We acknowledge no inferiority to men. We claim to have no less ability to perform the duties which God has imposed upon us than they have to perform those imposed upon them.
We believe that God has wisely and well adapted each sex to the proper performance of the duties of each.
We believe our trusts to be as important and sacred as any that exists on earth.
We believe woman suffrage would relatively lessen the influence of the intelligent and true, and increase the influence of the ignorant and vicious.
So said declared the 1886 proclamation, â€œWomanâ€™s Protest Against Woman Suffrage.â€ Continuing it reads:
We feel that our present duties fill up the whole measure of our time and ability, and are such as none but ourselves can perform. Our appreciation of their importance requires us to protest against all efforts to infringe upon our rights by imposing upon us those obligations which cannot be separated from suffrage, but which, as we think, cannot be performed by us without the sacrifice of the highest interests of our families and of society.
It is our fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons who represent us at the ballot-box. Our fathers and our brothers love us; our husbands are our choice and one with us; our sons are what we make them. We are content that they represent us in the corn-field, on the battle-field, and in the ballot-box, and we teach them in the school-room, at the fireside, and at the cradle, believing our representation even at the ballot-box to be thus more full and impartial than it would be were the views of the few who wish suffrage adopted, contrary to the judgment of many.
We do therefore respectfully protest against any legislation to establish â€˜woman suffrageâ€™ in our land, or in any part of it.
It is interesting how women against suffrage sound like Latter-day Saint women who object to the ordain women movement. In both cases the argument is rooted in the premise that God has appointed women their sphere and in the late 1800â€™s it did not included women voting, and now it doesnâ€™t include women holding the priesthood. A century or so ago some women were saying, â€œI donâ€™t want the right to vote,â€ today we have some Mormon women declaring, â€œI donâ€™t want the priesthood,â€ as though the assertion alone puts them on solid theological ground. If nothing else, â€œWantâ€ has never carried any weight in a Church that sings, â€œIâ€™ll go where you want me to go Dear Lord, or do what you want me to do.â€
The irony is that in the process of speaking out against women holding the priesthood, these women have actually joined steps with the ordain women movement. They have decided to add their voice to the record, rather than letting those authorized to speak for the Lord have the say. They have temporarily forgotten that they really should be home baking cookies and teaching their sons to want to hold the priesthood and to honor it for the precious blessings it brings into the home. Rather than asserting they donâ€™t want the priesthood, or declaring how the Lord doesnâ€™t want women to hold the priesthood, they should be teaching their daughters to honor the men who hold the priesthood and to be worthy to be a priesthood holderâ€™s eternal companion. They need to remember that they should speak only when invited by the priesthood, and then under the direction of the priesthood. To do otherwise, even in protest, is to join ranks with those calling for equality.