On June 23, 2014 I answered the phone call that sent a lightening bolt through my body. “Mom, it’s excommunication,” came the voice of my daughter on the other end. Kate had called to tell me the news she received about the results of her church “court of love.” She had founded Ordain Women, which exists to ask the question I have been asking in my heart my entire life: “Why can’t women hold the priesthood?” My heart skipped a beat and my whole world was turned upside down when my phone rang that day.
Ask and it shall be given you; Seek and ye shall find; Knock and it shall be opened unto you. Matthew 7:7.
“You are not to go to the temple to worship. You are released from your calling, and cannot hold any calling,” the Bishop scolded.
“You mean I am not even worthy to wipe little kids noses in the nursery?” I pleaded.
“No, you’re not,” came his stinging reply.
He entered into a certain village and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary which also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard his word.
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came unto him and said, Lord, doest thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things;
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10: 38 – 42.
My heart was racing as I haltingly stepped into a church building for the first time since the day of the phone call. A person walked by and then turned around abruptly. “Why can’t you just follow the prophet?” they demanded. “I am following the Savior’s commandment to Ask,” came my hushed reply. “You’re disgusting,” were their last words as they stomped away.
The Lord doth build up Jerusalem; he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
Great is our Lord, and his great power: his understanding is infinite. Psalms 147: 2 – 5
On a Saturday morning my husband spent yet another day mending our mailbox. This is the third time it has been bashed in since June 23, 2014. It had never been bashed in before. Sadly, I fear it will not be the last time.
For the first time in my life I have begun to lock my door whenever I am home alone.
And behold, a woman of Canaan cried unto him saying Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Isreal.
Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.
And she said: Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.
Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O Woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Matthew 15: 22 – 28.
I vowed to myself: Never read the comments. Never. Just. Don’t. The comments are the worst. How can Mormons, people I once thought of as imperfect yet kind and loving and striving to be Christlike, be so vile and cruel? The names they have called my daughter and false accusations they have thrown at her have been the only truly “disgusting” thing about this situation. What would be wrong with saying “Thank you for caring about these issues, but we don’t agree with you.” They choose to throw out vile epithets that like sticks and stones, do hurt. How could I not have seen these people for what they really are?
1997 interview with reporter David Ransom: Is it possible that the rules could change [and women be given the priesthood]?
Gordon B. Hinckley: [God] could change them, yes. . .
David Ransom: So you’d have to get a revelation?
Gordon B. Hinckley: Yes, but there’s no agitation for that.
The weather was threatening that day in April 2014. We gathered at City Creek park with coats and umbrellas, determined to show our dedication, to pray with our bodies as well as our spirits. God will hear us, see us. And like the Canaanite woman, we will never stop asking. Then came the hail. We began to walk and we sang as we walked. The number was stunning: at least 500, maybe more. I am not alone. My daughter is not alone. We waited for the inevitable rejection: “No, you are a woman. This is not for you.” We kept standing, we kept walking. I was soaked to the bone with cold rain, yet my heart was warm and warm tears streamed down my face. And my heart sang. In spite of all the ugliness we have faced, I was made whole from that very hour.