Yard Work in the Kingdom of God: On False Conceptions About LDS Women

The task before us as a people, then, is to finally see who women are and who they have always been even when we were blind to that reality. And once we "see" it, we must believe it—really believe it—and live up to the privileges and the obligations that "seeing" entails. In this, there is no need to feel that the present situation of women in the Church is "bad." Indeed, the vast majority of women in the Church would be hard-pressed to agree with any such judgment. Rather, we can simply and joyfully move forward from grace to grace, precept to precept, from not-full to fullness, from not-complete to completeness. The sure promises of God declare such forward movement in the Church to be inexorable. Our destiny is to live as our Heavenly Parents, and He and She live as "coequals."

Our leaders are doing their part. Doctrine is being clarified, as has been mentioned. Teachings based on this clarified doctrine are being widely promulgated, such as in the new temple films and the new YM and YW manuals. (One of my favorite changes is that the 2014 YW lesson on priesthood revolves around the question, "What are my responsibilities in the work of the priesthood?" Wow!) Practices are being changed right and left—sister missionaries leaving at age nineteen and sitting on Mission Leadership Councils, women praying in General Conference, apostles and female leaders sitting together as equals in Worldwide Leadership Councils, and numerous other changes large and small. Is there more that can be done? Sure, lots! Our people are full of good ideas in this regard, and the Church is interested in hearing those ideas. For example, a former student was recently invited by Church Headquarters to a focus group of educated young adult LDS women, where they were asked for their thoughts on these matters. The Church leadership is pulling lots of weeds—it is uprooting beliefs and practices handed down from a time when women were viewed as inferiors—and they deserve our thanks.

We the membership must do our part as well. We must pull the weeds in our own backyard—our homes, our wards, our stakes—and be prepared to put our backs into it when the roots are deep. But there is more; in our homes we are planting the seeds of the future in how we raise our children. We need to raise them strong and true by sparing them the old and ugly misunderstandings about women that are so common in our culture. Our children could become majestic redwoods whose branches touch the heavens, if we do not hobble them with the bindweed of the "false traditions of the fathers" concerning women.

Let us wear out our lives in pulling weeds and planting redwoods in their stead, and harvest joy to our souls thereby. This is a wonderful time to be an LDS woman, and the future will be even better.

7/10/2014 4:00:00 AM