Hi, I’m Lindsey! I’m not a member of the LDS Church but I grew up in Utah and I attended church on and off throughout my childhood. When I was younger there were a lot of things I liked about the LDS Church and the Mormon community. I loved the emphasis on service to those around you, the importance of family and community, and the idea of free agency. To me the Mormon Church seemed to promote the idea of a loving and benevolent God, rather than all the fire, brimstone, and damnation that I saw in a lot of other mainstream faiths. I never converted, however, because I think I always knew I was too much of a “rebel” for the current state of the LDS Church – I was free spirited, progressive, and concerned with women’s rights and being an independent, empowered woman before I even knew what feminism was. I loved a lot of the core values, but could never see myself fitting in a church that didn’t encourage those parts of me.
When I left Utah I found myself defending Mormons and the LDS Church a lot, especially after the Prop 8 catastrophe. “Not all Mormons!!” I’d say. And “Well, their God is a much more loving God than most religions!” “They encourage members to question and think for themselves!” And I’d point to some of the people I love and respect most in the world, my cousin and my little brother – both converts. In fact, I’d talk about my brother a lot when it came to the LDS Church. I’d talk about how when he was younger he was shy and lacked confidence, but as soon as he converted it seemed like he blossomed into the best version of himself. Suddenly he was funny, and happy, and anchored by his faith to be one of the most righteous and strong people I know.
Which is why it’s so hard for me now, to see people like my brother and my cousin struggle with the church they’ve loved for so long. They see the Church shutting out more than 50% of it’s membership from the highest callings, they see their wards split by hateful politics, and they feel conflicted between the things they know are right (like equal rights and treatment for ALL people) and the Church that has been a part of their identity for so long.
There are a lot of great things about the LDS Church and I feel so grateful to have grown up around it, to know and love so many Mormons personally, and to know enough about both the Church and it’s members to know that it is more than just the backwards, “weird” religion that a lot of outsiders seem to think it is. I truly believe that someday the Church will love and embrace all of it’s members equally and compassionately, regardless of gender or sexuality. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later, because there are too many good members hurting and feeling like they need to choose between their faith and their identity, and that does not make for a strong community.
Because I love my Mormon friends and family and because I believe in equality for all people, I believe women should be ordained.