31 July 2014

A gentle reminder

Bedtime. Bath, teeth brushing, potty, pajamas, book(s), verse of scripture, prayer. 

That is our routine. Every night, with usually only small variations. In my everyone-is-tired-and-cranky survival mode I just railroad us through and get 'er done. But tonight was different. 

We were on the verse of scripture and I was attempting to tell Mili that Lehi had seen a tree with desirable fruit. She was trying to talk to me about anything else. And right before I, yet again, rolled my train over her little conversation in an attempt to get bedtime over with, a small, loving voice whispered in my head. "You want to be a mom who listens."

I do. More than almost anything else.

I shut up. I listened. And then we talked. We talked about jumping on trampolines, eating plums, and that one night the fire alarm went off at 2am scaring us all so much Mili can't stop telling me about it. She told me that she wants her soccer ball that I'm getting her to be blue. She told me about her plate falling off the table at dinner and her chicken going on the floor. 

She had so much to say! So much more than at any other time of the day! And for once. For once! I listened. 

May there be many, many more bedtime chats. May my heart never forget that I want to be a mother who listens - to her children and to the sweet voice of God through the Holy Ghost. 

06 July 2014

I am a Mormon Woman

I am a Mormon woman and I feel the need to speak for myself.
There’s been a big to-do lately about the status of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Things concerning who has the opportunity to be ordained to the priesthood.  Gender equality.  Wearing pants to church.
I am a Mormon woman and I have never felt more empowered, equal, and valued than as a member of my Church and within the tenets of my faith.  I do not feel it necessary for me to have the opportunity to receive the priesthood.  I am happy to wear a skirt to church.
There are Mormon women who do not have these same feelings.  I am grateful for these women who are asking questions.  I am grateful for women who are searching and making sure that cultural expectations are not taught as the gospel of Jesus Christ.  These women are valuable; they are needed.  They help me treasure the pure word of God.  Many have deep reasons underlying their questions or concerns.  So many times these are women who have faced massive amounts of prejudice and unfair treatment because of their gender.  Women who live in a world with pervasive objectification and demeaning of the female sex.  Women who fight daily against glass ceilings, push boundaries, and open doors.  These women deserve my love and acceptance.
The answers to their questions or hopes is not always what they had hoped.  It has been reaffirmed by our living prophet and apostles that the ordination of the priesthood in our Church is a role set aside for the men; that this order of things is not a cultural relic but doctrine.  I am saddened when these women find their faith significantly challenged by this or other related answers.  I mourn when they struggle and perhaps fall away from the Church or feel they cannot accept and follow the guidance given by their spiritual leaders.  Today when gender differences are renounced or used as excuses and reasons for gender inequality, it is a hard place to understand what it means to be a woman and what a woman should do.  A woman scrutinizing her role and place is not a lesser individual.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is full of imperfect people.  That’s why we treasure, preach, and try to utilize the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  This means there are imperfect men as well as women.  I do not try to excuse or ignore actions of men who have made major mistakes or offenses against women and denied any wrongdoing; attempting to use the words ‘priesthood authority’ as a shield.  Such action should be condemned and is not consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ.  But I cannot allow the mistakes of the members to cloud my view of the perfection of Christ and His way.  
I am a Mormon woman and I believe.
“ It is precisely because the daughters of Zion are so uncommon that the adversary will not leave them alone.”
Elder Neal A Maxwell, “The Women of God”
April 1978 General Conference