I love being a Mormon. I love the community and the spirit of helping one another. I love the culture, even the parts that I’m supposed to roll my eyes at, like food storage or girl’s camp. I love road shows, and Pioneer Day, and green Jell-O! Most of all I love the teachings of Christ, of faith, hope and charity, and above all love. Love for our Heavenly Parents, love for our Savior, and love for one another. I love the uniquely Mormon belief in revelation, that God lives and answers prayers and questions here and now, not just in ancient texts. I have a testimony that each of us can have an individual relationship with God and Christ, and that God can guide us terribly imperfect people into accomplishing great things.
I feel blessed to have been raised in this faith, and I look forward to sharing it with my own children. But I have concerns too. I am uncomfortable with the heavy emphasis on gender roles, which often seem to trump the agency we hold so dear. I am very uncomfortable with the lack of female decision makers at every level in the Church. I am disheartened when I look at the top levels of Church leadership and see so few female voices, and none at all who make ultimate decisions.
I come from a long line of Mormons and a long line of competent and motivated women, many of whom I know have felt valued and heard. They don’t feel second class, they don’t feel less than equal to men. It has been difficult for me to articulate at times what exactly the problem is, because the thing is that I don’t feel like less either, I know that my value is equal to that of men. The problem is that the reality doesn’t match the presentation. I cannot honestly say that I am treated equally to men, when I know that the vast majority of leadership positions are closed to me based strictly on my sex. And it isn’t even that I want to be the leader myself, it’s the fact that not one of my sisters in the Church will ever even be considered. I believe men and women are equal in the sight of God, but I do not believe that we are treated equally in the current structure of the Church.
For the last few years I have felt very weighed down by this. I believe strongly in equality and I am terribly conflicted about supporting an organization that doesn’t treat people equally. Lately though, I find myself feeling so very hopeful. I see changes happening, and I see the Church looking at the issues of women’s roles and equality. I feel the Spirit lifting me and it is such a joyful feeling. I have faith that there is room for all of God’s children in the Church and that includes me. I have a testimony of Jesus Christ the Savior, and of my Heavenly Parents and I believe in my heart that it is they who are guiding the church, and who are guiding this movement as well. I believe women should be ordained.