Listen to Amy’s podcast interview here:
I was raised in the comfort and security of the Church. I was blessed with loving and devoted family, friends, and leaders who taught me the value of searching deep and drinking freely from the Gospel of Jesus Christ—a gospel of love and hope. As I grew and left the security of my home ward, I was confronted with a situation that did not sit right in my soul. The bishop of my new ward pulled me into his office to give me an unsolicited worthiness interview. In that interview, he asked more in-depth questions than I was accustomed to about issues relating to chastity. As I placed a great amount of trust in my priesthood leaders, I assumed that he must be very inspired to ask me these questions even though I was a chaste young woman. Due to the fact that my bishop was, quite obviously, a man, I was mortified by this conversation. In the days and weeks following our interview, I began to have panic attacks and experienced full-on dread when attending my church meetings. After months and months of fighting off these feelings, I left the Church for my mental health.
After some time to process what had happened, I returned to the Church. By this time I had moved wards. As I geared myself up to talk to this new bishop about these and other matters, the feelings of dread returned. I consulted with a dear friend who was not a member of the Church about my feelings and he responded that this was the reason he and his mother did not feel they could join the Church. They thought it wrong that a woman should ever have to discuss issues of a sexual nature with a man. At the time, I brushed off the comment. I chose to put my trust in my male priesthood leaders despite how incredibly difficult it was for me to overcome those feelings of anxiety in my soul.
I am eternally grateful that I was able to move past my fears as it allowed me the opportunity to return to the Church that I love. However, as I look back at those years of anxiety and my eventual short-term break with the Church, I can’t help but wonder how things would have gone differently if that bishop had been a woman. My heart also feels distressed for my children, especially my daughter, who may find themselves in the same situation. As I have watched friend after friend leave the Church because of feelings of inequality, I feel that I can no longer be silent. I feel to join my voice with my sisters in requesting that our leaders petition the Lord on our behalf. I believe women should be ordained.