Mormon Women and the Priesthood

I usually stay away from the political or controversial subjects that grace other blogs and online arenas.  However, I recently had a very interesting conversation with my sister and thought it was worthy of sharing.

My sister is a musician in Boston and an inactive member of the Church (only noted because of the following conversation).  We were talking about women inequality,  particularly in the music world.  She said she gets phone calls from the group of women on campus who are constantly fighting this battle saying, "Hey, did you see that poster?  Did you notice how many more men than women were on that poster?  We want to protest.  Will you join us?"

My sister emphatically responds, "No!  I am a successful musician.  You can be successful no matter your gender and I'm not going to join your group."

Well, our conversation turned to women in the Church.  I said, "You know, the women rights topic in the Church has never been an issue with me."

She retorted, "That's because you've grown up in a man-oppressive environment all your life."

"No," I responded.  "Actually, it's for the same reason you don't get all in a huff about more men than women being featured on a music poster."

"Oh." She was a bit taken and didn't really know how to respond.  :-)  

I know there are many who struggle with women rights in the Church.  I know there are many who struggle with the gay rights within the Church.  I know there are many, many other issues and struggles members have just as there would be in any organization of the world.  I do not disregard or feel these issues need to be "shoved under the rug," so to speak.  I simply believe there are ways to handle these issues rather than public demonstrations and protesting (both in cyber world and real world).  I believe these are very personal and individual questions to be asked through proper channels.   I believe that every member is required to question their own standing on these subjects, whether they personally struggle with them or not.  With that said, I believe these questions must be asked in faith rather than with doubt or fear or anger as the motivation.

Ultimately, the deeper question must always be, "Where does my testimony stand on the Atonement of Jesus Christ?"  Our own personal exploration of this foundational doctrine of the Church is necessary for answers to come regarding any other question we may have.  The effort we put into answering this question will determine our understanding of any other doctrine or principle taught in the Church.

Tad R. Callister has written, "Satan has been successful in diverting much of the Christian world's attention from the one doctrine that can save us, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, to the ancillary doctrines that have meaning only because they draw their sustenance from this redeeming event.  Like a skilled magician, Satan's every move is to divert our attention and dilute our focus from the primary object at hand, namely Christ's atoning sacrifice, in hopes we will turn exclusively to doctrines of secondary and far lesser import, (The Infinite Atonement, p. 15, italics added)."    

Are we allowing ourselves to become distracted?  Are we losing focus of the true reason Christ came to the earth and the real motivation for why we are members of His church?  Let us ask the questions, let us do the research, let us pray with real intent.  And then let us move forward with an eye single to His glory and draw all men unto Christ as He would have us do.  That is my wish, hope and prayer today.

P.S. Don't miss the historic first annual General Women's Meeting  ages 8 & up this Saturday at 6pm MST


Are We Afraid of Our Own Divinity?


This was the question that caught my attention most while reading Light in the Wilderness in preparation for Mentoring Mothers last week.  M. Catherine Thomas writes, "On introspection, do we find that we act to shut down feelings of joy - that we can't endure them for very long?  If that is so, then we must ask, Do I really want to be happier than I am now (p.96)."

Why is it that we hold onto grievances, past hurts, sins, the natural man?  Why are we afraid of our own identity?  Why do we hold back experiencing true joy?  Reasons discussed last week were:

* This is the world we live in.
* Lack of self-confidence
* The false ideologies of man such as, "only a few are going to make it."
* The Atonement is not fully understood

Thomas continues, "An even greater freedom can come as [we] also give up the parts of [our] 'story' that are holding [us] back (p. 97)."  I know I do this.  I find fault with things of the past and hold onto those faults so as not to repeat them (my excuse).  We find it so important to determine why we are the way we are, but to what purpose?  There is merit in discovering how we became the person we are today, IF we are willing to use that knowledge for making even greater changes in our lives.

Spiritual Practice
I love this phrase from the author, "Spiritual Practice,"  because that is what we are doing.  "We are training ourselves before the Lord.  Without recurring focus on the Lord's things, divinity will not arise (p.103)."   So, how do we ensure that our spiritual practice is long-lasting?  How do we more fully "put off the natural man (Mosiah 3:19)?"  Through this chapter we came up with two key strategies:  Meditation and Selfless Love.

"Meditation is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord."  - Spencer W. Kimball (quoted on p.104).

M. Catherine Thomas writes, "We realize of course that meditation is not something new to us.  We are always meditating on something.  But if we are not choosing our meditations deliberately, our thoughts will run in their ordinary channels, and we will experience more of what we don't want in our lives (p. 107)."

From this we can assume it is one of our greatest privileges to meditate, and yet it is one of our greatest challenges as well...especially as busy mothers.  It is imperative for our own spiritual growth that we make the time to "Be still and know that [He] is God."   One gal at the meeting recognized that, "There is nothing planned in the Celestial room.  It is simply a place for meditation."

Likewise, our prayer and scripture study time must be a place where true meditation can be available.  Rushed reading while doing other things just to "mark it off our list" is better than nothing, but if we want deeper spiritual growth we need to put time into what really matters most.

Selfless Love
"The Law of the Spirit is selflessness...When [one's] acts are always motivated by impersonal, unselfish love...[the] mind will be peaceful, balanced, and healthy (p.93)."

Always?!  Is that possible?  There's got to be a way.

I recently posted about gratitude.  Elder Bednar has said that "a grateful person is a content person (CR Oct. 2013).  Gratitude is a huge key to becoming less selfish and more others-minded.

Seeing others as children of God, recognizing their divinity also helps us to be filled with selfless love.  Letting go of "me" guides us to greater freedom  because there's no longer anything to defend or protect.

Final Thoughts
"Turning our minds to the spiritual allows us to 'see' more...Our spiritual sense open and we touch the sacred many times a day (p. 109)."

"If we want a particular kind of experience out of life and a particular kind of relationship with the Lord, we have to be selective about how we furnish our mental space (p. 107)."


Celebrate Your Name Week

I have always loved my name!  So, this week is one of my favorites to contemplate.  Though I've had lots of ideas through the years, we haven't really done much with this week.  But this year I have high hopes!  Mostly because I think E will really love working on projects about himself all week.

Sunday (yesterday) - Explore your Namesake
Who were you named after? Or how did you get your name? 

Write an acrostic poem using your name:
Just around the corner
Under the big oak tree
Lila and Lily were playing a game
Along with me.

This week check out some books from the library containing your child's name (one reason to use common names rather than trendy new creations).

Find a song containing your child's name. Or write one yourself!

Monday (today) - Fun Facts About Names
Freakonomics has awesome stuff about names.
How popular is your name?

Tuesday - Unique Names Day
My name used to be unique.  I could never see it on any toy license plates or key chains.  Now I can find it more often.  Actually, walking through Toys 'R' Us awhile back there was a placemat titled, "Princess Julia."  I almost bought it.  Maybe I should have.

Do you have a unique name?  Write about how you feel about your name (unique or not).

Have your child create their own creature or pet today.  See what kind of unique name they can come up with! 

Wednesday - Discover What Your Name Means Day

just a random example
Artwork:  Have your child make a piece of artwork with their name and it's definition.  There are many ways to do this:  paint, draw an outline of the name and fill with beans or glitter, use stickers, write the letters and make shapes or animals out of each letter, etc.

Watch Romeo and Juliet.  Have your kids look for this quote:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Thursday -  Nametag Day
What will people say if you wear a nametag all day?  

Have your kids make up new names for themselves.  Wear nametags so you can remember who's who! 

Friday - Middle Name Pride Day
I grew up without a middle name.  I made one up...a different one each week!  What about you?  Do you take pride in your middle name?

Make an acrostic poem with your middle name today.

Write a letter to your namesake and tell them thank you for giving you such a name to hold up to.

Find a story about the person for whom you were named.

Saturday - Descendants Day
Time to delve into family history!

Teach your children about family indexing.  As a family, set a goal for the day to see how much you can get done!

Help your child create their pedigree chart.  Or even more fun, make a tree with pictures:

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