Sunday Spotlight – Leah Marie

Posted by on Oct 4, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

2014-03-13 04.35.07Tell us more about your connection (upbringing/introduction) to Mormonism.

I was raised in the church and baptised at the age of 8.  I got all of the applicable awards, medallions, and callings requisite to be properly called a Molly Mormon. 

What was your favourite calling?

            I really loved being a Sunday School teacher.  I love discussing the scriptures and the gospel. I feel like it is a special opportunity to seek after the mysteries of God as a community. 

What are some examples of gender inequality you see in the Church?

            I see the differences in the way Young Men and Young Women are treated within the institution.  I see the difference in the way they are prepared for adulthood.  I see a difference in the rhetoric used to address men and women.  I see a difference in opportunities to serve and bless each other.  I see a difference in authority and leadership. Basically, everything we do is affected by the fact that men hold the priesthood and women do not.

How did you discover Ordain Women?

Facebook.  Where else do we found out anything in this world anymore? I had friends talking about it a few days before the official founding.

What prompted you to put up your profile?

            I have believed that women will one day receive the priesthood for years and years.  I rarely discussed it, because it was such a taboo topic, but that testimony has been there for a long time.  When OW was founded, I was dealing with a very difficult pregnancy and so was too consumed with that to join the cause right away.  Then after the first priesthood action in October 2013 I was so crushed at the outcome.  When the time for t2015-06-30 12.03.46he priesthood action in April 2014, I knew I needed to be a part of it.  I needed to stand with my sisters and share my witness. I submitted my profile and started putting my efforts towards agitating for ordination.

What has been the reaction of your ward/ family/friends?

I’ve had members of my family and some friends back out of my life.  It hurts, but I remain hopeful their hearts will be softened.  Much of my family and friends have let me know they love me unconditionally, and some have even made sure I know they agree with me completely.

Have you had the opportunity to attend any actions? How did they effect/change you?

As mentioned, I did attend the priesthood action in April 2014. It was such a powerful experience.  Standing with so many others who could see and understand the importance female ordination gave me so much strength.

What gives you hope for the future?

I see so much openness about female ordination from young adults.  It is becoming less and less taboo to speak about these things and topics like Heavenly Mother. It gives me hope to see small changes: like women praying in conference and women being added to the church councils.  I am hopeful these incremental changes are steps along the path to full parity. 

Aside from ordination, what are some changes you would like to see implemented immediately in the Church?

Besides ordination and full parity for women, I would really like the church to become better at intersectionality.  Racism and homophobia are such major institutional problems and are pervasive throughout our culture.  I would really love to see us become a more inclusive community.

Let Women In.

Posted by on Oct 3, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

April2014priesthood(photo taken April 2014)

I have tried to attend The Priesthood Session of LDS General Conference twice. Once on temple square with hundreds of other courageous women and once at my local stake center just north of Atlanta, GA with two close friends and fellow board members. Both times I was turned way with a smile and a hug. Both times I left with tears and a broken heart. Yet here I am. Again. Standing in the rain, dressed in purple and asking with a pure heart. Please let me in. I need to be in that meeting. I need to hear the words of His servants, teaching and guiding His church. I need to learn what the priesthood means to us in modern times. I need to be able to teach that to my sons and daughter. I have felt my Heavenly Parents guiding me to these doors twice before and so here I am again. Pleading someone, anyone, to please let me in.

You see, I believe in a church that is ever changing and all encompassing. I believe in continuing revelation and at the heart of it all, I believe that Christ is the head of our church. I believe that if He were here today He’d walk out to my car, dry my tears of fear and rejection and welcome me into His building, His meeting and His space.

So here I stand, knocking, pleading, Please let me in.

Honoring our Past,
Envisioning our Future.

Joanna Wallace, the author of this post, is on Ordain Women’s Executive Board as the Social Media Chair.

Agitating Faithfully

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

This post is  by Lorie Winder Stromberg, Ordain Women Executive Board Member.  In it she provides more information about the “Keys” public art installation that is part of the October 2015 Ordain Women Art Action.

Americans were captivated by Pope Francis during his visit to Cuba and the United States last week—and understandably so. There is no question that his rejection of the trappings of power as well as his return to the egalitarian fundamentals of Christian faith and works have revitalized Catholicism and inspired many of us outside of the Catholic community. “Preach the Gospel always,” he said this year, “and, if necessary, use words.” Clearly, Pope Francis is a good man. But even good men have their blind spots—far too often, at the expense of women. Catholic women, like Mormon women, are denied ordination and still have limited access to governance and voice within their religious community.

We refuse to tolerate discrimination against women in our secular institutions.  Why do we so readily accept it in our religious communities? Further, why do women remain in religious institutions that marginalize us? There are many reasons—belief, conviction, the desire to serve, cultural identity, family ties, political and societal influences, to name just a few.  However, if we care about a just society and recognize that religions significantly impact the broader culture, we all have a stake in whether or not our faith communities are equitable, regardless of religious affiliation.

When Pope Francis visited Brazil a few years ago, he told millions of Catholics, “Quiero lío,” loosely translated, “I want to shake things up.” In Mormonism, former Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, when asked by a reporter if the policy excluding women from priesthood ordination could be changed, said, “Yes. But there’s no agitation for that.” Though not exactly what either church leader anticipated, we at Ordain Women are faithfully agitating for gender equality in response to President Hinckley’s challenge, just as our Roman Catholic sisters at the Women’s Ordination Conference are shaking things up in response to Pope Francis’s call, “Quiero lío.”

This Saturday Ordain Women is returning to Temple Square/City Creek Park. Reflecting this year’s OW theme, “Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future,” Saturday’s action will take the form of a public art project and an on-going art installation. Immediately after the Saturday afternoon session of conference, a number of OW supporters will create “living picture” scenes of events in LDS history in locations around Temple Square. The scenes will mark the opening of the newly-renovated LDS Church History Museum by depicting some of the diverse ways Mormon women historically have practiced their faith, including instances when women acted with institutionally-sanctioned authority presently associated with priesthood office.

Following the historical presentations, we will proceed with those featured in the depictions to City Creek Park, where we will inaugurate the “Keys” public art installation. The “keys of the priesthood,” presently given only to men in the Church, carry with them significant ecclesiastical and administrative authority. One by one, all participants will attach keys—symbolic of our desire for women to have full access to ordination and decision-making authority in the LDS Church—to a gated structure designed by artist Ginny Huo. The “Keys” public art installation will also be featured as part of the women in religion initiative at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, 15-19 October 2015. As keys continue to be added, it will remain a permanent monument in Utah to the movement for women’s equality in religion.

We invite all who support gender equality to become part of the “Keys” art action. You can participate in a few ways—in person or by proxy:

  • Join us in Salt Lake City at City Creek Park on Saturday, October 3. Participants should bring a key (or extra keys, if you have them) and arrive no later than 3:30 pm for a brief prayer service and action instructions. Make sure you RSVP on our Facebook event page.
  • If you are unable to attend in person, you can participate by proxy. A key will be added on your behalf to the “Keys” public art installation during the inaugural ceremony. Let us know if you’d like your initials or your first name written on the key. We hope to add hundreds of keys, so please submit your proxy key request using this form.

Sunday Spotlight – Becky

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Becky is our feature today for the Sunday Spotlight. She shares her testimony of Jesus Christ, her love and dedication to genealogy and how all of that ties into her supporting the ordination of women.
Tell us more about your connection to Mormonism:
I am a life-long Mormon. I was born into the church, and have lengthy pioneer ancestries through both of my parents. I have been going to church my whole life, following my parents’ good examples. I was baptized at 8, and married my high-school sweetheart in the Salt Lake Temple.
What was your favorite calling?
I have had a lot of different callings, but it’s hard to say what my favorite is because I am a perfectionist and am not willing to settle for “good enough”. As a result, I put so much of myself into my callings that I easily burn out. By the time I am released from each one, I am usually just thankful to be done with it!
I will say that the calling I grew the most in was Gospel Doctrine Teacher. I was newly married and didn’t have kids, and was called to teach in a well-established ward where most people were double my age. I was very intimidated! I ended up deciding that there was no way I could know more about the gospel than most of them, but I could make up for it with my enthusiasm and testimony. Many people would later tell me I was their favorite instructor for that reason. I learned how to teach in that calling; and even though I thought it was completely wrong for me at the time, I now have no fear of teaching others. Since then I have had opportunities to teach at church, at work, even in professional conferences.
Beck & Kitt
How did you Discover Ordain Women?
I heard about Ordain Women on the first day they launched their website: I saw the link on Facebook and immediately clicked on it. My whole life I have secretly wished for the ordination of women, but here were people who were actually saying so out loud. Their courage and boldness floored me, and I wished I could be so brave. I have followed Ordain Women ever since, still with so much admiration for these people who are following their convictions despite the cost to them socially and emotionally.
What prompted you to put up your profile?
The Spirit did. Really and truly. Every time a new profile was put up, I would read it and the Spirit would wash over me, telling me that I needed to be next. I fought it for a couple of years, not wanting to possibly embarrass my husband and family, not ready to face negativity or questions from people who may see it. I finally got to a point where I realized that if I didn’t listen to those promptings, they may stop coming; and I was basically turning down a calling from God. I don’t know for what purpose He asked me to do this, and how or even if it may help Him; but I really do feel strongly that it’s what I needed to do it. 
My 4th-great grandmother, Ann Nelson, was born a slave on St. Croix in the West Indies. In doing some family history research I found her emancipation letter, which stated that she bought her own freedom in 1840 for 96 dollars. What an impressive woman she must have been! Born into the lowest and most degrading of circumstances, how hard must she have worked for her own freedom? I am in awe of her strength and fortitude. I realized that if she can accomplish such an amazing thing, I can do hard things, too. It is literally in my blood. And I would be dismissing all that her history taught me if I shrank away from things that scare me.
Muppet Jammies
What are some of the things you love about the Church?
I love so many of our unique doctrines that you don’t hear in any other church. As a genealogist, I have a special connection to our teaching of families being sealed together forever. As I search out names, even if they are for clients and not my own family, I always feel a sort of urgency to keep at it and find the right person no matter how long it takes– as if I am feeling what that spirit may be feeling as they have waited for their proxy work to be completed. I feel so close to those beyond the veil and find great joy in a work that feels as though I am treating them as brothers and sisters in Christ, even though they have long-since departed this earth.
I love the LDS idea of a Heavenly Mother in addition to our Father. Sometimes you just want your mother, no matter how loving and compassionate your father is! That She exists tells me there is more for me in the next life than we know about now, and I look forward to the day when more is revealed about Her.
Beck & Robin
I also love the concept of eternal progression in our theology. I have a testimony that life does not end when our bodies die, and I feel comfort knowing that we will keep learning and growing spiritually even after we leave this plane. It illustrates to me that Jesus Christ’s grace is enough for all of us, and despite our sins there is a glory for each of us to keep working towards.
I absolutely love that our church is a church of continuing revelation! To think that our Prophet could reveal to us new ideas, policies, and doctrines that could change the world is very exciting to me. I am thrilled to know there could be more scriptures out there that have yet to be found and translated; to know that there may be answers coming for so many of my questions. One of the reasons I support Ordain Women is because of Joseph Smith’s own words in the Ninth Article of Faith: “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” The Spirit testifies to me that the ordination of women has simply yet to be revealed. So much so that I hold my breath each time the Prophet speaks, wondering if this will be the moment he finally announces it.


A Celebration of Women’s History: Wesleyan College

Posted by on Sep 25, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Ordain Women is hosting a weeklong celebration of women’s history in recognition of this years theme, “Honoring our past, envisioning our future.” Each day this week we will be sharing a new post highlighting stories of women from all over the world, submitted by you. If you would like to share women’s history from your area, you can send your submission to: This post is one installment in this series.


Contrary to what many people may believe, the oldest women’s college in the world is not in the northeastern United States. Instead, Wesleyan College, which was chartered in 1836, and is the first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women is located in Macon, Georgia.

Other firsts for women occurred at Wesleyan. In 1851 and 1852, the first sororities for women Alpha Delta Pi (originally the Adelphean Society) and Phi Mu (originally the Philomathean Society) were founded. In 1860, the first alumnae association of a degree-granting college was founded at Wesleyan. In 1976, the Rotary Club of Macon, acting in conjunction with Wesleyan, initiated the first Rotary International Intern Program. In 1990, a group of Wesleyan alumnae, acting in conjunction with other prominent Georgians, founded Georgia Women of Achievement, an organization designed to recognize and honor the accomplishments of outstanding women in the state. In 2000, Aunt Maggie’s Kitchen Table, which was founded by Wesleyan’s Lane Center for Community Engagement and Service under the direction of Dr. Catherine Meeks, was awarded the first Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaboration. The Wesleyan College Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 2, 2004.

Throughout the years, the graduates of Wesleyan have made history in their chosen fields of study. A partial listing of some of Wesleyan’s history making graduates include:

· Catherine Brewer Benson (1840) was one of the earliest women in the U.S. to earn a college bachelor’s degree.

· Mary Eliza McKay (1878) became the first woman in Georgia to receive the Doctor of Medicine Degree.

· Beginning in 1904, the Soong Sisters (Ai-ling, Ching-ling, and May-ling) were the first Chinese women to be educated in the United States. May-ling later became Madame Chiang Kai-shek and served as a First Lady of the Republic of China.

· Adelaide Su-Lin Chen Young (1933) became the first American woman explorer to enter the rugged Tibetan-Himalayan area.

· Hazel Jane Raines (1936) became the first woman in Georgia to be issued a commercial pilot’s license.

· Neva Jane Langley Fickling (1955) became Georgia’s first Miss America in 1953.

· Kathryn Stripling Byer (1966) became the first woman to be appointed poet laureate of North Carolina.

· Toni Jennings (approx. 1969) became the first woman to hold the office of Lieutenant Governor of Florida.

· Charlene Payne Kammerer (1970) became the first woman to be ordained Bishop of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Conference in 1996.

· Janice A. Mays (1973) became the first woman Staff Director for the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and first woman to serve in the roles of Democratic Chief Counsel and Chief Tax Counsel.

Bryndis Roberts, Ordain Women Executive Board, is a 1978 magna cum laude graduate of Wesleyan College and currently serves on its Board of Trustees.

Having celebrated its sesquicentennial (175th anniversary) in 2011, Wesleyan continues its history of being “First for Women” and being a pioneer in women’s education. If you would like to learn more about Wesleyan college, here is a link:


This post was submitted by Bryndis Roberts who is an Ordain Women Executive Board member and who lives in Georgia.

A Celebration of Women’s History: Women’s Rights National Historical Park

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Ordain Women is hosting a weeklong celebration of women’s history in recognition of this years theme, “Honoring our past, envisioning our future.” Each day this week we will be sharing a new post highlighting stories of women from all over the world, submitted by you. If you would like to share women’s history from your area, you can send your submission to: This post is one installment in this series.


This is me with the “First Wave” statue set at the Women’s Rights National Park in Seneca Falls, NY. It was both powerful and humbling to see the faces of the women who started the movement that changed the country for good, and to walk in the places where they walked.

This post was submitted by Elizabeth Siler Moore who lives in Colorado.

A Celebration of Women’s History: Women are Persons!

Posted by on Sep 23, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Ordain Women is hosting a weeklong celebration of women’s history in recognition of this years theme, “Honoring our past, envisioning our future.” Each day this week we will be sharing a new post highlighting stories of women from all over the world, submitted by you. If you would like to share women’s history from your area, you can send your submission to: This post is the first installment in this series.

Women are Persons

On Parliament Hill in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, you’ll find a group of five statues with the title “Women are Persons!”

Since it’s installation in 2000 I have loved this statue. I even recently dragged my kids to it, on a rainy day, so that we could take a picture with the Famous Five to send to my niece who had asked for help doing a school project. As we stood there, drenched to the bone, I am sure I must have said something to them about the importance of remembering the courage of those who have come before us, of remembering that the rights and privileges we enjoy were achieved only through the hard work of others. In doing some research for this blog post I came across the following statement:

“The empty chair by Emily Murphy invites visitors to sit and join in the great accomplishment of the Famous Five and of women all over Canada.”

But today, as I think of sitting in that chair, what I feel is privilege.

The work of the Famous Five —Emily Murphy, Irene Marryat Parlby, Nellie Mooney McClung, Louise Crummy McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards – is to be celebrated. And the unveiling of the monument in Ottawa not only represented the first time the grounds held a statue honouring woman (excluding monarchs), it was also the first time a monument on Parliament Hill was created by a woman.

However, only some women won the right to fully participate in the political sphere that day. Many did not.

First Nations people in most parts of Canada had the right to vote from Confederation (1867) on – but only if they gave up their status under the Indian Act. And so the practice of enfranchisement in First Nations communities meant that legally an individual could either be an Indian or a voter.

Additionally, while the Dominion Elections Act recognized that every eligible Canadian over 21 – male or female could vote in federal elections, the Act also contained a clause stating that people disenfranchised by a province “for reasons of race” would also be excluded from the federal franchise. In British Columbia, people of Japanese and Chinese origin, as well as “Hindus” – a description applied to anyone from the Indian subcontinent who was not of Anglo-Saxon origin, regardless of whether their religious affiliation was Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or any other.

Racial exclusions for voting were not lifted until 1947 against Chinese and Indo-Canadians and until 1948 for Japanese-Canadians.

The right to vote was not extended unconditionally to First Nations until 1960 (for federal elections). Their provincial suffrage was only recognized a decade later. Members of Canada’s First Nations were the last Canadians to be afforded the right to vote.

And so, how will I celebrate the accomplishments of the past while remembering those that were left behind? What will I do with my privilege?

In June 2015, after seven years of collecting evidence the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its 388-page executive summary, centred on the TRC’s 94 recommendations and written as a call to action. Justice Murray Sinclair, the Chair of the TRC says:

“Reconciliation is about forging and maintaining respectful relationships. There are no shortcuts.”

In Mormon culture we often “challenge” each other to go out and do something – a call to action. And so today the call to action imprinted on my heart, is that of reconciliation, of forging and maintaining respectful relationships.

As one gesture toward reconciliation, I am going to do some searching and reading. I am going find stories of Aboriginal heroines, and I am going to tell their stories to my children.

This post was submitted by Mary Johnson who lives in Ottawa-Gatineau, Canada.

A Celebration of Women’s History: Lydia Litvyak

Posted by on Sep 22, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Ordain Women is hosting a weeklong celebration of women’s history in recognition of this years theme, “Honoring our past, envisioning our future.” Each day this week we will be sharing a new post highlighting stories of women from all over the world, submitted by you. If you would like to share women’s history from your area, you can send your submission to: This post is one installment in this series.

Lydia Litvyak

The moment I realized being female meant no limits:

Growing up my first career goal was fighter pilot. Instead of saying girls don’t do that honey, my mom told me about Lydia Litvyak. More properly, Lieutenant Flight Commander Litvyak, a fighter ace who tested her mettle against some of the best-trained, battle-hardened, and highest-scoring Nazi fighter pilots to ever strap themselves into a cockpit in the battle of Stalingrad.


A pilot at 15, when Hitler invaded Russia in 1941, she was standing outside the military recruiting office looking to fly combat missions for the Soviet Air Force. The guy behind the counter told her that she wasn’t eligible because she hadn’t logged over 1,000 hours of flight time in her short, five-year career as a pilot, so she thanked the guy, walked up the street to the next recruiting office, filled out her paperwork, and put “1,000” in the box asking how many hours of flight time she’d logged in her career. Next thing you know, she was assigned to a men’s squadron, where she took her Yak-1 fighter into battle against a sea of German warplanes in the skies above the raging battle of Stalingrad. It only took Lydia Litvyak two combat missions to score her first kill, shooting down a German Junkers Ju-88 bomber and becoming the first woman in military history to ever score a solo aerial victory in combat. About ten minutes later she became the first woman in military history to score two aerial victories, when she out dueled an eleven-kill fighter ace and a recipient of the Iron Cross.

For the next year, the White Rose of Stalingrad ignited enemy fuselages up and down the Eastern Front racking up 12 solo and 4 assisted kills to become the highest scoring female ace ever.

Career goals change but I knew from that moment being a women would never be a reason not to do anything and that everything was possible.

This post was submitted by Julie Mills who lives in Wisconsin.

A Celebration of Women’s History: Soup, Salad, and Suffrage

Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Ordain Women is hosting a weeklong celebration of women’s history in recognition of this years theme, “Honoring our past, envisioning our future.” Each day this week we will be sharing a new post highlighting stories of women from all over the world, submitted by you. If you would like to share women’s history from your area, you can send your submission to: This post is one installment in this series.


“The shop girls who gathered for lunch at the Votes for Women Club on Sutter Street [in San Francisco] probably never imagined that a century later their state would be represented by two women senators,” wrote author Elaine Elinson in “Soup, Salad, Suffrage: How Women Won Their Right to Vote in California.” Elinson continued, “These possibilities, however, may not have been far from the dream of the club’s founder, Selina Solomons, a visionary suffragist who devoted her life to winning the vote for women.”

Solomons’s dream of women’s suffrage in California was realized in 1911, when “California passed Amendment 8, granting women the right to vote in state elections almost a decade before the 19th Amendment provided women’s suffrage throughout the United States.” Solomon’s organizing manual, How We Won the Vote in California: The True Story of the Campaign of 1911, is a firsthand account of the “lobbying, fundraising, precinct walking and arm-twisting efforts” that were needed “to convince a majority of male voters that they should share that right with women.”


An attempt to win the vote for California women in 1896 failed by 15 votes, despite the fact that nationally-recognized suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw campaigned throughout the state and, Solomons noted, won “thousands for the cause.” However, she added, “the masses of the people in the cities were in a state of deadly apathy.” Too, Elinson wrote, “class divisions within the women’s movement–between the trade union women and the middle class reformers–often seemed irreconcilable.” The movement needed the support of both the Protestant elite and the “shop girls and clerks.”

Solomons, the daughter of middle-class Jews who had suffered an economic reversal, understood this. She decided to open “the Votes for Women Club in a loft near Union Square. The club, festooned with suffrage-yellow paper flowers and banners, was aimed at working women. Equipped with a kitchenette, it provided nutritious dishes for a nickel each.” Solomons hoped that the shop girls who came to eat would stay and read the suffragist literature and attend the club’s lectures and performances advocating the vote for women. They did, and Solomons enlisted their help in canvassing the poor, working-class and immigrant neighborhoods.

During the week leading up to the election, Solomons recorded, “Open-air meetings were begun rather timidly at first, but soon all caught the fire … and working women, college women, club women and home women alike were speaking from automobiles, and even soap boxes, ‘to the man in the street.’” When Election Day came, wrote Elinson, “the Votes for Women Club went on the lookout for fraudulent ballots and helped mobilize more than 1,000 poll watchers.” Though the “vote was so close that early editions of both The Chronicle and Examiner declared suffrage had lost,” statewide, it narrowly passed. “October 10, 1911 proved to be the greatest day in my life,” Solomons proclaimed.


Reflecting on the day she officially registered to vote, Solomons wrote, “Was it a dream? Some of us rubbed our eyes, remembering that time, only one short year and a half ago, when our little band of insurgent women besieged the registration office with a pseudo-serious demand to be registered. This time the placard ‘all citizens must register’ would have stated a fact! This time our request was not refused!”

Like women’s suffrage, where gender equity exists, it was not a gift. It was won by persuasion, long-suffering and countless “little band[s] of insurgent women.”

This post was submitted by Lorie Winder Stromberg who is on the Ordain Women Executive Board and lives in California.

Sunday Spotlight – Matt

Posted by on Sep 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

This week, we hear about Matt Toronto and what his vision is for Mormon feminism and female ordination:

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I have been a member of the LDS Church all my life. I was taught feminism in my youth by goodly parents, especially my mother. They taught me God’s love by loving me unconditionally. They also taught me that while the Church is instrumental in dispensing the gospel of Christ, there are basic deficiencies in the doctrine and practice of our religion that have been perpetuated by millennia of patriarchal culture. Here are some of the truths I learned from them throughout the years:

  • The scriptures, while holy and true, are written entirely from male points of view and fail to adequately represent women’s interaction with deity, nor do they contain enough well developed models of female spirituality.

  • Heavenly Mother is missing from our discourse and is essential to our full understanding of God and ourselves.

  • Marriages are meant to be co-equal in every sense.

  • Submission of women to men is damaging and leads to unbalanced marriages, resentment and the perpetuation of inequality throughout the world.

  • Roles and distribution of labor in a family are flexible and should be decided on by both partners in a marriage and not prescribed from an outside source.

  • Revelation and miracles are equally available to men and women.

  • Oppression is most insidious when the oppressed don’t realize they are being oppressed.

  • A father’s place is in the home too.

  • Discrimination against women hurts everyone.

  • Women should be ordained to the priesthood; In fact, it is God’s will.

For me, these truths have been confirmed through the Holy Spirit with the same power and in the same voice that has confirmed the reality of Christ’s Atonement, the restoration of the Gospel, and God’s infinite love.

I struggle to reconcile my love for the gospel with a painful awareness of inequalities in the church. Christ’s teachings should lead away from these inequalities rather than perpetuate them. I pray regularly- both for members and for the leadership of the Church- to recognize the truths I learned from my parents. I pray for us as the body of Christ to enact real and meaningful change. I pray to know what actions I can take to help this process.

One of the most important inspirations that has come as a result of my prayers encourages me to follow the example of my own parents and teach these truths to my children. My wife and I are committed to this effort; While we don’t do it perfectly, there are opportunities all around us to help our children understand the gospel in the context of full equality for all people.

We try to run our family as coequals who make decisions together. We also include our children’s voices in family decisions, whether we are deciding what to do on a Saturday afternoon or whether to move across the country. We take equal responsibility for nurturing and providing for our family, without artificial boundaries along gender lines. This has led us to some creative configurations of earning and child care that aren’t neatly categorized, but somehow fit our family in the right ways. Sharing responsibilities has had a direct impact on housework that allows us to work according to our preferences, not according to our biology.

One of the most important ways we weave elements of feminism into our family is how and what we teach our children. When we discuss the gospel, we explore the role of women in our spirituality. We encourage our daughter and our sons to look for female role models. When reading the scriptures together, my wife and I take care to point out male-oriented language. We explore how women might have felt in times that were dominated by a patriarchal culture and compare it to what women experience today. We encourage our children to contemplate our Mother in Heaven- including her in our discussions about our relationship to the Divine.

We share our feelings about the ordination of women with our children and we pray together regularly for women to receive the priesthood. We also pray for LGBT members to be received with full fellowship into the church. This has special relevance for our children because of their love for their grandmother and her wife.


Recently we begun blessing our children together. This year my wife and I laid our hands on our children’s heads to bless them before the first day of school. They each received two blessings: one from me and one from my wife. While my wife doesn’t hold the priesthood, (and didn’t claim to perform the blessings by that authority), the power of her words carried as much spiritual promise as I have ever witnessed in a priesthood blessing. That power came by virtue of her faith and the strength of her love. It felt right to bless them together because we raise them, teach them and love them together.

Although these blessings had a great impact on our children, the experience for me was particularly special. I have given many blessings for various reasons and with various people, but blessing my children with my wife brought a spiritual unity that far exceeded any of those other experiences. The love I have for my children was compounded and added upon by the unmatched love my wife has for them. This joint spiritual action seemed to invoke the total union promised us in our sealing in the Lord’s house many years ago. It’s a moment that I will always cherish, and I look forward to many more.

I don’t know how or when women will be ordained to the priesthood. I only know that it will happen. I often feel like I am doing too little to support this important cause. The truths that drive this effort have been emblazoned upon my soul by my wise parents and reinforced and enlarged by my prophetic wife. I can only hope that as I strive to teach these truths to my children, that they will embrace them and reflect them back to me with greater insight. Whether or not they enjoy a church with a joint priesthood, I know that there will be three more people in the world who understand.