Tuesday, July 15, 2014

To My Mormon Daughters

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Dear Ever, Erin and Iris Eve,

I am writing to you tonight because I think you deserve an explanation from me. The three of you are upstairs asleep, and Daddy is putting Anson to bed by telling him stories about living in the flat, canyonlands of southwest Idaho. I hope they will read this letter too, but I am directing this at you. And I am going to publish it before you ever get a chance to read it, but I think you'll know why.

One day you'll probably hear the name Kate Kelly. And you'll probably ask me my thoughts about her and her work with Ordain Women and her subsequent excommunication. Because this is a conversation we'll have some time in the future, I want to write my feelings now as this event is current. Kate's work with Ordain Women started two years ago, her excommunication came last month--the effects of which are being felt in a huge way tonight as I write this letter.

First, you should know I did my homework. I researched and asked questions and showed up to events so that I could be informed. And this is how it happened.

I met Kate in a funny way. At the very first Ordain Women gathering I decided to go and check it out. I had several experiences I would call spiritual that lead me to believe that ordaining women would be a beautiful, wonderful thing for our church--both for women and men. So when I heard about this group from a media email they sent me, I decided to attend. Aunt Page was really great, and offered to watch you (well, not you Iris because Heaven was watching you) while I drove up to the University of Utah for the gathering. I happened to get there really early (and you know, I'm never early) and anyway, I found myself in the room with Kate Kelly almost alone before anyone else showed up. We introduced ourselves and I said to her, "You're really brave" and she looked around at all the empty seats and said, "Thanks. I have butterflies." And that was it really, then a flood of people started coming into the room until it was standing room only.

Here's me talking to some fellow Mormon feminists (my dear friend) Stephanie Lauritzen and Margaret Toscano at that first meeting. The Salt Lake Tribune shot this photo and ran it:

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Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune (from left) University of Utah professor Margaret Toscano talks with (middle) Stephanie Lauritzen, organizer of "Wear Pants to Church Day", and blogger C. Jane Kendrick before the Ordain Women, an organization advocating faithfully for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood, official launch event in the Union Theatre on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on April 6, 2013.

I loved the meeting. There was revival and rejoicing but it had those Mormon pioneer vibes about it. I found myself wishing Relief Society was more like that meeting. Women stood up and bore testimony while expressing genuine emotions and human reaction. There was a lot of love in that room. We sang songs and said prayers and talked about foremothers reaching as far back as the Old Testament.

But I decided not to post a profile on their website, mostly because I wasn't ready to be public with my feelings. And I didn't know how I wanted to portray those feelings. It felt good to me to keep them in my heart.

Six months later my friend Sarah talked me into going to the Relief Society General Meeting with her, we took Frontrunner up to Salt Lake City. Our tickets put us in the balcony in the conference center full of twenty thousand women. Twenty thousand! When I sat down my nose started running and as I rummaged through my purse for a tissue a nice sister seated two seats away from me handed me a tiny little bit of a napkin. She said she was a reader of my blog and said some really sweet things to me. She was there with her mom (seated next to me) and as I introduced myself I felt like there was something going on that was bigger than I understood.

And then sometime during the meeting, as her mother was taking vigorous notes and she was watching intently to the speaker, I knew what was gong on. They were Kate Kelly's sister and mother. Isn't that weird? I just knew them, like I had always known them, even though I didn't know them at all! Then, during the rest hymn I asked, "Are you Kate Kelly's mother and sister?" And they said, yes. I had so much love for them.

This may seem sorta silly, the emphasis I am putting into this meeting, but it was really mind blowing to me--that out of all those women I was seated next to them. At the time I really felt like it was a sign from a loving God--not a sign to do anything, but a sign that he put us together that night so that we could love and encourage one another--which we did after the meeting.

Two years later, I went up to a vigil in Salt Lake City for Kate as her disciplinary council was being held in Virginia. Iris, you came with me this time. It was like a huge family reunion. So many people I loved were there--and we were lucky to meet many new people to love as well. We sang and prayed and supported one another. Like that first meeting, Kate was there (probably with butterflies) and many of us talked about hope. A lot of hope.

Iris, here is you and me with my friends Katrina and Jared Anderson, Brooke Lark, John Dehlin and Tresa Edmunds. I want to put a heart emoticon by each of their names:
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The next day I was at Costco when I found out that Kate Kelly had been excommunicated. It felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach. And then I started sobbing--the news made me sad and angry and confused. And Ever, I was late to pick up from your first day of summer preschool because I was trying to stop crying. You were in the office waiting for me. That made me feel even worse. I am sincerely sorry about that. I'll probably never forget it. (I hope you'll forgive me.) 

Second, I want you to know I have a soft spot in my heart for people who bravely live what they feel is ethical and moral, even when it isn't shared by most of their religious community.

I have known many powerfully spiritual woman in my lifetime and most of them are Mormon feminists. Many of these women I met after I had you, Erin. I have been taught by them and loved by them. The closest I ever felt to Jesus was when sweet Joanna Brooks cupped my face in her hands and kissed my cheeks. Someday I will share with you some of the deep, beautiful experiences I have shared with my Mormon feminist friends. I owe them much--they awakened me and brought me out of my stupor of thought. Through them I learned how to heal what made me angry. I learned to feel peace through being proactive.

I want you to know that through the same channels that I felt I should go on a mission, or marry your dad, I also felt like I should pray and hope for women's ordination. I do hope for it. For me and for you and for our favorite person (and neighbor) Jessica and Maya and Mac and even Umi. I pray for it all the time. I pray for it because God asked me to pray for it. I pray for it because I think ordaining women is a wonderful, progressive, positive, inclusive idea.

I pray for it because it will give women AND men more opportunities to serve in more capacities. Right now, women can't marry people in the temple and men are not Primary Presidents. But I know some women who would make poetic temple sealers and I know men who would make the best Primary Presidents. I know women who would be incredibly insightful patriarchs (but we'd have to change that name!) and men who would be amazing compassionate service leaders (hint: your father).

While at the same time, I DO think it's important for men and women (and young men and young women) to have their own time of gathering together with their leaders. I don't want all of church disregard to gender entirely. There is a great benefit to being together as women and as men. I feel that every week in Relief Society. One of the joys of my life right now is to conduct our Relief Society meetings and look at the faces of the women I get to know, serve and love. I look forward to it every single week.

Third, it is my belief that Mormon women will not be ordained until Mormon women want to be ordained. Right now, according to at least one poll, Mormon women don't want to be ordained. In the course of my lifetime I've heard all sorts of reasons--and I've said a lot of them myself--as to why female ordination is a bad idea. Many of the reasons are plausible, some of them are illogical but I want you three to know I've worked through most of them and they no longer sit right in my heart. The only reason why I think God wouldn't want to ordain women is because the majority of women do not want it.

Many women say they've never felt ill effects of gender inequality in the church. I have a lot of thoughts about this sentiment, but mostly I hope we have many more conversations about this topic. To me, it's very obvious that regardless of how women feel in this organization, the truth is we don't have equal opportunities as women. And having gone through years of infertility, I believe we can do better by women in giving them more opportunities to serve using their skills and talents than relying on biological-based gender roles and circumstantial relationship statuses. But again, that won't happen until the women are ready to have those conversations. And the miracle of it is that we are starting to have those conversations more and more. We do have people like Kate and Ordain Women to thank for that.

But I don't believe God doesn't intend for women to be ordained. There is no scriptural or doctrinal declaration proof of this concept. And certainly there is no harm in asking and praying for what is in your heart. After all, this is what lead to the beginnings of our church--and a pattern we often repeat--ask God for what you desire. Ask, knock, ponder, pray, have faith, have hope. There is no punishment in these things. If all three of you came to me unified in asking for something that you  desired--and it was something that was inherently good and safe--I wouldn't turn you down. I think God is the same way.

And for those of us who do want to be ordained, we will carry on in hope. We will practice charity for others and for ourselves. I want you to know where I sit with this issue tonight. It is my desire that by the time you read this letter, and we are talking about this history, you will have the opportunity to be ordained in our church. I want you to know that your mother was one of those who hoped and waited (not always with patience, to be honest, but I'm trying) for that day.

And perhaps if this is the case, you will know that your mother made it public and will probably hear back from many disappointed people, but she couldn't put you to bed one more night without wondering if she were brave enough to write this post. Just like Kate wondered if she could get through that first meeting with all those butterflies fluttering around in her stomach. Just like all the women who came before you who had to step up and say something when they had the option to keep quiet.

One more thing, I decided to tell my ward sisters in a Relief Society lesson I gave that I was struggling with this issue. Afterward, ninety year old Nina came up to me and said she didn't get it. Why would these Ordain Women want to be just like men? I told her that wasn't the case--it's a hope for more opportunities for women. She left me by saying, "I guess I need to open my mind." The next week in Sunday School as we were talking about the Old Testament she probed the teacher on why women were not allowed into King Solomon's temple. And in that moment I hoped maybe something about our conversation the week before sparked Nina's thoughts toward the plight of women--from past until the present. Of course, maybe I am just drawing my own conclusions. But it gave me courage to speak up more often.

Mormonism is our heritage--it's in our bedtime stories and our daily rituals. It's in the way we worship and the way we hope. I am choosing to raise you in this belief system (albeit somewhat non-traditionally) because it can be empowering and enlightening. And I believe we're still shaping our doctrine. Perhaps we've known for quite sometime exactly what we want for the men of the church . . .  and as for the women? It's my belief that we're just getting started.

Join me?

Love,
Your mom

295 comments:

1 – 200 of 295   Newer›   Newest»
Jennifer Gee said...

so much love for such an inspiring letter!

Tracie Carter said...

Very brave of you here and I thank you for your thoughts because like most of your readers, I've wondered how you felt about this topic. I keep returning here because you give me things to chew on. I'm grateful for recent conversations about women's place in the church because I've always felt the need for change. While I don't necessarily believe ordaining women is what is needed or agree with the strategies of OW, I do see why they did what they did they ways they've done it, have seen their pain up close, and prayed for all involved in the recent events to have soft hearts. What an incredibly tender time for so many. I believe revelation continues and agree with you that we're just starting to taste what is to come. Bless you and your beautiful family!

C. Jane Kendrick said...

Thanks Jennifer. Love right back to you!

Erin said...

You write with much courage. Your daughters are lucky.

C. Jane Kendrick said...

Tracie,

Thank you. It is entirely possible to me that even the discussion of women's ordination will lead us to something even better. I can see that. We just need a starting point, right?

C. Jane Kendrick said...

Thank you Erin! I'm certain my daughters are going to have their fair share of mother-based trials... God bless them!

Funky Kim said...

You are why I don't run completely away from the church of my youth. I do hope that you aren't given too much grief for your views. I shall light a candle for you.

C. Jane Kendrick said...

Solidarity Funky Kim. Let's hold hands shall we?

Leigh Ann said...

From a woman rabbi - We may not believe it happens in exactly the same way, but Jews believe in continuing revelation too. So many of these issues are paralleled in the discussion over women should be granted authority to be ordained as rabbis and appointed communal leaders.

I have two young daughters (and two young sons) and very little is more important to me than teaching them to see the equal humanity, goodness, and potential in each person on the planet, male or female.

Ordained or not, you are a leader in your faith. If there are enough of us hoping, it will happen.

Thank you for your bravery, and your beautiful writing.

Susan Honsinger said...

Thank you so much for being brave, and speaking with kindness in the face of great disappointments right now. Real inclusiveness, with women serving truly alongside men, is my prayer, too. Sometimes I am brave and sometimes I am silenced, for fear of what has happened to Kate Kelly. Your bravery encourages me.

Court and Jill said...

I am often taken back at the number of people who were surprised by Kate's excommunication. Too many are turning a blind eye to the entire history and story of her excommunication and instead are being swept away in some romanticized version of feminism that conveniently relieves her of any fault or responsibility. I almost wholeheartedly disagree with this blog post, with complete respect for you and your opinions however. Some of the most faithful and inspirational women I have ever met have faced difficult circumstances in which they have not received exactly what they want when they want it....and have exercised humility in aligning their will with God's anyway. Being a woman is not easy. Being a man also cannot be easy. But when in the history of God dealing with mankind has God ever placed an importance on making things equal in the world's eyes or even making life easier in general. HIs ways are not the world's ways. Mormon women have spitfire. They just do. It started with the pioneers crossing the plains and has been passed on through generations until now. It is a great quality that has served us well. But what if God wants us to develop other qualities at this time more than he wants women to have the priesthood? Humility. Acceptance. Faith. Obedience. I don't for one second believe that women have to want the priesthood before God will grant it, therefore justifying a rally and war cry among women. There are hundreds of examples in history when God granted or commanded people to do things that were good for them even if they didn't want it or ask for it. When polygamy was commanded in the 1800s there was not a social movement where people came forth and tried to persuade the masses. God knew when it was right and he asked it of his people. It was hard for them to follow such a difficult commandment. The same goes for when it was abolished. Many did not agree and certainly no one was campaigning for it. Yet, God in his wisdom giveth and taketh when the time is right for him...and I believe it has nothing to do with social polls or opinions. I mean, if I believe what you said in your blog post, then we should be able to speed up the second coming if we can convince enough people to want it sooner, and pray for it sooner, believe in it sooner, and start a social campaign and hold vigils and create websites...then surely God will hear us and give us what we want, when we want it...right? Actually, I think not. Our challenge on Earth is to align our will with God's and trust in his timing. People can believe whatever they want and hope and pray for whatever they want...but if they believe that the only way to receive their "miracle" is by a majority vote...well...I just can't believe that.

Stephanie said...

Love love love! I felt the gut-punch too. Thank you for sharing. I love being associated with such beautiful bravery, even by several degrees of removal. Thank you.

Jules said...

I've been processing my thoughts for a couple of months now and I'm still not at a place where they make sense once I write them down. Thanks for this. It's nice to know I'm not alone. Sending happy thoughts to shore up against any possible negativity...

TheOneTrueSue said...

NEVER READ THE COMMENTS.

;)

Beautiful and so, so, so brave. Much love to you.

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Laura said...

Thank you. I honor your courage. After a night filled with tears and conversation with my husband (about these very topics - and then some), and a desire to try and live more authentically and humbly, I needed this. Your thoughts, and your voice, have provided me with the strength to try and keep that desire burning bright and strong. Thank you.

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Melessa Gregg said...

Thank you for writing this.

B said...

Op-Ed Piece in NYTimes Today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/opinion/the-end-of-the-mormon-moment.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region

Michelle said...

C. Jane I love you for being honest and open about what is in your heart. It is my quest to be real, authentic, and vulnerable and not feel boxed in by my religious culture. Thank you for your example!

I guess I fall into the category of the women who don't really want to be ordained, and therefore feel content with where I am. I like to think it is not because I lack open mindedness, but rather because I feel like asking to be ordained is a little redundant. I have thought a lot about it, and I cannot see how being ordained to the priesthood would bless my life anymore than the priesthood is already blessing my life.

When I was 21 years old I served in a priesthood role as a missionary for the church, representing Jesus Christ and wearing his name on my tag just like the young men I served with. I have taught the gospel with power, clarity, and even the authority of the priesthood as a Relief Society president, Young Women's president, Primary president, and other various callings within the church. I have made priesthood covenants and received priesthood ordinances and have access to the priesthood power because of these personal covenants between myself and my Savior Jesus Christ. I live with the understanding that I am a priestess in the making, fulling participating in God's plan for his children under the power and authority of God. These are all blessings and privileges I have received independently of what my father, brothers, and husband choose to do with their lives and the reasons why I personally do not understand the need for women to be ordained to the priesthood. I realize that not everyone agrees with my views, but the way I see it, I am already fully engaged as a participant in all of the priesthood blessings available to God's children.

Ordination allows for holding certain priesthood keys and performing ordinances. In my opinion it is not a sign of inequality. It is an administrative and service role for men in the same way the callings I have participated in (listed above) are for women. Anytime I have been issued a calling in the church, hands have been placed on my head to set me apart and give me (priesthood) power to do my calling, so in a sense I have been "ordained" to serve in God's kingdom, just like the men I love and honor and work alongside.

If it is God's will that his daughters are ordained, I will welcome that when it comes. It just isn't something I feel is needed for us to grow and progress. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead!

Jessi said...

I consider myself a Mormon feminist. However, I cannot stand in support of Kate Kelly or any of her followers. It makes me sad that so many are looking beyond the mark in regards to priesthood ordination. No blessings are being withheld from us. Our potential for eternal progression is not tied to what callings we may or may not hold. The test of this life is whether or not we are willing to submit our will to the Lord's will. And that is the same for women as it is for men. It does take humility to accept that what we want for ourselves may not be what the Lord wants. We can ask and ponder and question. But in the end we have to be willing to exercise faith and accept the answer that has been given.

Trevor said...

Thanks for your bravery! As the father of a little girl still months away from turning two years old, I share your hopes for a church with more opportunities and a more expansive vision for women.

By the way, Spencer Kimball once told his son, "Revelations will probably never come unless they are desired. I think few people receive revelations while lounging on a couch."

Rebecca said...

I so appreciate you sharing your thoughts/perspective on this topic. I don't know yet where I stand, but I'm thinking about it, and trying to have an open heart and mind. I do feel incredibly sad for Kate, and grateful for the good things that have happened recently for women in the church (praying in Gen Conf, sitting in the middle of the men instead of off to the side, women on the Sunday School board...). One wise woman said something like we had to have a radical Malcolm X in order to accept MLK, Jr. I don't know enough about that history to really write knowledgeably about it, but the point was that you have to have some radicals in order to change the middle. I applaud you and your friends for your bravery and authenticity. Someday we'll know more...but for now, faith and love, and more love.

Nancy Ross said...

Thank you, C Jane! I know how hard it is to publicly support the ordination of women. Thank you for writing this beautiful post!

Sara K.S. Hanks said...

Chills. Chills all over. Thank you so much for writing these eloquent words.

(Also: clapping. http://weknowmemes.com/2012/09/20-best-clapping-gifs/)

Belle said...

Thank you so much for your bravery and your thoughts and your honesty. I adore the image of Joanna giving you a kiss on the cheek.

Kbizzle said...

I have been waiting SO LONG for you to write about this! Thank you SO MUCH for standing up for what's right. For every one of us that is public, there are 100 that are silent. We get nothing done when we are silent. While being public resulted in my recommend being revoked, I would not take it back for a second.

Julia said...

Thank you for your bravery. Beautiful essay.

(I think you meant one year instead of two in the paragraph about going to the vigil after meeting Kate Kelly's family).

Emily said...

This was a great read -- I love how you make yourself vulnerable like this. I look forward to the day when my Mormon sisters look at our rich history and want our spiritual gifts and privileges BACK. Not every brother desires the priesthood; it's not surprising that it's not universally desired by the sisters. But all things in due time. When more of us are ready, I believe it will be given to us. Write on, C. Jane!

4 Peanuts and a Cashew said...

I admire your bravery. I am not yet this brave. I also have a lot of disappointment and anger with how OW has been treated. I wonder how clamping down on thought, shared difference in opinion, and questioning is good in any way. I wonder how I can continue to belong to a church that would do this. Thank you for speaking out. I know it is hard, but you give others around you strength and give life through words to our feelings too.

Unknown said...

Brava--that took you a while to post but it was very brave! Just remember your granddaughters will be reading this :) I suspect they'll be priesthood holders, too.

sarah said...

Thank you for your heartfelt sentiments. I am always a fan of people being honest with themselves and the world around them.

I had a great discussion with my visiting teachers this week. One of them indicated that maybe, perhaps, if nothing else, this discussion, trial, and growing pain in the church is what we need in order to become more loving and Christlike in our discussion and to become one. To rock our doctrine vs culture and better understand which is driving us.

I believe that God will make good of whatever His children do with sincere intent to follow Him. We just have to have faith in Him and our ability to discern what He is teaching us individually and collectively through the spirit. My testimony which has always been "strong" has grown in leaps and bounds as I have painfully scrutinized my own place. My feminist leanings and how that applies, and my acceptance of those whose approach does not match my own.

Hallie said...

Amen. Amen.

Lisa B. said...

I just want to say how beautiful your voice is, and how grateful I am for it. I have hoped to hear your thoughts (and prayers) on this topic--thank you for being who you are, and for writing from that deeply authentic place.

Christina McKinney said...

I have been a LONG time reader, since back when you only had Anson and still called him Chief ;) (this might be my first ever comment though...)
I have a lot of respect for the things I've seen you post over the years and often found peace and comfort. I have struggled with infertility issues as well. I'm glad that you took the time to write this down for your girls.

Do I always agree 100% with you? Nope. But I know that you are a strong and faithful woman. I am currently struggling to put into words myself how I feel about the whole OW situation, I have been since I first heard about it. I sort of feel like it's just not my fight. I have never felt excluded from the priesthood. I've never been offended that there are callings I'll never hold. Not because they're not valid things to wonder about or ponder! I agree that there is nothing wrong with righteous desires and there's nothing wrong with seeking answers. We can always pray and ask for the things in our hearts. I just feel that where Kate Kelly went wrong was to not accept the "no" answer that came. We can't just pray till the Lord caves. I do believe her intentions were pure, she was looking for answers. But when you ask, you always need to be prepared to hear an answer...whether it's the one you want or not. I don't know if women will ever be called to hold the priesthood. But what I do know is that I have faith in my father in heaven and faith our prophet. Both of them say "No," and that's enough of an answer for me.

turleybenson said...

Love you Ceej. We met at the Rooftop Concert July 4th and your bro took a picture of us. :) And this is the reason why I admire you so much. You've inspired me to be brave, too.

The world needs brave girls. Thanks for being one of them.

Teresa Peschke said...

Thank you so much for this. Before Kate was excommunicated, I went to the DC temple. In the Celestial Room, I sat, and prayed harder than I ever had. I pleaded with God to know what his will was. I am a convert and I love this church, but the rampant sexism I've faced since joining as well S patriarchal abuses I've seen have been hard on my testimony. What I was told that day in the celestial room is that, our heavenly parents do indeed intend that we will one day have the priesthood. That our roles will be different because of who we are, not because the sex we were born. I also feel I was told that women's ordination will be a while off. Because so many people are sticking their heels in and forgetting that our church doesn't rely on the traditions of the past but instead on continuing revelation. Just because something has "always been that way" doesn't mean our heavenly parents won't change that.
Thank you for your courage to post this for everyone to see. I'm sorry that there will be people who attack you because they feel invincible behind their keyboards. You are strong. And I admire you.

Mar C said...

I'm so grateful for a prophet on the earth today. I'm so grateful that I don't have to worry about what God wants to do with his children on earth at this time. My life is so VERY busy and fulfilling as it is. I'm happy with all my church callings, work assignments, and I've had quality time to nurture and raise my children. I was a stay at home mom for twenty-two years and now that my children are moving out and moving on I continue to grow and develop. My desire is to follow the prophet and serve people who are suffering and need help. I often think of the advise I heard a mother share with her daughters once. Look in the mirror in the morning and be happy with what you see, then go out and serve!

Maria Rose said...

Beautiful.

Sara Susov said...

After all the events of the last month, after the heartache, feeling like I was punched in the stomach, the fear and feeling ill, this is what finally made me cry. Thank you for worrying this with such love and the spirit.

Sara Susov said...

*writing this, not worrying this.

simplysarah said...

Brave and beautiful. Thanks for your voice.

hkobeal said...

I thought I saw you there and hoped it was you. You don't know me at all and that's okay. ;)

I love this post and your honesty. I've tried to do as you are and stay in and carry on, but I'm on my last lap, I think. I just can't keep running.

Coey said...

I am in awe of your open mind and heart. Your little girls will be so proud of you on day. I hope you do not let the ones who speak negatively break your voice. I will pray that you feel warmth and continued peace after sharing this brave post.

Chronic Mom said...

Thank you so much for your bravery and this beautiful blog post. I found Mormon feminists when I was ready to run away screaming from the church because of the sexism. Mormon feminists showed me that it was possible to be a faithful and believing LDS and a strong independent woman at the same time. I hope you don't get too much grief for this post.

Leslie Short said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I am currently not very active and have issues with the church in general, so the priesthood is not something I personally desire, but I absolutely, one hundred percent support the OW movement and believe women should be able to receive it. I struggle to understand how many women believe that being humble and faithful means to live a daily life without questioning and just taking things as they are, believing the way things are is how God intends it to be, without ever changing. Also, the idea that God will make the changes when he sees fit, if necessary. I think women are completely missing the important aspect of the gospel of asking. We HAVE to ask for things. Asking is not a bad thing. It does not mean that a person is lacking in faith or humility, as so many people seem to believe. God expects us to share our desires, needs, thoughts, etc., in order for him to address those. Church history is full of scenarios where revelation and changes came only as a result of directly asking, and sometimes asking for years and years and years. I think you are right in saying that God probably intends and wants to give women he priesthood, but until more women want it and then openly share with him and the church leaders their desire for it, it will not happen. Thank you again for sharing this. It's women like you who don't make me run completely away front he church.

mraynes said...

Thank you for writing this, CJane. Your bravery is admirable. I also wrote a letter to my daughter after Kate's excommunication because I want her to understand this moment in time (http://www.the-exponent.com/to-sylvia/). One day she will read about this time and feel the same sorrow that I feel over the excommunications of Margaret, Lavina, Janice, Maxine, and now Kate. I wanted desperately to heal the hurt she will feel in advance even though I know this is not entirely possible. I am glad, though, that your daughters and my daughter will know that we fought for them and that they come from a lineage of powerful women. Thank you again for your words and your bravery.

Vesuvius At Home said...

I thought about you a lot while this happened. Most of the time I don't feel like I get to have an opinion on goings-on within the Mormon church, because I'm not Mormon. This excommunication was unsettling to me, because it's an issue that runs through every church in existence (including the Lutheran church I grew up in) and it frustrates me that at this point in history, women are still fighting tooth and nail for equality within their spiritual systems. If there is any single place on earth we should have total equality, it's within our spiritual practices. Anyway, what I love about this post, and about your writing, is that it turns me away from mindless anger (which is stupefying and paralyzing) and back toward gentle thought, loving deliberation, and peace. Your writing reminds me to choose peace, C.Jane! How wonderful that is.

Andrea said...

I think wanting to ordain women is the most anti-feminist, anti-women stance I've ever heard in my life. It negates all the doctrine about how incredible and powerful and complete women are. It implies that Eve was lesser somehow than Adam or that Emma was lesser than Joseph because they didn't hold a certain type of priesthood. Ridiculous. We are all endowed with priesthood power in the temple and have equal access to all privileges and blessings. The family is the nucleus of the church--not the other way around.

I'm tired of women telling me that I'm lesser because I don't have the priesthood. Phooey. I'm also tired of women acting like priesthood responsibilities somehow define service in the world. Again, phooey. I'm also tired of women apologizing for motherhood as though it only applies to women with children. Eve was the mother of all living before she was capable of having children. Motherhood defines our natures--not our callings.

Can we please get past the view of equality as sameness and really claim the power we have as women now and always have. Eve had the same saving power as Adam--without holding the same callings in the priesthood. That hasn't changed. Our inability to grasp our own amazingness is sad.

jenny said...

This is beautiful! It helps me to better identify my thoughts and feelings about OW. You are brave and amazing.

Shauna said...

I have prayed and pondered this matter and have felt that men solely need the responsibilities of the priesthood at this time. I have love for Kate but no love for "Her" organization.

Carrie said...

I'm not Mormon, but as a woman and mother of daughters, this issue has caught my attention. C. Jane - this is a beautifully written letter to your sweet girls. They are incredibly lucky to have you as Mother, working as a champion for them and women every where.

milestoburn said...

This was so, so beautiful. I'm at the point where I'm considering taking a church break (not just because of gender issues, but it is a part of it) and it warms my heart to know that there are compassionate, courageous women like you who are staying and trying to make their corner of the church a little better. I cried throughout reading this. Thank you for your spirit and your bravery in sharing this.

heather said...

I *heart* your bravery. It takes hutzpah to speak your truth in our religious community.
Keep talking. It is good for us to hear your voice.

Jen said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post! I'm not a Mormon, I'm not a feminist, but I followed with great interest the story of your friend Kate and I hope-hope-hoped that she would be successful.
Shortly after the excommunication decision was made, I came to your blog and to that of your sister, Stephanie to see if you had an opinion. Not being Mormon, you're both about the only connection I have to that faith.
I was surprised at how much her excommunication upset me. It was heart-breaking to think that a woman who loved her church so much that she wanted to be ordained and further that church's mission would be excommunicated for that desire. I think you're a wonderful person and I appreciate your internal struggle. I will continue to hope.

Amanda said...

It is never easy to be honest and bold, especially when you know your words will be met with disagreement and even vitriol. Thank you for sharing your feelings and experience. I admire your sincerity and mostly that you, as such a prominent member of the local Mormon community, felt it important enough to share, knowing full well it would have a negative fallout from some of your readers.
What I love very most about your blog, and I suspect you in general (if I knew you personally), is that you always come from a place of love. It would be easy to fall back on your smarts, a sure-thing to rely on your humor or sarcasm, but you defer always to love. And that is the overarching message of what you said here.
Thanks.

Kelly Hannah said...

This touched me immensely. I wasn't expecting this morning to have incredible emotions before noon. But reading your powerful words directed to your young girls about a topic I'm still searching for an answer within myself, and with the spirit, was something I needed. I keep thinking "Am I crying because I miss my mom?!" (a usual case) but it was because I really felt the spirit with me while reading your brave words to your girls who will undoubtedly grow to be strong women just like their mother.

CANDACE said...

I loved reading your thoughts on OW. I love the idea of one day being allowed to bless my children, or my husband, or my children with my husband. Or my soul sisters. :)

I have 2 boys (4 & 2). Would you consider sharing your thoughts/ideas/suggestions for raising smart, discerning, feminist sons?

Lauren Skousen said...

I feel so much comfort from your words - I know I'm not alone. I long so much for ordination for women - not even so much for me but for my daughter. I don't want to have to ever answer questions about why her brothers can pass the sacrament but she can't; I don't want her to ever think she is less than.

Catherine Agnes said...

Thank you so much for writing this post. I've read your blog for more than 6 years and I so appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable and open and honest about your thoughts and feelings.

Allison said...

Thank you for writing this. There is so much beauty here. I, too, have three daughters, and, like you, I believe that one day things in the Church will change for the better.

Lesa said...

Thank you for the reminder that I need to teach my daughters what I believe and know to be true. I do not agree with Kate Kelly and OW. Very simply: I believe our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are at the head of the Church and they speak to the Prophet. I choose to follow the prophet. The end.

HoldingtheParadox said...

I loved your gently articulated thoughts on this. If only it were easier to help people we love imagine what our ward experiences could be like if women were assumed to be able to exercise spiritual leadership (not just for other women). We would be using the gifts and talents of all of us toward spiritual goals. What a lovely ward that would be.

B said...

Beautiful, wonderful and brave! Much love from an AZ Mormon feminist! ♡

KHodges said...

I've never really read your blog, although I knew it existed...I'm not a huge reader of blogs. But I loved this post and am so impressed that you shared it. If only candid feelings could be shared without fear of rejection all the time. What you said about the OW meeting, women sharing their feelings both about what they believe and what they want to change, and wishing that could be the case in RS too...I wish for that every week.

I really think that with your readership, you will have opened some minds at least to the extent of allowing to make room for us in the church, even if those readers are completely happy with their place and involvement and representation in the church.

Thank you!

Emily said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful letter to your daughters with the rest of us! As an OW participant I so appreciate your words and love and especially resonated with what you said about carrying on hope and charity for ourselves and for others. I love the idea of maintaining our hope for female ordination while simultaneously reaching out in love and charity to those who want things to stay the way they are; we are all on our own journeys.

Kristy said...

Thank you, Courtney. Once again you've hit it out of the park! Much love to you.

scribbler said...

Better late to the party than never. As a lapsed Episcopalian, but actively spiritual person, I truly believe all of the worldly rules and imposed ideas of the church, ANY church, just distract and alienate people from the things that are really important. Love. Humanity. Kindness. The color of your skin... who you should marry... the "jobs" of men or women. It's all irrelevant. I do not believe there is any differentiation in the eyes of God. The rules are just mythology imposed by people throughout history to suit the situation. To make the message more viable. In the end, we all have to follow our own hearts. In my heart, I know we all come to the same place eventually. It's just how we get there that makes us different. To me, organized religion is more about community than anything. It's the glue that holds the people together. It's what makes us not so alone. However, the important part is the ethereal.

“It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.”
― C.S. Lewis

scribbler said...

Maybe it wasn't clear in the last post, but keep writing. You are awesome.

megan said...

The conversations we're having now thanks to the Mormon feminist movement have strengthened my testimony and made me so hopeful for the future (and the futures of my daughters). I feel like as a group of people, we're being more honest with each other and with ourselves about Church doctrine, culture, and leadership as they pertain to Women's issues. Great letter, thanks so much for sharing!

Clean Cut said...

BEAUTIFUL. Thank you.

Amen.

Mrs. Fun said...

Thank you for sharing this. When I was 18 I walked away from the mormon religion. I felt the gender inequality way back then, at such a young age. My best friends are still active in the church and it has caused a gap in our relationships but I can't go back, especially after the recent events(oh and i quite like alcohol now *wink*).
Your daughters are so lucky to have you as their mama. Keep believing, stay strong and never be afraid to be braver than you were the day before.

Sally DeFord said...

Thanks so much for your thoughts on this subject. My feelings closely resemble yours. This last month has been very discouraging but I don't want to give up hope. Thank you.

s'mee said...

I completely agree that absolutely no change will occur until the majority of women desire an ordination. When that day comes, I hope I am first in line. Until then I will pray and wait, and yes, I will stand for injustices when they occur. I live daily with my testimony, my integrity, and my authentic self; however I will not ever encourage others to join in *my* cause.

I have daughters who are very much invested in this activism, and as such took the words of Kate Kelly to heart. After reading and taking part in the discussions, they felt compelled to activism, which in itself is a good thing. The problem was that, however presented, the underlying message was that all women are being denied, controlled, patronized, abused, or at least, slighted by men in authority and by a woman's lack of ordination. Kate backed up her discussions with the following quote on the website:

"I encourage everyone to find a safe space where they can be their authentic selves and live with integrity. If you feel emotionally capable of staying in the church, I encourage you to stay. However, as active members of the church who see problems with gender inequality, I encourage you to continue to raise questions about women in the church. People of conscience should raise their voices. If you stay, speak up."

And again my daughters took her words personally; particularly the words "...*IF* you feel emotionally capable of staying..." and "*IF* you stay..."

Constantly being told you are devalued or patronized gets to a young testimony, and eventually, yes, one feels emotionally unable to endure it any longer.

They read these words as encouragement and support to leave until things changed. My daughters left the church, and when asked why, they quote from Ordain Women and Kate Kelly directly.

Kate refuses to believe she has any part in apostasy or encouraging anyone to leave the church, the fact is I have two daughters who believe otherwise and point directly to her and "the movement".
I believe this is why she was excommunicated. However much she wishes to deny it, she *is* a very powerful influence. She has done a lot towards educating, and opening minds, however she should not deny her part in leading young testimonies away.

LawBelle said...

I converted, as an adult, to Catholicism ... and several family members and very close friends questioned me about it, asking specifically how I could chose to align myself with such a misogynistic organization. My response, "I pray. I pray for equality, and illumination, and understanding. If I only joined groups that already believed in what I believe in, and already did everything I wanted ... well, I wouldn't be part of very many groups, and I would certainly never grow much as a person."
CJane, I applaud you, because you are brave, and a good mama, and an amazing friend. Mormonism is lucky to have you. :) (((hugs)))

Kathi said...

Beautifully written. My heart breaks and I'm now questioning many things. Thank you for being real and vulnerable. I know there are those who will disapprove and so be it. Many of us support you and admire you.

Dawn Paine said...
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Charlotte said...

I appreciate your thoughts on this issue. I'll admit that women's place in this church is not something that I've struggled with; however, I do respect those who do wrestle with the matter. I think that perhaps the members' greatest goal during this moment in the church's history is to learn to love and accept even when we disagree. Fighting over the issue isn't worth the discord and dissension (and that's not to say that discussion is off the table--just anger toward one another). Perhaps one of the greatest triumphs to come from this piece of history will be women and men of Christ coming together in the midst of their differences, accepting that one day all will be made right and all will be understood in its fullness. What a beautiful possibility! And I do believe unity in the face of differences is indeed possible!

I think you are a shining example of how to make that happen. So thank you.

Love Char, a Mormon woman who thinks something different and is completely OK with that

KT said...

Thank you so much for what you have written here. I hope your words soften a lot of hearts. My own heart has felt completely shattered this last month. Not only for what Kate has gone through with her excommunication, but with the shock of hearing so much vitriol and condemnation from the women around me. I didn't expect the excommunication but was devastated by the lack of compassion and desire for understanding among my female friends. So thank you. Your writing is always beautiful and today, very profound.

Ann's ART said...

I really love this letter. I love the way you express yourself to your daughters. What a blessing it will be to them to have such an honest upbringing. I can relate to much of what you said. I do feel that there is a huge gap in knowledge and facts in the OW movement. My main concern is that so many ex members and inactive and disillusioned members have joined the cause for the sake of dissenting. I have chatted with several of them and read several facebook posts from people who are not coming from a place of love and progression, but just plain old dissent and argument. They don't know why and how and from what place woman are even asking these thoughtful questions, they just see a scab that they want a chance to pick at. I have listened to many interviews with Kate Kelly and have read and followed as much as I can get my hands on. I think she started in a place of great love and desire for truth and progression for woman, but I feel as though she has steered away from that by not telling the whole truth. I listened to her MSNBC interview a few weeks ago and had tears in my eyes because she was leaving some truths in the shadows. The church did not take away her marriage (mind you, she stated it as so and the reporter had to clarify and say that her civil marriage was not taken away, that was just a covenant that was taken away). And she implied several times that her excommunication came out of nowhere and that she never expected it. After seeing so many appearances and hearing her share her story like this over and over again, I am questioning her desire for truly moving the woman of the church in the direction she claims. Is she pursuing celebrity status at this point? Is she trying to unite us in the church to create a stronger foundation where both men and woman will work and pray toward the cause of ordaining woman? Is she creating a movement full of disgruntled former members, haters and dissenters that are propelling her in to the news and the forefront of topics and conversation? Whatever it is, it makes me sad. Mostly because I agree with her on a lot of fronts. I want woman to progress and have more opportunities. I think prayer, petitioning the Lord, teaching your daughters to stand up for themselves, discussing issues with other woman, and sharing testimony (as Cjane has done in this letter) is a much better way to get things done than a media blitz laden with half truths.

Paul said...

How do you balance these two ideas?

1. there is gender inequity in the world. for example, women usually earn less money for doing the same job. a woman has never been president of United States (yet). women are often expected to fulfill old fashioned gender roles, even if they also work and or have advanced degrees. something needs to be done about this.

2. someone (man or woman) who is leading a fulfilling righteous life in the gospel could be sidetracked by someone whispering in their ear: "you have so much to offer. why have you not been called as a bishop. why are you not a more prominent leader in the church?"

Sara said...

I have been checking your blog daily for your thoughts on this topic. You are always able to write so eloquently what I am feeling. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your heart & talent with all of us.

... said...

Amen!

Melissa said...

I grew up in a small-part member family and in the south, no less where I was the one who usually held the different beliefs than everyone else, so I totally believe in being respectful of other's beliefs. I had to learn to stand up for the church when I was the only one and it isn't easy. So I don't want to sound judgmental at all, but I do wish to express why I feel differently on this issue.

I believe as women we are born with intuition, an inclination to nurture, and a tenderness that is different to that of our brothers. As women we bear and raise our own and even other's children. We are usually the ones to take care of aged parents. We take meals to neighbors, write a letter or card, remember birthdays, and cry or mourn with those that mourn. I believe these are strengths! To build and support one another is one of the things our Father in Heaven loves about us and needs from us!

I believe that the priesthood is given to MEN as THEIR opportunity to serve. They can't use the priesthood on themselves- only to bless others and we all are entitled to the blessings! I don't think that men having the priesthood makes us unequal to them. I believe without the priesthood, they would be UNEQUAL to us. :)

We naturally serve and sometimes the men need the nudge. Our Heavenly Father gave them the priesthood as a responsibility.

I don't need the priesthood because I know my role is divine just how it is and honestly I could use a little less responsibility on my plate (not more) if ya know what I mean! :)

Lots of love from one sister to another. <3

... said...

Amen!

mommom31 said...

I have not read the entire piece, but read much of it and like it. I just want to add that I don't believe the Ordain Women people have first hand temple experience or understanding of women performing priesthood ordinances there.

k8 said...

Thanks for posting this, this explains so much of how I feel, and so eloquently. I'm hoping that with the lower missionary age, more young women will go and will get a chance to experience the Gospel independent of fathers and husbands and come to see there truly is a disparity. And then they will ask. And we shall receive.

Trish and Greg said...

Courtney, I do enjoy your writing style. I agree that it takes bravery to share your feelings about Kate Kelly and OW here in this post. You will, however, get no pats on the back from me for continuing to throw up “static” and encourage Mormon women to feel “less than” because they do not hold an office in the Priesthood. I am deeply saddened that you see things that way. I was deeply saddened that Kate Kelly felt that way. IMO, it is misdirected angst. I must applaud Court and Jill, Michelle, Jessi, Christina McKinney, Andrea, and s’mee. I've read every comment, and these six expressed very clearly that the failings of the OW movement and Kate Kelly were because there was/is a lack of humility, obedience, accepting the will of the Savior through the voice of a Prophet, and understanding that daughters of God share equally in the Priesthood powers, albeit without an official Priesthood office. I encourage you to stop listening to the accolades of the majority of your commenters here. Re-read the comments of the six I have mentioned by name. There is constantly a sifting and sorting of the elect. It will always be so until the Savior comes again. This is just one more event where that sorting is taking place.

vicki johnson said...

You are one of my heroes!
God bless the Internet for bringing you and Joanna and others into my life.

Donna said...

THANK YOU C Jane for this beautiful post - and I do not believe it was an accident that we sat together that night at the conference center. You are an inspiration - and those daughters of yours are lucky little girls!

McKayla said...

I don't know if you remember, but back in 2011 you came to my wards girls camp in Heber. The theme was superheroes. What you told us, I will never forget. You told us that you have to read the Book of Mormon every day or else you don't feel good. You said not reading your scriptures is like Superman's kryptonite–If you don't read them it makes you feel weak. I love that! After you talk to us, I started to read your blog and I loved it! But as time went on I noticed you started to change. I went to the imagine dragons rooftop concert because you advertised for it. I just want to say that God gives revelation through his prophets. If he wants something to change he will reveal it through his prophet. Change doesn't happen through protesting, or persuasion, or popular vote. It never has in this church. We just need to trust in God's timing. Because God's timing is perfect. I hope you can realize that. And maybe if you read the book of Mormon like you told us to, you can feel God's Spirit as you do.

Dalaney & Hannah said...

Thank you for being true to yourself!! I hope that this will open many minds within the women of the church. You are a wonderful leader!!

Trav and Lizzie said...

Courage, Courtney. Stay in the church, we need you. And me. And women who stand with integrity and fervor. And remember, where love is, there God is also. xx sister.

K said...

I only know what was on the news about this issue, but your girls are so lucky to have you for their Mom. It is so brave to not only speak out around those that love you no matter what, but to publish your beliefs for the world to see is always scary. What an inspiration for your children and so many others.

AveryTaylor said...

If the prophet himself were to come to you personally and say that women are not to have the priesthood, would it be enough for you?

mmm333 said...

Eloquently done. Good for you for being an authentic person!

Bethany said...

Thank you. :)

melissa34 said...

Thank you for your perspective. This has been a great learning experience for me and my three girls and I am grateful for it. I truly believe that one day I will have the priesthood. It might be in this life and it might be in the next. It is not something that I worry about. I know that there are others that do worry and I validate them in this. I do not tie my value to whether I have the priesthood or not. That is one of the reasons I could not support the OW. Since when is holding the priesthood the great QUALIFIER of someone's worth or equality, for that matter? Since when does holding the priesthood heal what is wrong with me on the inside? Christ will heal this whether I hold the Priesthood or not. There are policy changes that could be made concerning gender that would truly benefit everyone in the church. These have nothing to do with holding the priesthood. I am all for asking questions, however, the OW didn't ask, they TOLD. There is nothing that is so important to me that would make me disregard the Prophet or my local leaders, for that matter. Kate Kelly was repeatedly asked to stop and she disregarded the council from her leaders. Her supporters are shocked that she was excommunicated. This AMAZES me! I do think that the OW and supporters truly felt they were following truth with Kate Kelly. They were deceived! I choose to follow truth with the Prophet. I will never feel "punched in the gut" when following the Prophet. In the end I will choose the Prophet, every time.

Kate said...

C Jane, I have tears in my eyes (& still butterflies in my stomach!) after reading this.

Thank you so much for your sincerity and above all love. 1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear" & you have shown that type of love.

Thank you.

Me said...

Very beautifully written. I have been waiting with baited breath to hear/read what you thought on this issue.
I am not Mormon, I will never be Mormon. But this topic intrigues me. I do hope that for those women who desire change, that they get the change they want/need.
I am curious, how is your family reacting to your position on this? I feel like you'd be alone in that group, which of course makes me sad.
Thank you for speaking your mind. For being honest with your daughters.
Keep writing. I love your voice.

Ariel Hendrix said...

The beauty of Mormonism is that we are a covenant people. Our covenants require us to rely not only on God, but on each other as well. The priesthood, as it stands, allows us to do just that.

It is fine to pray and plead for something you desire, but this movement that is convincing women and young girls that they are less-than, until they are ordained- is nothing less than incredibly damaging.

Sarah Moore Oliphant said...

Thank you for your bravery and for your voice. I especially like how you articulate that we need to open opportunities for women and men and yet not do away with gender differences like meeting together as women.
Kate Kelly inspired me to break my silence. You have inspired me to record my voice for my children.

Leah said...

Thank you, my wise and courageous sister! So often I feel like you are writing the words of my very own heart. Much love to you!

chibbylick said...

Thank you so much for this faith and hope filled, courageous post.

Charlotte said...

I can tell that you have given this much thought and research and prayer, and you have drawn conclusions based on those thoughts and prayers as well as some powerful experiences you've had.

I too have given this much thought and research and prayer, and have drawn very different conclusions based on those thoughts and prayers as well as some powerful experiences I've had.

I am at peace with my conclusions, and I hope that is the case with you as well.

All the best to you.

Ciarran said...

This was beautiful. One of the best things I've ever read by you (and that is saying a lot because pretty much everything you write is amazing).

PML said...

Yes!! ^^^what she said!!^^^

Heather.Joy said...

I love your writing and thinking, CJane. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said there's nothing in the Bible that states God only believes men should hold leadership positions in the church. He isn't a repector of persons but the searcher of hearts. I'm not LDS (so some of this I don't understand - like the comment about Adam having "priesthood" but not Eve) but I love God and the Bible. It's clear to me people have to work within their cultures but that God thinks women are capably boundless, despite church leaderships' decisions or opinions. Keep on living in love!

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Thank you for writing this letter to your daughters and sharing it with us the reader. While I don't share the same vision for ordination (I have enough to do with 5 children), it does soften my heart and give me a better understanding for those who may. You are probably right in that the day a greater number of us desire it than it will become a reality.
While I don't know Kate Kelly personally, I still find it a mystery in how it came as such a shock to everyone that she would be ex-communicated. I think drawing such a large public focus to this issue is the whole reason why she got ex-communicate and could have been handled more privately between her and members of the 12. Not so sure why she had to go so far as to organize a group and call board members and so forth. Isn't her actions speaking contrary to I will go and do the things that the Lord hath commanded. If we believe that the prophet is the mouth piece for the Lord than should we not listen to what he has to say and trust him. Abraham I am sure did not want to sacrifice his son Issac, but he loved the Lord so much he had to trust him. Let me just say though that I don't necessarily think Kate or any other sister who believes in ordination is wrong. I can see it happening not sure if it will happen in my life time, but maybe in my daughters. It is definitely not a question of righteousness. Thank you once again for softening me on this issue.

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Thank you for writing this letter to your daughters and sharing it with us the reader. While I don't share the same vision for ordination (I have enough to do with 5 children), it does soften my heart and give me a better understanding for those who may. You are probably right in that the day a greater number of us desire it than it will become a reality.
While I don't know Kate Kelly personally, I still find it a mystery in how it came as such a shock to everyone that she would be ex-communicated. I think drawing such a large public focus to this issue is the whole reason why she got ex-communicate and could have been handled more privately between her and members of the 12. Not so sure why she had to go so far as to organize a group and call board members and so forth. Isn't her actions speaking contrary to I will go and do the things that the Lord hath commanded. If we believe that the prophet is the mouth piece for the Lord than should we not listen to what he has to say and trust him. Abraham I am sure did not want to sacrifice his son Issac, but he loved the Lord so much he had to trust him. Let me just say though that I don't necessarily think Kate or any other sister who believes in ordination is wrong. I can see it happening not sure if it will happen in my life time, but maybe in my daughters. It is definitely not a question of righteousness. Thank you once again for softening me on this issue.

Ashley Collett said...

Sooo I don't know if you read all these comments but I really liked your post. In fact I searched and festered over this issue for years and eventually was blessed with peace, understanding and knowledge for my questions long before OW began. My answer is different than yours BUT I totally 100% support that you want it and desire it and want to express it to your daughters. I feel like your post is one based on heartfelt love and faith and I applaud you for your approach on the subject.

I feel like everyone wants to convince each other that their views and their desires are the right ones and that there is no room for anyone else's thoughts, spiritual progression or yearnings for change. Although I feel like I have come to a different conclusion from asking God the very same question with the same amount of earnestness, in no way would I want to hinder that same journey for another or take away their answer even if it is contradictory to mine. And maybe my answer is the answer now but God reveals in his time we are to have the Priesthood? Or maybe your answer is what you need now but not the same later? Or eventually neither will be exactly how God sees it but the answer is even larger in scale of how He sees women and their role. The magnitude of which women will be utilized and emphasized in His church could be even more extensive then either of us could dream of. Either way they are both valid and both insightful, bring peace and an assurance to both of us that God is listening and loves us and gives us the knowledge, faith and answers we need for us individually and our families. That's the beautiful thing about Mormonism to me. It is a place that all can ask and all can receive and our answers are tailored to us as individuals.

I wish we could all just support each other on the way and have honest, heartfelt conversations that enlighten us on both sides of the issue rather than the division I see being created throughout my groups of friends and acquaintances. I feel like you have accomplished that with this post and that brings me hope and joy that things could keep moving forward in a healthy undivided way.

Tessa said...

Thank you for your lovely letter.

Daniel said...

Thank you C. Jane. My wife and I were there with you standing in solidarity at Kate's vigil.

Feminism has opened my eyes to see the faults of patriarchy and the male privilege that I have always known as a man in the church. The chauvinism and sexism are there. Sometimes rampant, sometimes subtle.

Hope to meet you in person one day.

Shannon b said...

I'm sorry, but I have to politely say that this is not a movement I wish to join. But this has encouraged me to write a letter to my 8 year old daughter, so she will know where I stand.

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

What I don't get most of all is how someone can say something like, "Your parents feel such heartbreak." and then also declare they don't intend offense. Baffling despite my more recent and frequent exposure to such patronizing crap.

emmaproctor said...

Hearing how you navigate your spirituality as a woman always makes me feel empowered. As always, thank you for being truthful and so thoughtful in your writing. I always feel inspired by your posts.

kblev-r said...

Good for you. Beautifully written, soundly reasoned, and bravely presented. Lucky, lucky daughters.

Melody said...

Saying it aloud matters. This is good. Very good. God bless.

Jinny Valle said...

Ashley Collett, amen and amen!

Rebekah said...

"And I believe we're still shaping our doctrine." Truth is eternal and isn't shaped. That's my problem with all this. If women are eventually ordained, it's not going to be because Kate Kelly had a bright idea. It's going to be because women holding priesthood offices was always part of the Heavenly Father's eternal plan and He thought it was time to open that window of heaven. Then He would tell Jesus, Jesus would tell the current prophet, then the prophet would tell all of us what's up and we'd move on from there and make it work. President Monson gets revelation for the whole church, not Kate Kelly. I don't care how loud or unified the group is that is lobbying for change. I don't care what they are asking for nor in what manner. If we're moving away from that model, I want my 10% back.

Patience said...

All I say is I wish you were able to blog more at this point in your life.

Rachel Chick said...

This entire subject has been one that at times has been incredibly irritating to me, but keeps drawing me in. I don't agree with your conclusions -- and that's okay. I don't agree with Kate Kelly, I find her activism and publicity-seeking inauthentic. HOWEVER, I can appreciate the conversation that has been initiated. It's given me a lot to chew on, sift through, and recognize in myself. I also really appreciate your comment up there ^^^ "It is entirely possible to me that even the discussion of women's ordination will lead us to something even better." This is where I stand. I think that our loving Father has something in store for his daughters much greater than what we can see. (and much that is already available and underutilized) And I don't believe that it is ordination. My biggest concern is that many of His daughters are losing their faith (and occasionally their Faith) with the confusing and (I believe) misguided messages that Kate Kelly has been preaching. I don't always agree with you, c.jane, but I love your blog. You make me think. :)

On a different note, perhaps you've already read it, but this article by Fiona Givens is excellent:

"As a fuller, more accurate LDS history is excavated, there is an increasing feeling of loss and a consequent unease about women's position in the current church structure together with a hunger for the rights and privileges committed to Presidentess Emma Smith, and the Female Relief Society on Thursday, March 17, 1842."
http://www.patheos.com/Topics/2014-Religious-Trends/Mormon/Joseph-Smith-on-Mormon-Women-and-the-Priesthood-Fiona-Givens-071014?offset=1&max=1

And while I have no fondness for John Dehlin (I find him to be, by his own explanation, a man who seems to believe everything and stand for nothing) this is an excellent podcast that discusses the ordination of women.
http://mormonstories.org/alternative-feminist-approaches-to-ordain-women/

Again, thank you for your engaging, entertaining, and thoughtful words. Thank you for always leaving me either smiling or pensive. :)

TopHat said...

Love to you! Thank you for this letter. I know your daughters and grandchildren will be proud of you for this.

Alycia said...

McKayla, The LDS Church has absolutely swayed to popular and political opinion before. The only reason polygamy was banned was so Utah could enter the Union in 1890. The only reason blacks and other minorities were given more rights in the church in 1977 is because Jimmy Carter told the LDS leaders that they would lose their tax exemption if they kept discriminating.
It's very nice to believe in a living prophet and think he is getting messages straight from the source but five minutes of real historical research will show you who is really sending the messages.
Thankfully this means eventually gays and women will have more rights in the LDS church. And all the women commenting here saying they don't need equality in the church will have to eat their words.

Jen said...
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Chelsea Parsons said...

I love this C Jane. I have 4 daughters and this just rang close to my heart and how I feel. Thank you xx

Heather M. Williams said...

In general, I am not much of a commenter, I like to lurk. I want to comment today, however, because I love this post so much, and I want your comments section to be filled with positivity. Thank you for being brave, thank you for being honest. I love you, God loves you.

Jeanne said...

You are so misguided and I'm done reading your blog. I believe you just like the drama and attention.

Hillary King said...

Thank you for this. I absolutely loved your comments.

Lissa said...

I'm in my mid 50s and well remember the upheaval in the Episcopal church when I applied to Divinity school with the intent of becoming a priest. The 70s and 80s were a period in our church where there was division and great questioning and seeking. So many prayed and sought God's wisdom and desire. As I look now at the many women serving as priests and leaders in our church it's hard to remember what all the fuss was about. I am thankful to those who went before me who made this possible for all women in our church who are called to serve God in their highest capacity. The capacity dictated by God himself--not tradition or Church dogma or those who are frightened by the threat of a power shift. Women who are now permitted to pray for guidance in their own lives rather than following the rules established by others. I hope this will be a time of change and birth for your church as well. I am convinced that it is truly the will of God that this change come for you and all your faithful. Your daughters will call you blessed.

Debbie said...
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Mari Roll said...

I have been with you and loved your writing from the beginning, and here I stay. I am so proud of you for speaking your voice. You truly are an inspiration. You can speak up for change from within the LDS organization, and it is grand to see you doing just that. I hope your family is taking a kind approach to your speaking out. Your daughters are so blessed to have you for their mother.
--Mari

Hart St. Martin said...

What lucky daughters you have. One day they will read this letter you wrote to them and realize what a loving mother they have (whether they agree or not won't matter). Thank you for sharing this tender letter with all of us.

Lisa said...

Yes!

EJ said...

I am not Mormon, and I don't understand for one second how anyone could disagree with what you've written here. But I know that they do (somehow!) disagree, and that you have done a brave thing in writing this. I am proud of you.

Mary said...

I wish I could give you a hug or a high five or a really meaningful smile and thumbs up, even from all the way across the country. I'm not Mormon, or particularly religious, but I am a mom, and I so deeply love that you've written this for your girls, and that you are consistently and continually reflecting on and analyzing and evaluating your beliefs as well as how they impact those you care about, both near and far. Super proud of you for finding ways to square feminism and a strictly gendered institution--that's no easy feat. Keep up the good work; self-knowing is never finished, but is so, so valuable. I'll keep hoping for you :)

Mary said...

I wish I could give you a hug or a high five or a really meaningful smile and thumbs up, even from all the way across the country. I'm not Mormon, or particularly religious, but I am a mom, and I so deeply love that you've written this for your girls, and that you are consistently and continually reflecting on and analyzing and evaluating your beliefs as well as how they impact those you care about, both near and far. Super proud of you for finding ways to square feminism and a strictly gendered institution--that's no easy feat. Keep up the good work; self-knowing is never finished, but is so, so valuable. I'll keep hoping for you :)

Frostbite said...

I've been reading your blog for a couple of years, but have never commented. I had to speak out now and thank you, profoundly, for this gorgeous post. I don't necessarily want the priesthood for myself, though I would gladly magnify any priesthood office I was called to. However, my heart breaks when I think of raising daughters in this church with the eternal inferiority of women taught in the temple, the conspicuous dearth of women's voices in conference and in our manuals and history, the way women's leadership roles are always subordinate to men's leadership roles, and the blessing of the sick and infirm we used to practice but don't participate in anymore. I believe women, as a whole, deserve much more than this.

Your words particularly struck a cord with me because I was in a similar position, wondering if I should be brave enough to publicly express my support for Ordain Women, knowing the heavy backlash and feelings of betrayal I would get from family and friends. Then I thought of my (in the future, for now) posterity, and I envisioned my daughter asking me what it was like to be a woman in the LDS church before women were ordained. I pictured myself proudly telling her that I used my mind to write a profile and put it up on the Internet for everyone to see showing my support for women's ordination, and I used my body to show up at the priesthood session and ask admittance to an otherwise all-male meeting, and I didn't watch other women take these risks and wait for their actions to take effect, I was one of the ones showing up and asking. Because, like you said, I don't believe God will ordain women until we demonstrate, with our whole selves, that we are ready and willing to receive it.

Lindsey said...

Long time reader as you know. The only thing that bothered me about this post is that you said that those who have not felt the women who have not felt ill effects of men having the priesthood in our church, that those feelings were a sentiment. Like it's less real than what you feel. Mearly an opinion of sorts. Why is it that all of us a wrong and you are right? There have been times where I have disagreed with a male leader or his actions, but to say that this is because they we're male and and the priesthood is rediculous. I have never felt like there was someone who misused their priesthood against me because I am a woman. It's not a sentiment, it's the truth. And hard as I tried, I didn't feel sorry for Kate because she didn't even go to the meeting (any of them) where her memebership in the church was at stake, which meant, she really didn't care about being excommunicated. If my membership was on the line, you better believe I'd be at those meetings. Instead she held a vigil for herself in Salt Lake City? So, it wasn't she couldn't go. It was, she didn't want to. Which spoke more volumes to me about her intentions and true feelings. I'm not attacking you, as much as you are not attacking me. We don't have to agree, and I am fine with not agreeing with you. However, is obvious you are not fine with me not agreeing with you. And that, is unfortunate.

Lizza said...

I'm so curious why no one is asking this question. Does Heavenly Mother have the priesthood, the power and authority to act in the name of God? She is God. The only reason Heavenly Father is God is because of her. And vice versa. What is the eternal truth behind ordination? Why aren't we talking about that?

Sean said...

Correct!

Scouter's Wife said...

I am not LDS so I won't give an opinion on the topic. What I will say though is that I am so glad to see you blogging again... And that I truly truly hope that you will not incur the wrath of your church or your family because you expressed what was in your heart. Like I said, I am not Mormon but I'd hope for your sake that your church and anyone who calls themselves a devout member would be more about compassion than about silencing dissent. I hope this church and family you love so much react to your post with love and sympathy if they cannot show support and empathy. Sending hugs and prayers!

Erin Sugrue said...

I have been dying to know your thoughts on this issue ever since I heard about the Kate Kelly excommunication. I'm not a Mormon (former Catholic, current Unitarian-Universalist -- feminist since birth :)) but I was really heartbroken when Kate Kelly was excommunicated as you have always conveyed your deep love for your faith community, and I just imagined that excommunicating someone for merely asking questions, challenging structures, and advocating for new ways of thinking did not fit in with your view of a loving God and a loving church community. Excommunicating someone over words spoken (I mean, it's not like she went out and ordained herself and called herself the head of a new Mormon sect) seems like a very slippery slope for the LDS church. Big kudos to you for refusing to keep silent -- and it's also great to read your writing again.

Amy said...

Completely agree!

Meghan said...

What a well written letter. You have expressed your views and beliefs so eloquently.

I was "silver spooned" into the church. I support Kate, to an extent.

I just believe in my heart that men are only to be ordained. Perhaps it's old fashion, I am not sure. Perhaps it's my age, I will be 44 tomorrow.

Your letter touched me. I hope your daughters grow to see the change.

Debbie said...
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Debbie said...
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Anarchist Mom said...

Thank you for this. It made me cry--and I read it right after I finished drafting my resignation letter to my bishop. I'm glad women like you are staying to set examples of hope for my still LDS daughter.

lincoln said...
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Anjane' said...

I do believe that women who stand up for their views are exercising strength, courage and faith. I don't believe that only those women who stand up for change and "progression" are the strong ones. I can wholeheartedly say that I believe that President Thomas S. Monson is the only person on earth who can and will receive revelation regarding women being ordained to the priesthood. I also know that God expects us to question those things that we struggle with, and that He will provide us with answers that can calm our souls and help us cope with our insecurities and misgivings. I commend you for searching for truth as it applies to you and your family. I don't agree with sharing thoughts of dissension with fellow relief society members in hopes that they will "join the fight". I sincerely hope that all women in the Church feel loved and heard, but I believe that the way that you and fellow Mormon feminists are going about this is completely wrong.

Russanne said...

This.

Michael Fokken said...

I mean this with a kind heart and love.

God is not going to tell you to pray for something and then tell His Prophet to do the exact opposite.

You are slipping farther and farther away from the truth.

Either you believe God does direct His Church with a Prophet and you need to understand what that means; or you need to pray about it. I've read other posts that show you can receive amazing spiritual experiences and then tell us what happens after you've prayed.

My heart aches for you and the people that believe the Prophet was wrong.

This Church isn't run by a majority, it's run by one person.

God.

Leslie Jackson said...

Thankfully Kate's salvation lies within her faith in Christ as her Savior and not the church. Regardless of the position women hold within the organization, one thing will remain true and that is there is only one way to the Lord and it is through Jesus Christ.

Emily Lawrence said...

Thank you for this response. I agree with it whole-heartedly.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for your bravery and wisdom. I love my Mormon sisters, and respect their courage as clarity. It is inspiring and hopeful for me during this challenging time. Thank you.

Courtney White said...

I am very clear on where I stand, personally, on this issue (which I won't disclose or go into), but wow - I just have to say this was the most beautiful, respectful and inspiring response I have read from the other side..(oops, guess I just gave my status away..) But seriously - thank you for this. I really needed to read this. I feel connected, unified and pure love after reading this. I see the fence but it's peaceful. You created that with this letter. And that photo of your girls is dang adorable.

heather said...

Amen and amen.

Abigayle said...

Priestess unto your husband, under his presiding power. Let's be accurate here about how exactly wonderful it all is.

Abigayle said...

Disagree. Priesthood presides. They're in charge. Your job is to hearken.

jamesnemily9796 said...

AMEN!!

Abigayle said...

Having the priesthood is not a qualifier of your worth, just your power, visibility and voice in the church. I will follow the prophet too, fully aware of the fact that he is a mortal, imperfect human being that is affected by the very sexist culture of the world in which he lives.

Abigayle said...

Almost as damaging as the endowment which t we aches you that your exaltation is dependent on how well you listen to your husband and that your eternal destiny is to be a priestess serving your husband while he serves God. Now that's damaging

Abigayle said...

There isn't really official doctrine on this topic actually, probably bc the church doesn't like digging up the sticky fact that for a long time we taught that God was a polygamist. Not really the eternal destiny of glory that most young LDS girls dream of. The eternal destiny of women after this life is a very gray area in doctrine, unfortunately.

Joy said...

I so respect how you write with courage, well thought out opinions and from your heart, especially with support for women's ordination in your church. I am not a Mormon, so do not fully understand the repercussions you must be facing, but wholeheartedly support you. Many religions, including my own, Presbyterian, have changed the way they perceive women's role in the church and I believe the Mormon Church is at the point where it can change it's perception as well. People who are willing to communicate their beliefs to the masses, like you, are the ones who will change their religious world.

All the best to you and your loved ones- I just pray this will not cause a rift within your amazing family. Give each other grace and stay close!

Abigayle said...

Beautiful and brave. Thank you.

Heather Orr said...

I think OW is going after the wrong power! Ever wonder what awaits us when we become priests and become like our Heavenly Mother? I believe what we will become next if we are faithful in this life is even better than having the Priesthood. Men need the priesthood, women don't we do all the things they do without being ordained. As a military wife I am alone a lot and know what it feels like to not have the priesthood in my home. When my children are sick I pray hard and ask my father in Heaven to heal them, and to help guide me to know what to do. I do not need to be ordained to do any of that. But my husband is able to bless our family in ways most men would not. I am thankful, and as your children get older you will see this, that the priesthood gives my husband the blessing to be closer to our children. It gives him a power that our teenage child turn to him and ask for love, comfort, healing, and guidance. Outside of the church how many teenagers do that? My children naturally come to me with their problems, and we are blessed to have a faithful worthy father in our home. OW are fighting the wrong fight.

Morgan Lee said...

I am heartened that many of the responses disagreeing with you are actually loving and respectful. Almost half of them, in fact. That sounds sarcastic, but I mean it sincerely. The other half -- with their smugness, their condescension, their sanctimony -- well people like that just come with the territory when you're going against the Mormon grain, I guess.

Just an FYI -- To those who are shocked that KK was shocked about her excommunication... I think the reason for that is that, according to her, she was NOT in fact repeatedly counseled to cease her activities with OW. She says that she was never explicitly asked to stop. Here's a quote of hers from the OW website:

"The Bishop who excommunicated me, Mark Harrison, did not initiate the disciplinary process against me or give me any direct council:
December 12, 2013 I met with President Wheatley at his request. President Wheatley emailed me before the meeting and said, “I would like to discuss your efforts regarding Ordain Women and hope to have Bishop Harrison join us.” [emphasis added] Bishop Harrison accepted his invitation to attended the meeting, but did not conduct or chime in much at all. The meeting was conducted by President Wheatley and he largely dominated the conversation. I blogged about the meeting here in December. My take-away from that meeting was that I was not at risk for discipline.
May 5, 2014 was the only other meeting I had with my leaders regarding Ordain Women. I was shocked when President Wheatley requested the May 5th meeting, I told him that I was in the process of moving out of state, as I mentioned to him in December, and was no longer able to meet with him. President Wheatley insisted I meet with him in an email saying he could meet, “anytime, day or night.” He also requested a “move restriction” be placed on my records in order to convey to me I had no choice but to meet with them, despite the move. I was stunned at the sudden urgency of a meeting as I was literally on my way out the door. However, I met with him, under duress, during that stressful time of selling all of my belongings and packing up my apartment, hoping to get the newly placed “move restriction” taken off so I could move on in peace.
Bishop Harrison did not attend the May 5th meeting. President Wheatley specifically said in the May 5th meeting he had no intention of convening a council in absentia. He made no indication that formal discipline was imminent.
There was no additional follow-up from Bishop Harrison regarding either of those meetings in person, over the phone, via email or otherwise until I received the notice that he was convening a disciplinary council on June 8, weeks after I had moved out of his ward.
In fact, just days before our move my husband and I saw Bishop Harrison and his wife at a ward member’s home. He wished us luck on our journey to Kenya and bid us farewell. There was no mention of any pending meeting, disciplinary or otherwise by him. My impression was that we left on good terms and would not hear from him again. He had never reached out to me directly before, despite several emails I sent him requesting he come to me for information on Ordain Women if he was ever troubled by my involvement.
Aside from quietly attending the December meeting President Wheatley convened, Bishop Harrison never came to me to engage in any conversation about Ordain Women with me directly."


If things happened the way she claims, then I can completely understand why she was utterly surprised and hurt. If I were her, I'd just be incredibly angry. I don't know. She seems pretty gracious and sincere to me.

Abigayle said...

Actually it's run by 15 80 year old men who are doing their very best to receive revelation and tease that out from their own biases and opinions that were formed, colored by and based on the culture of 1950s U.S. They don't exist in a vacuum of eternal light and knowledge and they aren't perfect. Remember? Uchtdorf covered this.

Sarah said...

Yes!

Mindi said...

What a beautiful letter. I admit, I haven't been following this subject too much as I'm not LDS. But I did live in Utah for a few years back in high school so I can understand how you are being very brave doing this. I really applaud what you are doing and your children are really lucky to have you as a mother.

Lindsay said...

I am not very articulate, but I feel very frustrated by this schism in the church. When I was about 10, I was teased a lot for the color of my hair (it was red in a predominantly dark haired community). I prayed unceasingly for the color of my hair to change. I fasted and talked with my mother and father about how unhappy I was. I talked to my teacher and even my principal. Nothing worked. My hair stayed the same. Now I am not trying to trivialize any one's feelings or experiences in the church, but I firmly believe (and am backed up by numerous Old and New Testament scripture) that God will not be changed. The very name "Ordain Women" is a demand for only one possible outcome, regardless of prophetic revelation. I know that I hold priesthood power, just as a man does, because of the covenants I have made. God is no respecter of persons and if I believe that, then I know that God would not bless or raise up a select few above all others. This is not the way that God works. We entreat God to help us align our hearts to His will, we do not demand that He aligns the world to our personal satisfaction or demand.

I have been your follower for years. I have been with you as you struggled through many difficult times and problems. My heart has ached for your sorrows. My empathy and love for you is great. Sadly, I do not know how to say this without sounding crazy, but your posts have taken a dramatic switch in the past 12-18 months. I used to be excited to read your latest blog or watch your vlog. You always managed to bring light to dark places and laughter to sad faces. I do not know what has changed in your life, since I only see the side of you from your blog, but there is a difference and from my perspective, there is less joy and optimism. I hope that you can find a way to feel and express your joy again. May God bless you.

I hope to one day again enjoy your blog.

Kimberly Cherrine-Bell aka. greenhoneyhive said...

I will start with I currently do not attend church, nor does my husband..Not because we don't live it we do. We have had direct orders thrown at us by our local leaders we can't obey and were told if we did not we would be condemned eternally.One was move in with my husbands family as newly weds and my child from a previous marriage to help them get off welfare..When we tried to explain we could not do to abuse issues in the home we were not even allowed to get it out of our mouths and told to shut up and just obey..we did not, my childs safety is more important..then we decided to homeschool only to be handed another dictate that if we did we would face eternal damnation once again because I would be quitting a church job.Again refusal to even discussion just comdemnation announced. and then came my cancer ordeal with 10 yrs of bleeding out and refusal to seek medical help cause we could not afford it and t pay all bills and tithing..I was slowly dying and no one cared..then we decided why I needed help..we got medical intervention..somehow the local leaders found out and I was told if I sought medical help I would be under total and irreversal comdemnation for not allowing myself to die so my husband could remarry and have bio children of his own and I was being selfish..Funny my husband is infertile, had adopted my daughter, and wanted me alive and expressed it and again we won't listen and allow yourself to die or else..This is why some woman and men want to see a change, some change any change in the church..We are hurting, we are announced condemned, we are the unwanted, we are in pain and suffering and yet there is no relief..I don't know where the answers lay but I get woman who see and know the suffering, hug, console and hurt with us but have no power to say or do anything for fear of reprisal, reprimand, back lash..We are Mormons without a safe place to worship except our own home. and we wonder if the men are so mean and hardheart and the women are terrified were are the prophetesses mentioned in the new testament who will fill the void..I don't know the answers but not being terrified of the hearts of the members of my own church might be a good place to start..

Sheruns Paris said...

You're brave. You speak up for what you believe in and I'm assuming that can feel uncomfortable in your community at times. I hope you continue to do so. Your kids are lucky to have you.

gina said...

My four-year-old daughter routinely complains, "That's not enough!" when I pour her cereal in the mornings. I usually respond by saying, "When you have finished that, then you can have more." And she almost never finishes what I first give her. That's kind of how I see the OW movement. Are we complaining that we don't have enough, rather than thanking God for what we do have? Have we reached our potential so quickly that we can no longer develop the gifts we already have? Have we run out of ways to serve? I personally see this public quest for so-called equality as an unfortunate distraction from pressing work in our homes and communities; work that will keep us together as families and communities. We have been given so many opportunities as women, both in the church and out of the church. Just think about the opportunities we have for education, employment, public service, financial independence (and the list goes on), when there are women in some countries who are not even allowed to go to school or drive a car. Let's use our opportunities to influence the world for good, instead of trying to convince the world that we have it so hard.

RKIrvine said...

Hope you are teaching your daughters to follow the prophet with as much passion as is shown in this letter. They will need that determination much more in their lives than they will need a letter about how you feel about Kate Kelly's excommunication.

b. said...

I learned that speaking my truth and being authentic makes me more approachable and safe for others AND keeps my head clearer and my heart softer.
I'm proud of you for doing the same...even if it makes some people uncomfortable. This is your truth, your story. Atta girl...

randa_joy said...
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Athena said...

This almost moved me to tears, and it isn't easy to do that! I'm one of the ones that don't want the Priesthood - but not for the usual reasons. I don't want to be a priest - I was to be a Priestess! I have this strong feeling that the P/hood as it is, is not meant for us, but there is something beautiful and magical in store for us in the form of maybe Priestess-hood or something of the like. We are powerful Goddesses, with so many untapped gifts; and I believe that it is these gifts that we can feel unravelling in ourselves, but the only thing we have at the moment to compare it to is the P/hood and so women are fighting for that not realising that we have something coming that is so much better, like the Wise Women and High Priestesses of old!

Sheila said...

Thank you court and Jill for putting into words, the feelings in my heart

Royston said...

Sherem, Nehor, Korihor, Kate Kelly. All four have the same in common, lead people away from the prophet and Christ!

CMS said...

Courtney. You made me cry. What a beautiful, beautiful post. I'm so proud of you. We share many, many of the same feelings.

I met Kate two years ago. I went to a conference she was attending, and was drawn to her brilliance and goodness then. I was at her vigil here, I. This state a couple weeks ago. Please take a look at our group.

We love Kate, and what she stands for. We are kindred spirits.

http://allaboutmylifeandmore.blogspot.com/2014/06/you-are-my-people.html

Please say you are coming to Sunstone. I want to meet you.

Sage said...

Agree. I think part of women's test is to submit...cause it sure doesn't come naturally!

Melody said...

I LOVE the comment from Melissa. It sums up EXACTLY how I feel!!
Thank you Melissa for your thoughts!!


"I believe as women we are born with intuition, an inclination to nurture, and a tenderness that is different to that of our brothers. As women we bear and raise our own and even other's children. We are usually the ones to take care of aged parents. We take meals to neighbors, write a letter or card, remember birthdays, and cry or mourn with those that mourn. I believe these are strengths! To build and support one another is one of the things our Father in Heaven loves about us and needs from us!

I believe that the priesthood is given to MEN as THEIR opportunity to serve. They can't use the priesthood on themselves- only to bless others and we all are entitled to the blessings! I don't think that men having the priesthood makes us unequal to them. I believe without the priesthood, they would be UNEQUAL to us. :)

We naturally serve and sometimes the men need the nudge. Our Heavenly Father gave them the priesthood as a responsibility.

I don't need the priesthood because I know my role is divine just how it is and honestly I could use a little less responsibility on my plate (not more) if ya know what I mean! :)"

Sage said...

Thanks. This is true.

Sage said...

So sorry to hear that. The very elect are being deceived.

Sage said...

I agree. What happened to the cjane that wrote the essay about not calling herself a feminist?

Heidi sebastion said...

Beautifully put and I concur. Some day, when they are old enough to understand,it will be something they will treasure...I suggest that journals be put aside for them with this in it that they may be able to write their thoughts about life down too (Maybe there will ALSO be another writer in the bunch;p)

Jessie said...

You are so very brave cjane. I loved this so much, it is so full of hope. You're daughters are lucky to have you!

Tiffany said...

Please read Elder Oaks talk from the priesthood session this last conference. Ps. First time I've ever commented on any blog. I just feel that strong about this issue. :)

Sage said...

I believe that too. We wear priesthood robes without needing to be ordained. And frankly I think we have to look to men to help overcome our human, natural tendency of pride.

Corinner said...

Perfectly stated.

Chelsea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chelsea said...

I completely agree with the original comment!

Corinner said...

Exactly!

Whimcees said...

10877Hello,

I checked too early yesterday sand missed this so am backtracking. It is so good to see you posting again and you did not disappoint. You are an amazing woman with excellent communication shills as well as a loving mother - what a combination. Thank you for the new photo - your daughters are beautiful! Welcome back! Wishing you a good week!

Hugs,

Barbara Diane

Corinner said...

Also agree.

Camille Soto said...

Just curious but how does Chup feel about all of this? Do you feel like he supports you 100% in your belief of the need to ordain women? Also whatever the content of the letters you write, I love that you write your kids so that they know where you stand.

Cookie Marie said...

In my little world, I stand alone in some of my core beliefs. I have no support because it seems everyone around me has shallow beliefs.

I have birth defects, some of which could be "corrected" by surgeries but I want to remain true to who I am .. who I WANT to be. Those around me have said words stating that I deserve to be stared at, deserve to be ridiculed and deserve to be held at arms length because I won't give in and fix things like practically everyone else is doing these days.

This has nothing to do with Mormonism but I know what it feels like to have your back to a wall trying to enlighten others when all they want to see is how things ARE, not how things should be.

I just want to be who I am. I understand we live in a shallow world that is fixated on appearances and flaws .. and my path in life has been exhausting and lonely .. but I stay true to me because at the end of the day I know what is important.

God gave me these birth defects for a reason. There are some days when I feel maybe it was the Devil's doing because of all the suffering I endure. Then on other days I feel it was a gift from God to open my eyes and weed out all the shallow minded folks who do judge on shallow reasons.

But I have not one single day regretted being who I am. I love being unique even if it does isolate me. The world wants to tell me I have nothing to be proud of. God is telling me that He gave me this body because He needed me to stand out for a reason.

I'm not totally sure what this reason is yet but I refuse to give in to those around me. I refuse to change just to fit in.

Your post reminded me that many of us stand alone in our beliefs. We are lucky if we can find others who believe the same.

It has been so hard for me to find others who believe the same. But I am still here, still holding onto faith that some good will come from these struggles.

Stand strong and never turn your back on what you believe in.

allbundledup. said...

You're awesome, CJane! I've been reading your blog for years, though I'm not Mormon, and always found your intelligence, humility, humor and courage to be inspiring. I admire you for taking a stand for women's equality, and I stand with you, regardless of any perceived religious boundaries (I don't see them). Thank you!

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