I’m a convert to the Church, and before I became LDS I attended the local United Methodist Church with my family. We had a female pastor whom I loved and looked up to, and I confided in her quite a bit as I progressed through my teenage years. We remained close even after I was baptized; she attended my wedding and even spoke at the ring ceremony.
I have been LDS for nearly 15 years now, and while I appreciate my faith leaders on both a local and a general level, it makes me sad that women are so absent. Women don’t sit on the stand at our local sacrament meetings, and we scarcely hear from them at all during General Conference. The Church likes to boast of the Relief Society being the largest organization for women in the world, but the leadership is chosen by those outside the organization and rotated faster than some bishoprics. Even within Relief Society each Sunday, we only study the words and lives of men.
I know that good Relief Society and Young Women’s leaders can make incredible differences, but it’s different from leading, caring for and counseling an entire congregation. I’ve had first-hand experience with how wonderful it is to have a woman in such a leadership position, and I hate that I have no good answers for my daughters when they ask why women can’t be bishops. My hope is that someday I won’t have to think of any – that women’s voices will be as visible and valuable as men’s, and that women will be ordained to the priesthood.