Senior Spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Michael Otterson, sent a five-page open letter to bloggers that aims to add additional context to the discussion about the place of women in the Church.

The letter addresses three primary criticisms that have been raised in the cyber discussion on Mormon women. Though the criticisms have not always been brought up respectfully, the response remains firm and calm. The letter reads in a tone that invites further and more open dialogue on this subject that is clearly of concern to so many.

“If there is one thing that my lifetime of working with Church leaders has taught me, it is that they care deeply for Church members and their feelings. In our remarkable system of Church governance, no man or woman can rise to high office without first serving for decades in responsibilities that bring them up close and personal with a mind-boggling array of human problems. In the course of their lives, apostles have spent countless hours in such counseling situations, struggling and sharing tears and helping members work the miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their livesthey remain crucially aware of issues that concern the members of the Church.”

In response to criticisms that the Church should be engaging with more extreme groups on this topic, “Readiness to meet with many different groups isbasic to public affairs work for the Church and we do it all the time. Yet there are a few people with whom Public Affairs and General Authorities do not engage, such as individuals or groups who make non-negotiable demands for doctrinal changes that the church can’t possibly accept”

Otterson says that, “No matter the intent” of such demands, they come across as “divisiverather than encouraging conversation through love and inclusion.”

The letter ultimately ends with the hope that, “We will see less cynicism and criticism, more respectful dialogue, more kindness and civility and more generosity of spirit” as members of the Church engage with each other online.