Last night I baptized and confirmed my beautiful, innocent daughter a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She was radiant and so proud in her white dress–happy to follow the example of her four older brothers, the tradition of her fathers and the footsteps of Jesus himself. As I was tucking her into bed and we were softly reflecting on the events of the day, she stopped suddenly and ask me: “Dad, can only boys baptize people?” A bit of a pause…”yes.” Again: “Can only boys pass the sacrament?” …”yes…how do you feel about that?”
An extended, searching look into my eyes followed by her quiet response, “I don’t know.”
I realized the searching look was begging me, her father, a man she trusts more than any other to tell her the answer. Tell me how I should feel about this Dad!
I could not tell her how to feel. From the deepest part of my being, I could find no reasonable explanation why nor the will to crush her spirit. In that moment I could not minimize the infinite possibilities, the raw power I observe in the soul of my only daughter. All of a sudden I was in her shoes, imagining the world as she see it. I reflected on the program for the baptism, a program she had planned entirely herself. A program where a male conducted the meeting, males (her brothers) offered the prayers, males gave the talks and males performed the ordinances. Women played the piano and conducted the music. Yes, this seems an extreme example. And yes, this could have been equilibrated somewhat with a little more coaching…yet SHE planned the program and it dawns on me now that this is an accurate reflection of how SHE sees the world. And how it is presented to her in a church where only males hold the priesthood.
Again those questions. I have read and studied the answers. I know the doctrine. And I feel unsettled. The God I know is no respecter of persons. The temporal and spiritual salvation of my daughter is not contingent upon a male making it so. Doing things a certain way because that’s the way it’s always been done…and laying responsibility at the feet of God seems like a bit of a cop-out to me. Especially when it comes to empowering my daughter.
I have observed the actions of Ordain Women and while acknowledging the LDS church has work to do, I have been happily neutral and quiet. I’ve been content to observe baby steps like women praying in General Conference. I now realize that in doing so I’ve been complicit in shaping the way women of the LDS church view themselves and the world. I see infinite possibilities for my daughter and all daughters of a loving God. I believe that in regards to the priesthood, God can and will reveal many great and important things. I believe women should be ordained.