Sunday, June 15, 2014

May we have compassion

I said the prayer in Relief Society today. Not sure I'll be asked again any time soon.

Today's lesson was on the priesthood. Perfect timing, right? For any not aware, this week it became public knowledge (or at least filled my Facebook feed) that Kate Kelley, the founder of the Ordain Women movement (OW) was called to a disciplinary council that might end with her excommunication. I'm not really a supporter of OW for reasons that are more emotional than rational, but I've been grateful for the conversations that have happened as a result of her activism. Women do face structural inequalities within the church, and while most women seem content to accept those inequities, some of us (myself included) aren't happy with them.

Anyway. The lesson started with the teacher talking about how 'silly' it was that a group of 200 women protested at April Priesthood session wanting to get in, especially since they could simply listen to the broadcast at home (ignoring, of course, that this was the first time that was possible) or read the messages after the fact. Someone else talked about women not holding the priesthood because we're 'too emotional' and tend to 'over think things,' which would get in the way of us exercising the priesthood. There were a few comments that were more moderate (one women noted that women *can* give blessings if there are no men around to do it, and also talked about men and women holding the priesthood together) but most of the women seemed to be of the opinion that women didn't need or shouldn't want the priesthood. That we have motherhood and that should suffice; that asking for the priesthood is a mark of pride, a misunderstanding of what the priesthood is.

I was intensely uncomfortable. I think I would have been more capable of handling the lesson on another week, when my emotions aren't already a little raw from reading about Sis. Kelley. I did try at one point to say something exceptionally orthodox and bland to get the lesson back on track, but that failed miserably. (Amusing to me since the last time I said something in RS I caused the teacher to go off on a semi-political rant.) I sort of wonder if I should have said something in support of OW, though it's probably a good thing I didn't since I'm not sure I could have said anything without sounding strident or confrontational.

The lesson finally moved into bland, let's-talk-about-what's-in-the-manual territory, which I tuned out as best I could. At the end the teacher made a comment about how poorly the lesson had gone, wondering if it was because she isn't a priesthood holder.

Then I gave the closing prayer.

I expressed gratitude for the priesthood and for our sisterhood. I asked the lord to bless us with love and compassion, especially for those different than us. I asked for his sanctification. Then I ended. It was the hardest prayer I've ever had to give and I shook the whole time. I shook while I collected my children, and I shook while I put them in the car. I shook all the way home and for some minutes after I got home.

I'm so glad I'm 40 weeks pregnant. I'm so not going to church next week. Even if this baby's still in me, I'm going to be far too uncomfortable to show up. I may just need to keep my precious, fragile baby at home for the next month or so as well. You know, since motherhood is my most sacredest calling and I do take that responsibility very seriously.


  1. I'm sorry it was a rough week for you. I hope you enjoy your next month or so off. Good luck with the impending birth!

  2. Thanks Erin.

    Sylvia brought home a tithing slip that afternoon and Derrick took that opportunity to ask if I would support him donating money to a group that oppressed women and minorities. Looking at it that way it's hard to stay affiliated (as I am aware you know). I want the church to be better, and I'd hoped that the conversations that OW was provoking would make it a better place--it seemed like the church was walking in that direction. But it feels like the leadership is saying, "here, take these things that we're willing to give you. Now shut up!"

    I'm waiting to see what happens to Kate Kelly. I hope she's not ex'd, but I'm not holding my breath.