Two years ago, I took a big gulp and submitted my Ordain Women profile. The Mormon church has a policy of only ordaining “worthy” men of at least 12 years to be holders of Priesthood power. Believing and advocating for something other than what is current practice, especially something as profound as the Priesthood, is seen by many members of the Church at best as unfaithful and at worst as apostate.
I knew my family would vehemently disagree with my position, but I wanted to add my number to the scores of women that felt belittled by the fact that they were kept from such an essential and valued piece of the gospel.
For the record, I didn’t share my profile anywhere else, and when Ordain Women tagged me its their social media post, I removed the tag. If it were to be published today, my handling of it would be very different, but at the time, I was concerned that my family and my Church leaders would see my position as a betrayal.
Full transcript below:
I’ve been an active member of the Church my whole life. I was married in the temple to another life-long member two years ago and we are now expecting our first child. We both serve callings in our ward mission after having served in primary and music callings. We attend Church every week and pray together every night.
I believe whole-heartedly that women should be given the opportunity to be ordained to the priesthood. I didn’t come to this conclusion suddenly. In fact, I came to this conclusion while conducting targeted study toward convincing myself that women shouldn’t receive the priesthood, that the current order of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was indeed God’s will (revelation) and not based on a prehistoric prejudice. In the end, I couldn’t shake the foundation of my testimony, which is that God and Christ see men and women as equals; And for that to be true, neither gender can have systematic authority over the other.
I gained this belief by reaching several important conclusions:
First, motherhood is not equal to the priesthood. Men are introduced to the priesthood at a young age, and are taught to use it to become closer to God. They are asked to maintain their worthiness to hold it, and are able to actively participate in the institution of the Church with it. Women aren’t given the opportunity to be mothers until they are adults (assuming they follow the prescribed religious pattern). That is assuming they even have the biological ability to get pregnant, which sadly, many women do not. Though being a mother is beautiful and powerful, it doesn’t require maintaining worthiness, and it doesn’t allow a woman to participate in the institution of the Church.
Second, the Church’s hierarchy, while necessary, needs female voices. I don’t believe it will ever truly include female voices to the full extent that it respects male voices until women have the opportunity to hold the priesthood. Women have so much to offer this Church, on a broad, expansive level. They have so much insight and wisdom to share with all members of the Church, if given the chance. They have the ability to have so much influence for good, if only they could be part of Church-wide decisions that have the potential to make members’ lives better. While women can currently hold a number of positions within the Church, they are always, ultimately, subject to a man’s approval. They are always presided over by a man. Even within the family, the father presides, which negates the phrase that “husband and wife are equal.”
Finally, if this Church truly doesn’t believe in the curse of Eve, then there is no reason to withhold the priesthood from women. The only doctrinal basis I can find for the current policy is what is learned in the temple/bible. According to the scriptures/temple, God states that because Eve was the first to partake of the fruit, she will have to covenant to hearken to her husband’s word while her husband hearkens to the word of God. Meaning, she became subject to her husband rather than God as a punishment for her transgression. Perhaps this is the doctrinal basis for why the Church keeps women from that direct line to the power of God; But I don’t believe this happened, I don’t believe God cursed Eve for making a courageous and necessary decision, a decision that has been applauded multiple times by Church leadership.
I believe that women should be ordained.