Episode 18: Women With Priesthood: A Talk With Female CoC (RLDS) Church Leaders

Join Lindsay as she speaks with Robin Linkhart, quorum president Western USA Mission Field for the Community of Christ (also known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and JoAnn Fisher, a minister in the Community of Christ as they discuss being a female and holding priesthood in their church. They also discuss the impact women’s ordination has had on their church, their families and on them personally.

The Community of Christ’s Website

Contact Robin at rlinkhart@CofChrist.org Contact JoAnne at joannfish@mindspring.com

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Read 15 comments

  1. I love, love, LOVED this podcast. It was amazing to hear from intelligent, articulate women who are leaders in their church, mothers, AND disciples of Christ. I didn’t realize how little I knew (and probably still do) about the CofC before listening to this podcast. In church and seminary growing up, I was taught that the (then) RLDS had only given the priesthood to women because they had run out of male heirs (with a derisive laugh by my seminary teacher), that they had “sold out” and denounced the Book of Mormon because they were desperate financially and joined a Christian coalition for financial support, etc.

    When I was 21, I spent a semester in Nauvoo through BYU and of course then I learned more about the CofC, but from a very LDS perspective. I did feel, however, that my BYU teachers in Nauvoo were much more respectful of the CofC church than my former seminary and church teachers. I don’t remember them saying negative things about the church or its members, in fact, they routinely praised the CofC for taking such good care of the historical sites that they own (all of which we visited, including the Kirtland Temple). I left Nauvoo with a greater respect for the CofC because of that. The other students in Nauvoo, myself included I’m sure, were not always so generous. We visited their temple in Missouri and it was lovely but felt so foreign as we were so immersed in LDS culture/doctrine that entire semester. There were some negative comments made by students, I’m ashamed to say. I think we could all stand to learn a great deal from this sister-church. Wonderful podcast.

  2. Wonderfully powerful… I had no idea the FLDS even had women priesthood. If we can be Priestess’ in heaven, why not on earth? Joseph put us in the same robes of the priesthood… perhaps that got lost somehow for those who followed Brigham. It reminds me of how it was a shock when the priesthood was given to the blacks in 1978…. how is this any different. The time feels right.

  3. It also brings to mind, why Joseph tried so hard to empower the women in a man run world that wasn’t ready for it. He tried to equal the playing field by forming the relief society. And those women did use priesthood and blessed each other. I’m afraid so many things got lost or suppressed after his death.

  4. Listened to the whole episode live streamed to my computer. No problems at all. Great episode. As a side note, I know of another very popular podcast that is having streaming issues as well. Its not just your website.

  5. Wow, this episode was very powerful for me. As I’ve gone through my faith transition I’ve tried various churches. One church that is just down the street from me is the CofC church. I have attended twice; the first out of curiosity and the second because I felt like the ordained women who spoke were speaking a language that I hadn’t heard in my own faith. Thinking about them blessing one of the speaker’s mom (JoAnn perhaps?) and the other talking about baptizing her daughter just had me in tears. Thank you so much ladies for sharing your experiences of being ordained in this church.

  6. Thank you for this beautiful conversation. I became better acquainted with the CofC a cuple of years ago when I took a road trip across the country, stopping at LDS historical sites along the way. I had a particularly touching experience at the Kirtland temple, which included a lengthy discussion with a couple of CofC women. I also attended the Mormon History Association Conference that year (2010) in Independence, MO. At the end of the conference, I spent most of a day at the CofC temple there. I have never felt more welcomed and at home anywhere.
    Listening to this podcast makes my heart ache for the lost opportunities for women in the LDS Church. If my daughters and granddaughters stay with the LDS Church, I can only hope that the Church will someday change it’s doctrines concerning women. I might be persuaded to become a participating member again.

  7. My wife and I just found this podcast and listened to this episode last Friday, ironically enough, on our way to Nauvoo for a young adult retreat. We both thoroughly enjoyed the discussion and hearing different perspectives and responses to ordination of women.
    For me, it was kind of hearing this discussion from the outside looking in. I was raised in the Community of Christ (RLDS), currently serve as an Elder, Pastor, and full time employee of the church. I was born in 1980 so women in the priesthood is something I more or less grew up with. I really didn’t ever know anything different. In fact, I was baptized in 1988 by my mother who holds the office of priest.
    My wife, however, was not raised in the church and joined after we were married. She grew up in a church that does not allow women to be ministers, so one thing that attracted her to the church was that women could be ordained.
    We both found the discussion to be fascinating and beneficial to help us understand the issues that people in our church faced, what it’s like for women in the LDS church, and even insight to current struggles that the church is dealing with.
    Just as Joann and Robin did, I’d offer myself as a resource for any questions or assistance that I can provide. Additionally, I think any of our congregations would be happy to have any of you as visitors, and be more than willing to talk to you any time.

  8. Hello everyone here,

    I just came across this podcast today – what a joy it was to listen. I’m a woman member of Community of Christ, I’m almost 30 years old. It gave me real pleasure to listen to this conversation of women talking about their faith and desire/calling to serve in the Priesthood. I was born the year before the D&C Section came into being that allowed women in the Priesthood, so I have grown up always knowing that I could outwork whatever calling it was that I felt deeply, and that if that was to Priesthood, then so be it. My mother was ordained to Priest when I was very young, then to Elder, then to Seventy, so I have had a strong Priesthood role model in her and many others. Of course there were also some in our family who rejected the approval of women to Priesthood. I was ordained to the office of Priest at 19 years of age. Here in Australia, as you touched on in the podcast, we recently had discussion on allowing the ordination of those who identify as homosexual to Priesthood. In the vote discussion, I gave testimony that I can’t imagine having felt a call to Priesthood and knowing that that just wouldn’t happen for me, because of “who I was” – being a woman. I consider myself incredibly blessed to not have experienced that obstacle in serving the church and my community. It is something I hope that all women can experience if they are so called. I’ve been very blessed by women ministers throughout my life, in the church in very many places around the world.
    I really love that we can have this open and honest discussion together, across the ‘boundaries’ of our respective churches – thank you for persevering with what you do here, and thank you for inviting your cousin-step-sisters in the Community of Christ to be part of your conversations.

  9. Thank you so much for this podcast. These women were wonderful to hear from. I gained so much respect for them and their church. Their stories were beautiful.

    i am wondering if either of these women can tell me what arguments or dialogue were used when the decision to allow women to hold the priesthood was presented. Where their doctrinal examples and insights? Was it seen more as a cultural reason? Obviously many people voted for the change so there had to be good evidence to convince them.

    Also, I would Love to see a podcast on the history of the rlds church and perhaps point out key doctrinal similarities and differences.

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