The women are part of the group called “Ordain Women” and many are active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Kate Kelly founded the group in March 2013 after wanting for several years to have women seek ordination to priesthood. The BYU graduate said she had an epiphany after serving a mission in Barcelona, Spain in 2002.
“I really started to see a stark contrast between the contributions of men and women in the church,” Kelly said.
Nearly 200 women share her beliefs as they walked to Temple Square and asked for a standby ticket to attend the Priesthood Session.
The women came from several states including New York, Florida, Illinois, Texas, Washington, California, Oregon and Idaho.
Julia Murphy flew to Utah from Germany to stand next to her sisters in their fight.
“As soon as I read the words “Ordain Women” it resonated in my heart of hearts,” Murphy said. “While I was excited, at the same moment it is scary to try and think that there could be this big of a change possible.”
The women lined up one by one to ask for a ticket, but we quickly turned away by a man standing at the doors of the Tabernacle. Some women got emotional.
“It was hard to watch all those men being waved in, waved in, waved in and then to be turned away,” Suzette Smith, an active member of the Church, said.
The LDS Church welcomed the women to watch the session being broadcast at home or online for the very first time.
“Millions of women in this church do not share the views of this small group that has come and organized this protest today and some of the members feel this is very divisive as well,” Ruth Todd, Spokeswoman for the LDS Church, said. “But even so these are our sisters and we want them in this church and we hope they’ll find the peace and joy we all seek in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Two women, Aubrey Brooks and Heather Reese, stood outside Temple Square holding signs that said they don’t need the priesthood to feel equal to their husbands.
“We love being members of the church,” Heather Reese said. “We don't feel like we’re put down in any way and we’re very happy by the roles that we have.”
But the group from “Ordain Women” said they need ordination to have full equality in the church.
“I have faith that we will receive the priesthood that lord will listen to our prayers and that our leaders will be responsive,” Kelly added.