When I was a beehive in YW’s many moons ago, I remember attending a lesson on the apostolic calling. Now, take a seat and pay attention to this story because it is a pivotal moment in My Feminist Life. My Young Women’s teacher (a woman, of course) went on and on about how amazing it must be to have “that special witness of Christ.” I remember feeling a sense of awe and gaining a testimony of the apostolic calling in the same moment that I realized that it would never be me. Because I am a woman. I raised my hand and asked the teacher if women can experience that special relationship with the Savior. Her response was, “Maybe one day you’ll raise a son who is an apostle!” I felt crushed.

In hindsight, I can look back at that moment as a fork in the road. I chose the path that eventually led me to put up a profile on OrdainWomen.org and devote time and energy to the organization’s mission. As the Ordain Women mission statement says, I am “committed to work for equality and the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood.”

Now I have three sons. I’m actually really grateful for that. Not because I have the chance to raise an apostle because I do not believe my potential is fulfilled by what my children do.  The truth is I’m not sure I could’ve handled raising daughters in the church. I don’t think I could send them down the same thorny, rocky path I’ve traveled.  I feel like the inherent male privilege that my sons enjoy is transferred into a “mom of boys” privilege that allows me to continue engaging with my faith without worrying about my children being routinely excluded from opportunities to serve in the church.

Even still, having all sons as a Mormon mom holds a particular kind of expectation and challenge.  They will head down a different path than I did.  They will come to forks in the road and have choices I never had.  They can continue down those paths, and I cannot go with them. My sons will receive ordinations and blessings, and I am shut out of it all.

This is why the Ordain Women’s Ready to Witness campaign is so significant to me.  I am ready to be a part of the important moments in my sons’ lives.  There is so much that I am shut out of—and I want to keep advocating for inclusion in all of it—but in the meantime, I don’t see any reason I can’t be witness to pivotal moments for them.  I can Witness a baptism.  I can Witness a sealing ceremony.  I can be a Witness for my sons during priesthood interviews.  If Mary can be the Witness to the Savior’s resurrection, surely I can be the Witness to these moments in my sons’ lives.

I am Ready to Witness.

Go HERE to learn more about the Ready to Witness campaign and how you can share your story.

Leah Marie earned a BA in Political Science, and a Masters in Public Administration. She is currently working towards her PhD in Public Policy. She is wife to an English professor, and mother to 3 beautiful boys.

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