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Spirituality > The Big LDS Secret
GratefulMommy's Avatar GratefulMommy 06:32 PM 11-03-2002
If anyone would like to view all the lessons taught in the various programs and sunday schools of the LDS Church, they are available for all to see on under curriculum.

In my own personal experience as both as a teen and as a teacher of Sunday School for the teens, I have most definitely not found every lesson to be on finding a man or pleasing a man. One of the most popular women leaders in our church, Sheri Dew, is unmarried and has had very visible leadership positions. I am not here to argue, but I know on these boards we try to avoid generalizations and I just wanted to comment that while we teach and emphasize marriage, it is only one of many teachings centered around learning of Christ. I have been to many many churches and come from a family of converts to the LDS faith, and I am always amazed at how many leadership opportunites women do have in the LDS Church. They may not hold the Priesthood, but in my experience, they are treasured, listened to, and given many influential opportunities to lead.

I also wanted to say that I am sorry to hear what your father said, Mamajulie, about rather having you dead than marry outside of the Church. It's interesting, my husband's family reacted the exact same way to his conversion to the LDS Church, although I certainly realize and understand they don't literally mean they would rather have him dead, but mostly feel sad and frustrated that he chose a different faith than the one he was raised in. I think it is wrong in both cases.

somemama's Avatar somemama 11:13 PM 11-03-2002
Oh, I know not every lesson is about finding and pleasing a man. But I didn't generalize--I said that those are the lessons I remember.
ldsapmom's Avatar ldsapmom 11:41 PM 11-03-2002
And I find the Church to be sexist, as well--women are still not allowed to hold the priesthood.
Women will NEVER hold the priesthood -- just as men will NEVER enter motherhood; the two are weighed with an equal amount of blessings and responsibilties. Quite frankly, I see the Father's design of making mothers the guardians of the hearth quite the perfect fit.

Bottom line: If you want to have a problem with the LDS Church (or any organized religion) you will; nothing anyone does or says will likely change your mind. When it comes down to it, I see it as one factor and one factor alone: faith. The Lord gives everyone who asks, the wisdom to discern truth. I went to the Lord in prayer and I asked him, on my knees and from the depths of my heart, if this church was true. I got my answer.

Julie, it was not right for your father, or any loving father, to say that to you; we get the message, but the deliverance was warped. Perhaps your father was not a fair example of what the LDS religion tries to represent. And as a teacher myself in various places within the Church, I can assure you there are no lessons focused on how to get a man. There may be lessons on how to be a righteous mother and wife, but be assured there are also equivocal lessons for the men on how to be righteous fathers and husbands.

Bekka's Avatar Bekka 12:28 AM 11-04-2002
What's interesting is that although I KNOW there were other lessons when I was in Young Women (the youth organization for girls 12-18), I remember most of the lessons seemed to emphasize fornication as a "thou shalt not." (It took a long time before I had a handle on what *that* word meant, as well as why it was important).

(In fact, I think that they/I focused so hard on the "thou shalt not" that they forgot to mention or discuss the beauty of the relationship a husband/wife can have after marriage. But that's another discussion for another time.)

Oh, and I have LDS heritage and I am a current member.
Drewsmom's Avatar Drewsmom 01:05 PM 11-04-2002
It's interesting how we all can have very different experiences due to our backgrounds and dispositions. I remember having talks about sex being good in the right place and at the right time. That it's ultimately the greatest gift a husband & wife can give to each other.

With all due respect ldsapmom I think that mamajulie needs a little more breathing room than that she doesn't have faith and that's why she's not active in the LDS church. People need to know about truth in their heads as well as their hearts and it sounds like your father/parents were giving you very conflicting messages. To me, and no offense intended to your parents, it sounds like they did not have a very strong conviction or knowledge of the gospel and I can see why you view things the way you do. I think people in any religion can get too carried away with the letter of the law vs. the spirit and true meaning. I strongly disagree with parents who only let their children play with only other LDS children. Unfortuntanely I have heard of that before in Utah and I find it very sad. I think you might find it interesting to know that in General Conference, I believe it was last year, the Prophet most directly said that was not acceptable and that they had never preached that. I too taught school in Utah for a year during my internship (Junior High) and saw what you were talking about and I worked to encourage helping the kids form relationships. I think there most definitely is a difference between the culture and the religion, sometimes they go hand in hand but sometimes they do not unfortunately.
Robinmama's Avatar Robinmama 02:37 PM 11-04-2002
Wow, and I read every single post!

I am ex LDS. I asked to be excommunicated because there were tenants of the church that I found out about AFTER I was baptized that I could not associate myself with. Since then my own spiritual journey has taken me very far from the LDS church. Now I do not even believe that the only way to God is through Christ, which to me is a fundamental precept of Christianity in general (See John 1)

I would never judge another for their beliefs, however, as long as they were not harming someone else. I can say, and did say, this is not for me, thank you.

The LDS church is comprised of human beings, just like every church. And therefore it is full of people trying their best, people who are hypocrites, people who are power hungry, loving people, all kinds of people. Every major religion has its share of scandals, and the LDS are no exception.

There are a few things I want to say, however. First, temple garments I find it so interesting that there is always a fixation on temple garments. But bear in mind that the LDS has a lay priesthood. A Catholic priest wears a collar, an orthodox Jew wears a yamaka (sp?), and, for that matter, an othodox Jewsih woman wears a wig, some Muslim women cover their hair and body to varying degrees. So, there is nothing ususual about wearing specail clothing to signify religious covenants, just Mormons wear them where no one else can see them because those covenants are private.

Second, baptism for the dead. Mormons believe that there is no way into the heavenly kingdom without the sacrament of baptism, and that in order to be baptised one must have a body. Naturally, this is problematic for their own ancestors, and also because Joseph Smith received the word of God rather late in human history. This is why baptism for the dead is such an important sacrament for Mormons. However, just because the baptism has been performed does not mean that the spirit accepts the sacrament. There is no conversion of the dead. the rite is performed and the spirit can accept or reject it.

Third, the temple . The temple is a sacred place where special ceremonies and rites are practiced. You cannot enter the temple unless you are a member in good standing. This is simply because you must be ready for the rites that will take place therein, just like a priest or nun about to take their vows would prepare a long time for that day. It also means that sacred sacraments are private. I have been to the temple, and although I do not believe in the main tenants of the LDS church any longer, I cannot ever deny what I saw and felt there.

I am not "defending" these views -- indeed, I do not believe any of them. I just want to offer an explanation.

One reason the church was not for me is the fact that woman cannot receive the priesthood. I do not believe that biology is destiny. The fact that I can receive the sacrament of motherhood is all the more reason I need the priesthood, IMO, because I can use it to take care of my children. Also, I do not believe homosexuality is sinful or wrong. And the fact that black were excluded from receiving the priesthood until the 70s was proof to me that this was just another church run by men. That if there ever was a divine hand guiding it, that hand had long since been oulled away.

Lots of typos, sorry.
kama'aina mama's Avatar kama'aina mama 04:49 PM 11-04-2002
Originally posted by ldsapmom

Women will NEVER hold the priesthood --
Isn't it sort of dangerous to speak in such absolutes about the future when you
believe in ongoing revelation
I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if similar statements weren't made about men with black skin at one time and that changed.
ldsapmom's Avatar ldsapmom 05:04 PM 11-04-2002
My middle paragraph where I mentioned faith was not directed solely to Julie -- it apllies to everyone. I am sorry if anyone took out of it that I meant Julie was lacking faith and that would fix her problem of not wanting to be LDS -- I was assuming she had no problem in that respect so I did not address it as such. I meant in order for anyone to feel a strong conviction of almost anything, religious or not, there has to be an element of faith.

The fact that I can receive the sacrament of motherhood is all the more reason I need the priesthood, IMO, because I can use it to take care of my children
Motherhood and Priesthood work together, not apart. A man cannot selfishly use the Priesthood for his own gain -- it can only be used to bless others. My husband and I were married 7 years ago (today!) in the Oakland LDS Temple. He already held the Priesthood. Four years later I became a mother. Our baby was born very sick. My husband was able to minister to him and give him a blessing. My husband uses the Priesthood to bless our (his family's) lives. So just as I nurse the babies and carry them in my womb and have the eternal rite to be their mother, he, as surely as he is their father and my husband, is the Preisthood holder who blesses us in that way. The two complement each other and work together. Through him, I have the Pristhood.
kama'aina mama's Avatar kama'aina mama 05:56 PM 11-04-2002
I'm sorry, but any way you slice it denying women the priesthood is sexist. Claiming that things come out even in some way because women can be mothers just doesn't work logically. The male equivilant to mother is father, not priest. So LDS men get to be both of those things and women still only one. And what if no one marries you? Or you can't have kids? If you were a man God could use you for the priesthood but if you are a woman those circumstances render you useless to God? I just have to reject that whole line of reasoning.
Bekka's Avatar Bekka 06:12 PM 11-04-2002
This is really, really long. Just FYI.

My dh and I have talked about priesthood. I think that ldsapmom has a good description of priesthood.

Dh says that anyone who wants the priesthood for a *power* trip has the wrong idea. The priesthood holder cannot do ANYTHING for himself with the priesthood. In fact, if he humbly feels that he could use a blessing (for support, if he's sick, etc.,) he has to go to a friend, bishop, home teacher, etc. who holds the priesthood and ask him for a blessing.

In the proclamation on the family (released in 1998?) by the First Presidency they state that (paraphrased--I can't find my copy right now) gender is a basic part of our divine nature. Men and women each have characteristics of their spiritual and physical selves that they have to mesh with becoming godlike. A member of our stake presidency in another city described why the priesthood is for men something like this (which I strongly agree with): women have certain inborn physical and spiritual traits, among which are included, greater spirituality, meekness, humility, love for others, etc. Whether it's testosterone or something else, men have competitive natures, are more prone to anger, etc., and therefore having and holding the priesthood provides men the opportunity to increase spirituality, humility, love for others: all characteristics that Christ had, that we are all trying to approach.

Sometimes it seems like non-LDS people think that members of our church accept these doctrines at face value and do not struggle with them, to know they are of God, but speaking for myself, I know that I have struggled with a lot of difficult doctrines and had to pray, study scriptures and the writings of the prophets, and discuss (usually with dh or my dad) with someone to hash out my ideas. As ldsapmom said though, I started with the basic faith that I believed that ______ was the prophet or the scripture, and if that's what it/he said, then I had to resolve it in my mind.
I also want to address the racial issue: In Nauvoo (1830s), Joseph Smith was about to ordain a freed slave, and that was when he received the revelation from God that persons of color were not to receive the priesthood at that time.

In 1978, the First Presidency received the revelation that the priesthood and the blessings thereof were to be available to all God's children, regardless of color/race.

Some people look at this and say, "how convenient, that 'God' said that it is suddenly okay for everyone to receive the priesthood." This is a definite faith type issue. I don't always understand the reason why, but I can share a family story that may point to the Lord's reasoning on this issue.

We believe that revelation comes line upon line, precept upon precept. What that means is that a bit at a time comes, and it meets the followers of God where they're at. Occasionally, a piece of light is even removed because of a lack of faithfulness.

In 1978 my grandfather died. He was from the south, and had strong, very bigoted and biased ideas about race. My dad said that his father had "taught" him some things that were very racist, and my dad could never turn his dad's mind around. If the revelation for the priesthood going to all had been given in, say, 1950, or 1930 (during all the development of eugenics ), there might have been an even greater falling away from the church, with hundreds or thousands of people losing faith because they couldn't align their faith with their social views. My dad said that if it had come before my grandfather died, he would have never have been able to accept it.

1978 seems "convenient", being right at the end of the Civil Rights movement starting in the 1960s, etc. This is where faith comes in: I believe that Spencer W. Kimball who was our prophet at the time was inspired to inquire about the issue, and pray deeply and long, and the Lord let him know that it was time.
Bekka's Avatar Bekka 06:28 PM 11-04-2002
Originally posted by kama'aina mama
Claiming that things come out even in some way because women can be mothers just doesn't work logically. The male equivilant to mother is father, not priest.
Sorry I just finished a huge post, but right here Kama has cut to the core of the whole issue. When LDS people look at our lives, they don't end at death! We believe that part of the highest degree of glory (heaven) is to be married. In fact, to be saved at this highest level (to attain "eternal life") the man cannot be saved without the woman, neither the woman without the man. Women and men who haven't had that opportunity will GET that opportunity in the afterlife if they live faithfully. We also believe that the CHURCH structure is simply an artifice that is in place for our mortal existence.

When Abraham was the leader of his "church", he was the patriarch of his family. At that time, his priesthood role was father. He was NOT a bishop, a Sunday school teacher, or whatever. He was ALL those things.
The male equivalent to mother IS father. That's all that is important. All this other stuff as leaders of the church or NOT leaders of the church is simply to keep the saints together here on the earth. There won't be stakes and wards in heaven. There will ONLY be families.

It has taken me a long time to put value on motherhood the way God values it. It has eternal glory attached to it! He's not going to care if I am a Relief Society president or "just" a Primary teacher. If dh is "only" a Primary teacher his whole life instead of a bishop or an apostle, the Lord doesn't put a value on that more or less. It's only that he filled his call with honor and integrity. One of our church presidents said that "No success can compensate for failure in the home." I.e., every man and woman has every responsibility to their family, and if a family is not for someone at this time or even in this earthly life, then he or she can become a better person spiritually in order to prepare for the family he/she will have in the next life!
somemama's Avatar somemama 09:09 PM 11-04-2002
Originally posted by ldsapmom

Women will NEVER hold the priesthood -- just as men will NEVER enter motherhood; the two are weighed with an equal amount of blessings and responsibilties.

Your arguments are not new; I've heard them all of my life. In fact, I could have written your response to my statement at the same time I made my statement. Yes, motherhood is a wonderful blessing, but so is fatherhood. My husband has the same blessings and responsibilities as a parent that I do.

I've been going to the Unitarian Church and it's amazing--I happen to have a female minister. And I started thinking, "Wow, that's neat. Women can have babies AND be in a ministerial position!"

And, prior to 1978, people probably thought, "African Americans will never have the priesthood...." ( I know that was the thinking of my grandfather at the time.) Perhaps women will have the priesthood (priestesshood?) someday--perhaps it just hasn't been revealed to us yet.

I don't want to argue with you (or anyone else) though-- you're right: the Church is true for you, and for me it's not. That's ok.

(I'm actually not the "outsider" that I sound like. I am quite steeped in Church doctrine and I know all of the Church's answers to my questions. I just don't like those answers. And, as a child/young adult, I remember thinking that I didn't "want" the power of the priesthood--but now I realize that was ingrained in me through the Church teachings. I now look at my son and my daughter--they are equally capable. I hate the gender differences that will be placed upon them by society, religion, etc.)
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