Hi, I’m Grace. I am a speech-language pathologist in training and the mother of a wonderful 2-year-old boy. Many of my family members and close friends are practicing Mormons, and although I am not, I have enormous respect for the faith of the church members in my life. However, a significant part of the reason why I personally have chosen not to practice Mormonism has to do with issues of gender inequality.
As a single mother myself, I find myself thinking in particular about what it means for single moms in the church to be unable to hold the priesthood. The blessings of growing up in a home led by the power of the priesthood are emphasized again and again in the church, and I know that I would have a very difficult time hearing about these blessings, knowing that my own family is not eligible to receive them by virtue of the fact that I, the sole parent, happen to be female. Of course, this does not only affect single mothers; it affects any Mormon woman who is not living with a priesthood holder in the home.
I have often heard it said that the family is the fundamental unit of the church, yet many faithful families are excluded from certain blessings, benefits, and opportunities simply because their spiritual leaders happen to be women. I want to emphasize that I think it is equally important for women whose husbands are priesthood holders to have equal spiritual authority in their homes, and to not have to feel subordinate to their partners in that (or any other) way. I would be so happy to see the many wonderful Mormon women I know given the opportunity and authority to participate fully and equally in aspects of the gospel which they hold sacred, but from which they are currently excluded. I would love to see the church allowing women to hold positions of leadership and authority without requiring that men oversee and sanction everything that they do.
I think the benefits of having girls and young women be guided spiritually by priesthood holders of their same gender would be enormous. This would have made a huge difference for me as a Mormon teenage girl struggling to talk through issues and questions with male church leaders who were completely unable to relate to my experience. I think raising boys to see women as having equal spiritual authority, rather than being dependent on men for the blessings of the priesthood, would also have significant and far-reaching benefits. I believe that any attempt to address gender inequality in any cultural space is good, valid and important work. I believe that women should be ordained.