I’m not a Mormon, but I’m married to one. I’m also an academic, a writer, a chaplaincy volunteer, and a mother.
Though never a member of the church, I have always had a deep fondness and affection for all things Mormon—so much so that I made it a permanent part of my life when I married a young LDS man in 2003. I’m proud to call myself an alumna of Brigham Young University, having graduated from there with a degree in classics in 2005. I am currently finishing a master’s degree in American religious history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Why does a non-member care about Mormon women obtaining ordination?
There is no equality without equal access to authority, which Mormon women plainly lack. As Martin Luther King, Jr. noted in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” I care about Mormon women’s lack of access to ordination because any time that a church or denomination refuses to ordain women, it reinforces other churches that refuse to ordain women and sends the message that this kind of unequal treatment of women is acceptable, when it isn’t.
Furthermore, my daughter is a member of record with the church. I care about what people are teaching my daughter, and I think I would be an irresponsible parent if I did not.
Why should the Mormon church offer ordination to women?
The biggest reason for Mormons to ordain women is that it’s biblical. The Bible shows women exercising considerable leadership and authority in their role as prophets (Ex 15:20 cf. Mic 6:4; Jdg 4:4-14; 2 Ch 34:22-28). While other churches attempt to sidestep these passages by arguing that there is no modern-day office of prophet, Mormons, who plainly believe in modern-day prophets, are without excuse. The Bible also testifies to female deacons (Rom 16:1-2; 1 Tim 3:11) and even a female apostle (Rom 16:7).
Furthermore, numerous early Christian inscriptions, epitaphs, canons, polemics, and literary references testify to the reality that women were elders, deacons, and priests in the early church. Mormons say that they believe in the restoration of lost things. My challenge to them is: prove it.