Then, at the age of 12, I found the faith of my ancestors and it spoke to me. I was in love with the idea of a Heavenly Father who made me. He sent me here to be tried and challenged and He was waiting for me to return to Him. I memorized the theme; said it every week. And I believed it. Still do: I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me. And I love Him.
At the same time I saw the boys my age ordained deacons in our church. They were allowed to participate in important ordinances and were required to serve the members of our ward in very personal ways. They were expected to be worthy and righteous. I was expected to say a theme. I admit it: it bothered me. Why didn't they expect me to do and be those things? Why was I not allowed to serve in those important ways?
I could go on and on about the many times I have felt a desire to hold the priesthood. I could tell you that I was shocked to realize that I have a Heavenly Mother, too, only we aren't allowed to talk about Her or pray to Her, and that hurts me. I could share the longing I felt when each of my children was blessed while I sat alone in a pew. Or how badly I wanted to give my husband a healing blessing when he was recovering from major surgery. Or how I have desired to stand next to my husband as he gave a father's blessing to our children the night before a new school year started. I could share it... and it would be shocking to many. And proof of my apostate path to others, even people who know me and claim to love me.
Instead I will say this: I am a feminist Mormon and I will be standing in line for admittance to the LDS General Conference Priesthood Session on October 5, 2013. I will do this knowing fully that many of my family and friends think it is wrong. That they judge me for even thinking this, let alone acting on it. And that my church may choose to discipline me for it. But I will do it anyway.
I will do it for my daughters. Because I cannot answer their questions about why they are not allowed to serve in the same way their brother does.
I will do it for my daughters. Because there is a chance one or both of them may never marry, or may never have children - and I WILL NOT allow them to believe that their contribution to this world and this church is only fully realized through the man they marry or the children they give birth to.
I will do it for my son and my husband. Because they are noble and loving and kind. And they are those things because that is who they are, NOT because they hold the priesthood.
And I will do it for every other woman - in the church and out - who experiences inequality. Many do not see it or feel it, but it is there. And an injustice to one of my sisters is an injustice to us all.
So, yes, I will be at the "Feminist Mormon Protest" (as some have decided to mislabel it). I helped plan it and am more proud of this work than almost anything else I have done in my life. I will be there reverently, standing in line, praying for softer hearts to prevail. But I guarantee you this:
I WILL BE THERE.