Sunday, April 6, 2014

Why I like the Ordain Women group

Women and the Priesthood question was one everyone's mind yesterday I think when a few hundred women from all over the world came together and protested Priesthood session. Elder Oaks' gave a wonderful talk during Priesthood session, which I really enjoyed listening too. It answered the few questions I had about the issue.

Now just to be clear, I never wanted to hold the Priesthood.  The biggest reason is that I strongly believe that if there is an afterlife, that I will receive the Priesthood then. I think it's just an Earthly rule and that it will be different in heaven. 

 I also understand that logistically, women having the Priesthood would have a major impact on our church. For example, our church is run purely on volunteers that fulfill callings. Many of these are based on gender, one way or another. Some call for the person to have the Priesthood, which automatically disqualifies women for some callings. On the flip-side, many callings that involve children are not allowed to be filled by men, along with any callings in the women's organizations.  As a married women, I'm grateful for this division and the carefully thought out way the church is organized (even if it's not perfect). It protects my marriage. I know that in the church that Matt will never be asked to work closely with another woman that isn't me. Even though there is no jealously in our marriage, I do appreciate this, and for me, this is one of the blessing of not having the Priesthood. Another random blessing is that it forces me to work with women. For most of my teen years, I always hung out with boys, but through church, I have learned to appreciate woman-to-woman relationships.

After listening to Elder Oak's talk last night, I went online to the Ordained Women facebook group. First, I was pleasantly surprised how civil it was, even after many were disappointed by the outcome of yesterday.  (I looked on in today and sadly it isn't civil now.) There were several comments that really caught my attention. One was "There are sisters in our ward that are hurting by this rule, and as a sister, I went to Temple Square to support them, not to rally for ordination." The other one was "I don't understand. There is a sister in my ward that actually feels strongly that God wants her to do this." I thought about those comments last night, the second comment especially.

I strongly believe that God is telling those sisters to not let the subject drop. It a topic that is hurting their testimonies and hearts, and our Savior I'm sure does not want them to feel this way. When I was 14, I heard a talk that changed my life. A wonderful leader gave a talk about how our church is for the doubter. That Christ promised to heal and answer our doubts so that we can come closer to Him, but it is up to use to bring those doubts to Him.

That's what Ordain Women group has done. They have brought their concerns and hurt to Christ. They started a movement has brought awareness to a small group of women's pain and have brought up conversations that were not being openly discussed before. They have tried hard to keep it civil and respectful.

There has been a mixed responses to it. Some people have become too caught up in the technical issues at hand, but some sweet sisters (like the lady in the first comment) recognized it as an opportunity to help and strengthen each other. I think these sweet sisters are part of Christ way of healing those sisters' hearts are hurt and trying to calm their doubts. These members who are reaching out with love and not judging I think are acting as Christ would want us too. He is using them as His hands.


While I don't think Ordain Women is going to change how our church is run, I do think it is changing the culture of how we handle people hurting as a whole. I think it's beginning to create a platform for doubts and questions to be addressed without judgement. I think the discussion about gay members is causing similar conversations and changes.  I'm hoping through these conversations that there will be a place for gay families in our congregation and community. I hoping there will be place for more head strong feminist, and many other people who are traditionally not apart of the LDS culture.

I just want to end with a few quote from Pres. Monson's talk today. He addressed how we should be acting perfectly.

“Let us not demean or belittle. Rather, let us be compassionate and encouraging.”
"We must be careful that we do not destroy another person's confidence through careless words of action."
and finally “All important will be our ability to recognize someone’s need and then to respond.”

I hope conference was wonderful for you. We enjoyed it here.

17 comments:

  1. Thank you, Michele. I am not sure about OW, but I love these sisters and love them. Beautifully written.

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  2. I meant to say that I love these sisters and want to include them. There is a place for everyone in the church.

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    1. I agree! Church is much better when there are all types of personalities...as you probably know. ;)

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  3. I have mixed feelings about this issue, and the group. I had a super long paragraph that I just deleted because I don't know how to organize my thoughts. So long story short, I appreciated your thoughts on this, and the idea that maybe God is prompting them to promote the issue. I honestly had not considered that.

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    1. Thanks! I probably went through 8 drafts of this post and went back and forth on posting it, because it was really difficult to write how I feel about the issue. I've had really mixed feelings for a long time. It has been something I've been praying about and discussing with Matt for months. I wish I lived closer to you so we could talk about this. I'm curious what you have to say.

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    2. You are always free to hit me up on facebook.

      I guess I was really mixed because some of the articles I read said that some of the founders of the group had already left the LDS church over this issue, and some supported anti-mormon groups, etc. Whether or not that is true, I am not entirely certain, but it made some of it seem more like a super-feminist movement that maybe was more about feminism than it was about God and what he wants. I don't like when anyone demands something- saying that it is a fundamental right that they are being denied, when it really isn't a RIGHT. No one has the RIGHT to the priesthood, it is a gift for worthy males who keep their covenants (Not that I'm saying that that is what OW is saying, I'm just used to dealing with people who aren't LDS and are super big on women being 'ordained' into the ministry, etc.). That being said, given what I've learned through the temple, I don't really feel like I'm being denied anything. But just because it's not something I struggle with, doesn't mean that negates the reality of others pain over it, and that's something I need to be more sympathetic toward- goodness knows I struggle with SOO many other things!! However, I do appreciate some of the ways that OW has brought attention to the women of the church and how they might be feeling.

      Sometimes I feel like they put us on such a high pedestal that they don't leave room for us to be imperfect, and thus we have to work so hard to maintain that image. (Lol, I totally don't even try to look perfect anymore- that ship sailed LONG ago!) But I feel like the 'idea' of a mormon woman is someone who never has doubts, has perfect faith, and being good just comes easy to them. My husband struggles with this image too; it really hurts him when someone makes a joke about how they will only get into heaven because of how good their wife is. I hate that idea and image! It puts so much of the responsibility on women- so much pressure-- and heaven forbid we reach out to each other and share that we aren't that perfect. I feel like this pedestal has forced a facade onto the women of the church, and OW is showing- 'Hey! Women have doubts too! Women have wants and feelings and desires just the same as the men!'

      My husband told me a joke that hurts his feelings is when they say that the only reason men get the priesthood is so they will be members/come to church. The idea of women getting the priesthood, to him, seemed like women wouldn't need men anymore-- they would do everything themselves- and much better than the men could because we're so perfect! :p And I felt for him, and maybe that is one reason why women don't have the priesthood now- because we need to need men. It's good for us to need each other... Which then leads to my other problem view-- well what do men need women for? Baby makers and nursery workers- of course! Har har har. Ugh. So I struggle with those views. So on the one hand, women are on a pedestal, and on the other, they're secondary members/citizens. I imagine the women of OW are struggling more with that second view.

      Do you know what I need addressed? How it feels like all women have to be superwomen. You have to be the perfect stay at home mom and wife-- but you also need to be super successful in a career and be CEO of a company, etc. etc.... Women need to pursue their education!-say the leaders.... until they get married, of course! Then they need to stop whatever they're doing and have a family. I could go on and on about that one.

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  4. This post warmed my heart and had tears streaming down my face. I am a Mormon feminist and while I haven't "joined" OW - I follow them closely and I have similar concerns. I have craved understanding from fellow sisters and haven't received it. I don't need agreement, but understanding. I feel like you have been touched by the Spirit with understanding and I thank you for having your heart open to it. Beautiful post!

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    1. Thanks so much for writing this. I was really nervous to post it, but I wanted to share that I know our Savior loves each of us...even if we struggle a bit with some of His teachings. That's what makes the Atonement beautiful...that He doesn't care if we aren't perfect, as long as we are trying our best. :)

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  5. Beautifully said, thank you!

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    1. Your welcome! Thanks for commenting. I really appreciate it! :)

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  6. Thank you so much. I am part of Ordain Women, and there were things said this weekend that broke my heart. I do feel like God wants me to be where I am, though I honestly am not sure why. Thank you for your compassion--it helped heal me today.

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    1. I'm so glad! I read through your blog post today (I hope that isn't creepy) and it reminded me of several thoughts I had after I went through the temple. It actually took me being married to find peace with it. I hope you can find that your answers some time soon. If you ever want/need someone to talk to, you can send me an email. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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  7. I sympathize with these women who anguish over this issue, and do not wish to offend but only suggest caution. The idea that the Lord would answer prayers to the effect that they should align themselves with, and embrace the methods of, OW is dangerous. It is contrary to the established order of things. The Lord will not inspire someone to NOT follow the prophet, or to get ahead of the prophet, or to use political/partisan methods against the prophet and the Church. We can be deceived, and that is why a primary safe guard is and has been to follow the prophet. Change, if there is to be any, will only come through the prophet.

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    1. Don't worry, you won't offend here! I've been thinking about your comment since I read it earlier today. And here's what I came up with, and I really hope that this doesn't offend you.

      Now from what I understand from looking on OW, that many of the people on there joined because they found other people that had the same problem. Out of the 2,800+ followers on facebook, only a handful showed up to protest, (which I did see as disregarding what the church asked to them to do.) It seems to me while many women in the group would love the news that women could be ordained, I think most are really just seeking understanding, and that OW has given them a platform to discuss their questions and to feel support. I have never heard a church leader say that we are not allowed to ask or discuss the question of our hearts, and I don't see that rebelling against the church or not following the prophet. Even in Elder Oak's talk, he didn't say that it was against our religion to ask our Heavenly Father questions people have about the Priesthood. He did a wonderful job of outlining the role of the Priesthood in our church, but with a topic as immense as the Priesthood, there is no way he can answer every question that members of the church have.

      I think that is the number 1 problem with people looking at "OW"...is that by "liking" or sympathizing with the members on the page, that they are completely aligning themselves with everything OW represents. As I wrote in the post (it might have not been clear...my hubby thought it was confusing), I think our Savior would answer a prayer by telling someone to find help. Which is where I think other members should come in...it would be wonderful if these members could feel comfortable coming to someone that does a testimony that women do not need to use Priesthood to be valued in the church. But sadly, our church culture isn't always kind to doubters, so instead these members seeking help from people that think the same way they do. You can see how harshly many members are treating people in OW on the OW facebook page.

      What I was hoping to present in my post was an other option. That as members we can judge and criticize, ignore it, or try to fix it. And in order to fix it, we have to put aside that judgement to love like our prophet asked us too.

      I hope that clarifies what I was saying. Thanks for commenting!

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    2. Oh and feel free to comment again if I didn't understand something or if you have more to say. This is a offend free zone. ;)

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    3. Thank you for your response, and for inviting my further comments.

      I applaud and share your desire to follow President Monson’s words as quoted at the end of your original post (OP). But I do question whether the overall conclusion drawn in your OP (i.e. “I strongly believe that God is telling those sisters to not let the subject drop.”) is justified or warranted. I offer some specifics.

      Questions and Doubts. Of course it is more than appropriate to ask questions and seek help when working through doubts. But would the Lord guide someone to an organization such as Ordain Women (OW) to help them with their questions and doubts? I am persuaded that He would not. In the OP you reference an article that impressed you in your youth about the Church being a place for doubters and that we can/should take our doubts to the Lord. I agree fully, and suggest that that is still the proper way to deal with doubts. I can only conclude that His answer to those prayers will lead us to follow and trust in the prophet, not to align ourselves with an organization that demonstrates against the Church and the prophet. And if the culture and environment of the Church is inappropriately judgmental of those asking questions and experiencing doubts, the Lord can and will address that through His prophet and chosen leaders.

      Ordain Women. Before commenting on OW, I first wish to say that I share your view that many who sympathize with OW do so because they feel compassion for those who anguish and struggle with the issue of women and the priesthood. I feel compassion for them too, and I’m comfortable in saying that no mortal feels more compassion for them then does President Monson and that he and our Church leaders are our best example in how we engage and assist these individuals. Now in presenting my thoughts on OW, I again do not wish to give offense but only suggest caution. Of foremost concern is the fact that OW’s actions do not match their rhetoric, and therefore their credibility and trustworthiness is reasonably called into question. For example, OW uses political/partisan methods (demonstrations) to effect change within the Church while claiming they are, as faithful members, just “knocking at the door” and “sincerely” seeking an answer. It is hard to accept/believe that they can genuinely characterize themselves that way. They’ve been given an answer, yet they still agitate for change using methods that create disharmony and put the Church and its leaders in a bad light, and doing so even after having been asked not to do so. That their objective is change (ordination of women) and not just an answer or a forum to discuss and gain knowledge, is evident by 1) the name of the organization, and 2) the statements of their leaders found on their website and in their statements to the press.

      My concern is that OW seeks and welcomes those sincerely asking questions, but then invites and influences them to not follow the prophet, to agitate for change, and even to demonstrate against the Church and the prophet.

      There is a subtle, but real, distinction between asking questions and questioning (see https://www.lds.org/new-era/2012/05/any-questions?lang=eng). The former is healthy and promotes faith and knowledge, the latter the opposite. By all indications OW claims to be doing the former, but their actions are more consistent with the latter. Whether they are well meaning but misguided, or knowingly disingenuous, I cannot say. But it is clear to me that they are not following the prophet and are not encouraging others to do so. Our safety is to be found in following the prophet.

      Again, thank you for welcoming and allowing my comments.

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