Friday, April 4, 2014

Ordain Women... Seriously?

As some of you may know, there are some women—and by "some", I mean roughly 1,300…which is about, eh, .01% of LDS women—that are currently asking—and by "asking", I mean DEMANDING—to be given the Priesthood. 

150 of these individuals stomped temple grounds requesting to get tickets to the Priesthood Session of General Conference; a session that they knew they would not be admitted to since it is a session of Conference that is designed to uplift and speak directly to men and boys about their roles and responsibilities (just as men are not admitted into the Relief Society Broadcasts, the General Women’s Session of Conference, Time out for Women, etc.). These same individuals claim that Mormon women are being oppressed by not being ordained as priesthood holders.

Seriously?

When I first got wind of this issue last year, all I could see in my mind was Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; the little girl who is never satisfied with what she already has. She needs it all. She wants it all. She demands it all.


Now that this controversy is gaining more and more attention, I feel that it is my duty to stand up for what I know to be true and what I believe in. I feel like it's important to help people realize--whether you are Mormon or not, active or inactive in the faith--that NOT ALL MORMON WOMEN FEEL THIS WAY. 

In fact, I passionately, full-heartedly, and respectfully disagree 150%.  

To begin, I would like to refer to an article that I read describing these recent events. In this article, there were words that… frustrated me. Baffled me. Aggravated me.

[Kate] Kelly said the group doesn't feel like it belongs in the free-speech zones, provided by the city for protestors who demonstrate during the church's semiannual general conferences in April and October.
"We feel as faithful, active Mormon women we have nothing in common with people who oppose the church and want to protest against it," she said. "The church is its members. We aren't against the church, we are the church."

Firstly, it behooves me to think that there are active women (and men) in the church who truly think that the laws and doctrine of this church, which we know are made by God, can be taken to a vote or petitioned.

Which leads me to my second thought: “the church is its members. We aren’t against the church we are the church”

Please tell me you’re kidding.

As we established before, God, the Eternal Father and his son, Jesus Christ, created the laws/doctrine of this gospel.

AKA --> God’s church = The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Meaning, this is His doctrine, His laws, His commandments, His plan, and His great and everlasting sacrifice is at the very heart and center of this faith.

The Lord is the church. Jesus Christ is the church.

AND, as much as it sucks to hear, the church would get along just fine without you, without me, and without all those who think their way is better than the Lord’s way.

This is not a new concept for Mormons who understand the doctrine.

Do these “Ordain Women” activists really think that their way is better than the Lord’s way? Do they really think doctrine can suddenly be determined by consensus? Sure, it can in other churches or in government.

But we are not talking about other churches and this is certainly not a government issue. 

This is not a policy that can be viewed or changed if you gather enough signatures. We do not vote for our Prophet, nor do they appoint themselves.

As Latter-Day Saints, we also believe that God chooses His prophets and apostles that help govern His church on the earth today. In Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 we read the words of Heavenly Father in regards to His doctrine, "whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same".

Knowing that the Almighty God and His son, Jesus Christ, govern this church, you would think that it would just be common knowledge—or just common sense—that this doctrine that we speak of was not determined by consensus. Yes, we believe in modern day prophets. BUT, you must remember, these prophets and apostles act as mouthpieces for the Lord—they did not make the rules nor did they create the doctrine. They received divine revelation from Heavenly Father and act in His name.

Ok. Back to the issue.

These “Ordain Women” activists proclaim that in order to solve issues of gender inequality within the church, they want to be ordained with the priesthood.

…Two things:

1. “Equal” does not mean “Same”

Let me just say, being treated equally does not mean we are all treated the exact same way or get the exact same privileges all the time.

If being treated equally meant being treated the same, then this would mean:
  • ·    Stand-up urinals would be found in ALL bathrooms, not just the men’s room. Woohoo!
  • ·    The exact same sports programs would be found at ALL schools for both genders everywhere, so you couldn’t have a men’s football team without having a women’s football team, a men’s soccer team without a women’s team, a women’s cheerleading team without a men’s cheer team, a men’s wrestling, baseball, volleyball, water polo, lacrosse, etc. without having the same women’s teams. Oh, well, there goes most of your programs! Sorry kids!
  • ·  Men would now have the ability to give birth. Congrats fellas, now you can say you did most of the work and actually be right.
  • ·    If a crime is committed, whether it is petty or serious, there is a one-size-fits-all solution. No need for judges if we’re all treated the exact same way!
  • ·    There would be no sales or coupons—why should Sally have to pay $25.99 for a pair of sandals when Julie gets to buy the same pair for half off during the store’s big sale? Not the same! Not fair! Oppression!!

These are just a few examples, but I think you’re pick’n up what I’m put’n down.

These women are saying that in order for women to be held at an equal (or greater) level to men, they need to be treated the same way as men. Which apparently means they need to have the priesthood. Which leads me to my second point:

2. The “Gender Inequality” that these women are referring to is an issue with society not the Mormon religion.

Sure, we can talk for days about how women are degraded and treated more as objects than as people. But that’s an issue that we can thank society, the media, and the “natural man” for, not religion. Well, not Mormonism anyway.

I have been actively involved in this church for 12+ years now and I have never felt inferior to men. Sure, I’d get jealous when they got to go camping, river rafting, and learned how to build their own fires when I had to work on my Personal Progress.

But that pinch of jealousy didn’t translate to “gender inequality”. That translated into “better use of budget” :D

As an LDS woman, married and sealed in the temple for time and all eternity to the coolest guy in the world, I completely, totally, absolutely, 100%, forevermore, support my husband as the one and only Priesthood holder in our home. When we start popping out babies, it is my hope that if we are blessed with boys, they will get to enjoy all the things that boys should enjoy:
bugs, mud, backyard adventures, catching lizards, getting into a little mischief, video games, sports, dinosaurs, race cars, super heroes, animals, or whatever else they are interested in and are passionate for.

I hope they look up to their father as the wonderful example he is of a man who loves, cherishes, and supports his wife and family, that works hard in all aspects of life, who serves selflessly, and lives as a worthy Priesthood holder and uses this power to bless the lives of others.

I also hope my boys will desire to live their lives in such a way that they too can receive the priesthood and exercise that priesthood in ways that the Savior did.

There are things that my hubby and future boys will do that I will never do, and that's perfectly ok with me. There are things that I can do or will get to do in my life that my boys and main squeeze will never do, and that's totally fine.

Why? Well, because we are different. We are different people with different purposes.

And that’s OK!

More importantly, we are held at an equal value in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, but created for different purposes.

My husband slash partner in crime and I are equally important, but we each hold different responsibilities, abilities, talents, purposes, opinions, and even some interests.
I don’t need to sit down and make a list of all the ways we are different or how we are similar because that's not what's important. What's important is that I know who I am, I know God’s plan, and I follow him in faith.

I know I am a divine daughter of Heavenly Father and have been given special privileges and terrifying responsibilities that I know I will be accountable for in the next life. We, as women, are more precious than rubies in the eyes of our Heavenly Father (Proverbs 31:10).

Despite our differences, we were made for each other. We complete each other. And by “We”, I mean men and women. Husbands and wives. Nathan and me.

Yes, men and women are different; physically, mentally, and even spiritually. I believe that there’s a big reason why we were created differently; if we were all created the exact same way and had the same abilities and responsibilities, then we wouldn’t need each other!

Well, guess what? WE NEED EACH OTHER. Not only do we physically need each other in order to keep our race from going extinct, but we need each other for eternal purposes too.

Men and women have strengths and weaknesses that differ from one other, but when you put the two together—when a man and women join forces—they learn and grow in ways that they never would have had they been alone. (“By our powers combined…”) 

Really, this whole ordaining women thing sounds to me like a relatively small group of women, though quite loud, who are so caught up in what they want, they don’t realize what they already have.

Ladies,
We can pray to our Heavenly Father and he WILL answer our prayers. Don’t take this for granted.
We can attend the temple and participate in ordinances that will open the gates for us to receive blessings that will last for eternity.
We can receive the blessings and power of the priesthood if we live worthily
We have the gift and power of the Holy Ghost
We have the opportunity to participate in the Relief Society program and fulfill our callings in such a way that will allow us to act as angels on earth and bring relief and blessings to those around us that we serve.
By HIS divine design, we have the ability to nurture, love and create life—that’s as close to the heavenly veil as it gets.

Ladies,
We have EVERYTHING.

Ladies, we don’t need to have the priesthood to reap the blessings of the priesthood.

Ladies, we don’t need the Priesthood to bless the lives of others. We can already do that.

End the power struggle. You won’t win.

I believe Him when He says: "seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand." To take that further, I am certain "that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works" (Jacob 4:10).

It is my hope and prayer that women (and men) everywhere can use General Conference as a reverent time to prayerfully seek answers to sincere questions. It is my testimony that if you open your heart up to only know the truth, you will not only get the answers you’re seeking, but you will grow closer to your Father in Heaven and by doing these things, you will come to better understand who you are and your divine role as God’s child.


Amen & Happy General Conference!

29 comments:

  1. Great article! It is like Elastigirl wanting superhuman strength and stretchiness. Where does that leave Mr. Incredible? Worthless, undervalued and underappreciated.

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Great analogy!

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  2. Couldn't have said it better myself! Keep spreading truth! :)

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  3. Thank you. Well said! Just to add something I read in another article. What's next? Trying to change other doctrine - 5% tithing, letting everyone (without recommends) into the Temple, repealing chastity.... "We would become a church of fragments and opposing persuasions, each walking in his or her own way instead of a people united with one heart fixed on the Lord's true doctrine."

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    1. Thank you! I think I read that same article as well! Really great points were made. I completely forgot about that until now, I'll have to go back and read it again soon. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  4. Have you been to their website? Do you even know the context of why the Ordain Women feel that these kind of actions will bring results? It's based on statements by Gordon B. Hinkley. I talked about the context behind their movement on my blog if you're curious:

    http://thankheaven.blogspot.com/2014/04/ordain-women-they.html

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    1. Hailey,
      I have visited their site and I too am familiar with their FAQ page (as you shared in your blog) and have read many of the articles they display on their blog. I also have close friends that are apart of the movement. I feel that I've developed a good understanding of what they're about. However, I still have a different opinion than they do.
      Thank you for your thoughts Hailey! And thank you for sharing your blog, I greatly value and respect you thoughts on the subject and would like to read more!

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    2. I'm sorry if I sounded like I was saying you were uninformed, that wasn't what I meant! I've just found that so many people who write about Ordain Women haven't actually done any research about them and that frustrates me. It's refreshing to have someone take the time to understand a movement before they go after them. I totally respect your post, I like when people are honest about their opinions!

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    3. That's ok, no harm done! :) I agree with you though, it is frustrating when people choose to point fingers without knowing much about the subject they are ridiculing, whether it's this topic, another topic, a certain person, etc. I appreciate that you are trying to help others stay informed. Thanks again Hailey!

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  5. This same deal has been troubling my mind since I've heard about it last year but your article has helped me see things more clearly and I'm glad my wife understands her role as a mother and daughter of God and loves it without feelings of "inferiority" and such

    Thank you

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    1. Your words mean a lot, truly. Thank you :)

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  6. First I would like to say Shelby you rock, Then I would like to remind these Priesthood seekers of the most important thing they are overlooking.
    The priesthood is not given to anyone just because they want it. There are standards here that you don't understand.
    The Priesthood is not for you, It's not for me either. The Priesthood holder must decide before receiving it, You agree to do your fathers will, to put all others before yourself. We don't place our hands on our own heads and give a blessing. It's for us to give to others.
    The Power of this priesthood is only there for those who hold it to the standard it disserves. We live our lives for others, every word, every action and even every thought we have effects the power of the priesthood we carry. if we want it there when we call upon it, we must allow God to direct our will as his and live for him.
    The men who choose to take upon them this challenge and choose to be unselfish and live their life to serve others are like no other men I have ever met. Instead of lashing out at others for something you know was never meant for you to have, you should be directing your efforts to finding the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, and find yourselves an unselfish loving man to marry. The blessings of the priesthood are available to all who receive the gospel.

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    1. Thank you so much! You made some really great points. I especially liked how you pointed out that the blessings of the priesthood are available to all who receive the gospel. Thank you for your thoughts!

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  7. Elder Oaks addressed this perfectly in the Priesthood session. He was able to show us, without saying it, the perfect example of how to deal with things of this nature. We declare plainly and boldly the truths of the gospel. The way he explained priesthood keys helped everyone who heard his words understand the will of God as it pertains to His holy priesthood.

    Thank you for your article, devotion, and example! It also sounds like your marriage is an example for many to follow....keep that up, that relationship with your spouse is the most important you will have here on this earth.

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    1. I absolutely LOVED Elder Oaks' talk. His explanation of the Priesthood was just as beautiful as it was informative and straight forward.

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts! I truly appreciate it!

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  8. Terrific post! It's fabulous to hear articulate women grounded in their faith and divine role speak out. I have recently started blogging and will make sure I keep up on the things you voice.
    Camille Ward
    wardstoliveby.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much Camille! My heart is full! And THANK you for sharing your blog! I am also pretty new to the blogging universe, so it's nice to have someone to relate to :)

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  9. "with our powers combined" sums it all up.
    We're in this to complete one another, not complete ourself.
    I was happy to read that small quote and to see the doctrine in action within your life.
    Thanks for the great post.

    May the Force be with you!

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  10. I comment not on the rightness or wrongness of viewpoints on this issue. I have many friends in both 'camps' as it were, and I respect all of them. We are all entitled to share our views. I will say that this post, regardless of position, has a negative tone. It is difficult to say that just because you have never felt things like gender inequality or any other feelings along those lines that it is unacceptable for others to feel them. I think greater empathy and true understanding is needed for all of us to understand these issues. I applaud those who have doubts and concerns about this but remain active, covenant keeping members of the Church. It takes a lot to do that, so please don't patronize them with this tone. Try to understand them; as a male member of the Church, I learned a lot from Elder Oaks talk which means that many of us are still learning. It is fine that you have had good experiences in the Church and that you feel comfortable in these things. Try to understand another's viewpoint from a place of love. You don't have to agree, but conversations with this tone help no one. I don't know you, and so often these written communications are misunderstood. If I have misunderstood you in any way, I do apologize. It is not my intention to ostracize, but rather to do just the opposite. May the Lord bless us all!

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    1. You said this so much better than I tried to below. Thank you for sharing this view! Love and understanding go such a long way.

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  11. As someone who is not of the Mormon faith I found your post to be so informative and we'll written. I'm also very proud of you for saying what you believe in and holding true to who you are and what God has planned for you. I may not know what Priesthood is and that's ok, what you gave me this morning was so much more than that. You inspired me to read my Bible and to talk with Him. You're absolutely right when you said Equality doesn't mean Same ! So proud Shelbs!

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  12. I seriously feel like you have been listening in on my conversations! Those who do not support our prophet should have their recommends taken away. They are just missing the point of the gospel of Jesus Christ to make such an issue of this.

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  13. Wonderful article. Very well said. My only negative thing is this light blue & small font are very hard to read on my computer.

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  14. Very well said. i am not judging them. but to tell you the truth if GOD wanted women to have the priesthood he would have made it that way. but in a sense we do have the priesthood just not literally. it takes a lot of responsibility to have the priesthood and also to be worthy to have the priesthood is a honor. we should cherish the priesthood men and women. as women we also have a responsibility to support our priesthood holders, besides being in the relief society and help each other by doing what GOD wants us to do, and raising a family together. i hope someday when i have my own family that i will have a worthy priesthood holder in the home that honors and Cherish's it.

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  15. Thank you for writing this. I think more women need to express their beliefs on the matter. Something that I have been thinking about regarding this subject is Martin Harris asking to show the pages of the BOM. He keptaski g and asking, but that didn't make it right.

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  16. I'm not a member of Ordain Women and don't support their efforts or desire the priesthood for women. And I agree with most if not all of your points and am grateful that people like you have the courage to talk about it. But I am a bit taken aback by your approach to addressing the issue in the first part of the blog post. Their movement is very peaceful (they walked as quietly and respectfully as anyone else on temple square, no stomping involved) and they are not demanding anything (though they do have requests and feel very strongly that they are justified). I appreciate the way they are committed to remaining peaceful and respectful in their approach.

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