Thursday, December 13, 2012

Women of the church

 (this was taken at the Relief Society Broadcast at the end of September this year. This is a broadcast only for women. A place were we are talked to and encouraged and uplifted.)

 I have been thinking about the Facebook movement encouraging women of the Latter Day Saint Faith to wear pants to church this Sunday in honor of women's rights and equality in the church, a lot lately. I think wearing dresses to church on Sunday is about the sacrament and the covenants we are making. These are sacred things and should be handled in accordance with that.

However I think that this "movement" is about so much more. Its about a deeper rooted issue then just wearing pants to church, its about women wanting to feel equal in the church and hold things such as the priesthood. That makes me sad because these women do not seem to really understand how important their role in the gospel is. 

FACTS: Women do NOT have to hold the priesthood to enter the temple (they don't even have to be married to a priesthood holder) men have to have the priesthood. Women do not have to have the priesthood to go on missions, men do. Women do not have to have the priesthood to be auxillery leaders, men do. There are so many things women can do without having the priesthood. 

When asked what the church does for its female members President Gordon B. Hinkley said "People wonder what we do for the women of the church. We get out of their way and watch with wonder and awe at what they accomplish." 

When I was the Primary President I sat in many ward councils and meetings with the stake presidents and other men of the church and the women's opinion and ideas where valued just as highly as the men's. The women were asked for or just straight up interjected their opinion and their thoughts on important matters. The women were just as much a part of these meetings as the men were. I have never once felt oppressed in this church. In fact I have felt empowered and important. I have been put in charge of many church functions and events and have taught many lessons. There were no men standing over me, or looking over my shoulder telling me what to do. I was left alone and was guided through the direction of the Lord. Many men of the church have put their faith in me and encouraged me as I have pushed forward in the work of the Lord. Never once have I felt like I was anything less then equal. 

(this is my friend, my sister in law and I at the Relief Society Broadcast. A Broadcast put on by the Latter Day Saint church for women only.)

The Relief Society was organized in a time where women of the world were not allowed to own property, vote or conduct any business without the permission and guidance of their husband. Yet the church created a whole organization, run, led, and taught by women in this same era. The men may hold the priesthood but the women lead and guide that priesthood in the right direction on many occasions. I am usually the one that asks Noah to give our kids blessings. I am the one who goes to him and talks to him about a feeling I have gotten about someone in our ward family and he uses his priesthood to help bless them, while I use my inner spiritual power of nurturing to bless them as well.  Emma Smith went to her husband, the Prophet Joseph Smith, when she thought that the members of the church drinking and smoking and chewing tobacco was not in accordance with Gods plan and Joseph went and inquired of the Lord and received the revelation that we now call the Word of Wisdom. They were both an equal part in this. The Lord touched Emma and she in turn touched her husband and he went to the Lord with that same feeling that his wife gave to him.

 Women are vital to the church. President Gordon B. Hinkley also said "Without Women the plan of God could not function. With out them the entire program would be frustrated." We are essential to the plan. Women work hand in hand with the priesthood to move the work forward. Men can not enter into the celestial kingdom with out women, neither could the women without the men....seems pretty equal to me. 

Joseph Fielding Smith said "These blessing are also poured out upon our wives and daughters and upon all the faithful women of the church. .... The Lord offers to his daughters every spiritual gift and blessing that can be obtained by his sons for neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord." Women of the church have just as much access and power to the priesthood as men do. We have so much inner spiritual power that the lord blessed us with that we have no need for the priesthood. I once heard someone say that men are given the priesthood so that they can feel equal to women. God ordained us to be mothers, to be spiritual vessels of love and kindness to our children and the world. We are blessed with these gifts from on high, no priesthood needed. Spencer W. Kimball said " You must be wise in the choices that you make, but we do not desire the women of the church to be uninformed or ineffective. You will be better mothers and wives, both in this life and in eternity, if you sharpen the skills you have been given and use the talents with which God has blessed you...... Much of the major growth that is coming to the church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the church are seen as distinct and different- in happy ways- from the women of the world."  Can't you see that the Lord has blessed us with so much? He has given us everything that he gives to his sons. He has given us his precious children. He ordained us to carry them for 9-10 months, to raise them and teach them in so many more ways then he has blessed the men in this. As much as I love my husband he is not as nurturing as I am. No matter how hard he tries he will never have that same great nurturing spirit that I do. He is a great father and a loving caring dad, but nurturing is something that he works towards, not something that comes natural to him.

Spencer W. Kimball also said "Be more concerned with being righteous then with being selfish. Women of the world are selfish, we as women of God know better." I feel so much sorrow for these women of the church who are endorsing this movement and wanting to hold the priesthood. I feel sadness for them because they don't understand the gospel of God or the love of God. They don't understand how important they are in the eyes of God. They think that the church is wrong in not letting women hold the priesthood, well if the church is wrong then God is wrong. And that is just not true. We are all equal in the sight of God. If women are to hold the priesthood to be equal then perhaps we should all have the exact same gifts as each other so that we are all equal. Perhaps I should be mad that I have a great friend who plays the piano like an angel, and that I don't have that gift. Maybe I should be upset with God that he gave her that talent and did not give it to me. I could scream for fairness and equality or I could see that God blessed me with different great talents because that is where he needs me the most. Saying that we all deserve the priesthood is saying that we don't trust God and his infinite knowledge and his great plan. So women can wear whatever they want to worship God but if they truly understand his love and his plan then they will know that they are going to worship him. If you were going to meet the President of the USA what would you wear? If you are going on the Red Carpet what would you wear? I'm sure it would be something very lovely and beautiful and I'm pretty sure it would not involve pants. You have every right to wear pants to these, just as you have the same right to wear pants to church, but I am pretty sure you would NOT be choosing to wear pants during these great events..... dressing beautifully shows our love and our admiration to those we are going to see and meet. The same goes for dressing beautifully to go and worship and show our love to God.

 Elder John A. Widtsoe said "The place of the woman in the church is to walk beside man, not in front of him nor behind him. In the church there is full equality between man and woman. The gospel, which is the only concern of the Church, was devised by the Lord for Men and Women alike." I fully believe this. I know with every thing that I am that God loves me. He knows me and my heart. He knows who I was before I came to this earth and loves me just as much as any man. I am equal in his sight in every way. His love for me is so great that I can not even begin to comprehend it. I could never believe that my Father in Heaven would devise a plan in which men and women were not equal. And as much as I know that, I also know that he would not put (or keep) men (who have weakness's and sins) at the helm of his church if they were guiding it in the wrong direction. To say that the church on this earth is led by men is correct but to say that the church is directed and presided over by men is incorrect. It is directed and presided over by God, so to say that the teachings are incorrect is to say that he, our Lord, our Father, our Maker, is incorrect. 

It makes my heart so sad to see so many men and women alike deceived by this cunning act of man and of Satan. Satan is very good at what he does. He knows how to wrap a present up nice and beautifully.

‎"Evil can be twisted into virtue if you phrase it just right. Any vice is acceptable if you cloak it as an issue of freedom. Any immorality is worth fighting for if you tell them they are fighting for choice, if you wrap it in the mantle of privacy and freedom. So take their mortal agency and turn it on them. But be patient....be patient.... it takes time to turn the truth upside down."- The Brothers by Chris Stewart.

I see this happening more and more everyday. I see this in the "LDS women wear pants to church" movement that is going around on Facebook. When did we stop listening to the spirit? When did that beautiful feeling of peace and love and hope and freedom that only the gospel brings get so hard to feel for so many people? I ache for my brothers and sisters who are letting this movement cloud their judgement of what they know to be right and true. Get on your knees and pray with an open heart and an open mind and then stay on your knees and wait for your answer. Wait for that powerful feeling and peace to come over you. For some however, this feeling may not come because their heart is not open and they are not prepared to hear and feel the truth and that's okay. All things come in Gods time, not our time.
I love being a Sister in a church that values women so highly. I am a big proponent of women's rights and equality. I believe that men and women were born for different things and that to be equal does not mean to be exactly alike. I am on the Lords side and I trust his church leaders and his plan. I do not go on blind faith but a feeling of love and understanding. I am loyal to His Church, to His organization, but being loyal does not mean having blind faith. I have a great understanding of Gods gospel, not a complete understanding, but a perfect knowledge that it is true. I teach the Gospel Essentials class in church. A class that is for new members, non members or members who want to gain a better understanding of the gospel. ME, A WOMAN, teaches these beautiful spirits about the glorious gospel of Christ. When I was given this calling I asked our Bishop (a man) a bunch of questions about what exactly he wanted me to do and how he wanted me to teach and what all he wanted me to accomplish, his answer to me was, "I trust you. Follow the spirit, teach what you feel needs to be taught and how it needs to be taught. I know that you are called to be the teacher for a reason and that you will do great." He trusts me to teach these amazing people who want to know more about God's plan and love. He does not monitor me or demand that I do as he says. I am in every way an equal, strong member of the Lords church on this earth.

We are all equal in the sight of the Lord, but remember that being equal does not mean being the same. We are all sent here for different things, its all part of Gods loving plan of happiness. 

3 comments:

Emily said...

Well said Aurie! Beautifully written! I love that being equal is not bring the same. Exactly how I feel but I never would have used those perfect words!

Mari said...

You know how I feel . . . love it! Well said, and loved the quotes. Thanks for writing!

Laura said...

You are awesome! Such a good way to say it! Thank you for writing this out for us to read.