But while listening to her on the interview, I was frustrated that spokeswoman Isom kept conflating a bishop in a disciplinary hearing with God--not to mention the audacity to suggest it is always the member's choice to stay in the Church rather than be excommunicated, and not acknowledging the reality is that it is the choice of one man in a position of "a little authority" (regardless of whether or not he is exercising unrighteous dominion) as to whether or not the accused remains in the Church.
Apparently there are too many literalistic Mormons who seem to conflate God and the prophet too. These folks seem to believe that if God wants change he will literally dictate it to the prophet, as though the prophet is a puppet, so they assume we mortals can just sit back and wait for divine direction.
But from my experience and also in history, I see that God expects for US to make the first move. WE humans decide to act or take a question before the Lord and THEN hope for divine direction.
I'm not crazy enough to think that in 1978 "God changed his mind about black people" or that humans pressure the Lord anymore than he pressures us (which is pretty much zilch). The only real power he has to effect change over us is through love, and there’s a lesson in that for us. He doesn’t coerce, and nor should we. I think the Lord waits patiently for us to figure things out on our own. He had made it clear he “denieth none that come unto him, black or white, bond or free, male or female…all are alike unto God”. But WE didn't get part of that before 1978 until WE changed our perspective.
Historically it has taken us mortals (even our prophet leaders, since they’re not raised in a cultural vacuum) a long time to realize what God already desires for his children. With Paul and all the other prophets, we "see through a glass darkly." But God waits patiently and lovingly for us to correct our perspectives and figure out His will for ourselves. He even shows long-suffering to apostles who live so set in their ways and convinced of the rightness of their position (even though their position turned out to be wrong, and regardless of the "certainty" they spoke with that they knew or "know" Gods will.)
I personally think there's still part of that "all are alike" scripture (and no, he's not referring to biological/physical sameness) that the Church collectively isn't understanding right. Instead of believing Him and taking His word that "all" are alike unto God, in terms of who can or can't be ordained to the priesthood we continue to deny those who happened to be born female, and regardless of their spiritual strength, leadership talents, and the worthy desires of their hearts.
God has never declared that holding priesthood keys or offices was or is some divine gender role--we the people have projected antiquated gender roles onto God.
I think those of us who believe the ninth article of faith--that many great and important things are yet to be revealed--should be patient, but I don't think we need to be passive. As President Kimball once wrote in a letter to his son Ed: "Revelations will probably never come unless they are desired. I think few people receive revelations while lounging on a couch."
As a historian I'm fascinated by these issues and look for background, context, and reasons—cause and effect—which impact the how and the why things happened the way they did. Those lessons have much to teach us in the present and the future.
Ironically, another change occurred in 1978--the prohibition (yes, there was a prohibition) on/of women praying in Sacrament meetings. The "Brethren" explained that the policy (set in 1967) "had no scriptural basis and should be abandoned." I believe that there are still gender prohibitions without any scriptural or doctrinal basis that should likewise be abandoned.
And for the record, it wasn't until April of 2013 that a woman first prayed in General Conference. Of course, if you think change comes to passive puppets without any effort on our part, then you probably believe that Ordain Women had nothing to do with that (even though faithful feminists had been seeking after that very thing for years), and also that last October just happened to be a good time to begin televising the General Priesthood Session of Conference (which really should be called the General Men's Session, since women also exercise priesthood power and authority*.)
*Elder Oaks's recent conference talk explained that women already excercise priesthood power and authority, but do not currently hold priesthood offices or keys. He didn't provide a reason, footnote, or citation as to why this is the case--just an assumption that the historical patriarchal pattern is divinely decreed. (Historically we also know that some prophets and apostles also had assumed the racial priesthood ban that ended in 1978 had originated with God, yet the Church's recent "Race and the Priesthood" essay correctly places the ban's origins with Brigham Young in the context of the racism of that day and age.) Elder Oaks did acknowledge, however, that in the temple women perform priesthood ordinances and exercise the priesthood keys of the temple president, though he did not explain why women are banned from performing ordinances outside the temple or why they cannot excercise priesthood keys outside the temple, such as by serving on a stake high council under the direction of or by virtue of the keys of the stake president.