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  • The LDS Church continues to explore the role of women in the church

    The LDS Church continues to explore the role of women in the church. There is ongoing discussion about whether or not women should be ordained to the priesthood.

  • The LDS Church announces that women will be able to serve as full-time missionaries.

    The LDS Church announces that women will be able to serve as full-time missionaries. The Church teaches that men and women reciprocally need each other to reach their highest potential as exalted kings and queens, priests and priestesses in God’s kingdom.

  • The LDS Church announces that women will be able to hold the newly created minister position in the church.

  • The LDS Church publishes the essay "Women's Ordination."

    The LDS Church publishes the essay "Women's Ordination." The essay discusses the history of women's ordination in the church and the reasons why the church does not ordain women to the priesthood today.

  • The church announces that women will be able to serve in all missionary fields

    The church announces that women will be able to serve in all missionary fields, including areas that were previously restricted to men.

  • The LDS Church publishes the essay "The Priesthood and Women."

    The LDS Church publishes the essay "The Priesthood and Women." The essay acknowledges that women have been denied the priesthood in the past, but it also states that women have important roles to play in the church.

  • The first female missionaries are called to serve in the United States.

  • The first female missionaries are called to serve in the British Isles.

    Women in the LDS Church begin to take on more leadership roles. They are appointed to serve as Relief Society presidents, stake presidents' wives, and general auxiliary leaders.

  • The church officially authorizes women to serve as full-time missionaries.

  • The LDS Church officially ends the practice of polygamy.

  • The LDS Church establishes the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA)

    The LDS Church establishes the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA). The YMMIA is a youth organization for girls ages 12 to 18. The YMMIA teaches gospel principles, promotes character development, and encourages service to others.

  • Brigham Young introduces the practice of polygamy.

    Brigham Young introduces the practice of polygamy. Women are encouraged to marry multiple husbands.

  • The LDS Church settles in Utah.

    The LDS Church settles in Utah. Women in Utah play a significant role in the establishment of the new community. They work in the fields, build homes, and raise families.

  • Women begin to serve as missionaries in the LDS Church

    Women begin to serve as missionaries in the LDS Church, but they are not officially called or supported by the church. The Relief Society is organized. The Relief Society is a women's organization that provides relief to the poor and needy, teaches gospel principles, and promotes family and community well-being.

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is founded.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is founded. Women are given the right to vote in church meetings.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Book of Mormon uniquely teaches that God “inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” (2 Nephi 26:33) 

 In contrast to many faiths, the Church  believes the Fall of Adam and Eve was necessary  to God’s purposes for helping his children grow. Thus,  Eve is not condemned for her difficult  choice to give up paradise for mortality so children could be born into this world and experience the sorrow and death of a fallen world which are necessary for fully comprehending joy and eternal life.

The existence of a Heavenly Mother implies that both men and women are necessary components for godhood. Both men and women need each other to achieve their divine potential and fully exercise their priesthood power.

The highest and crowning ordinances of the temple require both men and women participants to be effective.

Latter-day Saint women have historically administered to the sick by anointing, blessing, and laying on hands those who were afflicted. Eliza R. Snow, Zina Huntington, and Patty Sessions are just a few examples of gifted healers who used the power of God to administer to the sick and afflicted in 19th century Utah.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the culture flowing from it have been early and ardent champions of women’s rights. Women could legally vote in Utah territory in 1870. No states in the US allowed women to vote at that time. The first woman to cast a ballot in 1870 was Seraph Young (1846-1938), grandniece of Brigham Young (1801-1877).

The first non-LDS female medical doctor trained in the US was Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910). She received her medical degree in 1849 and immediately went to Europe for additional training. She returned to the US and set up practice in the 1850’s. However, by the 1850’s there were already 3 LDS female medical doctors practicing in Utah: Vigdis Holt (1824-1913), Netta Anna Cardon (1826-1907), and Janet Hardie (1812-1872). All 3 had been trained in Europe. In 1874, Romania Pratt (1839-1932) sold her piano to finance her medical education, moved to New York for medical school, and then returned to Utah to practice. Utah has a remarkably early history of employing female physicians.

 The first female state senator in the United States was LDS physician Martha Hughes Cannon (1857-1932) who was elected to the Utah State Senate in 1897.

Prior to 1848, women in the US generally could not purchase or hold property. The Married Women’s Property Act of 1848 in New York changed that. But the Latter-day Saints in Utah were ahead of the rest of the country in this area of women’s rights. In 1847, forty-one women, as heads of households, were awarded property in the first land allocation by the Utah Pioneers.

 In 1852, the Utah Territorial Legislature enacted a liberal divorce and child custody law, giving women greater independence, control,  and freedom when in bad marriages. Only 6 other states and territories in the US had a similar law.

In 1869, non-LDS Arabella Mansfield (1846 – 1911) was admitted to the Iowa bar, becoming the first female attorney in the US. In 1872, Church members Phoebe Couzins (1842-1913) and Georgiana Snow (1844-1915) were admitted to the Utah bar, becoming some of the first women in the US to practice law.

Women General Officers serve on all the highest committees at Church headquarters to counsel and help make decisions for the whole church: Church Communications Committee, Church Educational System Committee, Scriptures Committee, Missionary Executive Council, Temple & Family History Executive Council, Priesthood & Family Executive Council, Welfare & Self-Reliance Executive Council.

According to Pew Research Center, there are more women than men members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

What Mormons Believe