When I was at the Sunstone Symposium this last summer and introduced myself to a few OW participants I was friends with on Facebook, they stared at me blankly for a moment and then would blurt out, “Oh! You’re the guy with the daughters.” “Yes” I would reply, “I’m the guy with the daughters.” My Facebook feed is filled with pictures and stories of my 4 beautiful daughters. They mean everything to me.
I was raised in a bi-racial home with my Mom coming from pioneer stock and my Dad from the small island of Tonga. Both cultures are extremely patriarchal and gender equality was not an idea I had ever questioned or seriously considered until I was well into my 30’s.
However, as my girls grew I began to notice the sexism that exists not only in society but particularly within the church. I don’t need to make a list of offenses here but I found myself having to “debrief” each of my daughters after church to discuss the various ways they had been exposed to sexism, misogyny, and discrimination. I grew tired and frustrated with it all. I tried to make it work because I love Mormonism, but I don’t love it enough to poison my daughters each week.
Last Spring I decided to become inactive. I would not participate in the rampant sexism of the Mormon Church with my presence or money any longer. I chose not to have my name or the names of my oldest 3 daughters removed from the records of the church. My youngest daughter is 8 and we’ve chosen not to baptize her. When she is mature enough to ponder and pray about being baptized, she can make that decision herself.
There are two things that I hope come from the OW movement. First, I hope all women begin to exercise the priesthood they already have and can realize that the charismatic gifts of the Spirit are not constrained by gender. Second, I hope one day women will formally be ordained to the priesthood in the Church.