Posted by on Oct 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Rebekah kindly volunteered to be featured as this weeks Sunday Spotlight. She opens up and gives us more insight into who she is and why she supports the ordination of women.

  IMG_0438

1. What gives you hope for the future?

 I think the mere existence of groups who say publicly that women should be ordained is really promising. It’s now a legitimate issue that members have to grapple with.

2. Aside from ordination, what are some changes you would like to see implemented immediately in the church?
I want parity between cub scouts and activity days in budget, resources, number of meetings, and content–the same goes for the young men and young women. I want the temple experience made equal for men and women. I want women to have equal voice and numbers in leadership, and I want positions like Sunday School president made general neutral. I want more church involvement in humanitarian work. I want the church’s finances to be transparent. I want us to get over our homophobia and racism already and fully include the voices of marginalized groups in leadership, especially those from other countries and those who do not fit our family “ideal.” I want there to be a way for general members to give feedback to the administration. Frankly, I want a lot of things that have been discussed ad nauseum by countless people.

3. Tell us more about your connection to Mormonism?

I’d say I was born to goodly parents, but I would imagine someone else has already made that joke. 🙂 I was born into a strong church family with pioneer stock, and the church is an integral part of my family and my upbringing. Mormonism was one of the biggest ways we defined ourselves.

4.   What was your favorite calling?

 I love being a Primary teacher–I’ve done it three times now. I also enjoyed being the ward choir director, though it was terrifying for me.

IMG_0373
5.  What are some of the things you love about the church?
I love that I get to know people in the community I wouldn’t know otherwise, and I love that church is often a place where we can find out who needs help and how to get involved. I really value that. I love the idea of eternal progression and the idea that our bodies are sacred and eternal.

6.  What are some examples of gender inequality you see in the church?

 How could I not see inequality? Women just don’t have the priesthood, and that means that women don’t have nearly the same amount of voice, power, or presence in the church. This isn’t up for dispute–it just is, and you either come to terms with it or you don’t.

To make it more personal, my first issues growing up were the disparities between the activities of the YM and YW and the constant focus on modesty. I did have a lot of angst over women not having the priesthood, but that was not even a remotely acceptable question, so I hid it–until OW came out.

7.  Wow did you discover Ordain Women?

 I discovered OW on the Feminist Mormon Housewives Facebook group. In other words, I was already indoctrinated into feminism, and OW was an outgrowth of that.

8.  What prompted you to put up your profile?

 I put up my profile because it felt like the right thing to do. It was being debated all over the internet, and staying silent felt cowardly. This was also a time when I was wondering if there was a place for me at church the way I was or if I should just leave. Posting a profile and putting it on my Facebook page felt authentic, and that week I felt very strongly that God expected me to both stay in the church and to be myself. I was through with going along with what I was supposed to believe–it was time I acted on what I actually believe.

9.  What has been the reaction from those around you about your public support of the ordination of women?
It’s been mixed. I haven’t had any terrible reactions, but I’m so conflict-averse that this was still hard. Most people are kind to my face, even if they don’t agree with me. On Facebook, people are still generally kind but they are much more likely to call me to repentance and tell me about how wrong I am. The thing that bothers me the most is when friends of mine post very derogatory stuff about Ordain Women–about how apostate and misguided and selfish and whatever we are. I think they forget that I’m their friend and will see it. The times I’ve called them out and reminded them that I’m both a decent person and a member of Ordain Women have been positive experiences. I think they really just didn’t think things through when they posted things that they would never say to my face.
IMG_0010

10.  Have your feelings grown or changed since submitting your profile?

 Not really. The only change is that as time goes by I get more confident and less defensive about it.

11.  Do you have any examples of sharing your OW testimony to others?

Not really. I’d like to think that I’m a living testimony: I am both an active member of the church and a feminist! It can be done! We do exist! However, trying to be that person can also put a lot of pressure on me. Sometimes I do want to just take a break, but I worry that I’ll then be held up as proof that feminism ruins your testimony. It’s a stupid worry, but it’s true.

12.  How do you see the perception of OW changing with ward members/family/friends?

I think it’s still very much a minority group, but thankfully people have calmed down about it. It’s not as charged as it was a year ago. I think people have accepted that we’re not going anywhere, and while they may not like us, they’re learning to tolerate us.

13.  Have you lived in other countries?  How do you think Female Ordination would look different in those locations
I am very much not qualified to answer this question, but I certainly hope it would be a change for the better. I did appreciate Lani Wendt Young’s post about it: http://youngmormonfeminists.org/2014/04/19/rejoice-in-the-diversity-of-our-sisterhood-a-samoan-mormon-feminist-voice-on-ordain-women/.