Hi, my name is Petra and I’m not needed in the Church.
No, seriously: I don’t have any special skills that no one else in my ward could provide; I’m not building the kingdom by bearing children; and I don’t contribute to the basic functions of the ward by performing ordinances or conducting or organizing meetings, or even activities. I serve in a calling, and I try to be helpful, but since anyone else could do what I do, I’m not needed. If I stopped going to church it would pretty much be business as usual.
I’m not really needed in my family, either. My parents love me but they have other children, and my husband loves me but could have married someone else or been happy single. (He was pretty happy for 26 years before I came along, after all.)
Does this sound like a giant pity party I’m throwing in this post? I hope not. I don’t need to be needed, in my family or in the church. Even if they could function without me, my ward wants me (I hope!) because I’m willing to serve, because I positively contribute, and because they like me. And even if they could function without me, my family wants me (I hope!) because I’m willing to serve, because I positively contribute, and because they love me.
My contributions to my church and family aren’t unique or exclusive to me, but I still like to think they matter, and I matter because I do them. If I woke up one morning and suddenly announced that I was leaving the church because someone else could be a Sunday School teacher, or that I was leaving my husband because he could do the laundry himself without my help, I’d be decried as selfish and short-sighted. I’d be sacrificing good things that make me happy–my church and family relationships–simply for the sake of feeling uniquely needed, and I’d be overlooking the many places I’m wanted, and the many places I can contribute, in favor of the one special role only I can fill.
That isn’t my attitude to my ward or family, though, luckily. I know that just because I’m not needed doesn’t mean I’m not wanted. I may not be needed, but that doesn’t mean I can’t serve. Anyone else can teach my Sunday School class, but that doesn’t diminish the service I offer. My husband can do the laundry himself, but it still shows my love when I do it. The fact that someone else could take over the vast majority of my service doesn’t mean that it’s not valuable when I do it, and doesn’t mean that I should quit showing up and offering it.
So tell me: why are we making that argument for male-only priesthood?