Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you;
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
– Matthew 7:7-8
The above is one of the most important quotes from scripture for the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It takes on even more meaning in the light of what is about to occur on Saturday, April 5, 2014. That’s when a group of committed women will approach the Mormon tabernacle in Salt Lake City and request admission to the all-male Priesthood meeting. They do this to demonstrate their desire that women in the church gain ordination in the priesthood.
I was a Mormon once, from age twelve to age twenty. One of the most destructive things that was ever said to me was said by a local authority in the Mormon church when I was fifteen. (If you want the whole story, here’s a link to the blog about it.) I left the church and went on to fast-moving life of chasing pop stars and doing a fair variety of drugs in my twenties. I’ve since cleaned up my act. My only vices now are sugar, chocolate and coffee. But let me get back to my point here.
Here’s the thing. I had a picture of what Mormon women were like. I knew what they’d been like when I was a kid. Conservative, modestly dressed, subservient to their husbands and other men in the church, pro-life, anti-gay—you get it, right? After sharing my story with them, they welcomed me into their inner circle. I read posts and comments that surprised the hell out of me. These women weren’t so very different from me. Raised in a culture which values family and a well-defined faith, I expected to find no free thinkers. What a dolt!
I love these lights of joy in the world. Some work outside the home; others don’t. Most are mothers; a few aren’t. Many of their husbands are surprisingly supportive, even sharing their profiles as well (ending as all the profiles on their web site end with “I believe women should be ordained”). Some have faced rejection from family. Several have experienced the pain of having their church privileges revoked because they’ve refused to denounce their involvement with Ordain Women (OW). But the one thing they have in common with one another is their absolute conviction that women in the Mormon church should receive the priesthood just as every man in the church has received it.
So do me a favor. On Saturday, around 4 p.m. MDT, say a little prayer and think a good thought for my friends who are attempting to gain access to a meeting which even non-Mormon men can attend but Mormon women in good standing cannot. They’ve been told by the church to not step on Temple Square (where the tabernacle, the temple and several other church buildings are situated). They’ve been told they will not be allowed to be there. They’ve been told by the church to gather with the anti-Mormon protestors across the street, but that’s not where they belong. They all love the church, and they aren’t there to protest. They are simply showing up to request permission to enter as equals to the men. Is that really so much to ask?