Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thoughts on 'Ordain Women'

Note: I love my husband, son, father, grandfathers, brothers, and male cousins.  I like men in general, and believe they are no less (though no more) important than women.  The intent of this article is not to disparage men.

I recently skimmed through an article by a 'post Mormon' woman who longs for women to be ordained to the priesthood in the LDS church.  She sites examples of early LDS women being ordained to the priesthood and giving healing blessings.  She also describes the day her baby was given a name and blessing, her bishop wouldn't let her stand in the circle, and that's when she fell away.

I am saddened and frustrated by people like her, just like I'm saddened and frustrated by most people in the feminist movement.  They grew up reading history books where only women like Queen Elizabeth I and Joan of Arc are mentioned, and form erroneous beliefs such as, "If women aren't prominent leaders, wealthy, or involved in war, they don't matter."  They (the Ordain Women crowd and feminists in general) fail to notice that we grew up seeing history through the eyes of men, because men were the historians.  Thus, history books are crowded with political leaders and violence, because men like that kind of stuff.  Now if women had been the historians, I'm willing to bet we'd have seen a different historical emphasis: more information on what it took to clothe and feed soldiers and those left at home during wars; how they took care of problems like menstruation and diapering babies without tampons and disposable diapers; what people thought and felt in certain situations.  Here's a sordid example.  If women were the historians, there would be no debate over whether or not Sally Hemings was Thomas Jefferson's concubine and mother to six of his children.  We'd know how Sally felt about Thomas, how she felt about his wife/her half-sister, how her half-sister felt about her, whether perhaps atheism appealed to Jefferson because it helped him feel less guilty about being an adulterer.  I'm not saying the history books would have necessarily been better, just more interesting to people like me, who are women.

Back to the post-Mormon lady.  She had just performed perhaps the most important miracle that ever happens in this world: providing a body for one of God's spirit children.  Jesus Himself couldn't do it.  (Yes, I am aware women cannot conceive a child without a man.  However, I think most men would agree that God and women deserve the credit for the creation of a new life.) Assuming she and her husband were married in the temple, she, by giving birth, also sealed that baby to her and her husband for time and all eternity.  In short, she had just performed a saving ordinance.  (I've never heard this taught in General Conference, but I had a bishop who taught it, and it can definitely be inferred from the Church Handbook.)  But, there wasn't a congregation watching, and she probably didn't have a microphone at the time, so is that why she felt she had to be part of the baby blessing (which, wonderful as it is, is not a saving ordinance)?  I don't know.  I'm trying to figure out the Ordain Women women, and perhaps I'm missing something.  But as the daughter of a bishop and former member of a stake presidency, I know that holding the priesthood and being in one of those higher-up priesthood offices is nothing more than a heavy call to serve.  Those who think priesthood leaders get more glory and power than everyone else are misled.  Bishops, stake presidents, and patriarchs are servants, and I've been privileged to know some darn good ones.  However, I'm certain their service is not any more important or glorious in God's eyes than my mother's.

I do not know why some women in the past have been authorized to do certain things through the priesthood, whether in the Old Testament or in the early days of the Church in this dispensation.  However, either Jesus Christ is at the helm of this Church, or He isn't.  I believe He is, and if I know one thing, it's that He has good reasons for doing things they way He does.  When I trust Him, I am blessed.  When I don't, I regret it.  I also know you don't have to be a priesthood holder to bless people.  In the summer of 2013 we were preparing for yet another move.  I had an impression from the Spirit that I needed to exercise to cope with the stress of moving.  But who has time to exercise when you've got four kids, your husband works long hours, and you've got a house to sell and one to buy?  So I didn't exercise.  Before long, I was so sick I could hardly walk (fever for at least a week, wracking cough, nurse practitioner put me on the wrong antibiotic, etc.)  The doctor finally got me on the right antibiotic, and my husband and a member of our bishopric gave me a blessing, which I was grateful for. However, they couldn't miraculously heal me.  I'd already been given the miracle (knowing I should exercise to avoid getting sick), and I'd ignore it.  When you disregard heavenly counsel, you can expect to pay the price. Unless a savior steps in.  Enter a dear woman named Chris Bingham.  In one evening, she and her sweet daughter Rachel cleaned my house, fed my family, and nurtured my children.  (They talked about Chris with fondness and longing for weeks afterwards.)  And that's when I got well.  If you doubt Chris's part in my healing, you've never tried to rest amid clamoring hungry children and knowing the dirty dishes are piled halfway to the ceiling, patiently waiting for the day you can drag yourself out of bed; it's debilitating.  Chris never laid hands on my head, yet she gave me a much needed blessing.  Oh, and her husband had (and still has) a brain tumor.  Yet she did all that for me. She's wonderful.

I could go on for another thirty minutes, but I won't.

Celebrate womanhood.

Stop pretending Church leaders oppress women. If a few do, amen to the priesthood of such men.

And finally, there are only four vitally important roles to fill in this life: wife, mother, husband, father. Whether you're privileged to fill half of those roles or not, do your best and you'll be doing God's work.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

When They Grow Up

Damon wants to be an engineer/inventor.

Claire wants to be a professional recycler.

Anne wants to be the mother of two sets of twins.  The twin girls will be named Rebecca and Elisabeth.  She'd also like to be an artist, a chef, and/or a storybook writer. Never mind. That was then.  Now she wants to be a school principal, a teacher, or a lunch lady who makes good school lunches--no plastic hot dogs.

Julia might make a good librarian.  She likes to shush people.
--Julia, don't hit.
--Julia, it's time for a nap.
--We've got to change your diaper, Juje.