Thursday, March 6, 2014

Women in the LDS church

So there has been a lot of discussion lately regarding women's roles in the LDS church. On Facebook and other public forums, I've held back and I haven't openly voiced my opinion as I would've liked. I know a lot of people who feel the exact opposite of me regarding this topic and I don't want to cause unneeded conflict. However, I want to share a few thoughts that I have discussed recently with people.

I was asked something along the lines of "what can women do to assist in the work of the Priesthood?"

Well….first of all, the work of the Priesthood is the work of Salvation. So what can the women do to assist in the work of salvation?

LOTS.
The can do their visiting teaching.
They can serve in the temple.
The can magnify their callings.

What can the men do?
They can do their home teaching.
They can serve in the temple.
They can magnify their callings.

The work of the priesthood is simple. It's bringing souls unto christ. Every calling in the church, for men and women, have the same solid purpose, the same goal: To bring souls to Him, to serve those around us, and to uplift and build. That's it. Everything from Deacons Quorum President to the Prophet, Nursery leader to the Bishop, Beehive class president to General Relief Society President, Missionary to Sacrament greeter, they all have the same foundation, the same core purpose. And just like in the Proclamation to the World the roles of fathers and mothers are different, the roles of men and women in the church are going to be a little bit different. But they are equal. 100% equal. And the work of salvation isn't nearly as efficient if one or the other gender isn't carrying their weight.

In the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, women are built up, they are edified and they are strengthened by the messages that are taught regarding our divine worth. We have just as many opportunities to lead and to serve as the men do. Just different.

I am always amazed when people say that there is no reason why women shouldn't hold the priesthood. You know why? Because the Lord organized His church, starting hundreds and hundreds of years ago, so that the men did. Women were brought along to show the men how to do it all. When women get offended regarding the inequality of men and women in the church, I have one bold thing to say, and I apologize if this is offensive to anyone, but when people get so caught up on the way women are treated, and end up leaving the church because you couldn't stand in the circle as the mother and bless your new born child, it is because of a lack of testimony regarding the Savior and His teachings, His gospel, and His doctrine regarding the Plan of Salvation and who we are as His children. He has set up a gospel that provides more opportunities for women to lead out, and serve, and teach, and oversee than any other church on the face of this earth. And yet there will be those people who focus clearly on what they can't do, instead of everything they can.

Don't read this as me being insensitive, because I hear where those people are coming from, and I hurt for those women who feel degraded, or shamed, or less than men, because I know that's not how the Lord wants them to feel, and I know thats not how His church was organized, it's not part of His plan. But when people get offended by how a priesthood leader treats them, or offended because they choose not to speak up with their opinion - so they are now feeling like their leaders don't appreciate the voice of women (you know, because clearly they should've known they had something to say), my heart just hurts for them because I saw this same cycle again and again on my mission. People base their testimony off of their leaders, and on the arm of the flesh, instead of the eternal principles of the gospel. Without fail, at some time or another, they get offended, they get hurt, or they feel unequal in some way, and they fall away. They decide that because they were corrected, or guided in a way that is different then they wanted to go, now all of a sudden, male leaders don't appreciate the input of females, and they aren't equal. It's not about us! It's about forwarding the work. It's about being an instrument in His hands.

So. The work of the priesthood. The work of Salvation, is not at all gender specific, but instead, the work of Salvation, and the equality of men and women in forwarding that work, is 100% dependent on our individual initiative and desire to reach outside of ourselves, forget the little issues in the church that are caused by humans, and reach outward and upward, relying fully on the arm of our Savior, and His Atonement to heal us from anything that may have hurt us, and allow us to move on with an eternal perspective.

So many articles have been published recently regarding women in the church, and I have to say, I have a hard time reading them because I feel it paints the church in a negative light. But their stories of hurt will lure people in to the gospel, to learn even more, and to learn for themselves the true foundation of the gospel, and how things really run. I get frustrated because I love the church so much, and when I see people putting things on public forums that may have happened once, but is SUCH a rare occurrence, out there for all our friends of other faiths to see, they take the negatives and run with it. If people really loved their faith, they wouldn't ever say some of the things I've seen on public forums that damage the face of the gospel, but instead counsel with a priesthood leader or someone else to help them to heal the hurt.

But my dad reminded me again tonight,
NO unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame…..BUT THE TRUTH OF GOD WILL GO FORTH. Nothing can or will ever stop it other than the Lord Himself.

So why fight against it? Who cares if men and women have different roles? Who cares if the men have the priesthood and we don't? They in no way could do it without us. None whatsoever. If people would focus on the similarities instead of the differences, and focus on the many many opportunities allotted us instead of the couple that aren't, the hastening of the work would happen at remarkable speeds. Don't allow yourself to be left behind on the work of Salvation because of worldly concerns like "equality" that Satan wants us to get caught up in, so we can't fulfill our full potential as women.

Pray for a testimony of the truth. Go to the Lord with questions, deep and hard questions, knowing He will answer. Base your testimony on the things that REALLY matter. Love the Lord with all your heart. Plead with the Savior for an understanding of His perfect plan for you. The answers and peace will come. His plan will be made manifest, and you will see more than ever before how much He loves you as a woman in His church, and how much He needs you to stand firm, to assist the priesthood (and show them how to REALLY do things! (: ), and to play a key role in touching lives and bringing more children unto Him.