A few weeks ago I sat in sacrament meeting, feeling a mixture of hope and fear. It’s the regular emotional cocktail I live with at church. I desperately want to feel the Spirit, to hear something that will inspire me to more service, more action, and more community. Today was not that day. It wasn’t really anything special—a 5th Sunday high council fest of the most regular order—but the final talk of the day was about the priesthood. My ears perked up and my heart began to race. The speaker shared examples from conference talks and his own life experience. He was sincere and faithful. Then he issued a challenge the young men in the room who hold the Aaronic Priesthood, that they would lengthen their stride and fulfill their responsibilities with vigor and pride.
And then it hit me: where was the challenge for my daughters? My girls are 10 and 13 (almost) and are bold and intelligent and vivacious and talented. And yet, at the age when their male counterparts in Sunday School are moving into a rapid progression of priesthood authority, my daughters are done. In many ways, by the age of 8, Allison and Dorothy and every other Mormon girl, have achieved all they will in the gospel until they enter the temple, either for a mission or marriage (and even then they will require a man to escort and approve them). So, I wonder again, “Where is the challenge for the young women?” Are they not fit to serve? Are they not fit to bless?
While some may find this calling chasing or may chastise me for aspiring to an office, I say “maybe.” I have always been someone who looked to the rung above me on any ladder or to the position next to me in any group, and wondered if I could learn something there…and I’ve raised two girls who habitually do the same. I don’t think that’s actually a bad thing. We want to try all the things! But I want to be clear: I am not asking for my daughters to be made bishop, or myself to be immediately made an apostle; I am asking that every worthy women in the LDS Church have the same chance to serve afforded to every worthy male. We are asking to be ordained.
Honoring our past,
Envisioning our future.
Debra Jenson, the author of this post, is Ordain Women’s current Board Chair and the chair of the Communications Committee.