Updated Tuesday, October 1, 2013.
A group of approximately 200 women will wait in the standby line for the priesthood session of General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Oct. 5, according to Ordain Women.
The women are a part of Ordain Women, a group that supports gender equality in the Church. Founder Kate Kelly and the group plan to meet at the City Creek Center at 4 p.m. and then walk over to the conference center.
Kelly said the women hope the ushers will let them into the conference center, but if not, they will respectfully leave.
These women will be there to “demonstrate [their] continued willingness and desire to attend,” according to a press release on Ordain Women.
Tickets to the priesthood session, which is held in the conference center, are distributed to priesthood-age males.
“I feel like they are losing sight of what’s important in the Church,” said Quinn Cole, a freshman studying computer science. “They’re treating the Church like it’s a government … while it’s actually God’s decision.”
Kelly and other members of Ordain Women wrote a letter to the Temple Square Events Director asking for tickets.
“We express our faith by attending the priesthood session in anticipation of our future ordination. We want to hear directly from the leaders of our church in preparation for the responsibility that comes with ordination,” according to the letter.
LDS Church spokesperson Ruth Todd responded with a letter that denied their request.
“It is the hope of the Church that the priesthood session will strengthen the men and young men including fathers and sons, and give them the opportunity to gather and receive instruction related to priesthood duties and responsibilities … It’s for these reasons that tickets for the priesthood session are reserved for men and young men,” according to Todd’s letter.
Brayden Lemmon, a freshman majoring in general studies, said he thinks women should be able to attend the priesthood session in the conference center if there is room.
“I think it’s fine if everyone has their own beliefs and opinions. Personally, I don’t know if they will eventually receive the priesthood or not, but if it’s something they believe in, why not stand for it?” Lemmon said.
The October 2013 General Conference will mark the first time the priesthood session will be broadcast on live television and on the Internet, according to Deseret News.
“The content of the priesthood meeting has been available online for many years immediately following the conclusion of the priesthood session… Broadcasting the priesthood session over the Internet and on BYUtv is simply another step in reaching a worldwide audience in a way that makes sense in a global church,” Todd said.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, of those who identify themselves with higher religious committment, 95 percent said “no” to women receiving the priesthood. Of those who identify themselves with lower religious commitment, 69 percent said “no.”
The 183rd Semiannual General Conference will be held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5 and 6.