Saturday, October 5, 2013

Mormon Women Ask For a Place at the Table

LDS women line up to seek admission into the Priesthood session

This morning I logged onto facebook to see one friend after another post about the glory and goodness of the talk given by President Dieter F. Uchdorf. Statuses were updated about how much they loved his words, about the truth he spoke, and about how there is room for each person who desires to be accepted and cherished in the "one true church".  

It was hard for me to read, not because I didn't love the message, who wouldn't love a message that encourages us to love others, live up to our potential, and to live a life void of regrets. No, it was hard for me to read because I knew that tonight I would go down to Temple Square and watch as sister after sister--my sisters no matter what my current beliefs--asked to be let in to the Priesthood session. And I knew that I would watch them be turned away, one by one, their hearts breaking yet again.

What I forgot to factor in was the fact that man after man would belittle their feelings. That Priesthood holder after Priesthood holder would laugh when they learned why all those women were waiting in line. They would rolled their eyes. They would make jokes about "angry feminists" or "crazy feminists" or "stupid feminists" or "ungrateful feminists". They thought it sinful. They felt uncomfortable. They averted their eyes. They pretended not to see us. That hurt. That always hurts.

Women are denied entrance on the left while men and boys gain access on the right.

Man after man was let into conference. Boy after boy was let into the conference. Woman after woman was denied. Women from all over the world came, stood, and asked to be let into the priesthood session:

"I am a faithful woman in this church. I have three daughters. May I please enter and watch the priesthood session?"

"No, this session is only for men."

"Hello, my name is Anne. I have been a member all my life. I would like to come into the priesthood session and listen to my prophet."

"I'm sorry, I can't let you in. This session is only for men."

Woman after Woman denied entrance

"I would like to be let in."
"I would like a ticket."
"I want to listen to my prophet."
"I'm faithful. I served a mission. I would like to enter."

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. 

Mormon men and boys avert their eyes and ignore their sisters seeking entrance

I've removed myself from the Mormon church because of many reasons. Women being treated unequally was a main one. Mormon woman after Mormon woman have justified their not holding the priesthood by saying that they don't "feel unequal".  But, in the words of Kate Kelly-- "Equality ISN'T a feeling."  

Equality is a fact. It can be measured. Whether you feel it or not. It's there. You can decide not to be bothered by it. You can even deny it. But you can measure it. You can gauge it. You can see it--even if you refuse to feel it.

Women cannot bless and pass the sacrament.
Women cannot preside over general meetings.
Women cannot baptize people.
Women cannot bless their babies.
Women cannot perform ordinances in church houses.
Women cannot heal the sick by laying on of hands.
Women cannot be called as prophet.
Women cannot be called as Bishop.
Women cannot be in charge of the money.
Women cannot know information in the temple that men know.
Women cannot attend meetings meant for men 
(though men can attend any meeting meant for women)

The group of 200 met back at the park and sang "I Am a Child of God"

I have chosen not to live in that world. That world where I am given a list of rote answers to solve all my questions. A world that dictates what I can do with my body. A world that tells me that it is only through them that I can gain salvation. A world that tells me No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

Leaving that world was one of the hardest things I have ever done--but leaving that world was necessary for my extreme self-respect. 

Tonight, I attended the "Ordain Women" event to record footage of history in the making--to record my many sisters who love, honor, and cherish this church as a major part of their world. I hugged them. I shared their tears. I felt for them. I saw the faces of dedication. They are the pioneers of this battle for equality, and I honor them. I send them all my love and pray that they soon will have a place at the table with the men. Soon. ORDAIN WOMEN.