#hearLDSwomen: My Authority Was Disregarded at the Temple
When I was in college, I was the institute president. We organized quarterly trips to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. One time, a group of about ten of us went. We presented our recommends at the desk, and then we were asked who was in charge. I said that I was. The brother who asked ignored my response and asked again. I once again said that I was in charge. I was once again ignored. My (male) first counselor stepped up and told the brother that he was the first counselor and that I was the president and therefore in charge. The brother asked my first counselor to call on someone to pray.
I was furious. I don’t care that I didn’t get to pick who prayed, but I was so angry at the sexist and demeaning way my authority was dismissed because this man couldn’t comprehend that a woman would have any real authority in a mixed-sex group. And I knew this brother, too, because I was an ordinance worker at that temple.
This really hurt and caused unnecessary anxiety on my sealing day: We were both previously endowed before our sealing and advised the Provo temple of this before the day. They were really excited we had chosen their temple instead of some of the other ones nearby for our sealing. When we were performing the short veil ceremony beforehand, I responded with my temple name and got no response. So I said it again; still nothing. The man on the other side assisting my husband asked my husband to ask me again, I responded, he asked again, I answered. Silence. The matron just looked at me. I finally said, “That’s my name. I’m being sealed. I’m previously endowed.” At this point I started crying because I started to feel so anxious, and I was interpreting it as a sign that God didn’t want me to get married, or some such. The matron finally led me over to a chair, and they called my husband over. He explained I was previously endowed. I’m not sure what happened at the veil, other than the male worker being confused. Then we continued on with the correct name. It was humiliating. I’m just now figuring out why. This has bothered me for years, and as I’m typing, its impact is hitting me. He had to tell them I was previously endowed and the right name. They just thought I was confused.
What further rubbed salt in the wound at the time for me was that I was at least a weekly temple attender, and knew much more about all of it than my husband did. It felt so dismissive. My saying my name over and over was seen as a mistake, and not a thought was given that I might actually know what I was talking about. My husband didn’t have a clue, which is why I suppose he didn’t say anything to the male worker assisting him.
Pro Tip: Respect women’s authority, and recognize that women can have authority over both men and women. Give women the benefit of the doubt that they know what they are talking about.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)