For months I have wanted to share my profile on Ordain Women, but I’ve felt overwhelmed at every attempt. How do I provide a complete emotional AND intellectual AND spiritual history of what has led me to feel this way? If I start writing, will I be able to keep myself from writing some monstrous conglomerate of a dissertation, a memoir, and a very, very long talk? I’ve been holding in these thoughts through my baptism, through Young Women, through BYU, my mission, and my temple marriage. There’s a lot that wants to come out.
My awareness and frustration regarding gender inequality did not develop upon my learning about Ordain Women. This has simply served as a platform to help me finally feel comfortable to express myself. The message of gender bias became clear to me during Primary when I was six-years-old. We were singing I Hope They Call Me on a Mission during Singing Time. Enthusiastically, I belted out the words, swung my arms, and imagined all the different kinds of places that I might go if I went on a mission. After the song, the chorister began passing out stickers. There I was, getting anxious and squirmy in my plastic kid-sized chair as I waited for my sticker. I looked over and my friend, Nathan, was next to me getting his sticker. It said “Future Missionary” on it — so cool. Our own missionary name tags! At this point, I was like, “THIS. CHORISTER. ROCKS.” She then approached me to place the sticker on my chest. But I don’t get a “Future Missionary” sticker. She pressed a pink “I am a child of God” sticker to my chest and moved on.
I didn’t even get a choice. The excitement flooded out of me – Being a child of God… Sure, it’s beautiful and powerful and true… but literally every person on this earth is a child of God. It doesn’t require action. I wanted to be a disciple! I wanted someone to respect me enough to believe that I could make the sacrifice to go on a mission. This really toyed with my self-esteem even. Hurting, I wondered… Was I not good enough to serve the Lord? Did God not trust me to “qualify for His work” because I was a girl?
There is so much that I do love about the Gospel. Primarily, the Plan of Salvation and my temple marriage. But I look back on that six-year-old girl and I think — is that something that I could put my daughter through? Could I ever feel comfortable raising a son within that construct? Where are their female role models? In the scriptures? In the stands? In their times of repentance? Where is our Heavenly Mother? We constantly discuss and familiarize ourselves with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but what is Heavenly Mother doing? What is Her eternal role and how did She progress to it during Her temporal life? I know She isn’t just wearing a pink sticker. We need Her and we should not be afraid to talk about that. I want a relationship with Her.
As I have learned of women in the early church giving each other and their children blessings of healing and also being ordained to lead the Relief Society, I was surprisingly brought to tears. I realized. I felt Her there. And as I walked with Ordain Women, I felt that confirmation again. That She was there. And He was there. And I was worthy.
I believe that women should be ordained.