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?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome post, and thanks for the shout-out.

What I liked was the idea of the same quantity. We are given different gifts, of the same measure and weight. In that way we are equal. What bothers me is that it seems that people are looking onto each other's plates and whining about their own feast. Seems rather ungrateful. And we know how Heavenly Father feels about ingratitude...


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