Monday, January 20, 2014


Ben remembers dates. I'm talking month, day, year dates. I often forget specific dates unless there is some importance attached to it. That's why I often forget when Easter, Thanksgiving and Monday Holidays are. If it's not on the same date every year, I'm pretty hopeless.

As it turns out, Ben and I met on Halloween, so that made that date super easy to remember. We met at an CES Institute Halloween Party. Have I ever told that story on here? Maybe I will some time. ;)

The day Ben proposed is trickier for me to remember because he did on Martin Luther King Jr. Day fifteen years ago. 




January 18th 1999

Most people have a hard time believing that we've been together that long since our kids are still fairly young. But, yes. Fifteen years ago this past Saturday, Ben proposed.

Wow. Were we young!

Ben had already asked my father for permission several days before. Old fashioned, I know, but so romantic and sweet!

I was not present for the sit-down between the two, but Ben told me later that, while it went well, he said some things he felt awkward about later.

I think the conversation went something like this:

Dad (loving this part): Just what exactly are your intentions with my daughter?

Ben: I would like to marry her and multiply and replenish the Earth.


Well, now.

I'm not sure how the rest of the conversation went except that Dad gave his permission gladly and Ben and I went on our merry way.

Several days later, we were at Deseret Book Store. Ben was wanting to look at an engagement ring for me but, of course, I was stuck to him like glue. 

A minor miracle in his behalf occurred and my mother walked in on her own errand. Ben quickly got her to distract me (looking at wedding guest books) so that he could buy the ring. I was not suspicious in the least.

After Ben made his stealthy purchase, the two of us left to enjoy our time together. I seem to recall that we had been squabbling a bit, but I don't remember now what it was about. 

Ben drove us up to the foothills in Albuquerque, parked and started hiking up the hills. I was not as quick as he and he left me in the virtual and literal dust. I remember being exasperated that he would not wait for me, but I'm fairly sure that he might have been wracked with nerves at the time.

Ben perched himself on the top of a large bolder and waited for me to arrive, gasping. By this time, I was mildly annoyed, but I let him help me climb up the bolder and sit beside him.

Ben and I sat side by side gazing out on the city. He pointed out a variety of landmarks and streets so that he could show me where the Albuquerque Temple was going to be built.

After a time, I was finally relaxing (still not suspecting a thing) and was oblivious at first to the momentous event that was occurring. 

Ben looked at me and said, "Can I ask you a question?"

"Yes," I said, still unaware.

"Will you be my wife for this long?" he asked, pulling out a velvet box and opening it to reveal the Eternity ring he had just acquired.

I was completely caught by surprise, in spite of knowing he was planning on asking me!

I responded, already weeping, "Of course!"

I'm sure we must have kissed at that point, though I find I don't remember specifically.

The coming months would bring with them a whirlwind of planning and anticipation, but at that moment, we were as young as we would ever be with the intention of being together. I have to laugh now at how grown-up we felt then.

Fifteen years feels like the blink of an eye in so many ways, but looking back involves years of stories, adventures and joy.

We would make it official less than six months later... maybe I'll write about that one too. ;)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Are you a Valuable Woman - Part 4

Thus far in the Valuable Woman series, we've talked about body image, modesty and sexuality, and what it means to be a religious person with questions. If you haven't read those posts, I recommend reading them and then joining us back here!

The weighty topic of ordaining women to the Priesthood in the LDS church had been at the forefront, especially in Utah, several months back. It came to a head in September as General Conference was approaching. I read a few articles and blogs relating to the issue, but I didn't delve too much into it.

A couple of thoughtful articles from Meridian Magazine are here and here. I enjoyed the second one quite a lot and was gratified that it was written by a woman.

One of my favorite bloggers (I never miss a post) always has great things to say on these types of topics and is usually far less shy than I am of tackling the heated debates in her own way. Her post, Steadying the Ark, is a lovely response to those who would question the Servants of Heavenly Father.
She also makes great cartoons and is just as great in brief as she is in length. If you want a funny cartoon and a brief message, take a trip over to her post entitled Yoked.

I attended the Priesthood session of General Conference in my own home this last October. I was happy to be given the option, this being the first time the all men's session had ever been available in the home.

I was excited, caught up in the mystery of the previously semi-off-limits session. Up to that point, everything I had watched and heard in General Conference had been awesome and inspiring, so I was hoping for some wonderful, enlightening glimpse into the instruction the men receive from the Prophet and Apostles.

It was okay... I won't say it was disappointing.

It just wasn't for me.

The talks given were spiritual and lovely, and it was good to see and hear how the leaders of the church uplift and inspire my husband and other Priesthood holders, but the messages weren't directed at me, so I got very little out of it. And now, months later, I cannot remember a single thing about that session. I remember many quotes and specific talks from the other sessions last October, so I know my memory isn't faulty.

In this new year, I have decided to attempt to read at least one conference talk per day. Perhaps, when I make it to the Priesthood session, I might get a bit more out of those talks. I shan't hold my breath, though... :)

As I pondered the issue of ordaining women, I understood that God has not revealed all things to us. He has not explained why women are not Priesthood bearers, but I am certain He has a good reason. He always does. I trust that there will come a day when we will understand it all. Maybe women will be given the responsibility of Priesthood ordination, maybe not, but I won't hinge my happiness or faith on that, no matter which way it goes.
While thinking about this, I tried to put myself in the shoes of those women who were calling for this change. It was difficult for me to speculate why they would feel they need it.

My first thought was, "what would I do with the Priesthood?" and visions of giving blessings to the sick and afflicted entered my mind. The Priesthood is literally God's Power on Earth. I think each and every Priesthood bearer, in a perfect world, would be asking himself in every presented situation, "What would God do in my place?" or "What does God want me to do?"
Holding the Priesthood is a responsibility, one of service and good works. My husband told me that he honestly feels that without the Priesthood, he would be a far more selfish person. He would be less inclined to serve and bless others. His opinion is that, broadly speaking, without the Preisthood, most men would be more likely to be self-serving than selfless.
If women took over the Priesthood responsibilities with the same enthusiasm that they tackle everything, I think most men would take a step back and just let the women have at it. (I'd be happy to be wrong there.) And where would that leave the men? If the Priesthood gives so many men feelings of purpose and value, why would we want to deprive them of that?

I also believe that Heavenly Father is so smart (incomprehensibly smart) that the Priesthood does just as much for the bearer as it does for those the bearer serves. The Priesthood teaches, humbles and inspires the holder, making them better, kinder, more spiritual and closer to God. Why would we want to deprive them of that?

What else do these women want? Equality?

I think that some people seem to think that in order to be equal, we have to be exactly the same. This is simply not true. The first definition that I found for "equal" was: Having the same quantity, measure or value as another. Considering the title of this series of posts, I especially liked the word "value". Again, value is at the heart of everything.

Men and women are not the same, but that does not make us unequal. We compliment each other and, in many ways, one gender makes up for what the other might naturally be weak in....

In what way are women in the church not equal to the men? Because they have different responsibilities? You can't tell me that a Relief Society President, Young Women's President or a Primary President doesn't have just as much influence and opportunity to serve and bless others as a Bishop or Priesthood Quorum Leader/President.

Because, it's not about power. The higher up you go in church leadership, the more you are expected to serve, teach and inspire those in your sphere of influence. In fact, I'd say that the higher up you go in church leadership, the less power you have, instead giving it all away to Heavenly Father in the hope that he will help you serve in your calling well.

Equal does not mean the same. I don't have to be a Bishop to feel that I'm contributing to the Kingdom of God. I am a humble Sunday School Teacher, but I feel that my calling is vital. My responsibility to teach the rising generation the words of God and help them learn their future role in the church is sacred to me.

Would it be cool to have a female Bishop some day if Heavenly Father feels that step is appropriate to take? Sure.  Would I accept Priesthood responsibilities if I was instructed and called? Yes.   Would I want to be Bishop? No.   Would I want to be Prophet? Nope, nope, nope.    But, I can't help but wonder if some of those women have just that idea in mind... I hope I'm wrong because, while it is worthy to want to serve others, I seem to recall hearing that someone once said that to aspire to leadership in the Church isn't advisable. I couldn't find anything in my searches, so maybe someone wiser can enlighten me. (Mom?)

I have access to the Priesthood in the many, many worthy men in my life. I have access to the Priesthood in the covenants that I made at Baptism and in the Temple.

What it all comes down to for me is, do I feel that I am less valuable to my Father in Heaven because I don't have the Priesthood? Absolutely not. I have plenty enough to do to serve my God and His Kingdom without asking for more responsibility. The women in the Church are not ignored or treated as second class citizens. Isolated incidents have come up, certainly, but I believe the Lord makes up for those human failings in His own way and time.

I believe with my whole heart that God is at the helm in my Church and that I can be useful to Him and valuable in His eyes no matter where and how I serve.

That's good enough for me.

Next time we'll wrap this series up. Are you valuable?


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