Becky is our feature today for the Sunday Spotlight. She shares her testimony of Jesus Christ, her love and dedication to genealogy and how all of that ties into her supporting the ordination of women.
Tell us more about your connection to Mormonism:
I am a life-long Mormon. I was born into the church, and have lengthy pioneer ancestries through both of my parents. I have been going to church my whole life, following my parents’ good examples. I was baptized at 8, and married my high-school sweetheart in the Salt Lake Temple.
What was your favorite calling?
I have had a lot of different callings, but it’s hard to say what my favorite is because I am a perfectionist and am not willing to settle for “good enough”. As a result, I put so much of myself into my callings that I easily burn out. By the time I am released from each one, I am usually just thankful to be done with it!
I will say that the calling I grew the most in was Gospel Doctrine Teacher. I was newly married and didn’t have kids, and was called to teach in a well-established ward where most people were double my age. I was very intimidated! I ended up deciding that there was no way I could know more about the gospel than most of them, but I could make up for it with my enthusiasm and testimony. Many people would later tell me I was their favorite instructor for that reason. I learned how to teach in that calling; and even though I thought it was completely wrong for me at the time, I now have no fear of teaching others. Since then I have had opportunities to teach at church, at work, even in professional conferences.
How did you Discover Ordain Women?
I heard about Ordain Women on the first day they launched their website: I saw the link on Facebook and immediately clicked on it. My whole life I have secretly wished for the ordination of women, but here were people who were actually saying so out loud. Their courage and boldness floored me, and I wished I could be so brave. I have followed Ordain Women ever since, still with so much admiration for these people who are following their convictions despite the cost to them socially and emotionally.
What prompted you to put up your profile?
The Spirit did. Really and truly. Every time a new profile was put up, I would read it and the Spirit would wash over me, telling me that I needed to be next. I fought it for a couple of years, not wanting to possibly embarrass my husband and family, not ready to face negativity or questions from people who may see it. I finally got to a point where I realized that if I didn’t listen to those promptings, they may stop coming; and I was basically turning down a calling from God. I don’t know for what purpose He asked me to do this, and how or even if it may help Him; but I really do feel strongly that it’s what I needed to do it.
My 4th-great grandmother, Ann Nelson, was born a slave on St. Croix in the West Indies. In doing some family history research I found her emancipation letter, which stated that she bought her own freedom in 1840 for 96 dollars. What an impressive woman she must have been! Born into the lowest and most degrading of circumstances, how hard must she have worked for her own freedom? I am in awe of her strength and fortitude. I realized that if she can accomplish such an amazing thing, I can do hard things, too. It is literally in my blood. And I would be dismissing all that her history taught me if I shrank away from things that scare me.
What are some of the things you love about the Church?
I love so many of our unique doctrines that you don’t hear in any other church. As a genealogist, I have a special connection to our teaching of families being sealed together forever. As I search out names, even if they are for clients and not my own family, I always feel a sort of urgency to keep at it and find the right person no matter how long it takes– as if I am feeling what that spirit may be feeling as they have waited for their proxy work to be completed. I feel so close to those beyond the veil and find great joy in a work that feels as though I am treating them as brothers and sisters in Christ, even though they have long-since departed this earth.
I love the LDS idea of a Heavenly Mother in addition to our Father. Sometimes you just want your mother, no matter how loving and compassionate your father is! That She exists tells me there is more for me in the next life than we know about now, and I look forward to the day when more is revealed about Her.
I also love the concept of eternal progression in our theology. I have a testimony that life does not end when our bodies die, and I feel comfort knowing that we will keep learning and growing spiritually even after we leave this plane. It illustrates to me that Jesus Christ’s grace is enough for all of us, and despite our sins there is a glory for each of us to keep working towards.
I absolutely love that our church is a church of continuing revelation! To think that our Prophet could reveal to us new ideas, policies, and doctrines that could change the world is very exciting to me. I am thrilled to know there could be more scriptures out there that have yet to be found and translated; to know that there may be answers coming for so many of my questions. One of the reasons I support Ordain Women is because of Joseph Smith’s own words in the Ninth Article of Faith: “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” The Spirit testifies to me that the ordination of women has simply yet to be revealed. So much so that I hold my breath each time the Prophet speaks, wondering if this will be the moment he finally announces it.