Hi, I’m Eric, a twenty-something bisexual anthropologist and writer. I have a deep affinity for mountaineous terrains, weighty discussions about life’s meaning, and reading Sylvia Plath during a summer thunderstorm. I was raised in the Mormon church by two loving parents who are still actively contributing to and benefiting from their Mormon community in Indiana. I have one brother in New York City. I’m in the process of finding passion and calling and community in life.
My Mormon upbringing in suburban Minnesota and my graduation from Brigham Young University instilled a deep commitment to both doctrinal authority and welcoming community. As I struggle to find a place in my community of origin–the Mormon church–I hold these two concepts in tension. On the one hand, Mormon doctrine enshrines the centrality of the lines of authority from God through his prophet and on down through the ranks of male church leadership. As somebody who respects the importance of organized structures of leadership and the doctrine of divine revelation, I am naturally hesitant to raise questions about the legitimacy of the authoritative order that has served to create a stable, loving home for me during my formative years.
Yet respect for linear male authority is not the only value that the Mormon church instills. For 20+ years I was a part of a Mormon community deeply committed to creating a safe and welcoming space for me and my peers. The value of decency and love and respect was enshrined in the every talk, prayer, and event we hosted at community events. Informed by these values, I have revisited how they are implemented in practice only to find that underneath the language of respect and dignigty for all is a deep inequity which serves to create a clear imbalance in authority–and, by extension—an imbalance in the implied worth and value of an entire gender: women.
Clearly to me, a system which suggests that the saving ordinances of eternity can only be legitimately performed by men, thereby denying half of its worthy members equal status in the community, is one in need of reform. Thus, I submit this profile as a testament to the value of ordained male priesthood holders like myself speaking out from within a disenfranchising system. Among the many approaches to institutional change, an alliance between those “with power” and those who are denied equal voice has proven exceptionally effective in history. Reform within the Mormon community is also possible with the careful exercise of the very authority causing the imbalance which we seek to redress. For these reasons, I believe women should be ordained.