Listen to Sara’s podcast interview here:
For a long time, I didn’t know how to feel about women’s ordination to the priesthood. I had no personal witness, either for or against. On March 17th, 2014 — the anniversary of both Ordain Women and the Relief Society — my witness came. It was a true burning in the bosom, so strong I shivered. And now, I know how I feel.
In Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman asks Jesus to bless her daughter. Jesus maintains that his blessings are only for the lost sheep of Israel. Does she turn away, no longer petitioning for herself and her child? No. She demonstrates great faith and humility, saying that she’d be content with crumbs. Later, according to God’s will, the gospel message is taken to Jew and Gentile alike. Did the Canaanite woman’s faith encourage revelation that would spread the gospel? Possibly. Did her eagerness to receive blessings not yet intended for her show great faith? Absolutely.
I’m grateful for the blessings I currently receive as a female member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You could call them “crumbs,” though that diminishes how satisfying they have been for me. But I am also hungry for something more. I am hungry for the power of God — not to rule over others in arrogance and pride (something the priesthood cannot support), but to become more like God and serve my brothers and sisters more fully. Abraham wanted the priesthood — not only to receive ordinances, but to administer. Twelve year-old Mormon boys the world over want that same ability. A woman who wants the priesthood is no more selfish in her desire than Abraham or your average Deacons quorum member.
Joseph Smith said the Relief Society would become a “kingdom of priests.” I get chills thinking of how this prophecy may be fulfilled. It’s hard to know what that means, how women’s ordination would look in reality. I certainly don’t know what’s in store or when, but when I think of the possibilities, I get emotional. It’s both humbling and empowering to imagine.
I am just shy and self-conscious enough that if this were simply an intellectual or emotional matter for me, I would keep my opinion to myself. It’s not easy to open myself to criticism. I have received a witness from God, telling me to take this step and publicly support women’s ordination, and it is only this witness that gives me the confidence to follow through. I believe wholeheartedly that others can seek God’s will and receive a different message, one better suited to their own divine mission. But this is what God wants me to do, and I am happy to follow.
On the day I received that spiritual witness, I prayed for further confirmation. The words of “Lead Kindly Light” came to mind. “I do not ask to see the distant scene; one step enough for me.” My one step is to say this: I believe women should be ordained.