Cathy Gilmore is a friend of the blog and has posted with us previously. She is also currently working on a documentary history of her grandmother Dorothy Smith Clark. Cathy graduated from the University of Utah with a B.A. in English and a Russian minor, and works as a contract consultant in marketing communications and design. She is married to Ed, an English bloke from Northeast Lincolnshire, and together they have four daughters.
It is a belonging that we crave because it is one we have always known.
—Terryl & Fiona Givens, The God Who Weeps
One of my favorite things to say as a child was, “It’s not fair!” As the fifth of seven children, I naturally developed a keen sense of fairness. I remember fuming in my room because my older siblings sent me to bed while they ordered pizza and watched movies. (I can smell the pizza, guys!) I was irritated that my parents didn’t let me to see Poltergeist with my older brothers. My fear of being left out reached its high point when I was accidentally left in a park in Blackfoot, Idaho during a family vacation lunch stop. To my dad’s credit, he did risk overturning the camper while flipping a U-turn on the highway after they realized their mistake. Like 45 minutes later.
I admit, I had a little chip on my eight-year-old shoulder. I just wanted to do what others were doing. I wanted to wear my older sister’s clothes. I wanted to throw a baseball like my brothers. When my brother became a Deacon, I was really excited to be one, too. I asked my mom when I could pass the sacrament, and she smiled and looked sad at the same time. “You can’t,” she said. Knowing that I would say, “That’s not fair,” she added, “You can be a Primary President. Bishops can’t do that.” I was mad, and embarrassed that I had asked. That week I recorded my feelings in my Hello Kitty diary.
Oct 18, 1981
Sometimes I think girls can have equal right[s] to boys. I’m kind of a tom boy. I used to play football with the boys in first grade. I am a writer to[o]. I have a whole book of poems. I hope I can share my feelings with others! I am getting to be more like a good Mormon, I pray more often. I have so many question[s] to ask God.
Oct 22, 1981
Sometimes I think that women should have equal rights to men. Someday I’m going to fight for those rights. 
That same year, my mom recorded this in her journal:
Cathy (age 8) was baptized on April 12th & confirmed the same day. Clark baptized her (at Stake Center) & Leon confirmed her a member of the church. It was great to have the family participate. … She recorded her feelings in her journal that day & we are very pleased with her spirit. She is a sweet, freckle-faced blonde who loves to do ‘her thing’ her ‘own way’. She has many questions ranging from ‘why can’t we have the priesthood’ to almost anything. Sometimes I think she feels cheated because she’s such a ‘tom-boy’.
In recalling these memories at a recent Sunday night family gathering, my dad reminded me of the gift they gave me to console my disappointment: a necktie. “We totally remember the tie!” my brothers said, laughing. I had forgotten. Looking back, it is difficult to pinpoint just one source of my indignance. Was it possible I was influenced that the ERA movement of the time? I remember my parents shaking their heads when we heard their protests at General Conference. Was it my middle childness, or my competitive nature? Or did the desire grow from something more pure, like simply wanting to belong? Perhaps it was the sum of all stirring within me as I lay beneath my mother’s quilting frames, reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books, listening to the women talk quietly amidst the pop and pull of yarn.
Thirty-seven years later, some things are still the same. I write. I like to share my feelings with others. I’m still am trying to be a good Mormon. As a woman, I’m still figuring out what that means. My path in the church isn’t marked by scouting honors or priesthood advancements, but rather reflects the winding and varied terrain of my own experience. Although my childhood yearning to be a deacon has tempered, my desire to draw women in from margins marked by culture and tradition has magnified. I’m not alone. I see women all around me immersed in the work of reawakening women’s roles and purposes in the church. This awakening that assures me that the church isn’t a tunnel, but an hourglass—or perhaps of series of them—and we are emerging from its neck into an expanding space. Increasingly, there are calls for women to fill the space, like this one from Elder Russell M. Nelson:
We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve.
We do need women like Mother Eve, but do we always have a place for them? To emulate Mother Eve’s vision is to take the long view, to make an unpopular choice. She was a game-changer, who expanded the boundaries of what it meant to be human—but expanding boundaries is a precarious job for women. Confidence can be seen as ambition. Questions can be seen as doubt. And what about accessing that power of God? Tread carefully there.
And I do, like a good Mormon. At times, however, I can’t entirely shake the familiar sting I felt as a girl. I feel it when we are asked for our perspectives but are given few pulpits. I feel it when we are assured of parity, but our language, programs, budgets, and titles reflect a lesser standing. I feel it in every lesson that teaches me to honor the priesthood, but only as it is embodied separately by men, never acknowledging that this same power resides in me. To echo a question from Dallin H. Oaks, what other power can it be? I feel the distillation of spiritual gifts, and the capacity to pray, minister, and speak with authority, but it is a power more often admired than emulated.
In the Book of Remembrance compiled by my Grandma Dorothy Smith Clark there is a section called “Spiritual Gifts”. Within it there is a testimony of my 2nd Great Grandma Emma Larson Smith, a record of the gift of tongues from my 3rd Great Grandmother Elizabeth Degen Bushman, and an example of the gift of healing, from my Great Grandma June Augusta Bushman, shared here:
As told by my Mother:
When I was a girl of 12 I was given a blessing by a Patriarch in which he said I had the gift of healing and especially would I be able to heal myself and my children.
I thought that a strange gift for a woman as I grew older but when I was the mother of two children Marvin took seriously ill with hives. I was alone so could not go for help as he was taken so suddenly he could hardly get his breath and was stiff as wood.
All of a sudden when I was beside myself with grief because my husband was not there to administer to him I remembered what the Patriarch had told me of my gift. I placed my hands upon his head and asked for a blessing. The Lord acknowledged my petition and he was healed. 
My record, and the records of the four generations of women that preceded me—call to me from their own place in the hourglass, speaking as witnesses to their experience. There is truth here. The gifts of my grandmothers cast long shadows along a line of strength and power I can claim as my own. I walk carefully in these shadows, holding fast to the church I am given. It’s a messy, beautiful place that has broken and bound up my hammered-out heart. In many ways, I don’t feel much different that my eight-year-old self, lying underneath my mother’s quilting frames. I see the shadows of women’s hands, doing women’s work. There’s light up there. I hope there is a seat saved for me.
It’s sacrament meeting. The Priests carefully lift the white sacrament cloth, uncovering the trays of bread. I notice my special needs daughter is watching them carefully. In sync with the Priests actions, she slowly lifts and drops her own blanket on to her lap, smoothing it carefully. I am undone. The Deacon passes the bread to me, and I to her. I consider her emulation, and the grace required for us to all belong. I still have a lot of questions to ask God.
 Terryl and Fiona Givens, The God Who Weeps (Ensign Peak, 2012), 109
 Cathy Gilmore, Journal, 1979-1981
 Dorothy Chamberlain Journal
 Russell M. Nelson, “A Plea to My Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 2015, 97;
 Dorothy Smith Clark, “Book of Remembrance”