My name is Pam and I am a descendent of Mormon pioneer families on my maternal grandparent’s side. My third great grandfather was Charles C. Rich, an Apostle under Brigham Young. My grandparents left the LDS faith when my mother was a young girl. Later my grandmother become Roman Catholic.
When I grew up I didn’t understand much about the religious differences of my family members, but I remember trips to Utah, Idaho and Connecticut, (my uncle was the first Mormon Bishop in Connecticut), to visit my Mormon relatives. We always had a wonderful time with them and I grew to love them.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I knew a number of Mormon families. Some I liked, some I didn’t. One thing I noticed as I grew up was how much the LDS Church did for their youth. As a Catholic who attended public school, my church paid little attention to my spiritual needs, especially in my teen years when I needed it most. This caused me to question whether or not I should remain Catholic.
By then time I was in my early 20s I was on a spiritual quest and that included inviting the LDS missionaries to come and give me instruction. A big part of me wanted to join the church, but I had several serious concerns and at the time didn’t get a clear answer to my prayers, so did not join. One of those concerns was the fact that women could not hold the priesthood. I saw that only men could become bishops, apostles, etc. and it didn’t seem right to me. The Catholic Church did the same thing, and I didn’t understand that either. The missionaries did take a good deal of time letting me know how important they thought women were; all this accomplished was to convince me they put women on a pedestal, a rather cold and distant pedestal it seemed.
In the 90s my sister-in-law and her son joined the LDS Church. At first she was very enthusiastic, but eventually they both became inactive. With the recent news of Kate Kelly’s excommunication, she and I talked about why she became inactive. She said that she was active for three years, but as a single mother, she never felt welcome in her ward. She saw other families join, but because there was a husband who would come to hold the priesthood in the family, those families seemed to be accepted more quickly.
I eventually joined the Methodist Church and have been happy there. I still love my Mormon relatives and see the positive things the church has done in their lives, but not all of them have been happy with their church. Some have left and struggled because their families refuse to accept their choice as being anything but a deliberate slap in God’s face. It didn’t seem to matter that they had very reasonable questions and concerns about the church and never got a satisfactory answer or response.
When I’ve asked why women do not hold the priesthood, I’ve always receive unsatisfactory responses. Things like, “God has a different and just as important role for women, wife and mother, or women get all kinds of opportunities for leadership in things like Primary or Relief Society, are the typical ones. Additionally I hear that women in the church don’t want the priesthood. It sounds to me like there are women in the LDS Church who do want the priesthood.
I believe women should be ordained.