Wednesday, June 25, 2014

To Ordain or Not To Ordain

My Thoughts on the Ordain Women Chaos

I guess the main thing I want to focus on is my feelings on women having the Priesthood. Yep, we'll start there. But first, a story.

My brother Zac just recently graduated from high school and is a priest in our ward. A couple months ago, I was home for the weekend and I went to my home ward for church that Sunday. I walked in a little bit late and quickly dashed into the chapel and did the awkward scan of the congregation from the door as everyone watched me. I spotted just my mom and Ansel sitting together alone in a row. Well, that was normal. Dad was out of town, Alex was passing the sacrament, and Zac was likely still sleeping at home. Imagine my surprise as I sat down next to Ansel, set down my purse and looked up to the front of the chapel to see Zac sitting at the sacrament table with the other priests. Um, what? When I left for school, Zac hadn't been to church in weeks and it had only been by extreme force. But here he was about to bless the sacrament for the entire congregation. I leaned over to my mom and asked why Zac was up at the table and she said it was his first Sunday ever blessing the sacrament. It was a very special experience seeing Zac uphold his Priesthood that day. And every time I see him since that Sunday, he is happier, he is more kind to others, and he is more dedicated to serving others.

Another story.

My brother Alex is thirteen and is in the Deacon presidency of his quorum (I probably totally botched that terminology up, my apologies). It turns out that the job requires A LOT more effort than you'd ever think for what seems like a simple position. He had meetings all the time and always seemed to have dozens of service projects in the works for members of our ward. He is busy all the time for the sake of others. Since he has received this calling, he too is much happier, much kinder, and much more focused on service.

I can see where women in the church are coming from when they talk about wanting the Priesthood. It's about equality, it's about proving that we aren't inferior to men, it's about having more responsibilities. And I am all for that in the world today. I hate being treated lower than men simply because of my gender. I hate that opportunities are passed above my head, especially in the work field I am, simply because I have an extra X chromosome. I hate that I likely won't ever get the same treatment and responsibilities in life because I am a woman.

But this is not how I feel about the Priesthood.

Another story.

My sweet mom has fulfilled many callings within the church in Young Women's, Primary, and Relief Society. One of the callings I remember the most is when she was Relief Society president in our ward back in Washington. She worked SO HARD at her calling. Every ounce of herself went into this calling and every minute that she wasn't fulfilling her responsibilities at her job or at home, she was working to strengthen the sisters she was placed in charge of. Even though I was young, I could see how hard it was for her. But I also could see how the lives she was changing in that Relief Society simply by being the loving individual she was. She did not need the Priesthood to fulfill her responsibilities. She already filled all the requirements of her job with her loving nature that she already possesses naturally.

When I think about my mom having the Priesthood on top of all the responsibilities she already has, it makes me cringe. I love my momma to pieces but I know she isn't well equipped to handle that. She goes about her life and responsibilities perfectly with just her nature as a woman. She is more capable of loving others unconditionally, she has greater capacity to feel empathy, and she has a greater nurturing instinct. The same is true of all women I know, it's just how we're programmed. We have natural tools to aid us as we go about our duties in the church and in our personal lives.

The more I see the men in my family and friend circles exercise their priesthood, the more I see how essential the Priesthood is in strengthening their character. The more they use their Priesthood, the more capable they are of loving others unconditionally, the greater capacity they have to feel empathy, and the greater instinct they have to be nurturing and kind. Sound familiar? If anything, the Priesthood brings about qualities in men that women already have naturally! The Priesthood is much more powerful in the hands of men than it is in the women because it strengthens both the people on the receiving end of the blessings as well as the Priesthood holder exercising his Priesthood power. If you're looking for equality in the church, THERE'S your equality. The responsibilities that women hold in the church build up the Christ-like characteristics that a woman already has. The Priesthood that men hold in the church build up the Christ-like characteristics they already have in a way more suited to their nature as men.

If you're still not convinced, here's another story. When I received my patriarchal blessing last year, it happened in a very hard time in my life. I went to receive this blessing so that I would get some direction and comfort in my life, that I would know that I was not stumbling around in the dark alone and for nothing. As I walked up the steps, I was in panic mode. Why was I going to let some stranger into my life for such a personal reason and when I had so much pain and fear in my heart? I knocked on the door and the first person to greet me was the patriarch's wife. One of the sweetest women I have ever met in my life. She was one of those few women I ever met where you can feel a spirit of love radiating off her simply by standing in her presence. Her loving nature was exactly what I needed before I could go in to meet with the patriarch. I know the Lord called the patriarch to his calling with full knowledge that his wife would be essential to him fulfilling his responsibilities. Without her, I know he would not have been able to manage the calling alone, I could see that in the brief time I was in their home. If you need equality in the church, that's where the equality is. Men and women need to use their gifts from God together, whether your tool is your personal characteristics or if it's the Priesthood power. I need the blessings of the Priesthood in my life daily and in turn, I need to help the men in my life exercise their Priesthood to the best of my abilities. That's equality.

Whew. That was a lot of thoughts. I hope it made sense. I'd love to hear the thoughts of others, all I ask is that you refrain from being abusive or hurtful in your comments. Thanks lovelies!

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