Commentary Regarding “Ordain Women”

If you are a regular reader, you know I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).  This post is commentary on recent developments within the Church, based on my own experience.

I made a mistake earlier in my life, and I’m still paying for it.  While the repentance process is complete, and I know I have been forgiven, I still have trouble forgiving myself, and to some degree, I’m still paying the consequences.

You see, I was a hard-headed, stubborn young woman.  I got a burr in my saddle about a couple of things, and I wouldn’t let go.  I spent 20 years of my life kicking against the pricks about things that don’t even matter anymore.  I’ve spent the last 22 years trying to play “catch up” on things of a spiritual nature.  I lost so much time wanting to be right that I lost sight of the ultimate goal of all things celestial.

This experience gives me unique perspective.  When I first began to blog and became involved in social media, I followed a lot of young Mormon Mommy Bloggers.  I came to know these women and admired them on many levels.  As time went on, however, I watched as one by one they found something to pick at — some little grievance which became a burr in their own saddle, and they wouldn’t let go.  One by one, they left the Church — most of them becoming very bitter.  All this happened because they, like me, couldn’t see the forest through the trees.  They let go of the iron rod and lost sight of the tree of life.  I was sad — very, very sad.

Now there is this group of women who call themselves “Ordain Women.”  These are intelligent women who know the gospel, but have latched onto something and won’t let go. They are so fixated on the idea of women holding the priesthood that they no longer can feel the blessings of womanhood itself.  They have been blinded by the feminist movement to such a degree that they can’t see the eternal nature of women.

Ordain Women’s efforts to have priesthood bestowed upon women resulted in the group appearing at the Priesthood Session of LDS General Conference in Salt Lake City last October demanding admittance.  Two interesting and important things to note:  (1) Women have their own conference to attend; and (2) The Priesthood Session is available on-line and in print for anyone male or female who is interested.  The Church asked them not to pursue the issue, but they are again planning to show up at the Priesthood Session of General Conference in April.  The Church sent a letter to Ordain Women explaining its position and asking that the group not protest on Temple Square.  If these women truly sustain the General Authorities of the Church as prophets, seers, and revelators, they would not pursue this any further.

I come from a long line of strong, bold women who have pushed boundaries and done things unexpected of women that were often challenged by men.  I get it.  I was sexually harassed in the workplace before the term sexually harassed even existed, and the only option was to quit my job.  In my youth I was told that “writing is not a dignified enough profession for a lady.” It was a different time back then.  Believe me — I get it.

There is a difference, however, in proving you can do something as well as a man, and foregoing the blessings of being a woman.  Women have an important role to play in the Church on earth, but more importantly, in the life to come.  We should be reveling in the eternal promises which are ours as women.  We should be on Cloud 9 as we ponder sacred covenants made.  If only these sisters could let go of the worldly vision of womanhood and see themselves as their Heavenly Father sees them.  It makes me very sad.

Sisters, please wake up.  Wake up sooner, rather than later.  Don’t spend 20 years seeking the limelight and the approval of media and others while ignoring the blessings of your Heavenly Father.  Be one with us.  “Stand” with us.  Let’s unite as sisters in Zion and claim our celestial glory.

Educating Children Is More Than Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parents underestimate the important role they play in educating children.  Don’t tune out, this isn’t a lecture about parent-teacher conferences, reading to your children, or listening to them read to you.  My children taught me that by conversing with them, we both learn.

My oldest two children were about 7 and 5 years old.  There was a fire on the Port of Sacramento, only a few miles from our home.  Huge piles of wood chips burned for days as fire fighters kept watch watering them down.  One Sunday afternoon, we were out for a ride and ventured near the port.  The conversation went something like this:

7-year-old:      What is burning?

Me:                  Wood chips.

7:                     Why are they there?

Me:                  We put those wood chips on ships, sell them to the Japanese, and send them to Japan.

7:                     What does Japan want with our wood chips?

Me:                  They take them and press them together really tight to make logs, then sell them to us for our fireplaces.

7:                     Why don’t we just make our own fireplace logs?

Me:                  Because of World War II.

7:                     What does World War II have to do with wood chips and fireplace logs?

Me:                  Japan was our enemy during the war.  After the war, we rebuilt Japan.  We made all sorts of trade agreements with them to help them rebuild their country, and we’ve been trading with them ever since.

7:                     Why would we rebuild Japan if they were our enemy?

Me:                  Because we are Americans, and that’s what we do.  We don’t hold innocent citizens accountable for what their government or armies do.

This conversation went on for a long time, but you get the idea.  My daughter is now an adult with children of her own, and to this day she is interested in the history of World War II.

We didn’t have a lot of money to take vacations.  Most of our vacations were spent in Idaho and Nevada with extended family members.  We would plan activities around which Camp Fire emblems or beads our children could earn.  I remember spending a lot of time one summer in cemeteries learning about family history, as well as learning a little math as the children calculated how old people were when they died from information on the gravestones.

It is so easy to brush off our children when they babble to us.  We have important things to think about, like how we are going to pay the bills this month, as well as some not so important distractions like what our next Facebook or Twitter post will be about.  Don’t miss out on those precious opportunities to educate your children.  As you educate them, you will also learn.  My husband and I were often found educating ourselves about topics that held the interest of our children.

Don’t be afraid to pull them out of school for educational opportunities.  (Teachers, you didn’t hear that.)  I remember keeping my children home from school the day the foundation was poured for the addition to our home.  We let the children gather things for a time capsule that was sealed in the foundation.  Not long ago, one of my kids was telling me some of the things they remember putting in that time capsule.  They learned about the earthquake measures that were taken to hold the addition to the foundation, and they learned that the old part of the house wasn’t subject to those same safety measures.  That spurred a conversation about which part of the house would be best to store our 72-hour emergency kit.  These are things that they would not have learned in the classroom.

Let’s challenge ourselves to put away the cell phones and other technology and listen to our children and grandchildren.  Let’s answer their endless questions, and let’s learn together!

Respecting Your Elders

Some cultures teach respect for the elderly.  Older people are considered wise and are revered for their knowledge and respected for having lived a good life.  Unfortunately, that is not the case in the United States–at least not to the degree it should be.

My husband is 71 years old, and the last year or two I’ve begun to notice a change in how he is treated by others when we are out in public.  Frankly, it makes me very angry.  He is the same sweetheart of a man he was two years ago, but is suddenly being treated like the most stupid man on the planet.

Today is a perfect example.  We were out shopping for groceries for a church function.  In order to keep within the budget, we had gone to three different grocery stores.  We also ran two personal errands.  By the time we finished, we were both hungry and stopped at Wienerschnitzel for lunch.

After ordering our food, I filled our soda cups while my husband collected napkins and condiments.  He tried to pump mustard into the small cups provided, but the pump wouldn’t work.  He summoned an employee and told her the mustard pump wasn’t working.  She told him to “prime the pump a little,” to which he responded, “I did.”  I was sitting at our table by this time, which was close enough for me to see the biggest and most sarcastic eye roll I’ve ever witnessed.  Her eyes literally said, “Stupid old man!”  I wanted to jump up and slap her.  She grabbed the mustard and pumped it 5 or 6 times–receiving no mustard.  I grinned.  Her supervisor then pumped the mustard another 5 or 6 times–receiving no mustard.  The mustard pump was eventually removed and either fixed or replaced.

I’m not sure what it is about an older person that says, “Kick me; I’m down.”  Are there signs on their backs?  Maybe it’s that their backs are a little hunched over from a lifetime of hard work?  Maybe the hair is a little too gray for mixed company?  Whatever it is, it certainly ticks off a whole lot of people in our society.

Let me tell you a little bit about the old people in this country.  They grew up in a time when people cared about each other.  They were taught to love their neighbors, respect their elders, work hard, provide for their families, be honest in all their dealings, serve their community and their country, love their spouses, and adore their children.

This particular “old man” walks two miles a day, serves his family, volunteers his services at church, mows not only his own lawns but often those of others, visits the sick, helps his wife with cooking and household chores, does 99 percent of the grocery shopping, and is always available to help out a friend, neighbor, or family member.

Young people:  The next time you see an older person, be patient if they walk a little slow–they’ve earned the right to slow down.  Be compassionate if they are hunched over–they got that way from hard work.  Don’t fret the extra 20 seconds it takes them to swipe their card in the ATM machine–these things are new to them.  Take a few seconds and throw them a smile–they’ve lived through things you can’t even begin to imagine.  Remember that life is short and you will be old someday too–unless, of course, you make me mad enough to jump out of my chair in a fast food restaurant and take you down for being rude and unkind to the person I love more than life itself.

To the employee at Wienerschnitzel:  Be grateful I move slower than I did five years ago before two broken ankles, or you probably would be nursing a black eye this evening.