“There is something incredibly powerful about gathering.”
-Debra Jenson, Ordain Women and Faithful Agitation
We are often asked why Ordain Women engages in public actions. Mormon women are not ordained to the priesthood, so they lack institutional authority and access to those leaders who have the responsibility to receive revelation on behalf of the Church. A number of us over the years sent personal letters to Church headquarters in order to raise the issue of gender equity and the need for greater inclusiveness. Our letters were routinely sent back to our stake or ward leaders, who, even when they were sympathetic, had no power to address or remedy Church-wide structural inequality. It became clear that public advocacy was one of the few options open to those of us who actively sought greater inclusiveness and other equitable changes in the LDS Church, including the ordination of women.
On a more personal level, “There is something incredibly powerful about gathering,” Ordain Women Executive Board member Debra Jenson recently explained to Debrief Society interviewer Stefeni. Several of those who participated in past Ordain Women actions echoed Debra’s comment. “It was empowering to witness women claiming their relationship with Deity and standing at the gates to worship in full fellowship,” wrote one participant. “I feel like I was part of something important,” asserted another. Yet another said, “It was a very spiritual experience to sing together, walk together, and wait together in line. … I feel like I did the right thing standing up for what I believe—[for] what I want for me, my sisters in the gospel, my daughters, [and] my granddaughters …”
An Ordain Women supporter, who participated in a past action by proxy, similarly wrote, “I submitted my name … followed the event via Twitter and Facebook and was humbled and proud of the women and men there. I got an email last night from the sister who [carried] my name, and that had me in tears, knowing that I was there in some small way. Thousands of miles away across the ocean, my voice was being shared thanks to sisters I will probably never meet. … I felt linked in a small but precious way to my American sisters in the gospel.”
Anticipating Ordain Women’s upcoming October action, OW Executive Board Chair Bryndis Roberts asserted, “This action will be an opportunity to gather in person … [to demonstrate] our commitment to the cause of equality.” In joining together, we are punctuating our fervent belief that Church policies and practices will better reflect the inclusiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ when women participate more fully with men in all aspects of church governance, service, and sacred ordinances. If you share this hope, consider gathering with us—either in person, if you can, or by proxy—in Salt Lake City on Saturday, October 1.