I am a young man who is struggling to make a living while working towards a dual degree in history and economics. My wife is finishing up her bachelor’s in nursing. We are poor and busy, but happy. We were high school sweethearts. When I left the country to serve a mission she waited for me. When I returned two years later, we were married in the Palmyra Temple. We have served in many callings over the years. I have been acting Ward Mission leader, counselor in the Young Men’s presidency, Elder’s Quorum teacher, and Ward Historian. My wife has served in the Primary and Young Women’s Presidencies. Apart from formal Church callings, as an aspiring author and historian, I spend much of my free time studying and writing about Mormon history. I say this only to illustrate how this Church has become an enormous part of my life.
This began in primary as the children’s songs taught me of my divine parentage, and prompted my first profound spiritual encounters. I wrestled with religion as a young teenager. But the story of Enos’ marvelous theophany in the Book of Mormon inspired me. I yearned for God to visit me when life’s tough questions kept me awake at night. One night, around my 15th birthday, I read Joseph Smith History. The young Joseph’s soul-searching, inquisitive nature really resonated with me. His story, culminating in a visit from God and Jesus, moved me to tears! It felt as if God was visiting me too. This experience became a catalyst for all the commitments that followed. An even more enduring consequence of such experiences has been an increasing awareness of God’s love for all of His children, and of our calling to love as He does.
Why should women be ordained? People may ask. Perhaps a better question is, “Why not?” For nearly a decade, I have quietly hoped, and expected female ordination. When the possibility first occurred to me, it just felt like the natural course of events. In 1978, after roughly a century, people of African ancestry were finally ordained to the priesthood. Our complicated history with this subject forced me to realize that it is possible for a priesthood ban to be perpetuated in the absence of a revelation requiring such restrictions. So, without a revelation restricting female ordination, the arguments against it sound all too familiar. More to the point, these arguments run contrary to our doctrine’s recognition of women’s full eternal potential. Faith can move mountains. But misplaced faith will often have good people insisting that those mountains stay right where they are – no matter how much progress those mountains stand in the way of. In my experience, such mountains have a way of moving themselves as we open up our hearts to that possibility.
My great (x3) grandmother was Zina Huntington – Mormon pioneer, Relief Society President, and plural wife of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about her is that she possessed a gift for blessing and healing her fellow Saints in a manner which mirrors modern priesthood blessings.* Brigham Young openly encouraged her to use this gift. She is just one example. I think it is time for us to unlock the potential that has always existed in the women of this Church. Of course I believe women should be ordained
*On Zina’s marriages to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism says, “On March 7, 1841, Zina married Henry Bailey Jacobs. She later married Joseph Smith and, after Joseph’s death, Brigham Young.” This entry in the Encyclopedia also says she “anointed and blessed” her sisters, and that “women in need of physical and emotional comfort … received blessings under her hands.” Read the full reference here.