Friday, November 8, 2013

Gender Equality in the Mormon Church


I am a Mormon, I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I am proud to be a woman in this church. 

Gender equality is a very sensitive topic that needs to be addressed respectfully, and I hope that I can do that in this post. I believe that the Mormon church embraces gender equality. I have no intention of attacking or offending anyone whose opinions are different than mine. With that in mind, I'd like to proceed by discussing gender equality specifically as it relates to the priesthood.

I believe that although women and men in the Church do not have the same roles, we have divine responsibilities that are unique yet equally important. This is one of our fundamental doctrines. No, women have not been given the responsibility of the priesthood, but that is not because of a belief that men are somehow superior to women. The late prophet Gordon B. Hinkley said this about gender equality and women holding the priesthood:

“Women do not hold the priesthood because the Lord has put it that way. It is part of His program. Women have a very prominent place in this Church. Men hold the priesthood offices of the Church. But women have a tremendous place in this Church. They have their own organization. It was started in 1842 by the Prophet Joseph Smith, called the Relief Society, because its initial purpose was to administer help to those in need. It has grown to be, I think, the largest women’s organization in the world... They have their own offices, their own presidency, their own board. That reaches down to the smallest unit of the Church everywhere in the world...

“The men hold the priesthood, yes. But my wife is my companion. In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.”

We have our own organization! And I have to tell you, it's amazing. I would elaborate more on what Gordon B. Hinkley said, but he said it very well so I'll leave it at that.

I'd also like to talk about how women are involved in the priesthood. This is a quote from lds.org:

"Elder M. Russell Ballard taught: 'In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood-endowed plan, men have the unique responsibility to administer the priesthood, but they are not the priesthood. Men and women have different but equally valued roles. Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman. In other words, in the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by husband and wife' (“This Is My Work and My Glory,” Apr. 2013 general conference)."

To me, that is amazing. Men and women need each other to fulfill our divine roles. We can't do it without each other. Our roles are "different but equally valued."

So what are our divine roles? We've already touched on the priesthood portion of them. The Family: A Proclamation to the World outlines our roles perfectly. First we are designed to be parents and have a family. Then it says this:

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."

I know that God made us different for a great purpose. We are different! But neither gender is superior; we are equally important as the Church has stated over and over again.

I am blessed to be a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

If you have more questions regarding this topic -- please, visit the Church's websites. They have answers to almost any question you might have about Mormonism. lds.org mormon.org