I have been Mormon all my life and am the eldest of five children. I am from Colorado but moved to Los Angeles for school and ended up in school for seven years to get my doctorate in occupational therapy. I am a clinical professor where I went to school and I teach and practice at our lifestyle management clinic. I don’t think I can ever move away from the ocean because I’m obsessed with ocean swimming every Saturday. If I ever stopped being Mormon I would join the religion of ocean swimming and swim on Sundays as well.
I come from pioneer stock: strong female pioneer stock. Nancy Bailey Steele is my great-great-great-great grandmother, and she crossed the plains without a husband, with her toddler, infant, and milk cow. The lore goes that Joseph Smith gave her some consecrated oil for her to use at a time when she was in need. She ended up blessing her dying milk cow while crossing the plains so she could keep her children alive, and she made it safely to Salt Lake. I’m Mormon because it is my history and it is my future. I navigate my path of Mormonism in my own way and do so with a strong component of service.
From a very early age, I noticed inequality between men and women in the church. My dad helped me to set up a special meeting with the bishop when I was in elementary school when I was incredulous to learn that some tithing money supports Boy Scouts. Since then, I have had generally positive experiences with priesthood leaders but have never felt comfortable with a male-only priesthood.
I always noticed the inequality but have never been so confronted by it until recently. I live in a poor urban ward and we had a bishop called for over a year from another part of town because no men in our area could be bishop. We struggle to fill priesthood leadership roles when there are several worthy women. I have been a ward and stake leader. I’ve served as Relief Society President, Stake Young Women’s Counselor, Stake Relief Society Counselor, and now am currently Young Women’s President. My ward finally has its first young man for the past few years who passes the sacrament. It’s such a shame we have young women in the pews who sit silently. We cannot find enough men to fill all the callings.
Why wouldn’t women righteously desire the power of God? We are told to be like Christ and like Heavenly Father. There is more for us to do! From the hymn, “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today”: “There are chances for work all around just now: Opportunities right in our way. Do not let them pass by!” I am excited about additional ways to serve and I believe women should be ordained.