My name is Elissa. I am a wife, a mother of three children, a returned missionary, and a life-long member of the Church. I was nurtured by countless people in the Church, and it’s where the people I love and understand the most are. It’s inseparable from who I am.
Cheiko Okazaki wrote in her book “Lighten Up” about serving a mission in Japan with her husband when he was a mission president. He wanted Sister Okazaki at leadership meetings with him to represent the auxiliaries, but some of the men objected to her presence. They were interpreting the priesthood based on their culture, which demanded that women be very quiet and retiring. President Okazaki explained that without her they could not understand the auxiliaries, and the Church could not function properly.
The way the role of women has changed in the Church has mirrored the changing role of women in society in general. As the ideal of the “angel of the hearth” became widely accepted, women’s roles in the Church went from being prominent (e.g. giving blessings, running the Relief Society autonomously, campaigning for suffrage, innovating church programs) to revolving primarily around home and family.
Maybe we are also viewing the priesthood through the lens of our culture, assuming it’s the way things are meant to be because it is what we know or feel comfortable with.
It’s certainly worth asking, because if it is just our bias, we are depriving the Church of amazing leaders, and limiting both sexes unnecessarily. I think we would be a richer, more empathetic people if everyone’s sphere(s) of usefulness could expand and even overlap, so I believe that women should be ordained.