“In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth.” — President Dieter F Uchtdorf, October 2013
My name is Ann, and my heart sang as I listened to President Uchtdorf say those words last October. Today my heart weeps with Kate Kelly as she begins to process the news that she will be tried in absentia with her LDS Church membership at stake.
I was born into the LDS Church from pioneer stock, married in the temple forty plus years ago, and even in my hobbies I support church programs. For example, my spare time is taken up by crocheting shoulder shawls and baby blankets to donate to Deseret Industries.
I worked hard in my career with the National Park Service, and became a national expert in my field, honored with a lifetime achievement award. I was able to obtain my expertise because my gender was not usually an issue, and when it was I fought to even the playing field.
I do not want to hold the priesthood personally. But Kate Kelly is fighting for gender equality within the LDS Church. And I want that gender equality to happen with every fiber of my being.
I want to never again be told, as I was once told as a ward Primary President, that my purpose in ward council was to be quiet and take notes.
I want my Relief Society President to have as much budget and program autonomy as her counterparts in the Elders Quorum.
I want women to be considered for positions of leadership in Sunday School presidencies and other positions of leadership where Priesthood actions are not required.
I want my granddaughters to have the same opportunities to learn about leadership and life as my grandsons do in their LDS Cub and Boy Scouts programs.
I want my granddaughters to be able to enjoy Pinewood Derbys and not be excluded from such activities as Fathers and Sons Outings.
I want my daughters and granddaughters to never hear the phrase “just a girl.”
I want motherhood to be equated with fatherhood. I want unity in purpose, in courage, in hope, in honesty, and in love, to be more Christ-like in our lives.
And I have come to believe that these things can never happen unless women are in more leadership positions in the LDS Church. And so I believe that women should be ordained.