My name is Cori and I know that women should be ordained. I am an artist, a passionate human rights advocate, a graduate student and a mother of two sons.
I have waited this long to put up a profile because I resigned my membership from the church in 2002. I still identify as Mormon. I always will. It is a part of who I am. I love so many of the church teachings and I took them with me even after leaving. I attended the first meeting of Ordain Women in 2013 at the student union. It made me so happy that other women were finding the courage to speak for equality. I left with the satisfaction that sisters in the Church were finding their voice. I was born in the covenant, a 9th generation Mormon. I went through the temple with my husband, attended the temple regularly, held many callings, went to church weekly and paid a full tithe. I taught Young Women’s, Relief Society and I held many other callings growing up and as an adult.
In 1984 at the age of seven, my Sunday school teacher (we called him Brother Smiley) taught a lesson on the priesthood. In the middle of the lesson he began to address the boys about when they get the priesthood. I stopped him.
“Excuse me, but don’t I get the Priesthood when I turn 12?” I asked.
His reply was curt. “No, girls never get the priesthood.”
I knew in my heart that this was wrong. Church teachings tell us that we must stand for truth and righteousness even in the face of opposition. I insisted this was wrong and I began to voice this to the class. Soon the other girls were joining and the boys sat with their arms folded over their crisp white shirts and ties. They looked either amused or annoyed. Brother Smiley stopped smiling. He grabbed me by the arm and took me to the Bishop’s office.
I spent the next hour behind the closed doors of my Bishop’s office first being spoken to firmly and then being chewed out by my Bishop. He said I was sinful, he said I was wrong. I was a tiny, seven year old girl who was standing up for what I knew to be right. I held my ground and left that office even more convinced girls should have every opportunity in the Church the boys did. Tears were streaming down my face and I was no longer able to speak.
A short time later I was in his office again for my baptism interview. It had been a couple of months and I had time to think this through. I refused to be baptized if I wasn’t given the priesthood. I wanted to pass the sacrament, give blessings and be in the bishopric just like the boys. The Bishop gave me a baby Barbie, a rarity in 1985, if I agreed to be baptized. Yes, I agreed to be baptized because the bishop gave me a doll. We all make compromises we aren’t proud of but in my defense, I had just turned eight years old.
I want a faith in which I can strongly say, “I disagree,” and I am still welcome.
I want a faith that has a big tent and a warm hug for every person who comes through the door.
I don’t just believe that women should be ordained, I know women should be ordained.