I was raised in a very orthodox LDS family and the majority of my extended family are active members. At age 19 I married in the temple and dropped out of college as we began having children. When he walked down the aisle for his degree I was in the hospital having just given birth to our second child. Five days later we loaded up our U-Haul and moved to Provo so he could attend law school. I distinctly remember moments in tears as I struggled with two little ones trying not to feel jealous that he was still in school. I battled guilt on a regular basis for feeling unfulfilled and struggled to be happy. I had been taught my whole life that my highest purpose was to be a mom and I had never considered I might struggle finding fulfillment in doing this as a full time mom!
Later, when my husband worked sometimes in other states I felt overwhelmed by my family responsibilities and had no one to help give me breaks. I felt like I could not discuss this at church or express my struggles as the culture was dominated by talks on what a righteous faithful Mormon woman was supposed to do. The manuals I taught from in my callings in Young Women solidified these roles. I worried about what I was teaching these teenage girls. One night, as I was cleaning the bathroom, I broke down in sobs feeling like I was trapped – like my life was a train that was just going and I couldn’t get off, change direction or alter the course. It was an overwhelming feeling and I sat on the floor and felt such a deep sadness, discouragement, and loss of control.
I began to seek outside part-time work while my kids were at school. I began to learn new skills and work my way through various job opportunities. The difference this made in my self-esteem, fulfillment and happiness cannot be overstated. My hubby was totally supportive of my desire to do this and recognized the huge difference this was making for my self image. As I became more self-confident our relationship improved as well and I felt more free to let go a little.
Many years have past and I no longer participate in the church but have two married children who do and a granddaughter. I look back on my experience and the messages that I received in church as a woman and feel great concern for them. I want them to hear messages that empower them to seek after their own dreams. I want them to know that it’s OK to find their own way and they don’t have to conform to certain set expectations. I want them to have the opportunity to serve fully in the church if they desire and to participate in the leadership. I want their voices to be heard in councils. I want them to to teach these things to my grandchildren and the other children at church.
This is why I believe women should be ordained.