Hi, I’m Lauren. I am the daughter of a single mother who was a powerful example of the capabilities of women until her death in 2003, when I was just 16. The women she had surrounded herself with, who became my support after her death, were also strong, passionate, independent women. All of them had worked hard, put themselves through advanced degrees and some like mom had raised children. Today I run a small home business while working on a Masters degree in Psychology. I’m married to the most incredible man who is an equal partner and believes as I do that women are of equal value to men whether or not their chosen responsibilities are the same.
I was not born in this church, nor was my husband. Four years ago, after spending almost 10 years searching and studying world religions I found the LDS church in Chicago, IL. Mormonism was the one spiritual tradition I knew very little about, and in all honestly, I had no intention of converting. I was just curious, as I had been with other faith traditions before. After meeting some amazing Sister Missionaries and reading the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, I spent some time in prayer, an act previously foreign to me, and felt something in me change. I felt called by a Heavenly Feminine presence to become a part of this church. I know this presence now, as our Heavenly Mother. I began attending services and met some of the most extraordinary women and men. After much investigation and prayer I knew that this doctrine was something beautiful, something right.
Just over 2 years ago my husband and I decided to move to Salt Lake City, UT. When we got to Salt Lake, I found that many of the women held deep seeded insecurities about their worth and rights as women and that many of the men were exercising dominion over their wives that in some cases became very damaging, even abusive. What’s worse is that these issues do not appear to be seen as problems within the community at large, but rather are encouraged and perpetuated by a series of cultural beliefs, inaccurately viewed as doctrine. Divine topics of sexuality, modesty, prophets, priesthood, family responsibilities, etc seem to have been twisted over time to perpetuate a severe imbalance of authority within the church organization itself and within the community as whole. These topics in many cases seem to have lost much of the beauty, wisdom, and nuance of their scriptural counterparts.
The result has seemed to be an increasing misuse of power by male members and leaders in particular and a dangerous emphasis on blind following of men over faithful seeking of Christ. With zero balance of authority by female members and other diverse perspectives, those issues that affect the women and families of our church most are ignored at best and completely mishandled at worst. Hearts are being shatter in this church today. Young people and women are fleeing in droves. Abuses and atrocities against women and children are being regularly covered up, anyone with serious questions and concerns are being stamped as unfaithful and in some cases even run out, all while group think and censorship are propagated as righteous. This is a difficult time for us in the church.
Many would ask why I even stay given all this. The truth: it is because I was not converted by a church of culture and of men; I was converted by scripture and by seeking our Heavenly Parents and our brother Christ Jesus. I know that the scriptures hold such truth as would change to face of humanity forever in such a love as we never knew could be…if we let it. I believe that women should be ordained, because this church needs our voices to be heard with authority. It needs our knowledge, our perspectives and our love to find balance and free itself from the corruption that comes on the heals of oppression and blind faith.