It’s a question Mike Wallace asked the president of the Mormon church (and prophet, seer, and revelator) Gordon B. Hinckley in 1996, and Larry King asked him again in 2004. Barbara Walters even thought it was important enough to ask 19-year-old Marie Osmond in 1978—and moderator Jim Lehrer should ask Mitt Romney Wednesday, at the year’s first presidential debate:
Why do Mormons continue to treat women of the faith as second-class citizens?
The indictment in brief: women are not allowed to serve in the priesthood, which includes virtually all Mormon males ages 12 and up, giving them the right to act and speak with God’s authority. Women are thus forbidden from administering blessings, performing baptisms, or presiding over men in meetings or at home. And women are also excluded from the church’s upper leadership positions. Even those women who rise to positions of authority within the all-female Relief Society and Young Women organization, or as teachers, still answer to priesthood-holding men.