Today’s Sunday Spotlight features Kristy, who talks about her love for the Church as well as what changes she would love to see implemented.
- What gives you hope for the future
Watching my two girls in the world, here in Athens, at the park, at home, at school, you name it. They are bright, inquisitive, full of wonder and courage, and I would imagine nothing is impossible in their eyes. This is the generation that will see full gender equality, in my estimation. So even if it might seem bleak for me right now, they won’t have to deal with what is going on right now. Change happens, and 25-30 years from now we will read books about current gender dynamics in our culture and wonder, wow, was it really like that? We’ve come a long way, but there’s more to come. And we will get closer and closer to our goal as each and every woman (and man) who wants better for the next generation stands up (in their own way, it doesn’t always have to look the same, or the way I’m doing it) and lets others catch a glimpse of their authentic selves, when they reflect to the world how they really feel inside about their worth, their roles, and what they want. As a psychologist with my own private practice specializing in women’s mental health, I see that process as key to a fulfilling life. And deep inside, every person knows what that would look like for them, it’s just a matter of excavating that dream and taking the risk of being vulnerable to those around you.
- Aside from ordination, what are some changes you would like to see implemented immediately in the Church?
I’m quite biased, but I think letting women hold their babies for their blessings would be amazing. It just makes so much sense. Especially in cases where a single mom is having her baby blessed, and she would be the only one up there with a genetic link to the baby. And when converts to the church are anticipating the ceremony (domestically and internationally), if they are coming from another religious tradition they may be expecting to both be able to go up there since Christenings typically have no gender restrictions for parent participation. I can just imagine the disappointment when the parents find out they cannot do that together. Other changes I’d love to see would be equal program budgets for boys and girls, ending worthiness interviews for females ages 8 and up (unless perhaps there’s another woman present), and instituting female Sunday school presidents.
- Tell us more about your connection to Mormonism?
My Mormon roots go very deep. I was born in the covenant, baptized at 8, I have pioneer heritage on both sides whose sacrifices I honor and I feel I’m being true to their memory in the way I am trying to carve a trail for myself and my family that is authentic and true, come what may. Temple Square was/is one of my favourite places in the world. I used to save up when I was little to buy plane tickets to see my family in Utah (and back when we could still do triangle flights!) and CA when we lived on the east coast. And I would always beg to go to Temple Square. During Christmas the lights made my soul happy. Pretty much all of my family still lives in Utah and CA, so whenever I visit Utah again and our plane starts its descent into the valley, I see Mt. Timpanogas, then Mt. Olympus, the Y, and the Great Salt Lake, and it still feels like I’m going home.
4. What are some of the things you love about the Church?
I love the people. They’re my people. And I’ll never give up on them. Every culture has its quirks, and some doctrinal quirks too. But I love how fluid the Church’s doctrine has the potential to be because of the principle of further light and knowledge that comes as we seek use our agency for good. And boy, do Mormons know how to put their shoulder to the wheel when there’s something or someone in need. People in our church are hurting over gender inequality, and it’s only a matter of time before the conversations spreads far and wide enough into every home, every congregation, that people realize there’s something we need to do about it. In fact, I see it already happening. The conversation has begun. Great things are in store because I have faith in the community’s capacity to listen to and uplift one another. There’s no challenge too big for Mormons.