As we approach the second Ordain Women priesthood session action, the pattern set by the Brother of Jared resonates with me. His example of asking the Lord for light, after being initially rebuffed, buoys me up as I prepare to faithfully approach the door of the Tabernacle, knock a second time and ask to be accepted as an equal in the household of God.
I am regularly asked, “If you have faith in God and in the Restoration, why is agitation for greater inclusion of women in the Church necessary? Why hasn’t God already taken care of it?” I’ve thought a lot about this. I truly believe in the Restoration and that Christ is at the head of this true and living church. Part of what makes the Church a living church is that it grows and adapts to the needs of its members. Just as “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,” the Church organization was made to serve God’s children and not the children to serve the organization (Mark 2:27).
Since we live in a fallen world, there are societal and cultural influences that have been part of shaping the Church over time. We do not live in Zion yet, and every disciple of Christ must strive to build the kingdom of God. I believe female ordination will hasten the work of establishing Zion. Proposing female ordination will change this iteration of church organization, however I do not believe it is asking for God to change His mind. I believe He already sees my sisters and me as having equal ability to exercise the divine power and authority that our brothers currently exercise.
In this circumstance, I think about the Brother of Jared and his interaction with the Lord. The book of Ether tells us the Brother of Jared goes to the Lord and says, “O Lord, in [our boats] there is no light… And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe” (Ether 2:19). God answers the Brother of Jared, instructing him how to modify their boats so that they can breathe and thus survive the journey, but God doesn’t answer the Brother of Jared’s question regarding the darkness. God simply provides the bare necessities for the people to cross the waters safely. However, the Brother of Jared returns to the Lord, reiterating the importance of the light to the people, and asks again, “O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?” (Ether 2:22). The Brother of Jared understood that his community would be able to safely cross the water this way, but he wanted the journey to be a better experience for everyone. The Lord asks the Brother of Jared how he would dispel the darkness. This is when the Brother of Jared suggests the shining stones.
Through the Restoration we are blessed to have the Holy Priesthood, and it provides the way for us to safely cross the waters of mortality. If, like the Brother of Jared, we approach our Father in Heaven and say we too hope to make this journey a better experience for everyone, I believe that that’s acceptable to Him. My sisters and I have earnestly studied out in our minds the matter of gender inequality within the structure of the Church, and we suggest female ordination. We recognize that the power and authority to make this decision lies with Him who guides our church, Christ Jesus. We simply ask that our leaders and prophets prayerfully consider and ask God if this be right.