Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mormon Woman Ordained a Deacon

I received the following letter from Melanie Ladouceur of Paris, France this week and felt it deserved a response.  I will translate her letter and my response into English for your benefit. 

Dear President Paternoster,

I cannot for the life of me understand why it is that we the sisters of the latter days cannot serve as deacons in the church.  If the church today is literally a restored version of the early (New Testament) church, as we claim, why can women not serve as deacons? 

In Romans 16:1 we learn of the earliest Mormons (and I refer to them as Mormons because they are of the same church/religion as us) and are specifically told that Phebe, a woman, served as a deacon. 

Having served in a French speaking mission you would already be familiar with this verse President, but I will quote it anyway: “Je vous recommande Phoebé, notre soeur, qui est diaconesse de l'Église de Cenchrées….”  (
President, as you are likely aware the word "diaconesse" is the feminine version of the English word deacon.  It would be like saying deaconess in English (just as you use the word prophetess to describe a female prophet in your version of the Bible). 

This word “diaconesse” comes from a literal translation of the Greek word Diakonos, meaning deacon.  I know in some languages they have interpreted the word Diakonos to mean servant (such as in the English King James version of the Bible).  However in the New International Version (in English) it is translated as deacon, which is more accurate than servant.  (

Either way my point is clear.  There was a woman named Phebe who served as a deacon in the original church. 

And this being the case why can I not hold the Aaronic priesthood and serve as a deacon in the modern church, which church is simply a restoration of the original one?  It seems to me that the restored church has made an error, and I am very surprised that the Lord in his weekly temple visits with the prophet hasn’t corrected this.

Please let me know your thoughts on the matter,

Melanie Ladouceur

Below is my response

Dear Sister Ladouceur,

Thank you for bringing up this important point.  The main thing to keep in mind is even though the Greek word may well have been Diakonos the interpretation as servant must have been accurate because if it wasn’t Joseph Smith would have pointed this out as part of his inspiring project to correct the many errors in the Bible. 

Keep in mind that with regards to the qualifications required of a deacon we also read in the New Testament (in 1 Timothy 3:12) as follows: “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”

As the only true Church upon the face of the earth we closely follow the words of the living scriptures by only ordaining 12 year old unmarried boys as deacons and having them advance to the office of teacher just two short years later. 

Please continue to find the sweet joy and peace that can only come from following your priesthood leaders and doing what they say.

With loving concern,

President Paternoster


Samuel the Lame'innit said...

I feel for this Sister Ladouceur, I really do. But, when situations like these arise, that is, when it appears that the only true and living Church on the face of the earth has deviated from biblical ways, I simply say to myself... 'God's ways are not our ways and I cannot pretend to know the ways of the Lord'. After thinking this to myself, I feel content and at peace. As all feelings of peace come from God, I know that this is true.

Anonymous said...


This is NOT a website sanctioned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Further, "President Paternoster" is not an actual stake president within the Church.

Rather, the content of this site varies from farce to pointed criticism [which is, at times, painfully accurate].

Many, but not necessarily all, of the posts are written in mockery of those who are sincerely striving, albeit imperfectly, to follow Jesus.

Caveat utilitor.

mahonri kimball said...

My fall back position that never fails me is this;

"This is not something that is essential to my salvation"

This works for any of the hundreds of examples where history, science, or other "so called" reality appears to contradict the doctrine of the one true Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

It is OK to look for verification in facts, logic, and science,if they exist. But, when there is a conflict between the Church and "So called facts and evidence", do not trust the evidence. In the end, a warm feeling in your bosom as you pray for God to help you believe, with a sincere desire to believe, trumps ANY evidence.

There is NOTHING that would make me quit believing. That is how strong my testimony is! I don't care what the evidence shows. I don't care about logical analysis. I don't care about contradictions, anachronisms, or changes in Church History and scriptures.

I know that the Church is the only Church on Earth, with the FULL truth.

Anonymous said...

Para, Gedeon Anonimo y mahonri kimball: Estais de Psiquiatras!

Anonymous said...

Will the Lord ever make it so that men can have children? Until that happens is it not clear that men and women have different roles, equally important but different? Did God not grant unto Eve the skills of motherhood and nurturing and unto Adam the responsibility for hunting and provisioning? This led inevitably to a public life for men and a domestic one for women. It seems to me to be part of the natural order of things. It is borne out by the fact that far fewer women than men put themselves forward for political office. Society seems to me to have got it all wrong in trying to create a unisex society, and that's the reason the world is in trouble. At least we can rest assured in the knowledge that we belong to the true church, where true order prevails. No, let the sisters continue to do what they do best, namely rearing children, baking cakes and cleaning the meeting-house. No need for them to be troubled with all the sordid things of administration. Good heavens, just think if they held the priesthood; you might have a group of women needing to determine whether a man be excommunicated or not. And what might that be like?

Cindy said...

People will always come up with silly reasons to resist accepting the gospel. Instead of wasting her time trying to prove that there was one woman in the bible given the title deacon Sister Ladouceuer should be focusing on the here and now. Things like finding ways to magnify her calling (even if it's just as a visiting teacher), not complaining about what "position" she doesn't have.

Unknown said...

I've never felt any convincing theology from the broad church or from its leaders to explain the exclusion of women from priesthood. Anyone who can click a mouse can find that Joseph told the sisters who were organizing their society that they would hold priesthood, and receive ordinations. I believe Inspired and united prayer and fasting would bring revelation to the front of the church and we would understand the real meaning of priesthood.
In the early days of the restoration certain women would pray over and lay hands on the sick. Joseph is quoted in TPJS even after being edited by Joseph F as favoring this kind of activity
. Also, the author of this blog would be wise to understand how little aid he gives to an enquirer by encouraging them to please do what your inspired priesthood leaders say. As if institutional authority equals audience or intimacy with Christ. There is nothing in the standard works to champion that notion.
Also, just because Paul hints to us that he saw God in the third heaven, this does not mean we must assume that his opinions on the role of women in the church are revelatory and eternal.

Unknown said...

Sister Cindy, your response to this person who lives on the other side is a bit clumsy and unfair.
You say that people will always come up with silly reasons not to accept the gospel? What is this gospel you speak of, and who is searching for reasons not to accept it? This French woman who hopes or scriptural verity of feminine priesthood? So anyone who questions or hopes for something that is not in convention is resisting acceptane of the gospel? This is someone who chose to be baptized and become a stranger to a society twice as secular and indifferent as mine. I will not be so arrogant to assume that she denies the gospel. If in thirty years your daughters or granddaughters are laying hands on the sick or bearing the sacrament it will be because of the prayers of people who asked God for aid and revelation as young Joseph did.

Unknown said...

Oops, I just realized this is a farce. Sorry for my embarrassingly earnest comments.

Unknown said...

I can't stop laughing at all the accurate messages the Steak President brings to us!

Those of you who are still under the spell of Moism, I would suggest that you begin to slowly back away from the vat of Kool Aid.