My name is Marianne. l am a mother, a grandmother of 14, a musician, and an educator. I was born and raised in the LDS Church to goodly parents outside of Utah. Both of my parents are from Utah, also born under the covenant and raised in the Church. My pioneer lineage is strong on both sides of my family. Leaving their loved ones behind, my ancestors sailed from England, Sweden, Scotland, and crossed the plains to help settle Bear Lake (Paris, lD), Logan, and Springville, UT. My great-grandfather even carried granite by oxen cart to build the Logan Temple. My heritage is synonymous with the LDS Church, and l so appreciate the sacrifices that were made so that l could be raised in the fullness of the gospel.
I am grateful to my parents for the opportunity to be brought up in the Church in the mission field. My dad was a member of a Quorum of the Seventy, and missionary work was at the forefront of our family life for many years. I fondly remember all the Elders coming and going through our home, and their spirit and testimony that lingers in our hearts even still. I remember playing and providing the music for so many baptisms, and being blessed to experience time after time the Holy Spirit as it bore witness to the truthfulness of the gospel. These memories, as well as my honorable heritage, have acted as an anchor to my testimony, which for years has been lost in a proverbial storm.
As a young woman, I knew that something wasn’t right. It started with, “Why can’t l be a Boy Scout?” I didn’t understand what being a boy had to do with anything. Later, it was my role as a woman in the Celestial Kingdom. It didn’t make sense to me that men can create universes while women were to stand by watching while also baring spirit babies for all millennia. I also wondered about my Heavenly Mother. The answer of “God not wanting us to cuss Her name” didn’t resonate with me. According to the gospel plan, young women should be aspiring to be Her! Yet, She’s so insignificant to the Church that, as we have witnessed, you could be excommunicated if you openly speak of Her. A Bishop whose counsel I once sought, told me with a heavy heart and aching spirit to “just look out the window to see evidence of our Mother in Heaven. Who could make rainbows, or colorful flowers, or butterflies. .?” I also had concerns when it came to polygamy. It’s these questions, and so many more that cause me unease.
In 1997, l experienced an almost prophetic moment when the spirit bore witness to me. Gordon B. Hinckley was on television and was asked if the women in the Church would ever be allowed to practice the priesthood as the black brethren had recently been allowed. His answer…..no, more importantly, my answer was through the still small voice which answered and left me in tears. I no longer had anger or doubt. I knew then, it was all about timing. President Hinckley stated that “women in the Church don’t want the priesthood. They are happy with the way things are”…and lastly, “if they ever ask for it, we’ll address it then” (60 Min episode April 6, 1997).