Sunday, June 29, 2014

Being a Mormon Woman

I love my Heavenly Father. I love my Heavenly Mother. I love Jesus Christ. I love the Holy Ghost. I love being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I'm not a cookie-cutter Mormon woman. I can't stand scrapbooking, it's like nails on the chalkboard to me. I don't even much like doing crafts at Relief Society meetings (but that is just because I don't consider art projects that anyone can do and which look like everyone else's to be worth my time.) I'm re-married, semi-Goth, a Psychology Major, and my teenager is highly embarrassed at how tight my shirts are and how dark my lipstick is.
I think of myself as a fringe of the fold Mormon. I'm in the fold, and I'm going to stay. I had my little foray into never-never-land and figured out for myself that the Gospel is true and that the true path to peace and eternal happiness are in the things I was rebelling against.
I'm not heart of the fold. I'm not all hyper about how white my wool is. I know I'm not perfect yet. I'm okay with that. I'm okay with that because I know my shepherd is okay with that. I don't have to be spotless to be HIS. I know He loves me and is proud of me. I know what I mean to Him and what He means to me, and I don't have to prove that to anyone around me because anyone who spends time with me can just see it.
I'm at the fringe of the fold because someone has to be there calling out to the ones that are still out in the desert. I've gained a lot of compassion and perspective over the years, and I use it to love the people others find hard to love. That's me.
Some would think, "Oh, she's a strong independent thinker, I bet she wants the Priesthood."
I absolutely do not want the Priesthood.
In fact I find it laughable that people think that I should think that I need it. I'm sorry... why? Why would I need it?
So here's my perspective for anyone who is still reading accounts of us "downtrodden" Mormon women.
I am a DAUGHTER of God.
I have Heavenly Parents who are infinitely more wise than I am. I have a personal relationship with BOTH of them. I have seen the hand of the Heavenly in my life and I am so very grateful for it.
I understand that my life is a learning experience. I am here to make choices, to ask questions, to get answers from a LOT of sources, and in the end to learn to weed out which sources are true. I am here to learn the taste of truth, learn it so well that it is the only flavor I desire, learn it so well that I can find the tiny bits of truth in all things and recognize it when something is pure truth.
I am here to learn to be what I was Spiritually Born to be, a goddess. The path to renouncing all else and becoming a goddess is fraught with temptations and perils. My Heavenly Parents have provided a way for me to learn and get the answers to my questions. It is the BEST way there is for their daughters to travel this journey. That way is called being a Righteous Woman.
I have no need to be a Righteous Priesthood Holder. Why? Because that is the BEST way for their SONS to become a god.
They are different, but similar destinations. They are equal.
(Well, okay, in my heart of hearts I really prefer being a girl. Not that guys aren't equal to us, but it's just not my style. I am SO GLAD I am not a man.)
Men need the Priesthood to learn.
With all the HORRIBLE things that the world shoves in their faces and says "real men do this... and real men do that..." well it just stands to reason that God made a structured, guided, responsibility heavy, service oriented, program to help his sons know what future gods are really supposed to do.
I mean seriously, guys are up against a lot, and it's hard for them to know what examples to follow, what paths are right. The real, godly role models for men in this world are very few. It can be hard for men to develop the crucial traits they need and to cut out all the stuff they don't need. The Priesthood is there to help them learn compassion, honor, selflessness, responsibility, leadership, sacrifice, kindness, unconditional love, self restraint and other godly traits. They have the Priesthood to learn to be like God.
I don't need to horn in on that. I don't need to be part of that training program. I have my own training program. I learn from my womanhood every day. I am learning to be like my Heavenly Mother.
Yes I know, all those attributes that I listed that guys need to learn are things I need to learn too. Trust me I am painfully aware of how far I have to go. I just trust that my Heavenly Parents know me and themselves and the path well enough that the course they prescribed is best for me.
That doesn't mean I don't question either. Honestly, the accusation that Mormons aren't allowed to question is absurd. Of course we question. We are just careful of where we look for our answers. There are so many voices, so we trust a select few. One voice I trust, that I love to hear, that I give great regard to, is that of our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. It causes me physical pain to hear him vilified.
People say Kate Kelly got ex-communicated for asking questions. Um, no, she was teaching her own doctrine. She had previously asked questions, gotten whatever answers she got, and then she made a group, put together lessons, and preached her own doctrine. She set herself up as a teacher of new doctrine... ie a prophet.
That may be normal in other churches, but in our church we have a Prophet and we don't aspire to replace him. We are called to serve in the great network of church positions, and we do our best to carry those loads, but we don't push ourselves around on the ladder.
And that's another thing. The way that God has structured our church, people think of it as a pyramid of power. Well it is a pyramid of sorts. President Monson is at the point, and all the babies in nursery are at the other end. It isn't about power though. It's about service and responsibility. So President Monson isn't at the top, he's at the bottom. The whole church is balanced on his mortal, aging shoulders. What a weight to carry!
Yet, he loves us. He loves us deeply. That is why he is willing to carry our weight.
I feel bad for Kate Kelly, I really do, not because she was excommunicated, or that she doesn't get to hold the Priesthood, but because she has such a view of her Womanhood. I feel sorry for her that she thinks she needs the Priesthood. That breaks my heart, that she apparently doesn't get that her power is inherent, that her responsibility to serve is inborn, that the greatest among us will be the servants of all the others. She doesn't need the Priesthood to help shape and form her into what she needs to be, she just needs to trust the process that is already in place for her as a woman.
I pray this time away from the church will be a time of reflection and growth for her, as it is meant to be. I pray she will find the true path again, that she will come to understand the things that she doesn't, that she will one day be a goddess. God bless and guide you all.


Shauna Reed Nilsson said...

I love you, Thora! You are my kind of people... beautiful and beautifully unique and graceful! (((HUGS)))

Bobbi said...

Wonderfully put! I love you Thora! You have opened your heart, and blessed everyone with it.

Ruthykins said...

I don't know you, but I think I would like you if I did. You said many of the same things that I was thinking.

autismpsyd said...

Agreed, Bobbi! It gets to the core of the issue without all the distractions...we're not here to "do" so much as to "become," and as women our aspiring to be ordained to the priesthood is just another prideful expression of our lack of eternal vision and our desperation for credibility. Those of us who really know who we are do not need external signs of credibility, for we know we have it with those who matter most, our Heavenly Parents.

I counsel my clients to say affirmations every day..."I am [positive attribute]"...but to say them three times each, with emphasis the first time on the word "I" (ownership) then on "am" (state of being), and finally on the attribute. I have value to my Heavenly Parents simply because I am (and Jesus is the Great I Am, the greatest of all our spirit siblings). I exist because they gave me spiritual birth. Just as each of my children are equally important and precious to me, I am important and precious to my Heavenly Parents. NOTHING I ever do will destroy their love for me. I may disappoint them (and I am sure I do that frequently...sigh), but their love is unconditional and everlasting. That knowledge is an anchor in the swirling tides of life, and I am so very grateful to see that my precious daughters understand it!

Darla said...

Thora, thanks you for sharing your wonderful thoughts.