Hi, I’m Lesley. I am a Registered Nurse and, creatively, I also my own photography business. I have lived in many different countries, and I love to travel. I have served extensively in the church, in the Primary, Young Women’s and Relief Society Auxiliaries, as well as in other unofficial capacities, offering support to sisters who struggle with difficult life situations. I was born and raised in the church. I belong to a deep-rooted family tree, with pioneer-stock ancestry on both sides. I am proud of my Mormon heritage and grateful to those who made sacrifices for me and my posterity.
I’ve recently become a single mother to my four young children, after dealing with many painful struggles in my marriage. Leading my family as a single mother, as given me new insight into the divine power we have as women. But this has not been with deep struggle. During the end of my marriage, I sought counsel, comfort, and advocacy with church leadership. I had many positive experiences with previous bishops, but I’ve come to learn that this is not always the case. I experienced spiritual trauma and ecclesiastic abuse by church leaders during the time I needed sound spiritual guidance the most. I have experienced the painful trauma caused by the unchecked power that the current system of the male-only priesthood can have. I hold a strong conviction, that when the system goes awry, the results are horrific, causing re-victimization to those most vulnerable. There needs to be checks and balances, not only for safety reasons but also because I believe our Heavenly Parents did and do not intend on or condone oppression of one gender, even under the guise of benevolence, as it is in the church.
I’ve had amazing and humbling examples of women in my life, who lead their families with truth, insight, and grace. Women who are fierce protectors of their own and women who own their woman-warriorship. I can reflect on the women in my life who have given me things I could never give myself. When I was broken, they picked up my pieces then patiently and tediously showed me the raw and honest beauty of my imperfections. Having relationships with women of this nature is simply life-altering. I joyfully embrace that I’ll never be the same. And because of this, I know that when women are given the Priestesshood, they will truly be a force of even more courage, love, charity, openness, bravery, truth, grace, strength, vulnerability, empathy, and compassion.
In the Wisdom of Solomon, contained in the Apocrypha, wisdom is described with beautiful female personification. It describes her as “having an understanding spirit, lively, clear, not subject to hurt, steadfast, having power, overseeing all things.” These characteristics, all quite important in-depth and sense of self, are also remarkably empowering. I am struck by the profound depth of this passage, “For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness.” The focus on these chapters is on who she is and the influence she has upon everything because of the self-development of these empowering qualities. Elder Russell M. Nelson states, “We, your brethren, need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices…….we need women who are organized, and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct, and administer, women who can teach, women who can speak out…”
I am speaking out. I am using my voice. I am here to lead, organize, administer, and serve. I am seeing my own great purpose, my power, my place, and my promises. I believe that women having and holding the Priestesshood is an essential part to these things. I believe women should be ordained.