Ordain Women is envisioning our future. We would like to formally announce our newest Executive Board Members. Kera Boaz and Sean Carter are both strong, smart, loving and hardworking souls who are committed to see religious gender equality within Mormonism. This Easter Season we proudly stand with them and add our testimony to theirs….
Easter has always symbolized a beautiful renewal to me. No matter my failings, shortcomings, or insecurities, I can start anew. What a beautiful, healing gift for me to realize I have the capacity to become better each day.
Kera Boaz, Voice of Narrating Ordain Women Podcast and Communications Committee Co-Chair
In this difficult season for many in the OW family, it should give us some solace to know that our Savior paid the ultimate price for the “crime” of apostasy. He was crucified for speaking a truth that His people were not yet ready to hear. And as we pick up our crosses and follow Him, let us gather strength from His example. And let us act in love towards each other, and even those who oppose us, as we are ALL beloved children of Heavenly Parents.
Sean Carter, Co-Chair of the Intersectionality Committee
When I was in elementary school I was very proud of a ceramic, pastel colored pin I had that said, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” I think as adults it’s helpful to remind ourselves, during this time of miracles and rebirth, what being ‘Christlike’ entails. To me it means knowing the expansive design of God’s plan, but never giving up on any single individual. Never giving up on their inherent worth, not because they are an adherent, but because they are human worthy of love inspite of ideology. I take this lesson from Christ and am striving to give others the space he gave me to grow, and just be.
I have faith in the ability of religion to liberate rather than subjugate woman. As we approach this season of rebirth and renewal, which will we choose?
I believe the fundamental tenets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints support gender equality, including the ordination of women. Indeed, in Mormonism spiritual empowerment is the sum of God’s hope for us as men and women.
New Testament scholar Scott Bartchy asserts that Jesus offered a radical critique of power, traditionally wielded through patriarchal authority, dominance and coercion. In its place, Bartchy suggests, Jesus provided a paradigm of power based on empowerment. Power used to coerce, dominate or control others will always burn itself out. Only power used to empower others is everlasting. This paradigm is foundational to the LDS doctrine of deity and priesthood. How can it not include women?
Perhaps my favorite part of the Easter story is the empty tomb when Mary of Magdalene arrives to care for the body of her beloved Teacher and finds his grave empty. I think of that moment. Already heartbroken over the crucifixion, Mary must have been devastated by the apparent theft of Jesus’ body. I imagine she felt horribly lost in those moments, robbed of even the brittle comfort of a mourning ritual. The small cave may have seemed to expand and darken around her as her heart throbbed in her ears and her eyes burned with tears, though she had already cried so many.
And yet. In this moment when her final hopes had fled, Mary turned to find Jesus. And, truly, don’t we all? When there is nothing left before us, we still have Christ waiting with His miracle.
A few years ago, I was blessed to spend one Easter season in Jerusalem. I swam in Galilee and walked by the olive trees in Gethsemane. I stood in front of Golgotha and spent time in the Garden of the Tomb. These moments are special to me because they were a chance to see what my Savior may have seen, and to wait where Mary waited.
But what I love even more is that I do not need to travel thousands of miles to feel my Savior’s love. I can feel His presence in a moment of service freely given. I can hear Him in the laughter of my friends. I can feel His touch in my grandmother’s hands. And I can see Him in everyone – as long as I look long enough.
At Easter, I am grateful for the gift that is a testimony of Jesus Christ and of His teachings on love and service, on justice and faith, on courage and gratitude. May we keep these gifts with us all.
Betrayal. Suffering. Pain. Hope. Joy. Love.
There are many words that come to mind during the Easter season. For me, the most important one is love.
Jesus Christ loves each one of us. We see the evidence of HIS love in his willingness to die for us.
Let us follow HIS example and HIS great commandment by loving one another.
This Easter, my heart turns to the teachings of Jesus. My favorite scripture is Matthew 22:36-40:
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
This is such a beautiful and simple statement of how we should focus our lives. There are no exceptions or caveats to this law. We are simply to love others, as we would like to be loved. Male or female, black or white, straight or gay, rich or poor, we are simply to love. On this most basic and beautiful principle hangs all of God’s law.
May God be with you and bless you and your family during this Easter season.
Each September, while the rest of the world is hunkering down for the cold, we Down Under are laying our last fires of the year, we are heading to the pharmacy for our allergy medications, we are enjoying the burst of purple, white and pink along our avenues, and we are beginning to turn our thoughts to the warmth of summer and its promise of lazy, hot January days at the beach.So all of this April talk of renewal, Spring, Easter and re-birth needs to be refracted through the exigencies of geography that sees me on the other side of the world enjoying nature’s opposites. During Easter we in New Zealand are often required by our Northern Hemisphere counterparts to think of renewal, rebirth and resurrection during our own season of nature’s silence, sleep and death. Easter in April belongs to the North, not to the South.
I’ve become accustomed to living in a different polarity to the cradle of Christendom. It requires me to make leaps of logic, to live with the contradiction between what I am seeing and hearing from the North, and what I am feeling in my bones and in my body. As a result I have come to rely more heavily on my deep physical and spiritual encounter with the divine rather the voices that tell me every April that Spring is nigh, and every December that it is all snowballs and Santa. I have had to cultivate a faith that culminates in one simple message that transcends the seasons; I am loved, we are loved – infinitely, profoundly and absolutely.
I’ve also learned that my capacity to bring spiritual renewal to the world is irrespective of the nature’s rhythms. I’ve learned that my most important identity in the heavens is my spiritual identity and I feel certain that my divine nature is regardless of the body I wear, the discourse of the day, or even Earth’s seasonal orbit.
This Easter brings back beautiful memories for me. On Easter Sunday 2 years ago, I held my baby Rosie in my arms, at home, for her naming and ceremony. My husband blessed her that she would remember her namesake, Mary, who was the first to the tomb and first witness to the Savior’s resurrection, and also Mary, sister of Martha, whom the Savior himself taught in a culture where women weren’t students of Rabbis. We also named her after my grandmother, that she may look to her, read her life stories, and learn how to be strong in the face of trials. Wanting to hold Rosie launched me into this life I never would have imagined. If you told me in April 2012 I’d be a board member of a group faithfully agitating for the priesthood, I would have said you’re crazy. Yet here I am. And as I reflect on how my testimony of the Savior has grown, I am so grateful for these last two years. All my life I have leaned on my relationship with him to get through tough times, but these last two years especially I have felt His unconditional love for me, exactly as I am, unorthodox feelings and questions notwithstanding. I stand all amazed at the love He offers me, and how he descended below them all through the Atonement, that we might have life everlasting as an eternal family. I am so grateful for that knowledge, that I can be with Rolf, Evie, and Rosie forever, all because of Jesus Christ. I owe Him everything. And I will do my best to live my life as He would have me do, to use my agency for good and social justice as He did.
Easter is healing to me. Emotionally, physically and spiritually. I am renewed with hope and promise, restoration and faith. This Easter I am especially thankful for the renewal in me over the past year. Never in my life have I grown so much spiritually, never have I felt closer to The Divine. I am filled with hope for the coming years. I am excited about the continuing light and knowledge that I can see and feel, filling the earth. I am aware of the love my Heavenly Parents have for me and that gives me a calming peace in my life that I hadn’t ever fully realized. I am overflowing with promise and positivity that the Restored Gospel gives all of its members. I honor my relationship with the Savior and look forward to building that connection and becoming more like Him. I take great comfort in realizing that when Christ emerged on the first Easter morning, he appeared to a woman… that was alone in her grieving… searching for a connection to Him. I believe Christ still does that to each and every one of us, in our hours of need. I have faith in our community, members and leaders to continually learn, to grow and to strive to understand one another, as Christ would.
Honoring our past,
Envisioning our future.
To find out more information about Ordain Women’s Executive Board Structure please click here.