Camilla Kimball was the official witness to a baptism her husband performed in India in 1961.
I do know Joseph Fielding Smith objected to women serving as witnesses to temple ordinances. I think it was when he found out they were being used in Canada, the Alberta Temple. But according to the David O. McKay papers, President McKay did did not object. So the change occurred sometime after President McKay was the prophet. I think we will get more information as researchers try to pin down the date of the change.
Plus I read that Vienna Jacques was an official witness to baptisms for the dead when they were performed in the Missippi River in the 1840's.
So really, Church leaders restored a right women enjoyed for over 100 years. It was not a new right they granted.
Terry, I believe you are conflating two separate events. Joseph Fielding Smith did object to women serving as temple witnesses in 1959 when visiting the Alberta, Canada Temple. However, President McKay continued to think it was fine. The change to stop allowing women to be witnesses did occur about 1976. Uncertain to to why because there clearly had never been any doctrine to support the change.
Terry, how did Joseph Fielding Smith make that change in 1976 when he died in 1972?
Since President Joseph Fielding Smith died in 1972, it's unlikely he made any policy changes in 1976. He only served as president of the Church for about 2 1/2 years. I wasn't old enough to hold a temple recommend then, but clearly remember many of his talks.
I really think someone is splitting hairs here there are many types of witnesses. This was witnessing an event Not a sacred ordinance.
This is inaccurate. Up until 1976, women were serving as witnesses in the temple. It was a policy change by Joseph Fielding Smith that changed that.
It us the first time that we know of where children are used as witnesses.
In the first two centuries, deaconnesses checked "recommends" for entrance into temple ceremonies. Perhaps this will be the next advance for sisters in the church.
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