My name is Tom. I’m married to my amazing wife Jessica, and together we have four wonderful daughters.
I’m an active member of our ward, serving as ward clerk. I was raised in the Church, served a mission in the Philippines, graduated from BYU, and was married in the temple. I believe that this church is the kingdom of God on the earth, and I am doing my best to build Zion in my area of the vineyard.
I think building Zion is the challenge of our dispensation. Sometimes I wish that we had more information about how the people of Enoch did it, but there is precious little detail in the scriptures.
I’ve thought a lot about why black members of the church were denied the priesthood. Originally, Joseph Smith did give the priesthood to black men. However, there was a cultural climate where blacks were considered inferior. Pseudo-scientific evidence was used to justify inherent differences and inequality. Unfortunately, many members believed what their society was telling them. There were even doctrines taught by prophets and apostles that black men had been unfaithful in the pre-mortal existence, and that it was just and right that they would never hold the priesthood. But some of the most righteous priesthood holders I have ever known are black. Withholding the priesthood from black men was wrong then, as it would be wrong now to strip all black men of their priesthood.
So why did God allow us to make this mistake? I believe it is for the same reason God allows us to make any mistake, why God “commands us to do slowly and blunderingly what He could do perfectly and in the twinkling of an eye” (C.S. Lewis) – to learn and to grow through exercising our own agency.
In our effort to build Zion, we need to not only strive for personal righteousness, we also need to create an organization that is righteous. We need an organization that has integrity, that can recognize when it has made errors, feel remorse and repent. We need an organization that can help create equality among members, so that there are no poor among us and we are truly united.
To our credit, the Church is now issuing official statements formally recognizing that there was no doctrinal reason to deny black men the priesthood. It is embarrassingly late, but we are still learning as an institution how to repent.
I believe that the rationale to deny women the priesthood are nowhere near as good as the reasons, both doctrinal and practical, to allow all members to serve in the priesthood of God. It will require some new revelation, some corrections to previous teachings and some changes in church structure. But our church is a living church, and this has happened before.
I truly believe that God’s purpose is to make Gods of us, and Zion of our church, if we will allow it.
I believe women should be ordained.