On Sunday I decided to bear my testimony in sacrament meeting and talk about my involvement with Ordain Women. I’ve transcribed below approximately what I said. In case you were wondering, in my opinion it was only the third strangest testimony of the meeting. Yay for Mormon weirdness!
Next post I’ll share the response so far from my local leaders and fellow ward members. I think you’ll find it to be generally good news.
This past year I taught Book of Mormon in seminary and I absolutely loved it. I loved the kids, even when they were half-asleep or all-the-way asleep, or even when my son was making smart remarks. What I especially loved, though, was the opportunity to help the kids develop a personal relationship with God.
I love the Book of Mormon and am deeply moved by many of its teachings. One of my favorites is when Nephi teaches us that all are alike unto God. Over the years this scripture and other Church teachings have led me along a path of life that may be different from yours, and that is what I’d like to talk about even though it is hard for me. I feel very vulnerable baring my soul like this so I hope you’ll bear with me.
Two weeks ago I did not attend stake conference and last week I did not attend sacrament meeting. The reason I did not attend was that it was too painful for me to do so. As the bishop and stake president and a few others know, I have had a profile on the Ordain Women website for more than a year. I believe that the Church would benefit from more women’s voices in leadership. I also believe that the heavens are still open and that God will yet reveal many great and important things, and it is my prayer that female ordination will be one of them. So I was heartbroken when Kate Kelly was excommunicated.
I share this for a couple of reasons. One reason is because an LDS Church spokeswoman recently stated that our congregations should be safe places for us to discuss female ordination and other challenging issues. I guess I’m putting this to the test. But I also share this in the hope that you–my friends–may mourn with me even if you don’t agree with me.
I have faith that this Church I love is big enough for members like me who yearn for new revelations on fuller inclusion of women in church governance. I have faith that our Church is big enough for members who think I’m wrong or just plain bonkers for desiring such revelations. I have faith that our Church is big enough for those who may feel isolated or excluded—for our gay members, for single members, for divorced members, for those who struggle to speak English, for those who doubt.
I hope that if you are sitting in this congregation and are hurting, feeling that you are the only one who feels the way you do, that no one cares whether you show up next week or not—I hope that you will give us a chance to prove you wrong.
When Jesus left the 99 to go out after the one wandering sheep, I don’t believe he cared what that sheep looked like, how worthy it was, or whether it fit in with the other 99. He loved that sheep for what it was and he wanted to save it. I believe that we are all that one wandering sheep, and I pray that in our role as Christ’s under-shepherds we can have the compassion and empathy to save one another.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.