Sunday, April 13, 2014

Elevator buttons and Heavenly Mother: What I really think about the Ordain Women movement.

[A note to my non-member friends who might read this: I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believe in Jesus Christ, and that He is my Savior and Redeemer. I believe that this is His true Church on the earth today, and that it was restored and organized by a man named Joseph Smith, whom I revere as a Prophet of the Lord. I believe in God. I believe that He is my Father and the Father and creator of all people and things on the earth. I believe that He loves me and all of us perfectly. You may not be familiar with many of the terms I use in this post, but if I do not define them well enough for you here, or if you would like more information about the Church or it's doctrines and teachings, I recommend going to the source at or You are also very welcome to ask me if you have any questions.
"The Church"= The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which I normally refer to as "the Church" here for simplicity's sake.
"Priesthood"= The power of God, given to mankind, to act in His name. It is "held" by worthy male members of the Church who are "ordained" (bestowed) with this power in various "offices" (levels) by likewise ordained, worthy, male leaders. Women do not hold offices in the Priesthood in the Church, but are "set-apart" by Priesthood authority to various positions of service in all levels of the Church]

Dear World,

Down here at the bottom of the world General Conference has just ended, and with the admonition of a man I esteem as a prophet, seer, and revelator ringing in my ears*, I feel the need to address a subject which is tender, sensitive, and current. This may be the first you've heard of the issue, or like me, perhaps you have been exposed to may differing viewpoints, opinions, and beliefs in conjunction with this topic. I have been through my own process of listening, thinking, and praying about this topic, motivated by the different and often confusing opinions of dear friends whom I love greatly, no matter the differences in our convictions. Hopefully if you've embarked on conversations around this subject you have met individuals who have been respectful while hearing your views, whether or not they share them. I ask the same from you. No matter which side of the issue you're on, or even if you don't even consider yourself to be in it, I ask for your respect as I try to express what I personally feel and think about the Ordain Women movement.

Just in case you haven't heard of it, the Ordain Women movement ( is a group of LDS women and men, some active and some less active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who seek to obtain ordination to the Priesthood for women in the Church. Their FAQ page explains that they feel women are not held in equal standing in the Church, that Priesthood ordination is something which should be shared, and that withholding female Priesthood ordination is continuing a tradition of female repression within the Church. While generally respectful of the Church's position, the group has continued to petition the Brethren to "take this matter to the Lord in prayer," believing that female ordination is the true doctrine of the Gospel of Christ, lacking only latter-day revelation to bestow it. While continuing to actively protest to gain admittance to the traditionally "men only" Priesthood session of conference for the past two General Conferences, the group has ignored the Church's polite requests that they simply watch the broadcast online rather than trying to occupy seats that are first reserved for brothers attending the session. I was personally in agreement with the letter the church issued to the group where they stated clearly that Ordain Women's behavior "actually detracts from the helpful discussions that church leaders have held as they seek to listen to the thoughts, concerns and hopes of women inside and outside of church leadership. Ordination of women to the Priesthood is a matter of doctrine that is contrary to the Lord’s revealed organization for his church." Sadly, at least to me, this did not stop the group's plans to protest, nor their attempts to gain access to Priesthood session. As their webpage states, "Ordain Women believes women must be ordained in order for our faith to reflect the equity and expansiveness of [the Church's teachings on gender equality]."

Ready to hear what I think?

First of all, I believe that the entire platform that women aren't fully involved in the Priesthood in the Church is utterly absurd and untrue. Without even being a full temple endowed member of the Church myself yet (soon!), even I know how that is false: the Priesthood is the means by which men and women receive exaltation. Neither men nor women can be exalted on their own, thus we need each other in the Priesthood to get there. Women hold the Priesthood inasmuch as we are called, sustained, and set apart to officiate in callings by the Priesthood. Male Priesthood leaders who are ordained  to their respective offices direct and work together with us, the unordained women. This does not bother me. I am not hung up on the word "under" in the phrase "under the direction of." In every capacity in which I have served under the direction of the Priesthood I have been listened to and respected. My ideas and opinions have been important and necessary. I have always felt that I am working with my Priesthood-holding brothers, and not separately, behind, under, or against.

I thought of this analogy: Sometimes when you get in an elevator there is a bellman there to push the buttons and take you to the floor at which you need to get off. Do you fight the bellman because he doesn't let YOU push the buttons? Are you annoyed that that ability is "withheld" or "taken" from you? Do you feel like you are less because you aren't given that job? I don't. You're riding the elevator together. You're getting off at the same place. What difference does it make to me that HE is the one pushing the button, and I am not? It does not make me less. It doesn't mean I'm not capable. It doesn't mean anything. It just means that it's not my job. End of story. As long as I get there, what do I care who pushes the button?

Secondly, I think the argument that women are marginalized and seen as "less" in the Church is utterly false. I have been blessed with success in many of my endeavors "in the world" (outside of the Church), but nowhere do I feel more respected, more valued, more loved, more needed, more honored, more important, more well rounded, or that I am more closely fulfilling my divine potential than when I am serving in the capacities to which I have been called in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, under all-male, all-ordained-to-an-office-in-the-Priesthood leadership direction. I am not marginalized. I am not devalued. I am not simply put into a room with crying children and told to "do your mothering thing." I am not relegated to a cushioned chair in a Relief Society room, given a rose on Mother's Day, and never expected or allowed to raise an opinion or voice a concern. I am heard. I am loved. I am equal. I have never doubted that, and although sometimes the culture of the church interprets the role of a woman differently, I have never felt that the doctrine did anything but support, honor, and value me. But it is true that people make mistakes. My heart hurts both for those sisters who have felt unequal, and those inside the church whose comments or actions have perpetuated that injustice. Such belief is not the Gospel, and it should rightfully be called out and done away with. But friends, I do not feel that arguing for female ordination to the Priesthood is either the right way to combat or to correct that culture.

Finally, whenever I start to wonder about issues like this in a Gospel context, I go back to my idol: Heavenly Mother.

Here's the thing: I believe that when I see my Heavenly Mother again, I will stand in breathless awe to behold Her beauty and majesty. I believe that She will stand next to my Father in Heaven, Her hand in His, totally equal in might, power, dominion, and grace. I believe that I will be filled with wonder at Her goodness, Her beauty, Her elegance, and Her loving heart. I believe that She is not one whit behind our Father in Heaven in matters of the Priesthood. I do not believe that Heavenly Mother holds an office in the Priesthood, but I do believe that She is every bit as exalted, perfect, and wonderful as Father in Heaven. I do not believe that not being "God" has ever held Her back from being a Goddess, Queen, and perfect Being the same as my Heavenly Father. I want to be like Her, and as far as I understand it, ordination to the Priesthood is not a necessary step on that journey.

To be honest, if a Prophet of the Lord ever does step up to the pulpit in General Conference and say, "Brothers and Sisters, after much prayer and fasting and consultation with the Lord I have received revelation that women are now to be ordained to offices in the Priesthood," it will be a trial of my faith. I will have to go and pray mightily for understanding from the Lord, and for my own confirmation that that really is His desire for the Church.

I do not believe that will ever happen though.


Because the Lord does not change. This Church is the same Church that existed in the Savior's day--the Savior did not ordain women then, and the Lord does not ordain them now.

And that doesn't bother me. 

To my wonderful sisters and brothers who are bothered, I'm sorry. I pray for you to find the peace of spirit and conscience that will allow you to accept the teachings of the Gospel as they currently stand. I pray that your hearts will be softened to hear the voice of prophets and apostles saying gently and lovingly, but clearly, that the ordination of women is not something that exists in the Lord's kingdom (but women in the Priesthood is!), and that you will then receive all the blessings of fully supporting and sustaining your leaders. However much sacrifice you have to make on your part, however much faith it requires for you, I pray that you can receive that confirmation and be at peace. I have been blessed in my life as I have sought to do so, and I know you will be blessed in yours.

So now you know where I stand. Congratulations to you! :)

*"Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them."--Elder Jeffrey R. Holland "The Cost--and Blessings--of Discipleship." April 2014 General Conference, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Am I the only one who does this???

Today at the institute building I was snacking on first, celery and peanut butter, and then apples and peanut butter. My two friends were looking at me like I was crazy. Finally one of them said, "how can you eat that?!" And then it hit me...

I'm so American.

And then I laughed.