Today’s spotlight features Brittany! She gives a beautiful summary of how men and women working together, side by side in the Church can and would be a beautiful thing.
LDS theology is incredibly unique and rich. I was taught that women have the potential to become Gods with their husbands in the eternities. That’s not an insignificant piece of doctrine. I think women are starting to realize that they not only have eternal potential, but potential to serve in a greater capacity now. I see so many women getting higher education, asking hard questions, and analyzing theology and scripture. It gives me hope. Lately, I’ve been looking closer into the life of Jesus, and he did extremely radical, taboo and even blasphemous things for his time. Those things were almost without fail, done to include those around him that didn’t feel like their voice was being heard. The church has made some amazing promises to women, and it excites me to see more and more realize the reality of continuing revelation and the idea that women can make a difference here and now.
The YW program was especially beneficial to me. I was given several leadership opportunities in the program and that helped me realize what some of my strengths were, when far too often teenage girls don’t have any confidence placed in them which can send them down a road of self-doubt. I felt extremely empowered as a woman in my youth. My upbringing in the church also gave me a foundation of faith, prayer, meditation, study and it taught me to ask hard questions that might not have immediate answers.
I’ve always been troubled by the lack of female voices in the church. I think it would do everyone good to hear from more women during conference, have women write curriculum and manuals, and to study the words of women like we study the words of men. I also think women could be a great asset in helping out with budgets and the logistical side of the church. Activity Days and Young Women programs should truly be equal to Scouts. I think teaching our young girls leadership and practical skills is crucial if we want to create a generation of women who feel empowered, useful, and loved.
When I was in high school, I basically demanded to have the one female seminary teacher twice in a row because I hear the voice of God best through female voices. I didn’t even know Mormon feminism was a thing, but I was one. I’ve looked up the few female leaders in the church who get any recognition for their brilliance, but I’ve always wanted more.
My husband and I entered a faith crisis in 2011, and we progressed through that at our own, individual rate. The Sunday after Kate Kelly was excommunicated I sat in church for 3 hours, on the verge of literally screaming out in pain. I felt like my church was moving in a direction that I wasn’t comfortable with and leaving me behind. It was heartbreaking. I soon decided to join my husband in his interest in looking at Community of Christ (RLDS) as a possible spiritual home. It didn’t take long before I realized that my heart was safe, free, and validated there. My questions, concerns, hopes and dreams were welcomed there. I started to blossom there. It was especially good because we were still able to hold on to our heritage within the Joseph Smith’s restoration framework, we just adjusted that framework a little. We officially joined in January and I feel like I’ve found my home. I still do get sad when I think about stepping out of the LDS church because that was my church. It was everything to me for 26 years. I think of my ancestors who gave up everything to follow their convictions and oddly enough, their drive and testimonies are what has helped me step into another denomination under the umbrella of the restoration. I’ve found where my heart sings. I think they would be proud of that.
I put up a profile when I finally found the courage. It was hard because I saw what my friends and family were saying about it, and I didn’t want to let anyone down. I didn’t necessarily want ordination for myself, but I truly and deeply believe female ordination is what God wants. Seeing how it works in Community of Christ was a game changer for me. I’ve felt and seen their priesthood work, and it’s beautiful. Women and men are working side by side, blessing and passing the sacrament together, making joint decisions for the congregation. True equality. It was after seeing female ordination in action a few times that I decided to write my profile. I was terrified, but it felt so good. It was incredibly healing for me to own the fact that I think women should be ordained. It might sound silly, but it was one of the scariest moments in my life when I admitted it “out loud” by submitting my profile.
Since submitting a profile, I’ve met amazing people and have gained a lot of confidence. I’ve become open to learning from other ordained women in different denominations, and it inspires me. I’ve read about and have seen so many inspiring women who would have never been given the chance to touch so many lives in the capacity they do, without ordination. It’s also been amazing to see the compilation that Ordain Women has put out with early church leader’s perspectives on women performing priesthood duties. I had no idea women were giving healing blessings, anointing, or that they were “ordained”. It further deepens my convictions that this is what God wants.
For the most part, the reaction of my family and friends has been surprisingly positive. I have only heard one or two negative comments about it. I have faith that people are genuinely kind, good people and that there is a place for people to disagree in the church. I know it hurt a lot of people, and some were left scrambling, not knowing what to do with me. Overall, my relationships even after stepping away from the church have mostly remained intact.
I have had several people tell me that my profile softened their hearts on the topic quite a bit. I think there was an element of shock to it because I had been silent on the topic when everyone around me was talking about it. Suddenly, I was *that* person, but really, I was still the same Brittany that everybody knew. I’ve been able to have conversations about it with a few people, and everyone has been really respectful to me about it. I do think that ‘testimony’ is a good word to describe my feelings about it. I truly, truly believe that the LDS church would be healthier, stronger and more spiritual if women were ordained.