There was a fascinating post over at BeliefNet this week on attitudes among Mormons about women receiving the priesthood. Here is the most interesting part, quoting studies found in the book American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us by authors Robert Putnam and David Campbell:
Yet the most remarkable finding is that within Mormonism itself, there is a significant split by gender on this question. The number that looks the most extraordinary to outsiders–that only 10% of Mormon women want the priesthood–seems pretty predictable to those inside the faith. But the finding that 48% of Mormon men say they favor female LDS clergy is truly startling.
The blog author, Grant Hardy, goes on to give a long list of possible explanations for these survey results. Most of them seem fairly plausible as contributing factors at least. All of them are pretty nice to Mormon men and women I thought.
The cynic in me thinks Hardy danced around one obvious explanation. That is that 48% of men wouldn’t mind letting the ladies do more of the heavy lifting regarding clergy duties in church. In contrast, 90% of the ladies like the fact that they can be completely guilt-free when it comes to those difficult and time-consuming clergy duties.
What do you think though? Certainly there is some combination of reasons why Mormon men are nearly five times more likely to favor women receiving the priesthood and serving in clergy duties than Mormon women are to favor such a thing. But what is your guess about the primary reason for these results? Something Hardy said? The more cynical reason I mentioned? Or something else entirely?