After meeting in the park, the Ordain Women group set off to Temple Square.
I was near the front of line, feeling hopeful as we trekked. As the anti-Mormon protestors yelled at us, I continued to smile. We would be there soon. My heart was full of hope that this time would be different. They had to let us in—right?
It began to hail.
My legs were freezing. I was freezing. Everyone all huddled under umbrellas, but we were still being hit hard by the hail. Even in those moments of cold, I remember feeling hope. Hope that I would soon be warm. Hope that I would soon be accepted into the priesthood meeting.
We stood in line. We waited in the cold, smiles on many faces, trying to stay positive.
Despite my efforts to smile, the reality of what was happening hit me. I watched the people in front of me—which were few, since I was in the front—get turned away, and my eyes got filled with tears. I felt my blood run cold. There are a few things I hate to do, and one of them is crying in public. I tried to pull it together. I would walk up there. I would be poised. I knew I was going to get turned away. Then why did it hurt so badly?
I walked up to the woman who was turning people away, and I looked in her eyes. My eyes filled with tears as I shook her hand. “My name is Tinesha,” I told her. She asked me if I had seen the Women’s meeting. I said I had. She told me that the Women’s meeting was for me, and the priesthood meeting was for men. And I sobbed. I put my hands up to my face and I sobbed. I said thank you and I quickly exited, embarrassed for my sudden outburst of emotion.
But as I stood there and watched other people get turned away, I couldn’t shake how much it hurt. I cried a little more, because I felt so much pain at getting turned away.
We were quiet; we were reverent. And for the first time in months, I felt someone watching over me. It is funny to me—the first time I felt connected to something spiritual after several months was at this event, with these women who are considered by many to be apostates.
I began singing a Primary song in my head, a song I hadn’t sung in years. A song I had forgotten about, because I rarely sang church songs. I remember being in Young Women’s and sitting on the side of my bed and quietly whispering this song and crying, pleading with my Heavenly Parents because I was confused about what to do. I sang this song in my head. And I cried.
But with those tears came a resolve to keep trying for me, for my family, for the wonderful young women in my life.
(The words are written the way I sung them in my head.)
Heavenly Parents, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?
Heavenly Parents, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
“Suffer the children to come to me.”
Pray, they are there; Speak, they are listening.
I am their child;
Their love now surrounds me.
They hear my prayer;
They love the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav’n.