“The great plan of happiness revealed to prophets is the plan for a happy family.
It is the love story between husband and wife, parents and children, that renews itself through the ages” (Boyd K. Packer).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Priesthood in our Lives

I'm preparing for a lesson in Young Women that Josh and I are co-teaching that is about the priesthood - specifically the organization of the priesthood and women supporting the priesthood.  It's an interesting topic that I've been enjoying pondering over.  A couple thoughts that have come to my mind:

1.  We live in a world today in which it is socially acceptable to make fun of men.  The media portrays men and selfish, fumbling, idiots with a serious lack of common sense.  In Relief Society meetings I have heard jokes and laughter about those inept priesthood men.  It's not uncommon when groups of women get together for them to belittle their husbands for their insensitivity.

In this world, how can we as women honor the priesthood.  I submit that if we fall prey to these feelings, we are not honoring and respecting the priesthood as well as we think we are.  I wonder if this is just another tactic of Satan - it seems likely that it is - to destroy the Church.  How far of a step is it to mocking your local priesthood to ignoring the counsel of our Prophet and Apostles?

2.  Elder Cook gave a talk a few conferences ago entitled, "LDS Women Are Incredible!".  In regards to my previous thoughts - I don't think men mock women the way women mock men.
In Elder Cook's talk he shares an experience of the pioneer Elizabeth Jackson who's husband died while on the trek across the plains with the Martin Handcart company.  Her thoughts:
“I will not attempt to describe my feelings at finding myself thus left a widow with three children, under such excruciating circumstances. … I believe … that my sufferings for the Gospel’s sake will be sanctified unto me for my good. …

“I [appealed] to the Lord, … He who had promised to be a husband to the widow, and a father to the fatherless. I appealed to him and he came to my aid.”4
Are we LDS women supportive of our husbands in their callings?  Are we willing to sacrifice so that our husbands may do the Lord's work?  Do we complain?  I do sometimes.  Sometimes it is really hard to have my husband gone for long hours at a time as I deal with grumpy children and the trial of being stuck in my house on a long Sabbath day with cabin-fevering children.  Why does the Lord ask this sort of thing of us, when we know that families are of the supreme importance?  Why does the Church sometimes take the father out of the home more than we might think necessary?

First of all, there are times when we have to set church aside and focus on our family.  That is a decision that is personal and individual to each family unit.  However, my feelings are that the family that sacrifices for the Lord's Church will find that they receive great blessings.  When you send your husband out on the Lord's errand, you will get back a better husband.  The Lord will sustain both of you in your varying stewardships.  I really believe this.  I have found that on those long Sabbaths, a quick prayer and an effort to spend quality time with my children turns what moments before felt like drudgery, into an enjoyable time.  Attitude can make a big difference, as well as an eternal perspective.  Is it easy?  No. Some sundays I want to stay home curled in my bed.  I'm tired.  I don't want to struggle with my two year old through Sacrament Meeting.  Some Sundays my three year old collapses in a full-blown temper tantrum in the middle of a Sacrament meeting prayer.    That has really happened....several times.  Some weeks I'm tempted to shuffle them all home and plug in a movie so that I don't have to think about them anymore.

But.  I KNOW we are being blessed.  And, I appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate to my Father in Heaven that I am willing to do hard things for Him.

3.  The Lord considers women to be a valuable part of the priesthood.  Neither man nor woman can reach the highest order of the Celestial Kingdom without each other.  The Temple sealing ordinance is just that - an ordinance of the priesthood.  Women join men in that priesthood ordinance.

I like to think of this as stewardships meant to both bless us (by playing to our strengths) and test us (by stretching us above that which we might do).  I think the priesthood stretches men by making them reach out and nurture and serve others through wise and righteous administration of the Lord's power.  I think not having the priesthood helps keep women - those wise managers of their homes - from feeling as though they can and should manage every aspect of life.  I think together, a righteous priesthood holder and a righteous wife, can create a perfect team.

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