My name is Sweeney. Mormon friends started calling me that in high school, and it just sort of continued into my college years without me having much control over it. It just fits me better. I love to read, bake, dance, and be a part of anything remotely theatrical. I am currently part of a teaching certification program and will be teaching high school English in Arizona. I am an aspiring writer and I have technically been a member of the Church my whole life. I’m pretty sure I’ve been feminist for at least that long as well.
Growing up in the Church was great- I was such a stalwart believer in everything, and everything felt true. It was like a security blanket of other faithful friends and followers who could all rely on each other. I struggled occasionally with the whole priesthood and polygamy thing, but I found ways around my doubts –mostly by thinking and acknowledging these themes as little as possible.
I graduated from seminary, made my way through BYU and then found myself looking for a job. I had never had an interest in going on a mission until God forced me to go (I somewhat jest). When all signs literally pointed that way, (weirdly enough, even my bishop was on board before I was, encouraging me along), I went. I spent 1 1/2 years in the Dominican Republic, a time of great spiritual and emotional growth. During this time, however, the concerns being held back by my inner dam began to burst wide open.
In the mission, I realized the wide gulf of power that separates God’s male and female servants- that power is the priesthood. In the MTC in the DR, we were in Sunday school, and the teacher asked us by what power and authority we as missionaries teach. One elder raised his hand and said, without hesitation, “For me, I know that my ability to teach with power will come from the priesthood–sorry sisters.” It could have been the heat typical of the tropical DR, but I was seeing red. A member of the 70 happened to be there, and did correct the elder’s assumption, but that was part of the problem– it was another well-meaning man explaining why women don’t need the priesthood, when in fact, all I was starting to see around me suggested otherwise.
A new area can’t be opened for proselytizing without it. Members can’t be baptized or receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, gateway ordinances to heaven, without it. Families aren’t sealed eternally without it. Nor are blessings given for comfort and healing or major decisions affecting lay members made without it. God’s power is the power to help, heal, lift and save. From what I’ve learned about God from the LDS church, He loves all his children and wants to bless them all equally. I do not think this will be possible, at least, not in its entirety, until women can have the priesthood. It’s not just some arbitrary want–it’s a need. I believe, for so many more reasons that I can put words to, that women should be ordained.