Monday, December 31, 2012

The "Delicate Sensibilities" of the Spirit?

I have been taught in Church that if I found myself in certain places, the Spirit would flee. I have lately heard a refutation to that concept, that the Spirit is strong enough to witness evil, and is therefore strong enough to stick around even if you find yourself in a place not conducive to His presence. This argument is often used to mock those who choose not to go certain places or engage certain types of entertainment.

And it does have a point. The Spirit is pretty tough. God sees ALL the depravity of the world. We have reason to believe that the God of heaven occasionally weeps over the sorrows and sins of man. But He can handle it. And if God can handle it, so can the Spirit.

But that misses the point.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dramatic Gestures to Inspire Change

Let me explain a bit about where I was when this whole wearing-pants thing started. Once upon a time, I really, REALLY cared about what others thought and felt. To the point where I doubted my own perceptions, thoughts and feelings in favor of theirs. Such an approach reached its culmination in the realization that I had been abused in my marriage, and going through all the many stages of grief. Many times.

But I'm over that, now. I'm currently in a frame of mind, unfortunately, where I have realized that most people haven't figured anything out any better than I have and I kind of resent it. It's sort of the pouty phase of the disillusionment. I'm not proud of it, but I recognize the need to go through it. I'm about at the point now, where I want to start caring what people think again. Not because I think their perceptions have much to offer me, but because I want to understand them, to listen for THEIR benefit rather than mine.

So it is in this transitional emotional state that I have approached this whole wearing-pants-to-church thing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Call to Repentance: Pants

Okay, ENOUGH. Multiple times, I have been stopped from commenting in any way on those threads which are promoting this Wear Pants to Church day.

But here, on this, I feel empowered to speak.

If people want to wear pants to Church, if they want to co-opt the sacrament meeting for their own agenda, that is their prerogative. So long as they are not interfering with you actually partaking and blessing the sacrament, LET THEM WEAR PANTS. It is a total non-issue.

If you consider yourself a disciple of Christ, if you want to be faithful and exhibit His presence here on earth, if you want His light to shine from your countenance, please, PLEASE stop attacking the people of this movement!

Of course it isn't about pants. Of course the entire movement is a subtle trap, with no winners, only victims. Please don't add to it. Please let it go. It isn't important. It doesn't matter.

What does matter is you allowing your fear, discomfort, anger at the people of this movement to keep you from recognizing them as your Sisters and Brothers. I beg you, please pray for the Spirit to guide you. Please let Him into your hearts on this matter.

Because what you're doing isn't helping. It's only buying in to the Adversary's plan with all this. I can't beg you enough to cease from contention.

Read 3 Nephi 11 and D&C 10. Ponder them, amend your behavior after the pattern they teach. This is your opportunity to invite the Spirit and show forth the Love of Christ. Don't let it pass.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Commenting Policy Update

FYI to everyone: I have had to learn by personal experience to draw boundaries in my space. I have also learned to enforce those boundaries without apology.

Certain commenters have shown an inability to respect my boundaries. I have updated my commenting policy at the bottom of every page to clarify those boundaries. I no longer feel the need to pander to people who make a career out of criticizing the Church, or who proudly carry around personal baggage with no intention of offloading it any time soon. I have plenty of baggage of my own, so I get baggage. I have plenty of topics regarding the structure and organization of the Church which frustrate me. But that doesn't mean that I throw my baggage around, hoping to hit someone else over the head with it. I am willing to consider that my own biases may get in the way of seeing clearly. I expect that brand of restraint in anyone who would like to carry on a public conversation on this blog. If you are incapable of seeing past your own biases to try to understand my real meaning, then we really have nothing to talk about.

I still welcome intelligent, thoughtful conversation. "Thoughtful" means considering my points, and respectfully asking questions or bringing up certain counterarguments that show more than a simple vendetta regarding whatever topic at hand. I welcome disagreement. I detest argument. If you don't know the difference, there are plenty of venues where you can vent your spleen to your heart's content and be welcomed.

This is not one of them.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Please Solve My Problems For Me

While I've had a relatively privileged life, I've also had times when I've had to worry about nutrition, food, paying the bills, providing for my children. I've had to worry about my physical safety, being attacked in my own home, my house and car being destroyed, my children being taken from me. Not as much as some, doubtlessly, but enough to know what fear feels like, what poverty feels like, what it is like to be helpless.

With this in mind, I find it amazing how people automatically ask me why I didn't go to the state for assistance in my times of need. Or if I discuss how lonely it was with someone, they assume all I need is to find another husband.

I do it, too. Often when people come to me with their problems, I first think of all the solutions provided by other people or institutions they should turn to. Next, I think of what I might do. Third, to my shame, I often think of reasons why I can't do it. Then I go back to #1. It's awful.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Turbulent Heart

“The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.” —Blaise Pascall

There are times in a person's life when she is presented with opportunities to look at herself and find herself wanting. I am naturally very hard on myself. Growing up, I somehow learned that my worth was directly linked to perfection. It seems that relationships are the greatest of these opportunities.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to live with my sister after her graduation from high school. We had not been the best of friends growing up. She was favored, and I was a truculent and sullen child. We did not have the enmity that many siblings cultivate, but we were jealous of each other for different reasons. I like to think that in the course of living together, and the trouble that we both experienced at the time, we learned to forgive and accept each other and ourselves a little bit more.

When I served my mission, I had close relationships with a few of my companions. One in particular, I think of as a sister. We had very similar outlooks on missionary work, and life in general. We both hated mushrooms (a good basis for any lasting friendship.) Most of all, she gave me confidence in myself and my unique brand of missionary work, which did not mesh well with the general missionary structure. Her influence started my feet down a long path which would eventually lead to me forgiving myself of my faults, no small task.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Disappearing Singles Act

I participate, mostly reluctantly, in an LDS mid-singles ward. For those of you who don't know, this is a ward made up primarily of 31-45 year olds, though there are several people who fail to leave once they hit the older age limit. I have a great many issues with the ward and with LDS singles life in general, but I want to address one huge mistake that we make towards our singles.

Ostensibly, the Church provides singles' wards so that we have an opportunity to meet more people with our marital status in the hopes that we will change that status in the near future. To this end, they plan endless activities, generally centered around entertainment, movie watching, sports, and dancing. With the younger, college-age singles, this model works rather well, as far as any model could be said to "work."

But as the biological clocks tick upwards, things start to change.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Why I Talk About Abuse

Most of the time, people don't want to talk or think about abuse. As soon as you use the A word, you can expect a shutter to come down behind their eyes. People are afraid of it. They think there is something wrong with you because you have been a victim in the past. They think there is something wrong with you because you haven't kept your mouth shut about it. They think you must be filled with anger or hate, or you wouldn't tell people the things that someone has done to you.

And I hate talking about it. I am tired of the uncomfortable silences when I admit to what I have lived through. I'm tired of people immediately doubting my word the moment I open my mouth about it. I have been threatened for what I say here. I have been attacked for not being silent. And I hate thinking about something that really isn't a significant part of my life any more. When it comes right down it it, if it were just about me, I'd move on and never think about it again. But it isn't just about me. It's about the 200 women who have been assaulted or beaten while I wrote this blog post.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Woman's Desire

I have recently been reading a mediocre set of fantasy novels. They are not well written, in my exacting opinion, though neither are they terrible. But one topic that almost always comes up in Victorian-era female-protagonist books is the place of women in such a society, molded into a version of perfection with almost no opportunity to choose for themselves.

Strangely, reading these books follows the beginning of my own exploration of my choices, and finding that unlike they say, there really aren't as many choices as they sell you when you are part of the "rising generation." Only a few weeks ago, I realized that I no longer know what I want out of life. Once upon a time, I wanted a career as a veterinary surgeon. But when I finally graduated, I realized that what I wanted more than anything was to serve the Lord. I decided that I couldn't continue a career path that would require so much debt when I hoped to have a family.

When I was twenty-five, I married someone I thought loved the Lord. Due to circumstances beyond my control, it ended only a few long years later. In the time since, I have realized that despite the difficulty of parenting alone, I will probably not have the opportunity to marry again. Also, the need to provide for my family closes the scientific career path I had hoped to pursue. So, I am left with no more personal goals.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Repenting after Sexual Assault

The title is a bit of a misnomer. I would like to address repentance after becoming a victim of any kind, not only of sexual assault. But sexual assault is perhaps the most deeply paradigm shifting of any brand of victimhood.

For any who have not followed my blog, I was in an abusive marriage. In that marriage, I experienced emotional, spiritual, and even mild physical and sexual abuse. Through a long process guided by my relationship with my God, my relationships with my family, and serendipitous divine intervention, I was able to heal.

So I plead with you to hear what I'm saying, and not only what you expect to hear. I have been a victim myself, so I know something about healing. If you are someone who is currently caught in the dark whirlpool of emotion that comes after assault of any kind, especially sexual assault, please know that I do not judge you in any way. I've been there. I know that you share no fault in the hand you have been dealt. But it is a hand you have been dealt, and it is up to you to shake off the last chains that your attacker has put on you. No one else can do it but you.

Those of you who do not believe in God may find my advice less helpful. But I can promise you that in my faith, I have found healing. Take a second look. Through Him, you can find the strength that you lack right now.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Faulty Blogchambers

J. Max Wilson presents an excellent analysis of online blogging dynamics, public agitation, and self-reinforcing online opinions. I think the principles he discusses apply to much more than just LDS agitation, as I've also seen the pattern replicated in political realms.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chicken Politics

"For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.

"Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.

"They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine."

—Isaiah 29:20-24

I don't like politics. And this recent embarrassment surrounding Chick-fil-A demonstrates exactly why.

In case someone reading this doesn't know, my understanding is that basically the CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, was interviewed by Baptist Press, and "came out" in support of preserving one-man-and-one-woman marriage law. Those who support changing the law to include same-sex couples decided to boycott Chick-fil-A. So, those who side with keeping the law as-is decided to turn out en masse to buy chicken sandwiches.

Whereupon, people supporting same-sex marriage have decided to criticize the event, and pull out the usual name-calling of bigotry, hatred, callousness, etc.

And I think that both sides should be embarrassed.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Worship of Self

Many people today would teach that in order to be your "real self," in order to be "authentic," you have to pursue those things that make you unique, or that make you the most satisfied with where you are (defined as happiness, most of the time.) This philosophy has become so commonplace that it is often taken as a given. It is said that being your "authentic self" is the most important pursuit we could undertake.

But it is deceptive.

This is why there is such a disconnect of understanding between those who are spiritually religious and those who are culturally religious. (And note that I do not include those who are non-religious, because everyone has a religion of some sort, whether they realize it or not. Even the atheists. Sometimes, especially the atheists.)

There have been times in my life when I was presented with a clear choice, to be "myself" or to choose some other path. Because of this, I know that there are more important things than the pursuit of ephemeral "authenticity."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The True Power of the Atonement

This post isn't about one person in particular. It's not even about solely romantic relationships. There are several experiences I have in the past and present which combined led me to these thoughts. Some of the specifics I have healed from, others still trouble me from time to time.

I have had a lot of practice in the more recent part of my life exploring forgiveness. Some of the things I have had to forgive have been huge and blatant. Others have been quieter, but specifically designed to attack my personal weakness. Some have been forgiving myself for that weakness.

I am not even sure I know exactly what forgiveness is. Where is the balance between learning to distinguish good and evil and judging unrighteously? How can you learn from your mistakes without becoming calloused? Is forgiveness not being hurt any more, or is it simply not wishing the offender any harm? The latter is incredibly easy for me, but I have struggled mightily to achieve the former.

I've been pretty beat up and I'm not healing the way I feel I should be. I know that those who have offended me don't care one whit about it. They have moved on, and are completely unscathed. So why am I left holding the hurt? Why am I having such a hard time letting it go when that is what I want more than anything?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Why I Pay Tithing to the LDS (Mormon) Church

When I was a child, my parents taught me budgeting. Of every dollar I made, a dime went to tithing, fifty cents to long-term savings (for education/mission/marriage,) twenty cents to short-term savings (like that camera or art supplies I was saving up for,) which left me twenty cents to spend right away, should I wish.

When I was a kid, I hated watching my money ticking away like that. Of course, that was before I started working, and realized that a tenth of my money goes to tithing, a third goes to the government, and at least half goes to bills, leaving me even less than twenty percent to spend on food, etc. Who would have thought it was so realistic?

But that isn't why I pay money to the Church, including tithing, fast offerings, and occasionally other funds. My reasons are much more personal than that.

Monday, July 2, 2012

About Survival and Running Away

*No, I haven't seen the movie
As any of you who still read this blog have noticed, my activity in blogging has decreased dramatically. Occasionally, I write here, and VERY infrequently, I comment here or there, but I read very little and participate even less. A friend of mine, also involved in the LDS online world, has recently told me that I have "run away" from the battles here online, which has given me a great deal of painful self-reflective thought.

By way of public musing in the hope that someone, somewhere out there might find it useful, I thought perhaps I should share what has brought me to this point.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What Love Isn't

In the wake of a failed marriage and two of the most loving children I could ask for, I have had reason to think about love, what it is . . . and what it isn't. I have heard a great deal of rhetoric on love lately, not restricted to but certainly a part of one side of the debate on homosexual marriage.

The recent participation of many members of the Church, some of whom are my friends and acquaintances, in a Salt Lake City Gay Pride march has given me even more reason to think over this eternally debated and perplexing topic. While I sympathize with the efforts these members are trying to make, and also want to communicate somehow to those with a different ideological stance than mine that I care for them as people, though I fear for the consequences of their choices, I have some thoughts that will be uncomfortable for many.

I do not apologize for them, as they are based on experience and wisdom gained through a great deal of personal loss and sacrifice. Before you continue reading, I will remind you now that while disagreeing points of view are tolerated and even welcome on this blog, insults and other forms of denigration are not. I have many more important things going on in my life than your sensibilities, and while I generally try to be patient and understanding, I don't have the emotional resources or the time to deal with immaturity right now.

There are places in the internet for you, this is not one of them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pure Religion

I have been pondering the next step in my discipleship for some time. Now that my healing is as complete as I can expect it to be in this stage of my life, I feel a tender, growing urge to be for others what the Savior and others were for me when I needed it. In studying the scriptures, it is undeniable that the purpose of every disciple of Christ is to serve His children. But I have a problem. I'm a deeply selfish, self-centered person.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

To Become a Priestess

“And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.”
—Abraham, on becoming a priest; Abraham 1:2

I rocked, helplessly alone in a house as silent as a house can be in the middle of the city. A faint pool of streetlight fell over the face of my restless ten month old. Her fevered body could only find rest in my arms until the Tylenol soothed her symptoms. Even though there was no one to see, I furiously held back tears. It was 2 a.m. and I wasn’t going to call a house in the middle of the night to try to find some priesthood holder to wrest himself out of bed to give my daughter a blessing. So, instead, I offered a pleading prayer of faith.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Shape of Sacrifice

Almost every day, I have to sneak a handful of paper art out to the recycling bin. I just don’t have enough space to keep every scrap that enters my house, no matter how lovingly it was created.

In that stack of paper is usually at least one princess drawing. Ever since my oldest daughter learned to write, there is often a card saying “I love you MOM.” Right now, the papers have a great many eggs. Colored eggs cut out carefully and arranged in basket cut-outs, still dripping glue. Tissue paper eggs, glitter eggs which shed all over my car seats and house, string art eggs, eggs painted with tempura paint. There are bunnies, too, some of which are bunnies only because one daughter or other declares it to be so.

The bunnies and eggs are for Easter. Springtime. A time when the world comes to life, and the Savior broke the bands of death. I try and fail to find the reality of death, rebirth, and life eternal in the colorful and sparkly symbols. It is hard for me to put how I feel about Jesus Christ in words.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Billboards and the Words of the Prophets

There is a fine line between control and persuasion. Sometimes it’s really hard to see the difference, particularly in ourselves. Particularly when we are passionate about something, or when we want what is best for the people we are trying to control. There is a reason there was a war in heaven, and it’s not because relinquishing control is easy.

Very few people set out to control another person. Few of us sit down and think, “Now, how can I make them do _____?” And yet, we do it all the time.

Recently, I posted something about an Orem billboard, which attracted a great deal of negative attention. I can understand why. I was criticizing the action, and doubting the pure intentions of the people who created it, and it is all centered around the question of how to use the words of Prophets, Apostles, scripture, and Church leaders in our lives.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Publishing Peace

There is an Orem billboard which states, "Why did Spencer W. Kimball say: 'We are a WARLIKE People'?" and then links to a website. It is controversial, because whatever a person believes about war, it is a political agenda billboard which relies solely on quotes from prophets, scripture, and other church leadership to support (and sell) its point.

I have no issue with the supposed purpose of the billboard, which is to encourage LDS members to read the quotes included and think about the issue of supporting war in light of LDS principles. But I have issue with the approach, and I have issue with its actual purpose hidden behind the ostensible one, which is to call people to repentance in support of a libertarian agenda.

There is a fine line between persuasion and manipulation. Appeals to Church authority and quotes are patent manipulation, particularly without background or explanation of the interpretation and how the author believes it fits in with doctrine as a whole, or without plenty of allowance for differing interpretations*. It consists of an attempt to force a person into a situation where they either agree with the presenter's tacit interpretation of the quotes (deduced from context, since the authors never actually state their agenda openly unless you click on external links,) ignoring all opposing peripheral quotes, or they seem to put themselves at odds with "the prophets."

This is deliberate.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

To Be a Woman

There is an interesting discussion at Segullah on what it means to be a woman. I meant to comment there, but realized that what I have to say is more complicated than a simple comment. These thoughts are fresh, not fully cooked, but I think best when I write, so here it goes.

I have heard the argument made that there is no difference between being a woman and being a man because the qualities that typify womanhood (ie. nurturing, patience, kindness, service) are things that both genders can and should develop. And they are right. Any good quality is not the prerogative of one gender over another.

Also, I have heard it said that because there are exceptions to these stereotypes, they have no value. That there are men who are more nurturing than their wives, women who are more business-oriented go-getting money-makers than their husbands. Therefore, the principles in The Family: A Proclamation to the World are wrong.

Which is also true, there are women who exemplify traditionally male roles better than some men who exemplify traditionally female roles. And yet, I sense a real difference between being a woman and being a man. It is not true that the principles of gendered responsibilities (not roles!) have no value.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Unrighteous Questions

As I am certain my parents would attest, I am big on asking questions. Even now, I have little shame in probing into the how and why of everything from human motivation to scientific knowledge, though I would hope I've developed a little more tact than I once had.

It is my parents' fault, of course. One of my earliest memories is, as a 3-year-old in Sunbeam class at church, sharing what I heard in Church that day only to have my dad ask me why I believed it. Because of that gift of a questioning spirit, at eight years old I was fully prepared with a testimony of the truthfulness of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, and the story of Joseph Smith's vision. I had actually read that book myself and prayed as he did.

That is a gift that every parent should try to give their children. I only hope that I do half as well as my parents did with me.

That burning need to understand, to experience and know things for myself, is a huge part of what draws me to internet discussions. There are fewer social courtesies online, things can be discussed that many people would hesitate to share in person. My beliefs are questioned and challenged, and I thrive on that.

Questions help me delve more deeply into myself, help me reach out to my God more fully. They keep me from ever being satisfied with what I know and who I am.

There is a darker side to questioning, however, which I am beginning to see more clearly.

Friday, March 9, 2012

How the Internet is Ruining the World

And I'm not even going to talk about spelling and grammar.

More and more people are not only expressing their opinions, but doing so in a harsh, threatening, or violent way. People seem to think less and less of threatening a person's life because they are racist, or against gay marriage, or FOR gay marriage, or baptizing proxy for someone's deceased family members, or for participating in a group of people that also includes someone else with any of those qualities, or any number of opinions that are repugnant to them.

You see, anyone can have opinions nowadays, even about things that don't really affect them. Just the other day, I was solicited to sign a petition for something in an entirely other state. Which I refused because it's none of my business what another state decides to do with their law.

But that's just it, people think everything is everyone's business. Not only do we disrespect privacy, we actually castigate people who refuse ideological exhibitionism.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Priesthood, Stewardships and Lamp Oil

Some time ago, I addressed the parable of the ten virgins. Jim, an excellent commenter, presented some questions about the nature of stewardship and this concept of spiritual lamp oil. I can't promise to answer them the same way I would have then, but in light of a rather surreal and one-sided recent conversation*, I found it interesting when I ran into this old archived topic which I never addressed.

The essence of the topic is this: as we each have sole responsibility for our salvation, worked out entirely between ourselves and our Savior, do we not have a responsibility to invite others to Christ? Can we add oil to another's lamp?

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Nature of God

There is a great deal of speculation about the nature of God. Some time ago, Clean Cut posted his view of the nature of God in several posts, and it was mentioned that I ought to do the same when I asked for post suggestions.

Some questions which people like to discuss include whether or not the Lorenzo Snow couplet based on the King Follett discourse is true ("As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become"), whether or not God and Jesus are one as in one person, not just one God, and just what exaltation means in an LDS context.

I've pondered and read some about this, and will continue to do so, since I don't feel complete in understanding. Though there is much I consider too sacred for an online forum, there are some things I know about God which I would like to share here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

After the Manner of Happiness

Most of the drafts I have sitting behind the scenes will probably never be written or published. Some of them don't seem important to me any more. Some of them were only whispers of thought that have not yet coalesced, and may never coalesce. But I saw this title without text, and it resonated with me right now.

"And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness."
—2 Nephi 5:27

I haven't been writing as often lately. I have been turning inward, rather than outward, in my contemplation. I have reached a new level of peace from what I have had since my life fell apart, but the nature of that peace is not something that I feel will help anyone else going through a similar journey. Each of us have to reach it on our own, and in our own way.

For me, it is like diving into the undertow I have fought so long, and that is not a course of action I would recommend generally.

When Nephi wrote the above scripture, he wrote it from the end of his story. He had succeeded in helping his father bring their family across the sea to the new land. He had tried to fulfill the blessing the Lord gave him to teach his brothers, only to eventually have to flee them when his father died. He knew what it was like to feel like a failure, weak and ineffectual in fulfilling the commandments of God. His people were the only ones in the land with the gospel of the Lord.

It is important that he didn't say "we were happy." He said they "lived after the manner of happiness." I don't think this means that they pretended to be happy. I think it means they followed the gospel, living the Plan of Happiness.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Death of Pretty?!

The Christian internet is a-rave with this article entitled "The Death of Pretty." Most of the women I know are in paroxysms about how wonderfully liberating it is. Finally, a man who is condemning the overt sexuality of women!


I submit that this article is worse even than overt sexualization. At least when men overtly reduce a woman to a sexual object, it is clear and easy for any third party to see. But this, this hoodwinks those women who escape the pressure of body hatred into eagerly reducing themselves to an object of another kind.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Raise of the Right Hand

Some time ago, I became involved in a discussion involving the way local priesthood leadership was dealing with a particular issue. Though I disagreed, I believe I was offering constructive feedback as to why the approach was doing more harm than good. One of the main responses was along the lines, "this came from the bishopric, and they are our priesthood leaders with stewardship, therefore this is inspired by the Spirit," with the connotation that disagreement with the method is disagreement with God.

I have spent a great deal of thought on the nature of stewardship, priesthood authority, and agency. I think that many of us may have a faulty understanding of the nature of priesthood power, and what it means to sustain a person in their calling.

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