Here, let me adjust your bonnet a little–that’s it.” I felt my heart beating out of my chest while the photographer took the first set of pioneer photos. It was truly a spiritual experience and brought me back to other times in my life when I’ve dressed up as a pioneer: At Pioneer Day Primary parties when I was a little girl, I’ll never forget playing ring-toss on cardboard cow horns and winning spray painted “gold” rocks to exchange for prizes. When I was in Young Women, I participated in our Stake Trek and pulled a handcart with my family across hot and humid terrains. I’m thrilled my first daughter was born on Pioneer Day, honestly one of my favorite holidays.
I’m a believing Mormon with pioneer ancestry I deeply revere and whose sacrifice I honor. I don’t live in Utah anymore, but my family does, and whenever I look out the window as our plane descends into SLC or see aerial shots of Y Mountain in Provo or the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Timpanogas, my eyes mist up. Mormonism is my home–my tribe–and always will be.
My commitment to stay and make my spiritual home a better place for the next generation of young women gave me the courage to participate in these photo illustrations. (No actual ordinances were performed, in compliance with church policy). While posing, Evie–my Pioneer Day baby who was named after her Mormon ancestors–played under the table in front of us, watching with fixed intensity and curious as to what the heck we were doing. The look in her eyes sent me back to the time she looked up and offered me carefully broken bread on a plate. You see, earlier that Sunday we attended a family baby blessing at another church with a female pastor, and Evie had been paying attention that day too. I want her to see female bishops on the stands of LDS chapels someday. I want her to pass the sacrament with her brothers, if she so desires. I want her to have the chance to hold her first baby girl when she’s blessed during sacrament meeting, a blessing of the priesthood I wasn’t allowed to experience.
Honoring our Past, Envisioning our Future: I can’t think of a better Ordain Women theme for 2015. So when the time came for the second part of the photo shoot, I was bursting with excitement. I smiled as my friend pinned the cameo from before on my dress, which was the same color as the bonnet. This feels so right–to honor our ancestors and visualize a potential someday when the prophet reveals that the female priesthood ban is finally over.
I believe God has many great and important things to reveal pertaining to the LDS Church. And after studying the scriptures and praying, I am convinced women’s ordination is God’s will for His children. I invite everyone to reflect on this photo illustration and what it could mean for Mormonism’s future, particularly if we play an active role in the revelatory process with President Monson, whom I sustain. After all, revelations don’t often come unless they are actively desired by those who would receive the blessings. My four years of seminary and decades of scripture study have taught me so.
Kristy, the author of the post, is on the Executive Board of Ordain Women