“Only the best for our God.”
That was the explanation I was given when I questioned why the church needed such opulent temples. That was how we showed our devotion and commitment to a deity who was in turn so committed to us that he called us, “my work and my glory.” We paid our building funds the way earlier Latter Day Saints gave up time, effort, and monetary resources that were desperately needed elsewhere. We even heard the stories of how early members had given up their china – the only luxury item in their household – to build a beautiful building on the edge of the frontier. These sacrifices would be remembered and honored by a loving God.
“Only the best for you.”
That was what a leader told me when she served me. I was a very gawky and unattractive teen and sometimes that felt like that awkwardness was a sin and a direct reflection of my unworthy soul. I didn’t think I deserved any kindness or consideration. I was afraid that someone good might stain themselves by serving me. But she taught me that what was required for God, was required for the least of these. Every child of God was worth the effort that you would put into a temple so they could build themselves into a masterpiece, a work, and a glory.
Some people asked me why I even bothered to attend the October 2016 General Conference Ordain Women action. They asked why anyone would still bother after years of silence. They asked why I should even care when I have a happy family, a fulfilling career, and can already do so much good. Why would I push for ordination when I don’t “need” it?
But nevertheless, on October 1st, I walked down the street in a parade of purple umbrellas that made a striking contrast against the autumn gold in the mountains and on the trees. We dressed up in our Sunday best and made ourselves visible for a group of men that will never look at us. We called out friendly greetings to people who didn’t want to talk to us. We held a banner that passers-by tried not to read. We waited at a door that was not only locked, it was secured and gated as though we were undesirables, lepers, or some other segment of society that is not fit for the company of prophets. There was no answer.
But it doesn’t matter if I am ignored. It doesn’t matter if I am ordained. I have never forgotten the lessons of my youth. Only the best for our God. That is why we want to build God a church with the full participation of all leadership. To me, equality is a beautiful, enriching, and celestial construct that outshines any architectural masterpiece. Only the best for each individual member. I could walk away from the church and claim my own life choices, but I choose the best and that is the option of ordination for every member regardless of gender. For all the leadership, loved ones, and friends that have sacrificed for me, I will always stand for the best possible church. Only the best. Only the best.