My name is Mahonri. I am a playwright, a hopeful screenwriter, an adjunct professor of the humanities and writing, a high school teacher for playwriting, and I support women’s ordination in the LDS Church.
It is difficult for me to write this, not because I have any personal doubts about my principles, but because I have seen how standing up for my principles has affected me, my family, and those around me. When some people in the Church discover I am a feminist and a supporter of female ordination I have at times been met with bafflement, at other times outright hostility. I have written essays and blog posts about the issue, tried to show my integrity by not being silent. However, I’ve only waded in the baptismal waters of conscience—I’ve never allowed myself to be fully immersed until now.
Before now I told myself that, even though I supported OW’s message, I had certain doubts about OW’s tactics. I told myself I could do more as a detached voice iterating principles rather than being an activist singing in front of closed doors. I no longer tell myself that. It feels false, even then it felt false. It was a smoke screen to blind me from the ability of full commitment to my conscience.
Frankly, there have been times where I was afraid. Afraid that if I ever fully and officially joined Ordain Women, that the things that have happened to Kate Kelly, to April Young, to John Dehlin, and to many others would happen to me. Excommunication, disfellowshipment, ostracization from my beloved faith community, my temple recommend being taken away from me, so many fear inducing scenarios have run through my mind. I wanted the ability to apply to teach at church schools. I wanted the ability to fully participate in church without the fear of leadership roulette. I wanted people to be able to look at me and know how much I love the Church, because I do.
I have served as a missionary (serving in many leadership capacities during that time, including Assistant to the Mission President). I have served as a nursery worker, a gospel doctrine/elder’s quorum teacher, an assistant to the bishop while a teenager, and in elders’ quorum presidencies. And there have been times where I have failed in my service and in my piety, not accepted my cross fully, for which I am ashamed, but I still felt great love and devotion for the Church, despite my failings.
But even more than I love the Church, I love the God and Goddess behind it, my Heavenly Parents. I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And I kept feeling they weren’t pleased with my decisions to take down my blog after Kate Kelly was excommunicated. Despite my excuses, I was trying to cover my hide in case my very public writing would come back and bite me in some way. For this I repent. This time I will carry the cross and endure whatever consequences may come with giving myself to the Heavenly Council and to the Spirit they have sent.
Tonight I watched the film Selma. Seeing those good men and women who followed Martin Luther King, Jr. take up their crosses for the sake of conscience and equality, all while having the praise of God on their lips, inspired me. I came home feeling the Spirit, and feeling prompted to write this. So, I repeat, my name is Mahonri and I support female ordination.