Hi, I’m Jen. I’m a lifelong member of the LDS Church, was raised in an LDS community, have had a variety of callings, served a full-time mission, taught at the MTC, graduated from BYU, and married in the temple. I taught school for many years, and now have the amazing blessing of staying home all day with my little boy.
The idea of female ordination was a little strange to me at first, so I started looking at both sides more closely and following related current events. As I studied and discussed information with my husband, I began thinking more deeply about my own feelings regarding the priesthood and how it is currently used in the Church.
As a missionary, it was glaringly obvious that priesthood holders, and “potential” priesthood holders, were valued over girls and women. When counting our daily contacts in the mission field, we only counted men. It was a much bigger deal if a man were baptized than a woman. Elders never asked sisters’ advice or opinions, but sisters were expected to report to elders.
We are instructed to “align our will with God’s”, but it is priesthood leaders who decide what His will is concerning us. We are instructed to “counsel” with priesthood leaders, meaning we should tell them our concerns, and then follow their instructions.
A successful student learns how to think critically, formulate relevant questions, gather information, collaborate with others, and find solutions. Surely the Lord wants all His children to do the same while here in our earthly classroom. It should be acceptable for all of us to think for ourselves, to problem-solve, to seek answers, and to communicate openly with others about concerns, questions and ideas without fear of judgement or censure.
Last Sunday I was preparing to teach my primary class about Gideon (Judges chap. 6-8) when I noticed chapters 4-5 talking about two prominent women: Deborah, a priestess and judge of Israel (spiritual & military leader), and Jael, who cunningly killed the Canaanite military general, enabling the Israelites to defeat the Canaanite army. These were two righteous women with strength, wisdom and proven leadership capabilities. Their stories are not mentioned in the lesson manual. I wonder how many other scriptural references to righteous, strong, intelligent women are out there that we don’t study or teach our children? How many stories of historical women were never recorded or preserved?
I believe in the Gospel that Jesus taught: love, compassion, forgiveness, humility, service, sacrifice, faith and obedience. I believe in the Restoration. I believe the heavens are open for us to learn and grow throughout this mortal life. I believe the Church should be continually evolving and progressing for the benefit of all.
As female Church members, our full potential is stifled by longstanding, outdated gender role traditions. I believe that both girls and women should be given equal learning, leadership and service opportunities within the Church. In order for that to happen, I believe women should be ordained.