Old guy. Mormon through and through.
Mom’s line included handcart pioneers, although she was inactive. My dad considered himself a heathen, never belonging to any religion although his mother was converted by LDS missionaries as a girl in Holland and came to Utah with her sister. Sometime thereafter she left the church and married a Gentile.
I was baptized when almost 9, have been active all my life, served a mission at 19, got married in 1971 in the SL Temple to Shelley Parker, whose birthday is — take note — March 17. She went around the mortal bend last year on April 24. I miss her so.
I’ve served the Church as young men’s president, ward clerk, assistant ward clerk, elders quorum president and instructor, various teaching positions, including gospel doctrine, stake Sunday school president and councilor. I currently serve as a primary teacher, co-teaching five-year-olds with my daughter, who has epilepsy and cerebral palsy. I’m 65. Since retiring — I worked 34 years for the IRS, mostly as an appeals officer — I’ve taken up writing. I’ve written a few books: a self-published tax book for writers, Making Expression Less Taxing, and three novels.
I started my fourth novel in January 2013. It starts as follows:
“I plan on granting Sue’s wish,” I said. I hated feeling like I had to answer to John. I was eighty-two, he was fifty-seven. But, gracious, he was a man of God, even if he was my son. He assumed an air of religious authority which I accepted on faith. You could say that what I planned to do left him with a bitter taste, as if it denied the order of things. “That’s what she’s asked me to do on her birthday. I’m going to. It’s time. Past time.”
“Dad?” he said. He sighed.
I paused. At least he’d used the familiar Dad and hadn’t changed to Father yet. Sometimes I wished we’d only had grandchildren, Michelle and I. “I’ll put hands on her head,” I said. “Her dad will be with me to do it.”
“But, Father —”
There. Dad had switched to Father. “And your brother, Josh.” It’d been between fifty and sixty years ago when Michelle and I could have done anything about skipping kids and waiting for grandkids. During ten years we’ve been quite productive. “He’s coming up to help too.”
“But, Father —”
“Were planning to go ahead with it on Sunday.”
“But, Father, you know —”
“At my place.”
“You can’t do that, Father. You can’t.”
“I can and I will.”
“It won’t have any effect.”
“Then you shouldn’t care.”
“Come on Father. You know better than that.”
“No, I don’t.”
“It’s like you’re going senile. You know the order of things; she’s a girl.”
“She’s that all right. Maybe I am less agile mentally. But, son, you’ve thought that for ten years. Ever since your mother died you’ve been thinking I’ve gone off the deep end.”
“No, I —”
“Sue doesn’t think so though,” I said.
“She’s only —”
“I know she’s only twelve. But neither does her mother or your brother-in-law think I’m being senile or it’s wrong to go against the order of things. They are all for it.”
“What would Mom say?”
“Your mother’s not here. You know that.”
“Yes, I know.” There was a pause. “I miss her every day.”
I knew he was sincere. “Yes, me too. She and I agreed on pretty much everything when she was alive. If we didn’t, she’d give me her reasons. That’s more than I can say for you.”
“I can give you reasons,” John said, “but not over the telephone. Can’t we do this reasonably and prayerfully? In person?”
“Can’t you put it off?” John cleared his throat. “Give me some time. I’ve got a heavy schedule and already made plans. People are counting on me. I’m supposed to fly out of here tomorrow for Japan. Put it off so I can come and talk to you first, all of you. I’ll bring Helen and will have a nice visit.”
“Sunday’s when it’s happening, John.” I spoke quickly. Even though he was Mormon Apostle, I wanted him to see the importance of this to me and especially to Sue. “That will give you six days, whether you come from Japan or Salt Lake, whether you bring your dear wife or not, although I’d love to see Helen. She is such a sweet woman.”
Well, you get the gist.
I love the sweet peace of a heavenly family, both here and hereafter, and I believe with all my heart I’m in the place for that to be realized. Years ago I began asking what type of a son grows up to manhood and never asks about a missing Mother, one who’s mentioned but ignored. I began noticing historically and contemporaneously differences in how men and women are treated. I asked and ask about my Mother. So, yes, I believe in asking and I believe that women — and girls at age 12 — should be ordained.