It's Not About Questioning - The Excommunication Uproar

This morning as I drove to work, the scripture in Nephi from Nephi kept running through my mind and I thought: I don't know the meaning of all things but I too know that Heavenly Father loves His children. I hold on to this when there are things I don't understand - that even though I can't understand why something is the way it is, above all else I KNOW that He loves me and all of us.

Its sad when anyone is excommunicated - it doesn't matter who you are. Personally I've thought alot about what Kate Kelly must be feeling and facing but I've thought even MORE about the issues surrounding Ordain Women and her excommunication. After reading numerous articles and hearing many, many opinions, I felt it was time to throw my thoughts into the mix.

First, its not about asking questions.

Kelly stated several times in interviews that the Church was punishing her for asking questions and that the Church is stating it isn't ok to ask questions. If you are going into a discussion with your mind already made up about what the answer SHOULD be, then you aren't really questioning. Questioning indicates an openness to whatever the answer is. I think about what if Joseph Smith had done to the Sacred Grove and instead of asking, WHICH church was true - indicating an openness to whatever answer was given - he had prayed THIS (insert whatever religion he might have chosen) church is true, having already decided specifically in his mind what he thought God's answer would be. Pretty sure the outcome would have been different and Joseph Smith wouldn't have been the prophet we know.

Thus, the issue isn't with Kelly asking the question. The Church didn't discourage her when she first asked - it became an issue when it stopped being about asking and began being about demanding - the ONLY answer that was right was that women be ordained to the priesthood.

So as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ask questions. Ask lots of them but with an open mind as to what the answer will be.

Another issue that has bothered me is some comments I've seen that indicate the prophet hasn't prayed about this issue and is simply ignoring the requests or questions. The problem with this line of thought is that it gives rise to a bigger underlying issue. The question really becomes - Is this the Lord's church? Does He guide this church? Is His promise true that He will never allow the prophet to go contrary to His will? If the answers are yes to these questions, then I'm sure President Monson has prayerfully talked with the Lord about this issue and knows confidently His will. That leads us then to the above problem - it becomes not about questioning but demanding and stubbornly holding to the line that unless women are ordained the prophet must not be asking.

My last thoughts are about the priesthood itself. Too often it is like we picture the priesthood as a house - beautifully built and maintained. But within the house are only men and that we as women in order to "use" the house or have access to it, we have to go to the door, knock on it, and be allowed entrance. This is NOT the case - both men and women are a part and make up the house. By not HOLDING the priesthood I am not denied any of its blessings. Yep not one blessing am I denied by not holding the priesthood. I enjoy the house as much as any man and can get as many blessings and benefits. I am not unequal in any way. The Lord has not denied me anything by being a woman. My exaltation can be as sure as any person on this earth - male or female. It is all dependent on one thing - the choices I make. The Lord has given me everything I need as a woman to be able to gain that most prized blessing - to live with Him again.

Let us all focus on all the work there is to be done - the feeble knees to be strengthened, the hands we can offer in help, the message there is to be shared that Christ's church is restored on the earth. We are led by a LIVING prophet who guides us according to the Lord's will. The Savior lives and has overcome all things that we may live with Him again. And not only that He loves us beyond what we can comprehend and has all things set to work together for our good as we seek to follow Him. Ask questions when you have them but above that listen to the Lord's chosen servants on the earth for the answer. The Lord has organized the structure of the church so that we may know who to follow to know we follow Him.

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Yep, Its True - 10 Life Truths to Consider

Life is a never-ending pool of experiences to learn from. The best thing we can do is try to learn from each experience we have.

#1 - We often live as if life is all about us though it rarely is.
In high school I had a bumper stick that said "Its All About Me." I only had it because I thought it was funny. But there was some truth to it, even to this day. I live too often inside my head, which means I see life and my experiences and interactions with others only in relation to myself. Which computes to seeing others' actions as having something to do with me, when in most cases they have nothing to do with me. The key is to strive to understand what is going on within ourselves (focusing inward), and focusing on others simply as themselves, completely separate from us (focusing outward). Think about only them and what might be happening for them, without connecting it to yourself at all.

#2 - Life gives all of us struggles that seem more than we can bear
No one is exempt and everyone's own personal struggle feels like an extreme burden to them. Use this for courage and for compassion. Courage when you may feel overwhelmed by your struggle and compassion to seek to reach out to others when you are struggling. One lesson I've been reminded of again and again is that my struggle(s) feel a little easier when I reach out to someone else.

#3 - Asking for complete honesty can be brutal, but worth it
Honesty can hurt, which may be why the "white lie" was invented. Sometimes we may feel living in a bit of fantasy world is better than really knowing the truth. But in my experience, though I've been told some extremely hard things to hear, that hurt me, I've never been sorry afterwards to really know the truth. To know what that person thought, felt, wanted, etc. That is how you can know where you truly stand and only that way can you stand on a secure foundation in any relationship.

#4 - The hardest time of a trial, grieving or difficulty comes after the first couple of weeks
This is when the pain is still fresh, you are trying to move on, and everyone has gone back to their own lives. The first couple of weeks people call, text or talk to you about how you are. They check in or drop by. They bring things. But then they go back to their lives, which is not a criticism. Just next time someone close to you or not close to you is struggling or has experienced some kind of loss - remember them in the time after that initial thought or kind gesture. Check in with them and see how they are - don't forget them or their pain - it only takes a little bit of your time but makes a big difference.

#5 - Let yourself love and care deeply
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” 
~ C.S. Lewis

#6 - Busy-ness is not a badge of honor
Being busy gives us a sense of purpose and also something we don't have to invest in too deeply. We often use busy-ness to avoiding having to feel and be vulnerable. Don't be too busy to love and connect deeply with people. We all have responsibilities - there is no denying that - but there is a balance to be had to really live. Connecting with others is what makes life meaningful, encourages personal growth, and creates a real love.

#7 - Just be with someone when they share something with you
Giving unsolicited advice, trying to "fix" the problem, or remove the pain when someone shares something difficult is mainly because we are scared of their emotion(s). We don't like to feel whatever they are feeling, so if we can just "fix" it then we don't have to feel uncomfortable anymore. Don't be scared - sit with them in the emotion - feel with them and be with them. This is empathy and is truly soul stretching and defining. It allows for connection on a truly deep level and lets others know that you really do care.

#8 - Be honest to yourself and to others
Most of us are not honest ALL of the time, though perhaps a number of us try to be. Often the person we are most dishonest with though is ourself, especially when it comes to things we struggle with. Yet honesty within ourselves and with others creates the possibility of greater connection, support and growth. Honestly look at the things you struggle with, that you don't like, that you wish were different. Not to beat yourself up, feel sorry or have a pity party, but to acknowledge they exist and are part of who you are. This actually lessens their power rather than giving them more. And we can only truly connect with others when we are honest or vulnerable about who we really are.

#9 - Never be afraid to hear a different point of view
Different opinions, beliefs, and values are part of what creates equality. Too often society would have us believe equality is sameness but if you remember in the Book of Mormon the times it states they had true equality is because every man was free to believe as he chose. Don't feel threatened when someone else believes or understands differently than you. Listen, engage, ask questions to try to truly understand where they come from. This will enhance your knowledge and also ability to connect with others and to live with kindness. Respect doesn't mean agreement - it means that we feel secure in our own beliefs. Often when we feel the need to attack or not listen to someone else's view it is because we are not secure in our own so we feel threatened.

#10 - Don't let designations and labels define you
We use labels in society to create distance between us and someone else. Or to categorize them a specific way. The problem with labels is stereotypes are their twin and they go hand in hand. You really can't have the one without the other. Try to avoid categorizing people with a label you ASSUME describes them. Be open to letting them show or tell you what it means for them or who they are outside of any labels. Labels may keep you "safe" but they will always keep you disconnected.

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