The Ordain Women webpage boldly proclaims that we are “Mormon women seeking equality and ordination to the priesthood.” I was initially drawn to that bold statement in early 2014 and, after participating by proxy in the April 2014 Priesthood Action, I submitted a profile in September 2014 and prepared to join my sisters and brothers in the October 2014 Local Priesthood Action.
In my profile, I state:
I am very thankful that the priesthood has been restored to the earth. However, every time I rejoice that one of my brothers has been ordained as a priest, I also ache for all women in the Church and for the Church. I ache because my wonderful, talented sisters have skills, training, and experience that could greatly benefit the Church. I ache because, in many parts of the world, there are wards and branches that are in desperate need of more “leaders” and more priesthood holders, and by automatically excluding women from consideration, the Church is doing itself a disservice. I ache because so much of Heavenly Father’s work is not being done because there are not enough priesthood holders to do the work. I ache because, simply by virtue of our gender, all women are limited in the roles we can fulfill in the Church and, ultimately, in the roles we can fulfill in building Heavenly Father’s kingdom. As important as the work is, I cannot believe that it is the divine will that so many workers are not allowed to participate, fully and equally. I believe women should be ordained. (Emphasis Added).
When I submitted my profile, there was no question in my mind that the words “Mormon women” on the Ordain Women webpage included all Mormon women, no matter their race, color, national origin, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, geographical location, childbearing status, ability/disability, or educational background. As I became more involved in Ordain Women, however, I realized that, given the history of exclusion and discrimination by the LDS Church, particularly on the basis of skin color, it was not enough to think that there was no question as to the inclusivity of those words. I realized that each and every action that Ordain Women took needed to demonstrate that inclusivity and to make sure that no one was excluded from the dream of equality in faith. Otherwise, the dream of equality in faith would become a nightmare that continued to perpetuate a system where instead of “all [being] alike unto God,” some have more power and more privilege than others.
The Ordain Women Intersectionality Committee grew out of that realization. The purpose of the Ordain Women Intersectionality Committee is “to ensure that all statements and actions of Ordain Women reflect an awareness of, a support for the efforts of, and inclusion of all groups who have been historically excluded from full participation in the activities and ordinances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” If those words resonate with you, we invite you to join us so that ALL of our sisters can achieve equality of faith with ALL of their brothers.
Honoring Our Past,
Envisioning Our Future.
Bryndis Roberts, the author of this post, is on the Ordain Women Executive Board as the Intersectionality Chair.