My name is Alice. I have three children, 26, 24, and 14. I am a therapist largely because I spent years not being heard when I was in pain. In those years I vowed to become a person who would listen.
I grew up in the LDS Church and at age 23 married a return missionary. My marriage was painful. When I was desperate I sought help from my church friends and leadership. Their answers led to despair and continual attempts at the obedience that would change things. I changed and grew in many ways, but my marriage did not. I now understand I was living a contradiction that others were not comfortable and so they made a choice to not see my reality. From that perspective, no help was possible.
Ten years into my marriage a group of LDS men with their own questions invited me to their discussion meeting. I was expected to research, talk, and defend my opinions like everyone else. It was shocking, challenging and heavenly. Soon we were asked to stop meeting because we “created problems.” I had changed though. I explained to my church leaders that I would not take a calling if they talked to my husband first. I asked if God was not a respecter of persons, why was He respecter of men? I remember pleading with my bishop when Steven finally arrived. Could I just hold him when he was blessed? Not participate in the blessing, just hold him. He went to our Stake President who said no. The Bishop kindly suggested I have my son blessed at home. So my son was blessed at home while being held by his mother.
I was never rude or disrespectful with my questions. These were men of God who continually stressed obedience to what I did not understand. I seemed to be the one lacking faith.
After 20 years I ended my marriage. About two years later I could no longer pretend attending church was anything but a dreaded stressor. No matter how badly I wanted it, the person I was would not find acceptance in the LDS Church. After years of hiding it was time to be genuine.
In the last five years I have focused on the idea of balance. In men’s plans people are taught things such as, “Women are equal to men, they just cannot hold the priesthood.” This and many other illogical statements are clearly of men because they are confusing and sophistic. God’s plan involves balance and clarity. I love God because in the darkest times He has always been there and has always provided guidance.
I have seen that ignoring the contradictions that exist in the Church decreases the ability to support and lead. I know that women and men leading together is his eternal plan. Balance in the church will be better achieved by the ordination of women. I have long believed women should be ordained.