and indulged eventually hurt them in ways that I think will not be fully understood for some time.

    So when I studied Catholicism, I did so with a goal of understanding how Catholics see their own faith, how they saw their own rituals, and how they believed. I am not Catholic. I think there are problems with Catholic history and theology. Being understanding does not compromise intellectual integrity. Studying Islam does not mean one agrees with everything Islamic.

    In this spirit, the Op-ed fails completely. The opening salvo against Mormonism is far more indicative of apologetics than it is interfaith dialogue. The a priori assumption is that Mormon women can be categorized as “bystanders” instead of “participants”, which no one has questioned at all. The metric for participation seems to be physical contact. By this metric, it would seem that a mother of an Orthodox Jewish boy is simply a bystander in his Bar Mitzvah. The Jewish mothers I know would completely disagree with this however.

    If Ms. Jack would make the same argument and impugn Jewish mothers she would be laughed off as prejudiced and inconsequential. The people of this tradition, which R.T. has pronounced as “not equal”, are doing what they find spiritually uplifting and meaningful. They are happy. R.T’s pronouncement that they are inferior is not something they would accept, or even tolerate. The same could apply to any number of different religious traditions that accept differences between the sexes.

    The main problem with Ms. Jack’s position is that she never bothered to consider how the believing LDS mother feels, and this oversight is almost unforgivable in its negligence and condescension. How can you discuss a faith and NOT consider how its adherents feel?

    This applies to her application of her concept of ecclesiastical “punishment”. I say her concept because once again, to the believing LDS member, her conceptualization is hardly universal or even widely held. A member of the LDS priesthood is not considered to be lowered to the status of a woman when undergoing the repentance process any more than a Catholic priest is lowered to the status of a lay person when undergoing some ecclesiastical punishment/repentance.

    Runtu has stated that there is no reason to be balanced or even really accurate. I would say honest, because I do not think the article was honest at all, but I think the oversight was the result of bias and not intentional. Runtu’s prejudice is as intellectually blinding as Ms. Jack’s is in this case. Would either of them approve of an unbalanced position in other circumstances? This is unlikely.

    The further problem that I see is that Ms. Jack has begun to claim that she can provide an accurate assessment of both Evangelical and LDS infant rituals because she has experienced both. This is the height of hubris. I have been a participant (not just a bystander) in any number of religious rituals. I have participated in the ordination of a Buddhist Priest, been involved in Islamic Sufi rituals that few outsiders would be allowed to participate in, and attended countless less exclusive, but no more less important, rituals in Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism, and no where would I claim to have the same experience as a believer. I fasted an entire Ramadan, and prayed 5 times a day for that lunar month just to experience life as a Muslim. It was a deeply spiritual experience, and I can comment on MY experience, but I am nowhere near arrogant enough that I can now compare my experience as a non-believer to that of a believer.

    How is it that this comment was allowed to pass without comment or even the slightest critique? It is absolutely astounding that Ms. Jack would claim to have experienced a religious ritual the same as an adherent when she clearly does not even respect the ritual.

    The op-ed was simply bad. It was poorly thought out, and if examined this should all be fairly clear. Unfortunately it was not, likely because of bias. If you could address my points exactly I am more than willing to consider their accuracy, but so far none of my questions has been addressed. Echo chambers are comforting places, but they stifle growth.

    I do not begrudge Ms. Jack her opinion at all, but I significantly question her facts and her assumptions. You should too.

  5. […] roots. The Op-Ed can be found here. I responded to the Op-ed in a few places, but most noticeably here, and […]

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