Tuesday, June 24, 2014

We Are All Equal

I am a sensitive person. I always have been. But among the many subjects I am sensitive to, there are a few that bring out my hyper-sensitivity. One of those things is my religion.

When I hear negative comments about my religion, I shake. My heart beats faster. My palms get sweaty. It's a physical reaction because I am passionate about who I am and a huge part of that is that I am a Mormon.

I am a Mormon. I am a Christian. I know that Jesus Christ died for me. I believe in living prophets today. I believe that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and restored our church on this earth. I cannot deny my beliefs. They are mine and I hold them near to my heart.

If you are a Mormon {or heck, if you have a Facebook account}, you might be familiar with Ordain Women, a movement started by a feminist group that are petitioning to hold the Priesthood. I don't want to focus on the details of Ordain Women but I do have a strong desire to share with you how I feel and where I stand in all of this. I also have a desire for you to proceed through this post with love in your heart. You don't need to agree with me to be kind to me.

I grew up being taught that I am a queen, a daughter of royal birth. I believe this wholeheartedly. I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father. He loves me. Throughout my life so far, I have attended church reguarly. Even in high school when I didn't want to, I did it anyway. And when I moved out for 6 weeks in high school to a friend's house, I missed church. As much as I didn't want to admit it at the time, that was a huge awakening for me. My church was a great source of light in my often dark life.

To explain some of the darkness in my life at the time, I was teased a lot as a child. My non-church friends made fun of the fact that I was still "forced" to attend church every week. Some of the youth in my church group had a bet going about whether I would end up pregnant in high school. I felt like I wasn't fully accepted anywhere. Everywhere I turned, someone was against me. I didn't know where I belonged. Everyone was judging me for choices I was making. Everywhere I turned, someone seemed to be disapproving of my lifestyle. I hated it. I really, truly hated it.

Because of my issues with some kids at church, my parents were aching for me. They didn't know what to do. The truth of the church didn't change just because someone was mean to me. But I resented individuals for judging me so harshly. Now that I am a mother, I can't even imagine the confusion and heartache this would cause me as the parent of the child.

Although you might wonder how the church could be a light during this time for me, you would have to understand my own Spiritual perception during this time. I prayed daily. Even when making some really stupid teenage decisions, I was still praying regularly. I could've yelled til I was blue in the face that I didn't believe in God but He was my constant companion when I felt like nobody else understood me. Going to church was still a light in my life because I craved the lessons my leaders would teach. I knew the gospel was true. I felt it. I had a few friends who were genuine to me all of the time and that made church easier but even without those friends, I was feeling peace at church because of the things I was being taught, not because of the friends I did or did not make.

I have always felt a sense of peace when it comes to my role as a woman in the church. Motherhood is my greatest calling but aside from that, I feel like being a woman is my greatest calling. If ever there was a time where I didn't feel equal to men, it was because I felt I was treated as more important. My role is divine. Holding the priesthood would change nothing in the way that I view my divine nature. I don't compare motherhood to the priesthood because that doesn't make sense. I compare womanhood to the priesthood. I believe I am capable of healing others because I have a good heart and my prayers are heard.

The priesthood wouldn't change my role.

If tomorrow, the prophet said that God wanted women to receive the Priesthood, I wouldn't question it. It may happen in my lifetime. But because President Monson has not told us we should have the Priesthood, I believe that now isn't the time---and the time may be never.

I know many women who are distraught over the excommunication of Kate Kelly, the leader of Ordain Women. I respect their feelings. I don't want to negate their feelings just because I am explaining where I stand in all of this. What they feel is real and valid---I just wish everyone could feel how important I feel as a woman in the church. But they don't and that is sad.

I've thought about what I could do for these aching women and my only conclusion is to pray that their hearts will heal. I want them to feel welcome. I want them to feel loved. I want them to feel equal. I pray that they can have experiences that help them feel this way.

I don't agree with the way this movement was handled by Kate Kelly and John Dehlin and the other leaders. It makes me sad that something so sacred would become a widespread movement that seems to be petitioning for the prophet to make a decision. Without discounting the personal revelation these people have received, I can also understand the decisions made by the church. But that is one woman's opinion. I may be right and I may be wrong but my feelings are genuine and are not based on hatred but based on love for the religion that I believe so strongly in.

These past few days have been hard due to the many contentious discussions on Facebook that I have witnessed. Some are passive aggressive and others just downright hateful but all have left me questioning what the real purpose of Christianity is.

Just bear with me as I play the "what if" game for a second. What if Christ had a Facebook? I highly doubt He would be posting things about Mormons being a cult, Ordain Women coming straight from Satan, or how idiotic either side of the argument is. I'd even feel confident to say that He most assuredly would NOT say these things. So why do we, as Christians, feel the need to bash one another for our own personal beliefs?

Christianity isn't about knowing you are right and someone else is wrong. Christianity is about loving others and doing whatever possible to lift them up and help them feel like they are children of God. Because they are. You are. I am.

You don't have to agree with someone to be kind to them.

So if you find yourself in a discussion about Ordain Women or any other discussion in the world, remember what is most important.


Because we are all equal and we are all children of God.

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