Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Women in the Church: Part 3

Just in case: Part 1 and Part 2

I hope many of you caught the themes in my previous posts. Part 1 was based on the Young Women theme and standards while part 2 was taken from the Relief Society Declaration. As I thought about my beliefs about women and our place in the Gospel and in the Kingdom of God, I realized that everything I felt was based on those two documents as well as The Family: A Proclamation to the World. It was important to me to share my testimony based on these inspired words and the hope, purpose, and vision they give to me each and every day. 

The following is MY opinion, what I think, what I believe. I am not asking you to change your views. I am not asking you to convince me I am wrong. I am simply sharing my thoughts.  If you agree with me, great. If you don't, great. However, most of what I see readily available to the world, through blogs and Facebook posts, are not in harmony with what I believe. I want to provide another voice, another viewpoint, another testimony to those out there who might be thinking the same things I have thought. 

The world today would have women believe that in order to be of worth, to be important, to be valued we must have what men have, do exactly what they do. We must be "equal." Can I tell you a secret? I hate the word equal. Equal belongs in math problems and that is where it should stay. None of us are truly "equal." Each one of us has a different personality, a different background, and different viewpoint to everything in life. Each one of us are different by divine design. That is how we were created. Each one of us has a different purpose on this earth, a different mission to fulfill. 

Along with the word equal, I am not a fan of the word "fair," at least as many people use it. Every year at the start of the school year, my students and I would have a little chat about the word fair. Most children (and most adults for that matter) equate the word fair with the word equal, or the same. Guess what, fair is NOT equal. Fair is NOT the same. Fair is getting what YOU need to be successful. 

Is it fair that I wear contacts and my sister does not? Absolutely. I am blind without my contacts and she has 20/20 vision. When I wear my contacts I can see just as well as she can. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal. 

Is it fair that Joey gets to sit at the front of the room all year long while Sally only does once? Absolutely. Joey needs to be close to the teacher to receive the help he needs. Sally is capable of working on her own and does not need constant supervision. They both are able to succeed throughout the year and show improvement. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal. 

When I was at Utah State, the semester I was student teaching one of my roommates was required to take an anatomy class. I remember many nights the two of us spent together, her anatomy book and notes open studying her little heart out, while I sat across the table with the Utah Core spread out in front of me, crayons, construction paper, popsicle sticks, etc writing lesson plan after lesson plan. Is it fair that she spent hours studying while I hardly studied for anything? Is it fair that I spent hours creating anchor charts and worksheets and fun activities while she didn't? ABSOLUTELY. We were each being PREPARED in our education for what we wanted to do in our lives. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal. 

Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Why was this earth created? "God's whole purpose - His work and His glory - is to enable each of us to enjoy all His blessings. He has provided a perfect plan to accomplish His purpose... Under the direction of the Father, Jesus Christ created the earth as a place for us to live and gain experience. In order to progress and become like God, each of us had to obtain a body and be tested during a time of probation on the earth... Our purpose in this life is to have joy and PREPARE to return to God's presence." (Preach My Gospel, Lesson 2: The Plan of Salvation)

Let's go back to my example of my roommate and I- we took different classes, had different assignments and tests, but our end goal was the same. We both wanted to graduate with a degree prepared to enter the adult world as a working, contributing member of society. How does this apply to our purpose on earth and our reason for being here? My end goal, after this life, is to return and live with my Heavenly Father, to receive all the blessings He has promised me. Hopefully, having followed the commandments and made the necessary covenants, to become like Him, having an eternal family. I am pretty positive my brothers ultimate goal is the same- return to Heavenly Father, become like Him, etc. Will we take the same path to get there? No. He served a full time mission. I did not. (Although many sisters in the Church choose to do so, good on ya!) He went through the Boy Scouting program and received his Eagle Scout award. I did not. I went through the Young Women's program and earned my Young Women Recognition award. He did not. We have held different callings, participated in different programs. We were both baptized at 8. We have both gone through the temple and received our own endowment. (He went through first, I might add, even though he is 4 years younger than I am and we went through under very different circumstances.) We are both currently single. He attends the local YSA ward, and occasionally the Spanish Branch. I attend my local family ward. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal. 

At the age of 12, he received the Aaronic Priesthood. At the age of 12, I entered Young Womens. Between 18 and 19, he received the Melchizedek Priesthood in preparation for his full-time mission. Between 18 and 19, I left the Young Women's program and started attending Relief Society. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal. 

How is it fair that he had the priesthood conferred upon him by someone who had the authority to do so but I have not, and will not? We need to receive a different education in this school of life. He needs the priesthood in order to fulfill that special mission, in order to progress, in order to learn. I do not. I have a different mission to fulfill. I have a different mission to accomplish. "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners." (The Family: A Proclamation to the World) Our different roles require us to do and be different things. No where does it say that one is better or more important than the other. It specifically states that we are to work together to accomplish these roles. 

So is it fair that I don't have the priesthood? Absolutely, BECAUSE I DON'T NEED IT. Just like my sister doesn't need glasses, like Sally doesn't need to sit at the front of the class, my roommate didn't need to spend hours writing lesson plans, and I didn't need to spend hours studying anatomy. 

As long as we each strive to follow the commandments, follow the prophet, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and strive to fulfill God's individual mission for each of us (even if only revealed step by tiny step) we ARE in fair circumstances. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal.

1 comment:

  1. Jessica, Thank You! This is beautiful, I am going to share it and I hope that is ok. You should write a book, you do have a talent with the way you put the words down. Love, you really do GET IT!