Hi, I’m Mark. I am descended from pioneers who crossed the continent with wagons and handcarts, and I am happy to describe myself as a believing, active, and committed church member. The opportunities for service which have come to me–from a mission, to priesthood office, to the private caring for others that our religion facilitates–have influenced me strongly and made me the man that I am. My church service has given me much joy and a deep love for the Latter-Day Saints.
Over the years, I have gradually realized that our Church, as wonderful as it is, is often sexist, in ways that are almost always unconscious and unintentional, but nonetheless very damaging. Consider the following examples, all observed by me, personally:
1. A single sister is very faithful and active, but struggles to find out exactly where she fits at church. On her mission she got the clear message that it is most important to baptize men, because “the Church needs priesthood holders”. And in her ward now, that same emphasis seems to apply. She is discouraged.
2. A Laurel is called up in front of the ward during sacrament meeting to shake the bishop’s hand and receive her Young Women’s medallion. It’s nice, but it doesn’t compare to her brother’s Eagle scout presentation which involved a special night, dozens of people, refreshments, a photographer, and grandparents who came from out of state especially for the event.
3. In a high priests’ group meeting which contains former bishops, former stake presidents, and a former mission president, a wisecrack is made about women who don’t know their place. Everyone laughs.
I do not want to continue to enumerate unpleasant things, so I will stop now. I bring this up–not to cause embarrassment –but to demonstrate that as a people, we need to do some reflecting and repenting. What I perceive as deeply embedded, complacent sexism is simply wrong, and unbecoming of people who have been given the task of building Zion. (D&C 105:5) To put it bluntly, a faith community that requires one hundred and eighty three years to realize that it is OK for its female adherents to pray in conference is a faith community with some work to do.
This is why I have chosen to support the Ordain Women project. I think it provides the most effective means to help this Church I love free itself from the heavy, unnecessary burden of institutional sexism. I think the future is bright for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I am convinced that our best days are still ahead of us. I look forward eagerly to participating in a community of “kings and queens, priests and priestesses”, and I believe that women should be ordained.