I am a life-long Mormon from the South. My hometown was one of those places with churches all over, like sprinkles on a cupcake. One of my least favorite things as a child and youth was for some friend or neighbor, brimming with the excitement of new knowledge gleaned from a seminar at their church, decided to inform me about what I believed and why it would lead me to hell. It made me slightly more independent, but I hated it.
At the moment, I live in Germany, where I am a librarian. When I first arrived, it took me a couple of months to find our ward, which is over an hour away from our house. I felt a bit adrift. I missed the church.
I love the ideas and practice of Mormonism. I love how wards based on geography throw us together into a church with people whom we’d never otherwise meet or get the chance to love. I love how we all give talks, all have callings, all contribute to the building up of the Kingdom of God. I love how we are encouraged to make our own relationship with God, to seek Him in prayer, and to invite Him to walk with us. I love the skills and ideals that Mormonism has taught me (public speaking, leadership, a moral compass). But my favorite thing about the Church has been the idea that it can, should and will change.
I believe that women should be ordained to the priesthood because I believe that the only thing preventing it is our asking. There is no scriptural justification for an all-male priesthood. In the history of the Church, women gave blessing, spoke in tongues, determined and executed their own budgets. That we don’t extend the priesthood to women has always struck me more as a quirk of history and culture than as some eternal principle. And our church can, should and will change.
I believe that women should be ordained to the priesthood because our well-meaning discourse on modesty and gender roles is borrowed from the surrounding culture. These concerns about women’s effect on men and women’s roles in men’s lives are fundamentally worldly concerns. We are, I believe, capable of finding a unique, truly godly approach to gender (we honor, rather than disparage, Eve), to sexual desire (which we have never universally vilified), and to modesty (which we insist is about more than maintaining chastity). We can overcome the shortcomings in the worldly approach, even though we’ve widely accepted them today, because our church can, should and will change.
I believe that women should be ordained because I believe it is a necessary step in our truly becoming Zion. In the Church, we are equal in the eyes of God and I believe that women’s ordination will help us acknowledge God’s equality. And we can do it because our church can, should and will change. I believe God still has a work for us to do and, as part of it, I believe that women should be ordained.