At any rate, I was thinking about this and trying to figure out the root of the problem. I don't think the problem is really the priesthood, the patriarchy, or any of the things people like to complain about. I think the problem goes much deeper. Even were the prophet to snap his fingers and change everything tomorrow, there would still be something for such people to complain about. If homosexuality was accepted, it would be transgender. If women were given the priesthood, it would be that they don't have enough roles in it. A solution cannot be found by the Brethren conforming to popular opinion.
Furthermore, most of these things don't bother me, at least not to the degree they bother some. I wasn't really sure why this is. Some of them used to bother me much more than they do now, but although I never really tried to change my feelings on the issues, my feelings changed on their own. What was the difference?
As I thought about these things this morning, I felt that the root cause of much of these problems is a lack of true faith in God. (Let me establish, I'm making no judgment on individuals with issues, nor am I trying to disparage those issues, I'm just trying to examine the problem in general.) I don't mean a lack of belief that He exists, but a lack of true faith.
I have learned a lot about faith lately. It isn't about believing, it is about trusting. It is about taking that step into the chasm, even though you can't see the bridge under your feet. It is about falling into the chasm and being okay with that, because you know who you are and who God is. It's about standing in front of a furnace hot enough to boil bone and saying, "I know that God can save me, but if He does not, still I will follow Him." It is about saying "I am hurt that women don't have the priesthood. I hope that some day they will have the chance to lead in the Church the way men do, but even if they are eternally less than men in this way, still I will follow God. Still will I submit to His will as now understood through His prophets. Still will I obey." It is about saying "I think the Church was wrong to withhold the priesthood from blacks in the past. But I may be wrong. Either way, my opinion is not important, and my needs are in the hands of my Redeemer to do with as He will."
It is about taking your pain and letting it go.
A lady I know wanted more than anything to have an eternal family. She gave up her dream career, much of her pride and comfort for this dream. All of her effort went into attaining this goal. While pregnant with her fifth child, her husband, well regarded in the church, had an affair. After the baby's birth, he divorced her and moved his new girlfriend into the house they had lived in. Her dream was shattered. And yet, with her righteous desires lying crumbled around her feet, with five children to raise on her own and no hope of ever marrying again, she let go of that dream, turned it over to the Father's hands and simply served her children and the other children of God. I don't know if she is happy, or if she will ever gain her dream in this life. There is no solid doctrine promising her an eternal marriage after her death. But, she has done her best to follow the will of the Lord, and she trusts Him to take care of her needs.
"And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, "What shall we eat?" or, "What shall we drink?" or, "Wherewithal shall we be clothed?" [Or "How will I be healed?" or "When will I be equal?"] . . . . For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
I am not free from this problem. Because of my recent life challenges, I have wasted too much time wishing things would change to conform to my dreams and thoughts of how things should be. I have "labored much in the Spirit" that I would be able to accept the dissolution of my righteous desires, and learn to let go of my needs and learn true charity for others. I am no different from those who long for the Church to conform to their desires. But I think perhaps the reason neither my life nor the Church will change to fit opinion, or do many of the things wanted of them is because God's people must be a people of faith. If everything in the Church (or my life) was perfect, there would be no reason for faith. And if the Brethren were smart/savvy/inspired/etc. enough to do what was wanted of them, there would be no room for humility and patience . . . or for charity.