Hi, I’m Rachel and I have been a member of the LDS Church all my life. My family’s spiritual heritage is a beautiful tapestry of faith, conversion, and dedication. I am always impressed and humbled by the love and commitment my Mormon forbears have shown to the gospel, the church, and their respective families. I grew up with parents who loved each other, and loved the church. Family Home Evenings, road shows, youth dances, and Young Women’s camp encapsulate some of my best church-related memories that greatly enriched my life.My home, Like many traditional LDS homes, was also highly patriarchal where my father was the unquestionable leader—a familial dynamic that has brought both frustration and heartache.
Many of my experiences as a young person in the church were disappointing and painful as my natural independence and leadership skills were often not noticed or appreciated. Young women who were often more sweet and obsequious than I were given more favor. Looking back, I feel that these young women played their prescribed role under the patriarchal structure of the church and therefore were spiritually and socially bolstered. These experiences led me to question why God would create a world where I was led to believe my natural talents were not as valuable as the young women around me. I have felt this dissonance about the patriarchal structure of the church since those young years. I do not want my daughter to grow up feeling that same dissonance, a dissonance that I believe is currently inevitable as the divide between the increasingly egalitarian culture in which we live contrasts with the rigid patriarchal social dynamic perpetuated by the church.
I hope that my daughter will have the same opportunities for priesthood leadership as my son does. I hope they have equal opportunity to utilize the spiritual blessings of the priesthood as well. I want my daughter to grow up knowing that her role in the church is not narrowly defined as I was taught. I want my son to feel like an equal to the women around him rather than feeling like their leader. I want them to be shown through the church’s structure that “all are alike unto God (2 Nephi 26:33)”
I know from personal experience that women in the church make strong leaders. I am a mother, a wife, a doula, a triathlete, an artist, a dancer, a primary teacher, and a fierce advocate of my beliefs. I believe the only way to fully illuminate and take advantage of both our spiritual and temporal gifts is to give us every opportunity to use them. I’m a Mormon and I believe women should be ordained.