As a Mormon girl, I was given a great sense of value and capacity -- but within very limited constraints. To be successful was to stay pure, marry a Mormon man, and raise happy and dutiful Mormon children. I selected my undergraduate institution and course of study specifically to prepare for motherhood. When I graduated from college still single, I was completely lost, adrift! I didn't know what to do with myself.
I served a Mormon mission; I found gainful employment; I continued my education. But regardless of my secular successes, I felt like a failure. My single status only made me feel more and more undervalued in the religion of my upbringing. Though I considered myself a worthy and attractive partner, at 28 I rarely dated, had never had a boyfriend, and my prospects looked increasingly dim.
Ultimately, as an adult woman, I came to question the value of a faith that [I felt] measured my value and potential in terms of my marital (and parental) status. I disagreed that it was better for singles like me to live a celibate life than to seek companionship outside of my faith. I left the church. I pursued my "heretical" dreams (like a PhD and - gasp - a career!). I came to feel empowered to seek after happiness and meaning, with or without a man. I met and married a partner who considers and treats me as his equal.
Now, together with my husband, I look forward to raising children who will not be limited in their aspirations by their gender.I imagine that most Mormon women who join the conversation will have a different spin on their stories. But this is my story, and I think it is worth sharing.