Monday, June 23, 2014

To the Women Who Mourn

I want to say a word (or more...brevity has never been my strongest suit) to those sisters who are grieving over the excommunication of Kate Kelly.

Eons ago, my very first (and quite wonderful) visiting teaching companion said something in a lesson that has stuck with me for a great many years. She said, "The best way to prepare for future ordinances and covenants is to keep the covenants you have already made."

We need you. There is room and love enough for you in God's Church. You have gifts and talents and beauties to share with us, and we need YOU and the threads you bring to the great tapestry of our faith.
The answer now may be "No," but that doesn't necessarily mean "Never." Saints across the globe prayed for many years for the expansion of the Priesthood before, and they continued to live the gospel and prepare for future ordinances and covenants by keeping the ones they had already made. In the end, their lives were blessed, joy expanded.

Others left, deciding that they were not willing to wait on the timing of the Lord, and in addition to giving up on their existing covenants, they lost the opportunity for future covenants (and their accompanying blessings).

I do not know whether the Priesthood will ever be expanded to women. And frankly, I can be happy either way. But I know that God lives, and that He loves each and every one of us, and that He has a plan of infinite beauty and joy for each of us. I know that there is a prophet who guides us. I know that accepting the Lord's will (and His timing) is sometimes painfully hard, but part of our purpose on this earth. I know that because of the covenants I have made with Him that I can live with Him again. And, if ever the time comes that I can enter into other ordinances with Him, that will depend entirely on my work to keep sacred those covenants I have already made.

I deeply feel for those women who struggle with the question of their place before God when it comes to His Priesthood. I don't feel in any way that the consequences that came down were about the question, as questions are one of the most important tools we have to draw nearer to the Savior. In spite of all that's happened, the church today is the same church it was yesterday, and your covenants still tie you back to the Lord. So please, stay. Share your testimony (because when it feels weakest--another friend taught me--is often when you need to share it most); pray for peace; exercise the priesthood already within you; and keep preparing by keeping those covenants which you have entered into with the Lord.

Come what may, it's the best way to be ready for it.