My name is Cristina and I was born and raised in the Church. I am a wife of almost 20 years and a mother of two. I have had many church callings including Sunday School teacher, Primary Presidency, Young Women Presidency, ward missionary, compassionate service leader, cub scout master and many others. My father is a convert and my mother is of pioneer stock.
I can remember how it felt as a child to be told in Primary that I was a child of God and I had an important part in His great plan. I remember hearing that I had a Heavenly Mother and wondering deeply why we never talked about her. Despite my questions I grew in the Gospel and clung to the things I knew were true. It was not until I got married in the temple and saw that female deity was still missing and that I made promises my husband did not make that I grew very sad and concerned.
I once told someone that knowing Jesus and Heavenly Father was not enough for me. I wanted to know my Heavenly Mother in a profound way. I expressed that men had the prophet, apostles, Joseph Smith, Jesus and even Heavenly Father to look to as examples, but I had no one. There was a huge void when it came to women.
I was continuously being told to fit into a box. The Proclamation on the Family told me that gender was essential to God’s plan yet I was given a very limited view of what that meant. I felt like there must be something wrong with me. If only I was more spiritual, if I prayed harder, studied scripture more, went to the temple more, I would feel better and all of this would go away. But it didn’t. When a woman first prayed in General Conference, I wept. It was such a simple change yet it meant so much to me.
A few years ago I went with the youth to do baptisms for the dead at the temple. I was struck by how useless I felt. The men did all the work. The only thing I could help with was the wet clothes. Is this what Heavenly Mother did? Help with the chores? I felt every bit as worthy to administer in the priesthood but I was not allowed because of my gender. I tried to explain to a male friend that if roles were reversed he would understand. I explained that if all church leaders were female, if only women could pray, if only women could be prophet, if only women could be bishops and stake presidents, if only women could bless their children and administered to the sick, and the list goes on and on… Then he would begin to wonder if there was something inherently wrong with being male. This got his attention and he began to understand in a small way.
I held all of this anguish inside for years thinking there was something wrong with me. I silenced my own voice waiting for answers. Then Ordain Women began. I secretly went to the very first meeting of Ordain Women in Utah and the spirit was so strong. My heart raced as I pondered how both men and women could benefit in the Church by making this change. I made the resolve to finally speak up and post a profile. But I got scared, scared of what my family and friends might think. I put it off until now. I am ashamed it took me so long but I am finally ready.
I want to add my voice to the others who have already gone before me. I know with every part of me that God intends more for his daughters and that Heavenly Mother is just as magnificent and as powerful and as loving as Heavenly Father is; that they stand side by side administering to their children. I believe it is time to pray for further light and knowledge. I believe women should be ordained.