It was another wonderful General Conference, filled with uplifting messages and words of hope and encouragement and invitation to all who choose to listen. We have truly been blessed to have Prophets and Apostles who can teach us and speak to us directed by the Holy Spirit, and we are blessed to have the Holy Spirit in our own lives to help guide us and inspire us to be more than we are.
That seemed to be a major theme of several talks today, that we have great potential and that we can and must live up to that potential and become who we ought to be as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and as children of God. Another repeated point was that we will be called on, if not now then very soon, to take a definite stand on moral issues and in defense of truth. We need to have courage to say what is right and do what is right and invite others to stand with us. But, we need to stand in a spirit of love and understanding and not look down on any who do not share our same views. We need to reach out gently at the same time we stand boldly for standards of the Gospel.
And all of these thoughts were made more obvious and applicable as Priesthood Session approached and once again those who associate themselves with Ordain Women came to Temple Square seeking admittance to the session. I have been thinking a lot about this movement, as they call themselves, and am trying to understand the motivations behind it and what the purpose and goal of it could be, beyond the eponymous Ordain Women.
We cannot dismiss or ridicule or make light of what they are trying to do. There are many faithful and righteous individuals in this group seeking to make a stand for what they believe is right, seeking a change. The Lord himself has told us to “ask and ye shall receive” and this church was restored in response to a young boy’s fervent prayer and simple question. We need to listen and apply what Elder Zwick taught just that morning, that responding quickly to situations in anger or frustration is not the way of the Lord. We need to listen and seek understanding. We need to acknowledge their honest concerns and seek open communication, back and forth.
On the other hand, though, it was well publicized and announced that Priesthood Session is for men only to attend. The Church has released a statement already addressing this issue. To stand in line and seek entrance anyway is simply a demonstration and public protest not in harmony with Gospel or Spirit of Christ. “Contention is not of me” He said to the people gathered in the Americas when he visited them and taught them his Gospel. There is a way to petition the Lord and Church leadership. Making a public display for the media’s cameras and social media’s feeds is not it.
I am honestly curious how many of those women who participated in the demonstration at Temple Square are trying just as hard to attend local ward’s Elder’s Quorum meetings, or local Stake Priesthood meetings. Do they only care about attending a Priesthood meeting at General Conference because it is so publicly visible? Are they hoping on the publicity of being denied entrance to the General Conference Priesthood Session to somehow shame the Church or the Church leadership into changing policies to appease them? Or are these women actually sincerely trying to demonstrate a willingness to live up to Priesthood responsibilities by seeking to attend Priesthood meetings? If so, then should they not be equally as active in attempting to attend any Priesthood meeting they can?
And right on cue, as I sat in the Stake Center for Priesthood Session, scribbling these thoughts about Ordain Women in my notebook, Elder Oaks stood to speak and proceeded to address many of the points of concern of Ordain Women regarding Priesthood authority, Priesthood power, Priesthood keys and Priesthood ordinances. I believe he explained extremely well the role that both men and women have with relation to the Priesthood that is held by Jesus Christ and whose use is directed by Him in His church. This talk is one that should be and most definitely will be read and re-read and studied again and again in Elder’s Quorums and High Priest Groups and I would imagine any and all Councils in the church for years to come. It clearly lays out the doctrines of Priesthood governance in the church in plain language that is not easy to misconstrue, as well as addressing the different roles that men and women play in the church, in the home, and in the eternities. As soon as this talk becomes available on gc.lds.org (Video already available), I encourage everyone who has any questions or doubts about this subject to watch and listen and prayerfully study it, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in understanding.
I am extremely grateful for the words and feelings and impressions that came to me as I sat and listened to General Conference today with my family and I am definitely looking forward to doing it all over again tomorrow. I cannot wait to hear what amazing old doctrines will be retaught to us in new ways so that we can learn and apply them into our lives and strive to become what our Father in Heaven desires for us. “Come listen to a Prophet’s voice and hear the word of God” Come join with us and see if you can hear and learn something that uplifts and inspires you and helps you to be better than you were and draw closer to Jesus Christ. Follow along at gc.lds.org, and on Twitter with #ldsconf. It has been an amazing day and tomorrow is sure to be just as good.