Last Sunday, for the first time in several months, I had to get up and leave Relief Society. It wasn't because I was upset, it was because I was angry. The well-meaning woman in the front of the room, addressing the concept of woman's ordination, chose to mock the entire idea. Met with laughter from other sisters in the room, she declared, "Who wants the priesthood? I have enough to do!" She went on to suggest that the OW movement was stupid, faithless, and foolish. I finally left when she started listing all the "access" that single women have to the priesthood.
It would probably take some who only know me online by surprise that it bothered me as much as it did. Others are probably convinced I'm a sympathizer and agree with Ordain Women, though previous posts of mine should make it clear that I'm not. But while I am no sympathizer to the Ordain Women movement, I am an empathizer. Many of the same things that have led these women to "supplication" at the doors of the Tabernacle are things that I have felt.
As a single woman, I've experienced cradling a sick child in the middle of the night with no one to ask to give her a blessing. As a married woman, I experienced asking someone to offer a blessing only to be refused. I've been summarily overridden, my perspective and revelation in my stewardship discounted because I was not one of the ultimate decision makers. As a sister missionary, I've been subjected to ever-increasingly creative verses of "Sisters are Stupid," a song set to the tune of "I Often Go Walking" because the prevailing opinion was that sisters shouldn't bother themselves with priesthood duties such as sharing the Gospel. I've been judged and rejected for not being enough of an appendage. While none of these things SHOULD have happened under a priesthood organized as it is, they all did at least partly BECAUSE of how it is organized, giving those so inclined to interpret women as less-than.
I know the sting of possessing no organized authority in the Church of my Savior.
Recently, I listened to Kate Kelly's podcast where people were invited to "ask her anything." Listening to it, I changed some of my opinions about Kate Kelly and the movement, and others were confirmed. I may have nothing more to add to the discussion that has been going on around her and the Ordain Women movement. But I have felt the Spirit prompting me to write. Even as I type these words, I'm not sure what exactly I'm going to say.
As I have listened to the podcast, and other discussions about Ordain Women, there are some things that are clear to me. Kate Kelly is an activist by profession. She sees a problem and works on it the only way she knows how, with the tools she uses best. She earnestly, genuinely believes she is doing good. She earnestly believes that her behavior demonstrates her faith. She wants what is best for the Church and feels a drive to do something about it. She believes that she can open the windows of heaven wider for the Church leadership. She believes she has a part to play in ushering the Church closer to the Lord's vision for it. I think I can understand the urges she (and others like her) feels.
But I also know it isn't her place to determine what the Church needs. When I served as a missionary, and again later when I became a single member, I saw a need and passionately tried to communicate that need to my leadership. As a missionary, it almost got me sent home early (out of "concern for [my] emotional health.") I've learned a little since then. As a single member, the needs I see for singles with families are something I've been discussing with my leadership for nearly four years. It has been a slow, laborious, and sometimes frustrating process. But things are being done.
That being said, it totally IS her place to communicate to leadership what she needs. The trick is that it must be done with patience, humility, long-suffering, meekness, and without guile. In fact, communicating to leadership in the Church effectively can only be done by accessing the powers of heaven in righteousness. ANYthing that is to be accomplished in the work of the Lord can only be done by accessing the powers of heaven. Those exact powers of heaven are "inseparably connected" to the very rights of the priesthood the OW movement seeks. It is quite clear to me that the methods Ordain Women are using are intrinsically antithetical to the very thing they seek.
Anyone who truly seeks the power of God in righteousness accepts it with humility. Those times when the Spirit has moved through me, I have been left humbled and astounded by the grace and power of God. I have seen how subtly and inexorably the will of the Lord moves through the leaders of the Church. I have seen how there is no need for linear escalation of problems, that the Lord is more than capable of preparing His servants to hear my supplication when the time is right.
Hubris makes someone in Kate Kelly's position determine that she needs to go straight to the top to get anything done. Ignorance keeps such people from participating in the actions going on before and without her to seek revelation regarding women in the Church. I found it telling when she revealed that it was not her idea to demonstrate a second time, but that she was overruled. While people, like her, participating in the Ordain Women movement may believe they are "merely asking," this clearly shows how they are allowing others in the organization set them up as a media spectacle. Despite feeling she is in power within the organization, and feeling that her demonstrations display courage and initiative, she has only swapped one master for another.
This, to me, is nothing to rejoice over. It concerns me. It makes me want to show them some of the things that I have learned, that the illogical path of humility, peace, and long-suffering actually leads more quickly to results previously unimagined.
I have a question that has been a topic of prayer for several years. Over time, I have gone from frantic pleading to anger, from anger to sullen silence, from silence to hesitant pleading and patience. I know what it is to receive no real answer to something that weighs heavily on my heart. But I know more than that. I know the goodness of God. I know that all good things await those who wait upon the Lord and His timing. I know that more good can be done by patient pleading than by all the media power in the world.
My Lord is a loving Lord. I know He is there, and He has Kate Kelly in mind just as He has me in mind. Each and every person who participates in rebelling against the structure and order of the Church is just as loved, just as precious as those who do not. While I believe they are sadly misguided, they do not deserve our mockery or derision. They are our sisters and brothers, even those who have rejected the power of God in their lives. Even those who are desperately seeking the power of God without knowing where or how to look.
If Ordain Women does not have the Spirit of God working for them, neither do those who sit and judge them. I believe equally passionately in the divine direction of the Church through its leadership and in the earnest intentions and genuine pain of those who find themselves opposing it. That might not make me easily categorized. But I find categories to be much less useful than genuine love.