I’m a lifelong member of the Church, a graduate of a Church university, and I love my religion. Since childhood, my dad always reiterated the phrase “Empower Yourself!” Those two words became my life’s motto and stuck to me like honey, which is why I felt a disconnect when I learned about gender roles in Primary. We learned that boys grew up to be priesthood holders and girls grew up to be mothers. Men were meant to work, women needed to stay at home unless the husband needed help making ends meet. Girls were meek, soft, nurturing, and made to be supporters to their future husbands.
Watching conference as a child, I noticed the sea of black and white suits on stage with a tiny fraction of colored blazers and coiffed hair on the side of the stage. I wondered why almost every leader on stage was a man in God’s church. In Young Womens, I noticed inequality that no one else ever seemed to voice, which made me feel very alone among my peers. Our activities were very measurably simpler and cheaper than the boys’ activities. Lessons seemed to always teach that we as females were basically meant to be chaste, demure maids for the kingdom — not meant for leadership beyond the callings given to us by and presided by men. Glittery platitudes about how valuable and precious women are did not ease my feelings.
I love this Church. I love our values, our teachings, our rich history. I love our Savior and Heavenly Parents. I believe the Church is true. But the inequality never felt right to me, no matter how people tried to excuse it. And so it has been a very difficult battle for me to stay when I often felt undervalued. But there has always been a spark inside my heart that told me I was not alone, and that’s what has kept me going. And when I found the Ordain Women movement’s website, I knew that my prayers had been answered. Suddenly I saw the faces of all these smiling sisters who mirrored my beliefs and feelings. I felt like I found Zion.
I don’t see Ordain Women as divisive: I see the opposite. I see women being ordained as an inclusive act that will make this Church move forward like nothing we’ve seen before. I feel the hateful attitude of some members toward OW is more divisive, because it is that kind of attitude from my peers and adults growing up that made me feel like I had no one in the Church I could relate to.
I finally see I am not alone. And that by standing with my sisters, that I can help empower women in the Church. The scriptures teach us to be “actively engaged in a good cause” (D&C 58:26-28) I know that this is what I need to be and I feel strongly it is a righteous cause that my Heavenly Father approves of. I believe women should be ordained.