I’ve been called apostate because I waited in line to get tickets to Priesthood Session. I was told I was being intentionally mean for wearing pants to church. When I speak my mind about sexism in the church, I often feel like the response from the person I’m speaking with is to ‘Just leave!’
Why don’t I just leave? It’s a rational response and I think about it often. Why do I stay in this church? Why do I stay in a place that devotes more time and resources to its young men than its young women? Why do I stay in a place that is proudly patriarchal? Why do I stay in a place that tells women that our bodies are inherently pornographic? Why do I stay where my Heavenly Mother is taboo?
I feel many frustrations with the church, but I still have faith in the gospel.
I have faith in Jesus Christ. I have hope in his words “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
I believe that one day our souls may all have rest through Christ. I feel truth and love in his words. I have hope in the atonement. I hope for life after death. I hope to speak and laugh with friends, family, and ancestors when I leave this world.
I feel peace when I read the book of Third Nephi. I love to think that Christ visited people in America. It tells me that God cares for and loves all people, for all are alike unto Him.
I believe that the ordinances that we have in our church are true and help connect us to Christ. I have felt unexplainable feelings of peace as I have attended baptisms of kids in my primary class. My anxieties melted away for a moment, even as I held a fidgety toddler in my lap.
So though I sometimes hear a voice in my head that says ‘Just leave!’, I also can hear the voice of President Uchtdorf saying, “Stay yet a little longer. There is room for you here.” I stay in this church because I feel the truth of the gospel and I hope for egalitarian changes in the church. And I hope that President Uchtdorf is right, that there is room for me here.