My name is Hart. I wasn’t born a Mormon; I converted at twelve because I found a place where I was loved and valued. I developed a strong connection to Jesus Christ as a beloved older brother, and the Church offered the opportunity to share life and eternity with a great many of my other heavenly siblings. My relationship with Jesus seemed so special to me that I thought that somehow I was chosen for something important. I loved the Church. People cared about me, and I felt I belonged there.
As a freshman in high school, I was encouraged to go to seminary. The ninth grade class was taught by the wife of the Stake President. Sister P was a sweet woman, well versed in all the scriptures. Her husband sat in most days and only spoke rarely, deferring to her as the educator of the hour. I felt so blessed to have them both there every morning to help me begin my day bathed in the Spirit.
Then one day came the click, one which reverberated in my life until years later when I could hear the truth of it. That is not to say that the words didn’t affect me immediately; I just didn’t get it fully until much, much later.
I’d always imagined that this special bond I had with my Big Brother meant something. Believing earnestly that God had a special mission for me, I corralled the Stake President one morning after class to ask him a question I’d wondered about for some time. Alone with this man in a sun-drenched room, spring filling my soul with hope, I stood in front of him and asked, “Could there ever be a woman President of the Church, a Prophetess?”
There are seconds of time in our lives that we carry with us forever intact—moments we savor, good or bad, until the end of our lives. If the answer he’d given me had been different, if my hopes had not been crushed in the descent of those words on my soul, perhaps those words would be long forgotten. But what he said took a fragile young woman—a girl questioning her options in life—and forced her to swallow her worthlessness. No matter how hard she tried, no matter how good she was, just one man with a remaining milligram of value would better her.
The seven simple words he spoke stole my breath like a punch to the stomach. Given the swift facility with which he delivered those words, I believe they had been handed to men in authority in the Church to counter any woman questioning the denial of priesthood.
He straightened up where he stood and looked down on me. He smiled gently to soften the blow. Could there ever be a Prophetess in the Church? His answer? “Only if there were no man worthy.”
I believe women are worthy and should be ordained.