I am a lifelong member of the church. My parents are converts, both taught by sister missionaries before meeting each other and marrying. I am happily married with three children. I’m an army wife, a marathon runner, a landlord, and a stay-at-home mom. I’ve been a gospel doctrine teacher, a member of the Young Women’s presidency, primary and nursery teacher, Compassionate Service Leader, and am currently the secretary to the primary presidency in my ward.
When I was 19 at BYU, I wanted to serve a mission more than anything. I tried to wait patiently until 21, but it was frustrating to watch all the young men in my singles ward open their mission calls while I couldn’t. One day I talked with another new Elder in my ward, and explained how badly I’d always wanted to serve a mission and my hope that someday they would lower the age requirement for sister missionaries. He said to me, “But Abby, that will never happen. Missionary work is a Priesthood responsibility. Women’s most important role is to become mothers. God needs you as a young mother more than he needs just another missionary.” That bothered me, and I spent a lot of time on my knees trying to understand why I had such an intense desire to serve a mission only to feel it was being rejected.
I never did serve that mission. I was dating my husband on my 21st birthday and let my dream of serving a mission go and married him (and I do love him!). Last fall when the missionary ages were lowered, I felt like my prayers from years ago were being answered. I didn’t get that opportunity to serve, but seeing so many young women in my ward already on their missions or preparing to go makes me so happy. I’m so glad to be part of a church that is open to positive change.
On Sunday I overheard part of another ward’s Sacrament Meeting as I walked through the foyer. The topic was missionary work. She was speaking about the missionary surge since the lowered age requirement, specifically in sister missionaries. She spoke of what a great blessing this had been, as sister missionaries can go places and reach hearts that Elders never could. It made me smile, and it made so much sense! Women are now doing what was once solely and is still primarily a Priesthood responsibility, and not only are they doing it well, they are becoming invaluable to the church in that role. Until recently, I had never even considered ordaining women to the Priesthood, but when I set aside a lifetime of preconceived notions and really considered the possibility my heart said, “Yes! This is right!”
I know many of my friends and family will disagree with me, and that’s fine. I’m so grateful to be a part of this church and community, where I feel safe to speak what is in my heart. I believe women should be ordained to the Priesthood, and that innumerable blessings will follow when this happens.