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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Margaret Edwards, January 20, 2002. Interview R-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Comparing the role of women in Pentecostalism and Mormonism

Edwards explains the process by which she had become an ordained minister in the Pentecostal Holiness Church before her conversion to Mormonism. In so doing, she offers points of comparison regarding the role of women in Pentecostalism and in Mormonism. Although Edwards indicates that she had enjoyed being able to act as the Spirit moved her to do so in the Pentecostal Church, she argues that she did not take issue with the hierarchies of the Mormon Church and was willing to submit to men because she sought to please God.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Margaret Edwards, January 20, 2002. Interview R-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Did you feel that maybe you could be expressive because you were with others who were being expressive in the church, or did you feel like maybe the spirit just hit you?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
I think the spirit just hit me because I wasn't even thinking about the people around me. I was an ordained minister.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh tell me a little bit about that.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Yeah I was, I was before I became a member, before I left the church—
BARBARA COPELAND:
The Mormon.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Yeah, before I left the Pentecostal church I was an ordained minister. But like I said I got disillusioned with the way things were going in the church, and they way people were doing crookedness and all that stuff. Hypocrisy, a lot of hypocrisy I just got disillusioned with it and I just left.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Was that just that one particular church or—
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Well, it was a lot of, not only that church other churches—
BARBARA COPELAND:
Were the same way.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Right.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Were you ever a pastor of any church?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
I wasn't a pastor just an ordained minister.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh. Where did you get your ordination from?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Franklin—
BARBARA COPELAND:
Franklington.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
In the Church of Jesus Christ, not Church of Jesus Christ, what was the name of that church? I can't think of the name of it.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Okay.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Apostolic House of Prayer.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Okay. What are the things that a person has to do to become an ordained minister? I guess maybe I'm interested in wanting to know that because I'm getting ready to apply to go to Duke Divinity School.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Oh. That's wonderful.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Yeah. Yeah. But I don't feel led to be a minister. I'm going for they have a two-year program, Master's of Theological Studies. Ultimately I'd like to teach either in a seminary or at a community college or a four-year college. I'd like to teach about history of religions, black church history or just teach world religion, something along that line. I'm just really, really interested in courses about religious studies. So but they, I know that for the most part most people who go to seminary school it's because they are in route to becoming ordained and going to seminary to learn how to become better ministers. Or some of them may be lay ministers and want to learn how to become a really good minister. Tell me what are some of the steps that are involved in a person becoming ordained? What do they have to do?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Well, the way I did it, like I said I felt this burning of the spirit leading me to I guess leading me to, I felt it was leading me to become a minister because like I said I saw so much wrong. People would teach the Gospel that were teaching everything but the Gospel. So I felt like the Lord was leading me to teach what was right. That's how I felt. I went to my pastor, and I told him about it, and the next thing I know he well he told me that the Lord was calling me to preach.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
To preach the Gospel. So it was a long time before I accepted it, but I finally accepted it.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Did you have to take any classes or is it—
MARGARET EDWARDS:
No because, as far as the Bible was concerned I know it from back to the front. I know it. But I did take a course at the theological seminary at Southeastern in Wake Forest. I did take a course there.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Okay. Okay. Was that so that you could become ordained or—
MARGARET EDWARDS:
No, in fact it was after I became ordained when I took that course.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay. So once you became ordained were you in getting ready to have your own church?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
No, I wasn't going for anything like that because I didn't feel like that was what God wanted me to have my own church.
BARBARA COPELAND:
You just wanted to minister to people that you came into contact with.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Right. The true Gospel yeah.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right. Okay, well did you, had you ever told your bishop?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Oh yeah. He knows. Yeah, he knows.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Really, and what was his, what was his comments?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
He wasn't that surprised. It didn't surprise him.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Well, I guess the reason why I am just curious to know is because in the Mormon church it's very hierarchical—
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Right.
BARBARA COPELAND:
It's only the men that have the priesthood that Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchisedec priesthood. So none of the women within the Mormon church are on the level of a bishop or—
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Which is fine with me.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
I'm not seeking for any hierarchy or anything like that no way. I mean I want to please God. That's what it want to do. It's fine with me if the men are up there.
BARBARA COPELAND:
It doesn't bother you at all. Do you feel—
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Because we do get a chance to teach anyway like in the relief society and even in sacrament we get a chance to speak.
BARBARA COPELAND:
To get up and give a testimony.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Right.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right. Do you feel ever feel that your some of your independence is being taken away when you have to obey church leaders' authority?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
No.
BARBARA COPELAND:
No. Oh okay. So although you've been doing taking care of things on your own, doing things on your own and you just come and go on your own if you were to marry a man in the church and according to the hierarchical structure of the church, the man is more or less the leader. Do you feel that you would have that letting him take that position in your life to be in charge and be in control of some of the functions within a marriage? Do you feel like you would be giving up your independence?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
No.
BARBARA COPELAND:
That's interesting, and I guess it's because some women although there are quite a few well quite a bit of women who are very independent climbing the corporate ladder that sort of thing, and they want to get a husband. But they still want their own independence. They don't want to feel like they're being up under him as far as power and things of that nature, and then on the other flip side of that, there are some women who want a man to come into their lives and have take charge of things. So I was just—
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Well, I mean I don't mind being submissive to a man. If I know he's living within the laws and stuff that God had provided, I wouldn't mind being submissive to him.