Thinking, Praying, Talking

3.22.2013

Women’s ordination is a hot-button issue, one that I really don’t know how I feel about, but I do know I’m not offended by the discussion. I have so many unanswered questions, so much to think and pray and talk about.

Yes, talk about. That’s important, too.

Feminist Mormon Housewives, a popular blog, addressed the issue of female ordination by posting a series of reflections from their regular contributors. Their intent was to show that there are many differing opinions on the topic, even among Mormon Feminists, and to model respectful, constructive discussion. I encourage you to pray for a spirit of love and discernment to be with you, then read the honest thoughts of the male and female contributors, starting with these important words from Joanna Brooks:

“I do not believe that a healthy religious community will exile or ostracize faithful brothers and sisters for asking heartfelt questions about serious issues. That is a betrayal of the original seeking spirit of Mormonism—the spirit that led Joseph Smith to the sacred grove.  I believe in a powerful, just, and merciful God, and I believe in the dream of Zion—a place where none shall come to hurt or make afraid, even each other.  I believe that revelation is a continuing conversation between God and a people.  I believe that a faith as beautiful and powerful as Mormonism both deserves and is capable of very rigorous and careful examination of history and doctrine.  I fully support a more thoughtful, respectful, and open discussion of ordination.  If there is doctrine, let us come to understand it better and not confuse it with traditional worldly ideas about gender roles, as we often do now.”

Here’s my own reflection:

As always, I’m a cozy, warm mess of unanswered questions. As Mormon women, we’re told that motherhood is the equivalent of the priesthood, but then what is fatherhood? And why are we told we will be priestesses in the eternities? What does that mean? Sometimes, although this message is never quite as loud and clear as others, we are taught that in the eternities, we will exercise the priesthood jointly as a couple. We are also taught that men and women have different divine roles, but that as Gods, we will be one in purpose. People might take that to mean that as Gods men will hold and exercise the priesthood as they do now, and women will just be on board with everything they do. But to me, that doesn’t feel quite right. That’s not how procreation works, for example, and we’re taught that our ability to procreate is the closest thing we have to a Godly power. A couple can’t mutually agree to have a baby and then have one partner carry that out alone. Procreation requires the union of two sacred powers, different but equally important. Might it not then follow that we will exercise different priesthood keys, according to our roles, to accomplish our unified goals? I see elements of this truth reflected in the temple: women perform initiatory ordinances and wear priesthood robes. Although I have other questions about things that go on in the temple as they relate to women’s roles, it is clear to me that the temple hints at some kind of greater involvement of women in the priesthood. I don’t know exactly how I will exercise my priestess powers in the eternities. I also don’t know what that means for God’s intentions for me in this life regarding the priesthood. I’d be thrilled by revelation that clarifies what the priesthood is—for men and for women—and what it isn’t. In many ways, the priesthood has become synonymous with the practical administration of our church—leading meetings, making decisions, etc. How much of that is really an exercise of priesthood power and how much of it is just tradition?

I believe that my divine potential is to exercise the priesthood jointly with my husband, and although I’m not sure what that will look like, I am sure I would be happy to see that doctrine expanded and focused on. For now, that’s all I’ve got.

Listening to: BYU Men’s Chorus, “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need”

 

2 comments :

  • Talyn

    Once in a question and answer with a general authority (a male one) I asked how I could teach young women to be women of God in a world so filled with lies about womanhood. He told me to teach them the oath and covenant of the Priesthood. ! This single piece of advice has brought many questions to my mind, but has also brought me peace in the knowledge that there is so much that I do not know. So much that we do not know. And that I can come to know more through a lifetime of study and revelation.

  • Ally

    Thank you for writing this. I see a lot of women and men who are clearly on one side. I’m still not sure how i feel about ordaining women, though i see the logic in it. i think i’m just going through some emotional turmoil because i was raised in the church, and therefore have almost always thought it was a blasphemous and crazy idea. it’s nice to see that other women are also confused and trying to figure out how they feel about it. also, that joanna quote is great. thanks!

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