Sunday, September 29, 2013

Believe me, I don't really like controversy.

Last Thursday, I perused our Logan newspaper and felt troubled by the smug and mocking tone of the featured editorial by Kathy Archer called Shaking my head over LDS Priesthood protest.  I knew by the headline that I would be in trouble if I read it and I was. I don't like controversy, though if you know how many times I express a controversial opinion in the newspaper, on my blog, or elsewhere, you'd find this hard to believe. But really, I go through a gut-wrenching period before I get out the lap top. I don't like to offend people, but ever since Jr High, I've found myself standing up for the minority rights. In this case, it was the right to ask that LDS church leaders inquire of the Lord on the matter of ordination of the priesthood for women. This is a controversy that I've tried to stay out of. But today I dipped my toe in by my letter to the editor being printed in today's Sunday paper. Here it is.

Ordain Women’ reaction hurtful

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Posted: Sunday, September 29, 2013 12:15 am

To the editor:

It’s perplexing when leaving is offered to members of my church who have a complaint, legitimate or otherwise. The “like it or leave” attitude is far from what I would hope of the gospel who claims Jesus at its head. Jesus said, “Come all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” My hope is that the 10 percent of sisters who aren’t satisfied with the status quo are still welcomed to stay members of the fold.
For Mormons, a scripture from the New Testament is important because it lead a young Jospeh Smith to inquire of the Lord. “… Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Whether a person agrees with the Ordain Woman movement or not is less important than recognizing that they are for the most part faithful women with hearts open to inquiry. They have asked only that their leaders inquire of the Lord on this matter. 
Joseph Smith said: “ … we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” It may be in this light that the Ordain Women movement began. Though I’m not directly a part of the movement, I extend an open arm to my sisters in the gospel who stand at the door and knock. Remember the Word of Wisdom came about because Emma Smith complained about tobacco spittle that she had to clean up after meetings (so the story goes). Only then did Jospeh Smith pray and receive the revelation. Remember that in the early days of the LDS church, and even until 1920, women in the church were allowed and even encouraged to give blessings by the laying on of hands to their children and to each other.
In the next decades as our young girls reach adulthood; they may not be so content with the role that has been delineated for them. Is asking them to find the exit really the best course?
C.J. Warburton

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

All You Need is Light

My daughter once told me a story about when she was a student living in Denmark. She'd ridden her bike on a long country path miles through the forest and into the city. She turned around when it was night to return home and realized that she had no light on her bicycle and the once inviting forest was now nothing but black. She thought, "Sometimes all you need is a little light." That little light would not only have lighted her way home, it would have comforted her. Instead what had only taken her an hour with light, took her several in the dark.

Sometimes all we need is a little light. When I was a little girl I was very afraid of the dark. Darkness brought about the nightmares and night terrors that plagued me. My parents allowed me to leave the hall light on while I fell asleep. The little light provided real comfort. Then if I woke up from a bad dream, I’d find myself alone and in the dark. When I was really little, I would run into my parents’ room, and Mom would pull back the covers and let me slip in beside her. Or sometimes she sat on the edge of my bed to calm my fears. Once after we rearranged the room so when I woke up from my nightmare, the door wasn’t where it was supposed to be. I felt around in the dark for a light and found nothing. I can still remember how frightened I was when my mother came running in to see why I was crying, flipped on the light to find me pounding against the wrong wall.

As I grew older I was too self-conscious about crawling into bed with my parents, but my nightmares continued. Once when I was about eleven or twelve, I woke in terror, too scared to move, so didn’t dare get out of bed to turn on the light, so I kept perfectly still and began to pray. I pleaded for comfort so that I could sleep and get away from my fears. We had a Britney Spaniel named Caesar. And Caesar always, always slept clear down stairs with my brothers. While I was pleading for comfort, I heard Caesar’s feet click across the kitchen floor, then pad down the hall, and into my room. He plopped down on the floor at the foot of my bed. And I was immediately comforted and went back to sleep. That was the only time he slept there.

In many ways, I’m still that little girl in search of peace, alone and afraid and sometimes in the dark. And maybe even pounding against the wrong wall.  I may not know, but I believe that I have Heavenly Parents who are mindful of me and my earnest desires, and sometimes desperate pleas. They are near and ready to offer help. Just like the hall light shining just enough light so I could see what’s around me, the answers come just as surely as they did when I was ten years old. Again, I am grateful for these continual years of struggle with my faith as my honesty has led me to strengthened relationships. I can feel the love of my Heavenly Parents offering comfort through the kindness of those around me. Some have acknowledged their own questions and others an encouraging word. Others have become real friends. 

A decade ago or so, in an interview with the a member of the stake presidency, he told me that the path may be straight and narrow, but that it was wide enough for individual differences. And I believe wide enough for our individual journeys. My friend DeAnna offered a metaphor of climbing a mountain together holding hands, but each of us having different obstacles in front of us. I have a feeling that our journeys diverge, cross different rivers, rocks and streams, but perhaps meet at the top.