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Wendy Adams Mendenhall Headshot

Please Pass the Priesthood

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I learned the masculine and the feminine of each noun I used in English and French. Objects have a masculine and feminine in other languages, more so than in English. Who gave those things a masculine and a feminine? And why?

I grew up in a culture governed by one religion. I learned the masculine and the feminine of each noun in that religion; man and woman. I learned them well and lived within their boundaries much of my life. Only when my bishop called me in did I realize how well I had learned them. Basically, he let me know that he was my shepherd and I was a part of his flock and he was heading or herding me into Heaven's gates. The moment that sentence left his mouth, I realized I was being herded or hurted into Heaven's gates and since I was, I was going to be my own shepherd and release him from such a big responsibility. I sat in front of him and told him that as of this moment, I relieved him from being my shepherd. I told him I would tell God when I got to Heaven's gate that I was responsible for my own life and all that it held.

The bishop sat across from me and was speechless. Here was a feminine, a woman, who had just realized her own Shepherd-hood. Here was a feminine, a woman, who had not been called from God, to be a shepherd holder. Here was a feminine, a woman who had just crossed the lines and boundaries, taken the staff and her herd of one and headed towards Heaven's gate, prepared to talk to a God who I was taught didn't talk to women, only to men, because they held the priesthood. I broke all the rules.

So here we sit in the 21st century. Women still asking if they can work, eat, be paid equally, have abortions, a job and an education. Here we are still wondering what we need to do to be equal in the world, in our families, cultures, and in ourselves. Here we are in the 21st century still maintaining the boundaries of: the masculine and the feminine, each opportunity available to all, and excusing the reasoning for anyone to be held down or back.

I am one of the billions being shepherded towards peace, love, no poverty, justness and God. In this, I rejoin the voice of the heard.

This is what it is to Thrive.