Growing up I always thought that I would want to stand on the right side of history. I would have been the one who was willing to hide Jews, to march for civil rights and to lobby for the vote. I want my children and grandchildren to know that I did not remain silent when injustice stood on my doorstep.
I think I was born loving religion. I would try to convince friends to let me tag along with them to various churches. When I was 17 I joined the LDS Church. One of the most appealing aspects of the doctrine of the Church was the enlarged understanding of the role of Eve. It was so beautiful to imagine that a church really believed what my heart knew – women were powerful and should not be demonized for partaking of the fruit. It was like a light went on in my head and my soul found its home.
I loved everything about church and the gospel. I often went to two whole church blocks every Sunday. I read all of the archived BYU devotionals I could find online. I raided the bookshelves of ward members. I devoured everything I could find. I was thrilled when I was accepted to BYU.
I didn’t begin to see the gender inequality until after I got married. It was almost like the rug was pulled out from under my feet. I did not ask to see it. I was happy, and I didn’t want to see it, but I could not un-see it. I still loved the gospel but the inequalities broke my heart. I could not see why God’s church would make policies that made men and women unequal. I personally internalized the inequality, assuming it was from God, and as a result felt that God loved me less because I was a woman. I became more aware of how girls and women in the Church occupied a less valuable place because the did not hold the priesthood.
When I served in a Primary presidency the leaders used this rational to support an very unequal budget for the boys. I have experienced well-meaning bishops who have asked my husband for permission to extend me a calling with out regard to my opinion. I have seen the Relief Society president dismissed. I have been in wards where women pray less than 5% of the time and no one seemed to notice or care. Because women do not hold the priesthood they have no real voice or ability to engage in the ward, stake, and general levels. Studies have shown that every organization runs better when there are women at every level with an equal voice.
I believe that women and men are equal before God. I feel that the organization of the Church should reflect this truth. Too often I get the feeling that we use the following definition of equality- “all animals are equal, just some are MORE equal.” I believe that “all are alike unto God.” I believe God loves me as much as he loves his sons.
I believe that women should be ordained.