#hearLDSwomen: The Temple Poses Challenges for Women
A few years ago, I went to ward temple night. My divorce was about to be finalized, so I felt strongly that I needed to do sealings to refresh my memory on what the divorce would mean for my daughter. When I got to the sealing room, I was the only person not in a couple. I didn’t know any one else, but they were obviously paired off as husbands and wives. The sealer had everyone’s names on his desk, but he kept forgetting to add me to the rotation because I wasn’t there with a man. He changed everyone’s assignments based on moving the witnesses. Every time we finished a sheet he’d change things up, and I kept waiting for my turn to participate. One of the other women participating finally spoke up and asked, “What about her?” I was a complete mess by then, but I did get to do some sealings as a daughter before time was up. It broke me when I realized how invisible I was because I wasn’t there with a man. Aside from a handful of other very special, specific times—including my brother’s wedding a few weeks later—I haven’t returned to the temple. It had been my place of inspiration and refuge, even though I had to try really hard to look past all the sexism. When this happened to me, I was hurt and angry for being overlooked but also for losing my safe place.
When I was being interviewed by someone in the stake presidency a year ago so I could get my recommend for my sealing, this man that I had never met before (I get anxiety meeting alone with strange men for interviews and totally hate it, and I had been asked to come at night, too) started by asking how I felt about my now-husband still being sealed to his ex-wife. I was not expecting that question about personal feelings. He also rambled about how women come to him wanting a sealing cancellation and how he convinces them not to so that “they can still have blessings” like he was such a hero for not doing what women wished.
I was 36 at the time, had served a mission, and was fairly knowledgeable about procedures to get sealed, having helped a number of girlfriends over the years. He didn’t like that I knew all the answers and didn’t need his information about what was allowed in the temple. He kept trying to quiz me and find SOMETHING that I didn’t know. Asking the worthiness questions didn’t take up much time, but the rest did, far too much of my time late at night. When I finally could get out of there, I ran to my car at like 10 PM and cried all the way home. I don’t remember his face anymore, but I still hate his guts.
When I was an ordinance worker in 2017, the workers would meet in the chapel for a prayer meeting before the shift. At the end of the meeting, the female coordinator would go up to the podium and announce the confidential info (for that day) for the women. Both men and women were in the room when this information was given. Then, the women would be dismissed and leave the room, the doors to the chapel would close, and only men would be in the room, and then the men were told the confidential info for the men. I found this hard to deal with as an ordinance worker because I felt like the church didn’t trust the women. This (and several other things) made me feel as if female ordinance workers were secondary to male ordinance workers.
– Dani Addante
Pro Tip: Treat women like equals. Be aware that single women are often overlooked and do what you can to make sure they are included and have a place.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)