Hi, I’m Leslie.
I’m an English teacher, knitter, mom and grandmother, and I have been a faithful Mormon for over 30 years. I joined the church as a young adult, served a mission, and was married in the temple. I’ve served in every auxiliary of the Church, including many leadership positions. Along this journey I’ve been privileged with the freedom to express myself openly regarding my beliefs about womanhood and our role as partners in building the kingdom of God. At some point I came to recognize my privilege as I realized that many aren’t able to speak up without consequences. This indicates a deep, systemic problem.
Once my eyes were open to what I’d previously thought was simply sexism coming from ignorant people in my immediate circle, I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable with gender inequality as seen in temple ordinances, scriptures, church policy and doctrine, as well as the lack of authority I had in carrying out my church responsibilities and ministering to my family and loved ones. I experienced pain when well-meaning people (including men and women) carefully explained to me how women are equal to men. Until I can clearly see my own worth without requiring explanations or convoluted rationalizations, I am simply not equal. Until it becomes unnecessary for church leaders to try to convince us of our worth, we are not equal. Women’s ordination is vital to achieving true equality.
To me, Mormonism is a place where questioning is encouraged, personal spiritual growth is supported, and love and service to others are paramount. I’m currently on sabbatical from the church, working to resolve multiple concerns, including issues around gender equality. Using this time to heal and regenerate, hopefully I will be able to return at some future date with newfound energy and strengthened personal belief that does not rely on cultural norms and will not be influenced by anyone other than God. At that time I’m also hopeful that more advancements will have occurred that will bring women closer to a position of equality in the Church. I hope that church leaders will honor our request and take this matter to God.
I don’t have a clear picture of what ordination will look like for women, but I do believe that it is critical to the future of the Church that women are elevated to a position of equal partnership. I believe women should be ordained.