1989 Commission on the Role of Women in the Church

1984 (the year, not the novel)
In 1984, the Annual Council voted to create the Commission on the Role of Women in the Church (pages 10-13). This Commission began meeting in 1985 and concluded more study was needed. So, they met again in 1988 and 1989— where they created two documents.

The doc is in
The first document, referred to as the “Presidents’ Document,” concluded that “a decision to ordain women as pastors would not be welcomed or meet with disapproval in most of the world church” and “the provisions of the Church Manual and the [GC] Working Policy which allow only for ordination to the gospel ministry on a world-wide (universal) basis have strong support by the divisions.” In essence, these two resolutions meant that the Commission would not recommend women be ordained because of majority opinion. There would also be no recommendation for localized ordinations.

So…what did the women think?
The second document, “Women Commissioners’ Recommendations,” was submitted by the 17 women who attended the Annual Council session. These women formed an ad hoc committee and voted to refer the first document’s recommendations to the GC officers for additional study. They appealed for equal job opportunities, better training and education for pastor’s spouses, more respect and recognition, and more female representatives at all administrative levels of the church.

Mrs. Deeds goes to Washington…or, at least the GC.
Both documents went on to the 1989 Fall Annual Council for discussion. A report was generated, combining the two documents’ findings, and submitted to the 1990 General Conference Session. These were the report’s recommendations:

  1. A decision to ordain women as pastors would not be welcomed or met with approval in most of the world Church.

  2. The provisions of the Church Manual and the General Conference Working Policy, which allow only for ordination to the gospel ministry on a worldwide basis, have strong support by the divisions.

  3. Commissioned or licensed ministers should be permitted to perform the essential ministerial functions of an ordained minister of the gospel in the churches to which they are assigned.

How the IRS Affected Women’s Ordination

1990 General Conference Session