Posted by on Aug 7, 2016 in , | 0 comments

Hi, I’m Elise. I live in California and am a current massage therapist. I have a Bachelors in Social Welfare and Film Studies and I am interested in pursuing a career in Restorative Justice.

I am so grateful for the loving open-mindedness and acceptance extended towards me by Ordain Women who have invited me to join my voice with theirs. I am very touched to have been welcomed to stand alongside these members of such commendable faith.
While I have not attended church in twelve years, and do not currently have a testimony that it is the one true church, Mormonism still holds importance to me. My lineage stretches far back to the early days. Growing up I was very active. I left but hold no grudges. My liberal attitude towards religion gives me love for and faith in all religions and spiritual traditions. In this sense I have a testimony that the church is true, and believe in the power of the priesthood.

My experience of spiritual women tells me that they are equally worthy and capable of wielding spiritual power. I believe it is every woman’s birthright to have equal access to spiritual knowledge, gifts, and power. Women are capable healers, leaders, and spiritual beings. It cripples any religious culture or organization to deny this truth.
I was extremely heartened by the Ordain Women page. Never before had this history been taught to me! I was less shocked than moved, as it rings true to the feelings I had as to the Church’s true nature.

This quote by Joseph Smith rang so true to me and was so healing of past pain that it made me teary: “Who are better qualified to administer than our faithful and zealous sisters whose hearts are full of faith, tenderness, sympathy, and compassion? No one.”

I sincerely wish the Church payed greater homage to the legacy celebrated here. It is a very beautiful one that shines a liveness and uniqueness that is the very soul of Mormonism! Probably the most important offering I have is a testament to the beauty and bravery of the OW sisters’ obviously very strong faith! I can speak to how off-putting certain attitudes, teachings, and practices can feel, and how hard it is to maintain such faith. This is unrestricted to Mormonism, and is a constant roadblock I find in modern religions. For women who do not fit the “traditional” model, it is a real spiritual obstacle. Probably too for many who embrace traditionalism. How incredible it is then to have this living movement! These women have not given up their faith, but are acting from that very faith to revitalize their religion. Amazing!

My great, great, great, great, great grandmother, a widow, traveled as part of the Martin Handcart Company to Utah with five children. They all made it alive because of her strength and her strong faith. She even jumped into a freezing river to save one! Later when her second husband married a young second wife, she followed her heart and left him but kept her faith. That to me is the portrait of a Mormon woman, not the compliant Suzie homemaker I was taught to be. The self-questioning that arose from the incompatibility of my personality with this mold has been dangerous in my relationships with men and inhibiting for me in life. I idolize this ancestor.

Beautiful Mormon women of faith, stand tall! Yours is a legacy of power, of following the council of the Holy Spirit conferred on you in baptism, of embracing the flexibility and creativity of your living gospel! I believe women should be ordained!