I am a student-athlete at Utah Valley University. I study international business with a minor in economics and my plan is to get a PhD in economics after I graduate. I’ve recently been married to a wonderful woman from Brazil who is the light of my life.
My life is dyed in the wools of Mormonism. I grew up in Mormonism, graduated from seminary, attended several institute classes and served an honorable two-year mission in Brazil and Los Angeles. A family member of mine always struggled with doubts and questions about the church while I was growing up, particularly in regards to polygamy. Early on in my life, my response to this family member was to bear my testimony to her encouraging her to exercise more faith. However, I could see that I needed more than a testimony to connect with her. I needed to know the things she had studied. I needed empathy.
So it was with the intention of helping this family member that I began my journey into Mormon history, and one of the things that I discovered about our church is that women used to regularly give blessings of healing and comfort to family members and other loved ones. This practice, for whatever reason, was abandoned sometime between 1842 and now. Now women aren’t allowed to participate fully in the power and authority of the priesthood, “which comes through ordination,” (Elder Packer). However, throughout our church’s history, women have been commanded by male priesthood leaders to fulfill many difficult and faith-testing things, such as marrying already-married men and submitting to the will of their husbands, who act as patriarchs and preside over the family. Women in the church have been expected to do these things without input or say from themselves or other women. I find this power imbalance to be troubling. I started to understand my family member’s doubts and questions.
Mormonism continues to be my heritage, but I felt a great sting when Kate Kelly was excommunicated. I felt like our church family lost a wonderful member. It was something I greatly mourned over. I find courage in hearing the stories of such brave women as Kristy Money, Lindsay Hansen Park, Chelsea Shields Strayer, and others, who have sacrificed so much in the name of gender inequality. Women such as these walk in the footsteps of great Mormon pioneers of old, such as my direct ancestor, Parley P. Pratt. These Mormon pioneers also bravely defied the cultural norms of their day, took difficult steps of faiths into uncharted territory, and stood up for what they believed to be right. By supporting Ordain Women, I am following in their footsteps. I will gladly add my voice to the men and women in this group. I believe women should be ordained.