I was recently asked a question on Facebook, a question that deserves an answer. I have been thinking about how to answer this for awhile, and I am sorry about not answering immediately.
The question is: "What do you think of the lady who got excommunicated from the church for wanting equality?"
First, I want to share a mission experience. Someone asked us a specific question about another controversial issue in the church-- gay marriages. We answered the best we could, told her that we didn't have all the answers, but that we would look up and learn what we could and get back to her later. Then the conversation moved on, and during the course of the lesson, I felt inspired to give her a specific commitment -- write down everything you know. Think about everything you have ever been told, and write down everything that you personally actually know for yourself.
During the week, my companion and I looked up mormonsandgays.org (a link from lds.org) and learned everything that we could. We both felt very confident that we could answer all of her questions about this topic.
However, at our next visit, we asked about how her commitment went (to write down what she knew). This woman is a writer, and she wrote something very beautiful that I couldn't even begin to replicate. However, the jist of it is that she knows that God loves her. She then told us that the questions that she had asked up no longer mattered. She knew that God loved her, and she realized that that was enough. Everything else doesn't matter quite as much, and that she didn't need to be the advocate for people that she didn't know, and we never actually told her everything that we had learned about gay marriages, because she no longer needed those answers.
For me my core testimony is also very simple. I know that God is real. I know that He is my Father and my Creator. I know that He loves me. I know that there is a living prophet who receives revelation directly from God, and I choose to follow him. And I know all of this because I know that the Book of Mormon is true.
So very simply, I don’t know the people in Ordain Women. I don’t know their stories and I cannot even begin to understand their specific circumstances. I won't argue for or against them. And because I know what I know, this issue really doesn't bother me.
However, I am also a very logical person, and I try to understand everything and get answers to everything. I believe that it is important to learn as much as it is possible to learn. While doing this, I remember that it is important to always remember what I do know, and realize that I won’t receive questions to everything in this lifetime. President Uchtdorf puts it this way, “please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” (Come Join With Us)
So, here is what I can say that I know about this topic in specific, and I don’t have all the answers, but that is ok.
Gender is an essential characteristic. It existed in the pre-earth life. It exists know, and it will continue to exist in the next life. Each gender has different traits and responsibilities and I am ok with that.
This is something that took some time for me to grow into. We live in a society where it is expected, demanded and taught that girls should be able to do anything that boys do. My chosen field of study (math and science, maybe even a little engineering and computers and technology) has always been and still is a field dominated by men. I don’t like that. I want to be the best. I like being smarter and better than others, and I am in an area where it is unusual for girls to study and do well in. I do have some very strong feminist views.
But, putting that aside. There are notable differences between men and women. Physically our bodies are different. I wear lots of different cute outfits. I like wearing nail polish, and make-up. Somedays, I spend an incredibly long amount of time doing my hair. I like to go shopping. I love accessories. These are all attributes associated with my gender.
In “A Wrinkle in Time” Meg Murray says that being exactly alike and being equal are not the same things. This is something that has become part of me in my attempt to understand why there are some assigned-gender roles. I understand this very well. An equal’s sign in the middle of a math equation does not mean that the same things are written on both sides. (If it was, it would make for a very boring equation.) Rather, it means that both sides of the equation have the same worth, or the same net value.
Thinking about men and women… According to the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I believe that the authors wrote men, meaning mankind, or men and women. Therefore Man = Woman. However they are not exactly alike. They both have the same worth or the same net value in the eyes of the Lord. (Just a side note here: that worth or value is very great, because the worth of souls is great in the sight of God)
So, it is ok, that men and women are not the same. It is ok that they have different attributes and different responsibilities.
If we look at the Family -- A Proclamtion to the World, many of the attributes and responsibilities are laid out. Essentially, men get to preside, and women are nurturers.
I don’t understand everything completely, and that is ok, but I know that this is Heavenly Father’s will, and I intend to follow as best as I possibly can.
Another interesting source for this is one of my favorite mormon messages, Earthly Father, Heavenly Father, which gives us a glimpse of our Heavenly Father, but it also portrays the different, yet equal, roles of Husband and Wife. Check it out.
As to everything I have just wrote, it is just my opinions and my views of the universe. Remember to hold to true to the faith that you have!