Hi, I’m Christian.
I grew up Mormon, in a liberal, intellectual Mormon family, and I lost my faith after graduating from Brigham Young University specifically because of the systematic gender inequality present in LDS culture and LDS doctrine. I am no longer Mormon, but I think that Mormon women should have the opportunity to be ordained to the same priesthood as Mormon men.
I was raised to think that Mormonism could be a haven for egalitarian and even feminist thought. I was taught by my parents that concepts of Heavenly Mother and hints at female priesthood could be read as signs that, like with racial equality before 1978, gender equality was an eternal truth for which the current church membership was simply not yet ready. But after years of fighting to reconcile my egalitarianism with Mormonism as I saw it presented at “the Lord’s University,” I found myself unable to accept a church that, even in its most sacred rituals, subordinates women to men in relation to the divine. I could not believe in a god that would subordinate one gender to another. I would not raise my daughters or my sons to think that women cannot have the same divine authority as men.
A personal axiom of mine is that gender inequality is not just a problem for women: gender inequality hurts men. As certain roles or traits are essentialized as feminine, men are excluded from developing their full selves or choosing certain life paths. Pressure on Mormon men to be sole breadwinners often causes them to neglect their relationships with their children or feel ashamed if their wife needs to take a job to support their family—despite this being an economic necessity for the majority of the world. Men who are taught that women should be primary caregivers often fail to develop their own ability to care for their children, despite the fact that active parenting is a core value of Mormonism. Church teachings on female modesty cause young men to feel they can judge young women by their clothing and blame their own desires on women’s failing to live up to their standard. All of these issues, though not directly connected to women holding the priesthood, would undoubtedly improve over time if the women were given truly equal ecclesiastical power to men, not just a lip-service “equal partnership.”
For all my family in the LDS faith, both male and female, both old and young, I desire that the church become a more egalitarian place. I believe that the ordination of women would be a huge step in that direction.