I thought I had a true appreciation and respect for women because I was a Mormon man. I valued women as daughters of God, mothers and wives. I saw them as beautiful, courageous and intelligent. I also saw women as having very defined roles, unless otherwise needed. Their place was in the home and I firmly believed that helped families and society.
However, I never saw women as truly equal. They were separate but equal, as they say. For example, I purposely stayed away from female authors in my literature choices, because I didn’t feel their voices spoke to me. When on my mission, our mission president’s wife started preaching doctrine from the pulpit and I had arguments with my mission president over this, saying, “Her role is to tell us how to be healthy and keep our rooms clean, not to teach doctrine.”
I had these beliefs and tendencies because I grew up Mormon.
It hurts to write about my previous attitudes because I was wrong and have since progressed in my thinking. I married a wonderfully independent woman and I started to see the pain and insecurities the LDS view on women caused her, as she searched for worth and meaning outside of the home. We want our daughter to have everything she desires, whatever that may be. We want our son to appreciate women for their actual contributions, and not view them exclusively as potential wives and mothers.
I thought men needed the priesthood to make up for our natural deficiencies because we were “less than,” when compared to women. How marginalizing and unfair to men. Men are told they are sexual animals, enslaved to our sexual desires. Women are told they are to watch their appearance so as not to tempt men. Where is the personal responsibility and empowerment? I firmly believe that giving women the priesthood will not only raise the view of women but also men.
Giving the priesthood to women will greatly benefit the LDS Church and its members. The Church needs the perspective, experience and voices of women; especially at the highest levels of leadership. Boys will learn to take counsel and advice from people they value, regardless of gender. Girls will see the success of women and strive for greatness of their own. I’ve attended other churches where women have authority and it is a special experience that I’ve found to be extremely moving and encouraging.
I now crave books and lectures by women. It has opened my eyes to a world I never understood, and it is incredible. My relationships with my wife, children and friends have greatly improved. My wife is finding opportunities outside of the home, where she can spread her wings and succeed. Her freedom to fly outside has helped her be a better wife and mother. I hope the LDS Church does the same and gives women a larger role. The Church, society and the world can only benefit from such actions. Women have incredible worth. Let them soar!
I believe women should be ordained.