"Maybe I will get to be a Bishop some day."

I remember when I was nine or ten years old, living in the Dry Creek ward (congregation) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), smiling at Bishop Hartung from afar, greeting people who needed to talk to him. (Bishops are more like pastors in the Mormon church.) I knew he had a good and righteous role of helping people. I loved that.

So there I was, looking from afar, smiling, and feeling good, filled with light, and I said to my mom, "Maybe I will get to be a Bishop someday."

And that's when the anvil dropped.

That's when my mother explained to me that you have to have the Priesthood in order to become the Bishop, that only men held the Priesthood, so therefore I cannot ever be a Bishop because I'm a girl.

All that light and goodness I was feeling went out, and I don't remember what I said beyond "Oh." I remember internalizing that women are naturally more spiritual and men needed the Priesthood to be closer to God. I remember internalizing the Priesthood can only be exercised righteously which confused me because my paternal parent was not acting righteously.

I remember, sweeping that whole experience I had looking at Bishop Hartung with all this light and love and wanting to be a part of that all under the rug because it wasn't for me. It was a hardline no.

I'm writing about this now, because I am doing Mel Robbins #BestDecadeEver free program thing. And in it she has us writing our dreams, our big dreams, and while listening to her talk this came up. And it hurts. I feel sick to my stomach. I feel anxiety, shallower breathing, pain building in my head as my heart rate jumps, and it's this big thing of YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED. NO GIRLS ALLOWED. And then it gets worse. YOU ARE UNWORTHY. Unworthy why? Because I don't have a penis.

Unworthy doubly because it's better to be dead than to be raped according to the lessons I received at church.  Unworthy because I was a licked cupcake that no  one wants except the person who licked the cupcake. I was unworthy because somehow I wasn't modest enough, nor good enough, to stop it from happening.

And to top it all off. I was unrighteously desiring power, no one should ever want to be a Bishop, so I felt horrible for my unrighteous desire, and doubly horrible because I wanted to kill my paternal parent, because I wasn't forgiving him, and I have to forgive in order to get into the highest degree of Heaven, celestial glory.

Weirdly enough, the idea of a fairy tale Temple marriage to a righteous man helped me have hope. My spiritual experiences helped me have hope. Our belief that Eve made the right choice in Eden was powerful to me. The idea of personal revelation and continuing revelation, and the articles of faith, and all that, were all so helpful to me.

But my soul was still crushed. Because to be a Bishop was a secret dream. A dream I can never have because my own church finds me unfit for it because I'm a woman. This, along with being taught we shouldn't desire such power, made it harder for me to believe Jesus when  he said that we would do greater miracles than he. Because who am I? A woman? To think that I could be greater than Jesus Christ?

(John 14:12 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." KJV)

But maybe,  maybe that "he" doesn't mean all of us this time?

Typing this all out, I feel ill, because the indoctrination is strong. I am unrighteous for wanting to be a Bishop.

But O God, I want to be a Bishop.

But I'm unrighteous for that, which means I am evil because only evil wants what they should not want, that's how Lucifer became Satan according to church mythos.

But O God, I want to be a Stake President.

And I look at Pope Francis, so humble compared to the rest, and I think I want that. But not with the Catholic church, I want that in my own.

But no. It is unrighteous to want more than I want.
Even the prophetesses in the Bible don't get the Priesthood. They are just special witnesses. And oh, even though we are endowed with the holy garment so fhte Priesthood in the Temple it's not the same as what the men have.

I should not want.

But I do. I want to truly walk as Jesus walked, and more. I want that promise Jesus made, to do greater things than he.

I want to serve. I want to help families be stronger families, no matter what they look like. I want to help people feel the Spirit, to know they are loved. I want to be that trusted religious authority who  does it right like Pope Francis, and that person who despite that position isn't afraid to say I'm so sorry I was wrong, to say I'm human just like you, You have equal authority in your life, more so than I really. That it's not "power over" but "power with".

To stand for truth and righteousness in all times and in all things and in all places. To have faith in the people. To help them not be so reliant on me, but on themselves and their own spiritual experiences and that it's okay to make mistakes. That mistakes aren't sins. That you aren't a bad person when bad things happen to you. Just like how Joseph Smith talked about fostering in the early church.

I know that I am valued. I bear the Gift of Discernment, nay, the Spirit of Discernment for the gift has grown, through study and practice by the Spirit of God. I believe in the direction I receive from my Heavenly Parents. I know they will not and have not led me astray.

But somehow. Somehow, I still feel evil, because despite doing what I do as guided by God, I am still that little girl that believes she is evil for wanting to be a Bishop.

Note: I did not edit this at all.



1 comment: