Hi, my name is Tarrah, and originally I am from Sandy Utah. Most Sundays of my childhood were spent at the local Mormon church, where we sat in the same pew each week with my paternal grandparents. My parents were boy scout leaders, so I participated in many scouting events including weekend campouts, bike rides, and many merit badge classes. My favorite memories of the church are attending girls camp in the summer. My most painful memory, though, is doing all of the same activities that the boy scouts did and not getting a single merit badge because I was a girl. That experience opened my eyes to how unfairly women are treated in the Church.
At the age of 17 I became inactive, and a few years later I had my name removed from the Church records. After graduating from Utah State I came to California to attend graduate school. I am a drinking water scientist. Certainly, my scientific training informs the way I think about religion. I have a logical approach. If a woman is qualified for a leadership position it the Church, then she should be considered. The standard Mormon response is that women don’t need to hold the priesthood because we have babies, and that is so special. I am married to a man and I have 3 kids, who have grown into wonderful people, however, I would not consider it to limit my other talents. Yes, some women have babies, but we do much more than that, and to limit my role in leadership because I am a woman is unfair and it has driven me from the Church.
The scriptural definition of the priesthood, from D&C 50:26-27, is: The authority and power that God gives to man to act in all things for the salvation of man.
It seems to me that the accepted interpretation of the word “man” in other scriptures includes all people. When I read this scripture it appears that women should be included in the endeavor to save people. The current practice of excluding women, is just that, a practice. Similar to the historical practice of excluding many African American men from holding the priesthood.
The Mormon church would be a much better place for families if women had the priestesshood. Right now the church is leaving half of its talent on the bench. I think it would be wonderful if women could minister to each other. Imagine how much more comfortable a bishop’s interview would be for girls if the bishop was a woman. Imagine the changes that could be made to support women. How about if the men have cooking nights so that they can do half of the housework and be a true partner? Wouldn’t it be nice if the church had day-care and pre-school programs? Many other churches have that. It is not likely that men in the church will think of ideas that really support women, especially working women. Women need half of the seats at the table to bring about true and positive changes.
Young people are leaving the church in higher numbers than previous generations. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I think that gender inequity is one of those reasons. Women of my generation are raising our kids to know that they can be anything they want to, regardless of if they are male or female. I am not going to teach my kids that women are capable and strong 6 days a week only take them to church on the 7th day so that they can learn that they should be subservient and listen to the men. Gender inequity in the Church is one of the biggest reasons that I am not raising my kids Mormon.
I know that women should be ordained.