Last week, NBC aired an hour-long program about Mormons called Mormons in America. As a Mormon myself, I was excited about the program and made sure to DVR it as soon as I heard about it.
Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with the broadcast. It wasn't horribly done, but I really felt it could've been much better.
There was one thing in particular that really stood out to me as being blatantly false, and that was when it was stated, not as a matter of opinion, but as a matter of fact, that boys and girls are not considered equal. And if you believe that, you must believe that men and women are not considered equal either.
I am here to tell you that girls and women are considered equal and every bit important by the leaders of the LDS church. Period. And here's a few quotes to illustrate why I feel, and have always felt, this way. All the quotes come from a talk entitled "The Women in Our Lives" given by President Gordon B. Hinckley, one of the presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"There are some men who, in a spirit of arrogance, think they are superior to women. They do not seem to realize that they would not exist but for the mother who gave them birth. When they assert their superiority they demean her."
"The women in our lives are creatures endowed with particular qualities, divine qualities, which cause them to reach out in kindness and with love to those about them. We can encourage that outreach if we will give them opportunity to give expression to the talents and impulses that lie within them. In our old age my beloved companion said to me quietly one evening, “You have always given me wings to fly, and I have loved you for it.”
"Women are such a necessary part of the plan of happiness which our Heavenly Father has outlined for us. That plan cannot operate without them."
"How thankful I am, how thankful we all must be, for the women in our lives."
I love this talk by President Hinckley. I remember hearing it for the first time during the church's general conference. I distinctly remember feeling so empowered, so uplifted and so grateful that I was apart of the LDS faith.
Of course, I also feel grateful to have come from a wonderful family. My mom has always been a strong, independent woman. She was always busy doing one thing or another. She always encouraged me to do well in school, attend college and not once did she ever ask me when I was going to get married. And my dad has always been right there beside her. He has always supported her in whatever new endeavors she has wanted to do.
My grandparents are the same way. I recall my grandma making the decision to study abroad as part of her education at the University of Utah. She was probably in her 60s at the time. My grandpa, who had obligations at work, couldn't go with her, so my grandma went off and traveled the country of Spain by herself for three months.
My other grandma, who has since passed away, always told me that my grandpa, "Never said one mean thing to me." And, she was right. My grandpa treated her with the upmost respect, including waiting on her hand and foot during the last few years of her life.
I continue to be blessed in my own life because of my husband Dustin. He has never once given the impression that he feels superior to me. There is a sense of unity in our marriage. We both know we are in this together, that our roles and personalities both matter. That both of us are responsible for raising our children.
I've often wondered why other faithful, LDS women don't feel the same sense of equality as I do. Why some feel that they are less than. The only conclusion that I can come up with is that it has to do with the men in their lives - be it their local church leaders, co-workers, fathers or even husbands.
In the end, the only thing I know for sure is that women are most definitely considered important and equal in the eyes of the church's general, worldwide leaders.
And for those of you who may not know much about the LDS church, please know this: women are equal.