I was born to a single, feminist mother who taught me to be strong and fair. I am a convert to the LDS Church. My conversion story is rich and meaningful. After taking the missionary discussions three times and standing up to strong family opposition that changed relationships forever, I was baptized. I married my high school sweetheart, Paul, who had been a lifelong member and served a faithful mission. We were sealed in the San Diego Temple in April 2007. The Church was my peaceful place, my inspiration. It felt like the missing piece in my life had been replaced.
My work as first counselor in the Young Women’s presidency highlighted the issues of gender inequality within the Church. Following church manual instructions, I taught things that were contrary to what I felt inside about the role and value of women. Specifically, when asked to share my unique talents during a lesson I automatically answered with details about my homemaking skills. I am a passionate, invested and successful special education teacher. I can think of many other things to share about my talents as a teacher and leader that are far more significant than how tidy my home is or how satisfied my husband is with my cooking. Sadly, I participated in representing the women’s value at home as being the ideal and of highest regard. Those things do hold value, however we should not be limited to them. I taught these things because I wanted to please, but I was disturbed by feeling like I had to live inauthentically in my church community. Unfortunately, the contradiction of what my husband and I were being asked to teach and how we felt were also present in other realms of the church (doctrine) and led us to stop attending.
Our family and many of our friends are faithful members who serve wholeheartedly and live by the teachings of the Church. I stand with Ordain Women with them in mind. I have been overwhelmed lately with thoughts about how the ordination of women would positively impact some of the most important women in my life; how it would have changed my experience and could change the experience of the youth, boys and girls, whose self concept is malleable and still developing.
How beautiful it would be to see a woman sitting behind the pulpit as a member of the bishopric. How inspirational it would be to hear a mother bless her newborn child in a sacrament meeting. How powerful for a mother to baptize her son. These visions give me hope that the experience for those I love and the youth who deserves to be taught better would be more uplifting, fair and fulfilling. The ordination of women would allow a more authentic experience for many and enrich the lives of people I love. It is right. It is fair. It is deserved. I stand for gender equality. I support the ordination of women and believe women should be ordained.