The spiritual adventures of a gay man recently returned to Mormonism
I was blessed last night to participate in the General Relief Society Meeting while sitting in the balcony of the historic Tabernacle on Temple Square. I was particularly moved to hear each member of the Relief Society General Presidency speak about the importance of keeping covenants. They emphasized that we are entitled to inspiration from the Holy Spirit to know how to keep covenants in our individual lives, that we should act on the promptings we receive. Listening to these sisters, I felt great peace and confirmation that supporting Ordain Women is the right way for me to keep my covenants with our Heavenly Parents.
Recognizing Inequality: Mourning With Those Who Mourn
Sister Carole M. Stephens quoted Alma’s teaching that baptism involves a commitment to “mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” (Mosiah 18:9)
I have listened to and read the words of my sisters in the gospel about the pain that comes from exclusion from the priesthood: the lessons taught not with words but with actions that men are more important than women; that God interacts more with men, trusts them more, and develops their potential more; that without the priesthood, women are excluded from opportunities to bless others’ lives.
Priesthood As The Power To Bless
In teaching her grandson about baptismal covenants, Sister Stephens told him, “As you keep the covenant you made when you were baptized, you will be prepared to be ordained to the priesthood. This additional covenant will give you more opportunities to bless and serve others and help you to prepare for the covenants you will make in the temple.”
As I listened to these words, I was thankful that I had chosen to be ordained to the priesthood as a young man. I reflected on the opportunities to bless and serve others that came into my life because of the priesthood. I was again moved to help my sisters in Christ obtain the same opportunities to bless and serve.
Sister Linda S. Reeves spoke of a priest in her ward whose mother had carefully prepared him to bless the sacrament by reviewing the significance of covenants. As I listened to the talks of the Relief Society General Presidency, I understood that by emphasizing covenants they are preparing sisters for the responsibility of the priesthood.
Suddenly, We Could See
The Lord has said that He reveals “line upon line, precept upon precept.” (2 Ne. 28:30) We therefore cannot be content with the status quo but must continue to seek blessings, even if we cannot see immediately what they are. To this effect, Sister Reeves quoted D&C 58:3, “Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.”
Sister Reeves related how the devastation of a fire in the Provo Tabernacle turned to joy when President Monson announced it would become a temple. Noting an audible gasp in the Conference Center at the announcement, she said, “Suddenly, we could see what the Lord had always known.”
Ordination for women will be disruptive—not to the church, but to our ingrained ideas of what priesthood is. As with the 1978 revelation allowing ordination for all worthy men, the Lord is tearing down our limited understanding of priesthood to make way for much greater blessings.
Claiming Our Blessings
Sister Reeves encouraged sisters to “claim your blessings” in the temple. I am greatly moved by the courage of my sisters in Ordain Women who are claiming their blessings in the priesthood. I know this will bring amazing blessings not only to them but to everyone they serve and to the whole church and the world.
The Spirit has borne witness to my spirit that by supporting women’s ordination I am fulfilling my covenants to stand as a witness of Christ—who invites all people, female and male, to work in His vineyard—and to build up the kingdom of God on earth.