If the statement were made in my congregation that women are “inferior in the eyes of God,” both women and men would be appalled. The same reaction could be expected from any of the nearly 30,000 congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide.
Rather than give a male perspective, however, I put this question to three women in my church and asked them for their own insights on how they see their role and life in the Church.
One is a prominent blogger and social commentator. The other is the CEO of a substantial business. The third is a woman prominent in international Church leadership. Here are their points about life as a Mormon woman.
•Women in the Mormon faith regularly preach from the pulpit to the congregation and lead prayers during Sunday services. As a result, today’s Latter-day Saint women tend to be well educated and confident. Most have experience in speaking in public, directing or presiding over organizations, teaching and leading by example. Brigham Young University turns out more female than male graduates.
•Men and women are equal in the eyes of God, equal halves of a divine pair and equal partners in his work, which includes the raising of families. Inside the family, men and women are obligated to help one another. Women are honored as possessors of the ultimate divine gift: the potential to create and nurture new life. And Mormons have unique beliefs that men and women need one another to return to live with God.
•Everyone, male and female, adult and child, has equal and direct access to God through prayer for inspiration, personal guidance and forgiveness of sins.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the members of the Twelve Apostles of the Church, addressing a worldwide conference of Church members, quoted author Wallace Stegner. Stegner was not particularly kind to the church, but he did acknowledge one thing: “Their women are incredible,” he said.
He was right. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would not be nearly the organization it is today without the women who comprise more than half of its adult membership.