Because of Kate Kelly
For the past several months, Kate Kelly and her movement, Ordain Women, have been in the spotlight of the LDS culture. While I do not identify with this cause, this issue has given me many reasons to reflect upon my faith and values, and surprisingly, I’ve learned a great deal.
Here's why I'm grateful for Kate Kelly:
1) Because of Kate Kelly, my testimony of the priesthood has been strengthened.
I’ve never had a problem with men holding the priesthood in our faith. I believe in a living prophet who speaks for God and I know God loves me. That’s good enough. However, with this issue in the spotlight, I've had an increased desire to be able to express my feelings about the priesthood articulately to others.
For this reason, I listened a little more intently to what church leaders had to say about women and the priesthood during our last general conference. Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ talk particularly struck me. One phrase in particular taught me that my participation in the priesthood is even more integrated and profound than I thought. He says, “Those who have priesthood keys … literally make it possible for all who serve faithfully under their direction to exercise priesthood authority and have access to priesthood power."
I've always known I have access to priesthood power.
But it had never occurred to me that I, as a woman, exercise priesthood authority.
That’s pretty cool.
Perhaps Elder Oaks would have chosen to speak on this topic, regardless of the Ordain Women movement. But I guarantee I wouldn’t have been listening as intently. And that line wouldn't have meant as much to me.
This was only one revelation among many that I’ve gleaned from studying the words of church leaders, searching the scriptures, and discussing the topic with others. Kate Kelly’s publicity motivated me to dig deep and really search out, really study, and really listen.
I now have a much clearer understanding of the priesthood and the intricate part that women play in it. And it’s more amazing than I expected.
2) Because of Kate Kelly, I know HOW we ask is just as important as WHAT we ask.
Our religion was restored because a young boy asked a question. Questions are good. They are important. Asking questions and finding answers are key to personal conversion. But as explained by church spokeswoman Ally Isom, “We should not try to dictate to God what is right for His Church."
Because I believe that this is God’s church, I believe that He has the right to decide what is good for His church in each day and age. What was appropriate in ancient times may not be appropriate today, and vice versa.
Even Jesus Himself came to reveal the “new law” for His day.
A friend of mine explained it this way:
“When Jesus taught a ‘new’ law...He revealed God’s will for the people in HIS day. I don’t drink coffee. Why? Because the prophet said God doesn’t want me to right now. I have no idea if the Lord's command not to drink coffee is a long term thing or a temporary law for our day. All I know is the prophet said it...so I don’t drink coffee.”
Personally, I find comfort knowing that God is specifically leading us in OUR day. We’ve seen things change- even when it comes to the priesthood. Change is not something foreign to our religion. But I know God knows what is best for His people in 2014-- and He will make the changes He sees fit through His prophet.
We can (and should) ask questions. But when we start telling God what to do and how to change His doctrine, that’s when it crosses the line.
3) Because of Kate Kelly, I'm reminded how we should treat others.
I’m always a little surprised at how quickly we are to throw stones at those who don’t share our beliefs. It startled me a little to hear how women who shared MY perspective spoke about the women of OW. Even worse was some of the “celebrating” I saw over Kate Kelly’s excommunication. Yes, I agree with that decision. But I do not celebrate the fact that a fellow sister has lost her membership, and is obviously hurting very deeply.
I loved Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson's reminder that this is a time for kindness and for reaching out to others. It's a time for listening and sharing- for discerning which of our sisters may also be confused or struggling- and for offering our strength, faith, and insights instead of our judgment.
I do not believe the same things these women do, but I do not fear them. And I do not hate them. I do not call them names and I do not celebrate their pain. Although I disagree with their methods, I respect their right to doubt and question and search. I pray for them.
Above all, I appreciate the opportunity to ponder my own beliefs about priesthood doctrine. Along this journey, Kate Kelly goes her way and I go mine. But how grateful I am to have found an increase in faith, insight, and testimony where our paths once crossed.