The Power of President Nelson’s Talk in October General Conference

NelsonPresident Nelson, the new President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave a paradigm shifting talk in the last conference – on women.

I’ve had several discussions about this talk with friends and family – and I know there are a variety of view points. Here are my five reasons for believing this talk is powerful, timely, and paradigm shifting.

  1. A Bigger Broader Audience than we usually see in talks regarding women.

 He speaks to broad scope of women; he speaks to EVERY woman. He doesn’t only talk to mothers and nurturers (the usual); instead he calls out all the gifts of women. He calls to wives, mother, aunts, sisters, and “all women regardless of circumstance” – and references the following list of gifts, attributes, and characteristics.

  • Women who can speak with the power and authority of God
  • Women who can make things happen with their faith
  • Women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ
  • Women who understand the power of the endowment
  • Women who know how to call down the powers of heaven – to protect and strengthen children
  • Women who know how to receive personal revelation
  • Devout defenders of the faith
  • Courageous defenders of the family
  • Women who organize and can organize
  • Women with executive ability
  • Women who can plan, direct, administer
  • Women who can teach fearlessly and speak out
  • Women with the gift of discernment
  • Women who express beliefs with confidence and charity
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Relief Society Lesson 20: Feed My Sheep

“We must all learn to be true shepherds. We must manifest the same love to others that the Good Shepherd has for all of us. Each soul is precious to Him.” from the Life of Ezra Taft Benson

Thoughts on Less-Active Saints

This lesson is very firm on our “duty” to bring less-active members back into full activity in the church. To this point, we read quotes such as these:

“As followers of the Lord, part of our mission is to reach out to our brothers and sisters who have separated themselves from the Church.”

“The challenge before us is great. … We must exercise great faith, energy, and commitment if we are to reach these brothers and sisters. But we must do it. The Lord expects us to do it.”

“This challenge will never be met until stake, ward, quorum, and auxiliary leaders and faithful members everywhere exercise their will and faith to bring the less active back into full activity in the Church.”

I was taught a similar duty when I was a young girl in the church. I remember, particularly, as a newly called Mia Maid president, being taught that my stewardship included the less-active girls in my class. I understood that I would be held accountable for their choice to come to church – or not. This is a tall order for a 15 year-old girl with limited resources.

Since that time, I have left behind the idea of “accountability for others” – and hold more to the idea of simply loving others and accepting them where they are.

The early quotes listed feel harsh to me and I prefer to think of work with all church members (active or otherwise) – feeding the sheep – as an exercise in love, compassion, and following the Savior.

How do we best love God’s flock? How do we best feed His sheep?

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A Response: “Disciples and the Defense of Marriage”

Love Makes a FamilyIn the August Ensign, we find an article called “Disciples and the Defense of Marriage” by Elder Russell Nelson, an apostle.

The message of this article feels familiar: if we consider ourselves Disciples of Christ, then we will obey. God’s will is for men and women to be in monogamous, heterosexual (traditional) marriages – and in addition to being in these relationships, we should defend them.

In delivering this message, Elder Nelson uses strong, definitive words like “the most”, “cannot yield”, “warn”, “stern judgment”. And sets up several binaries like “love means obedience”.

Elder Nelson is straightforward in his approach, rather than nuanced. To me the topics of discipleship and marriage are complex, and I would like to add some further ideas to consider.

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Relief Society Lesson #16: The Elderly in the Church

Traducción española/Click for Spanish Translation

In all stages of our lifes there are joys and difficulties – and the older years are no different.

I’ve listed some of the joys here for class discussion. Some are in the lesson manual and some are my own.

  • Continued association with a spouse or other close family member.
  • Children: great nieces and nephews, grandchildren, friends and ward members.
  • Peace: there can be times of rest and peace in later years. A great blessing.
  • Time: often there is more time in later years – to be used for interesting travel, new hobbies, renewed friendships, etc.

Here I’ve listed difficulties in the same way.

  • Unresolved past problems: relational, spiritual, or temporal – these problems can weigh on the mind and heart.
  • Financial difficulties. Financial problems can come in many forms and are not always the result of poor planning. These can be difficult to resolve in later years.
  • Health Concerns – Illness and Pain. As we age, our bodies break down and the elderly can be plagued with many illnesses and also chronic pain. Poor vision and hearing loss can also create frustration.
  • Losing loved ones – including spouses. Many close friends and family members pass away as we age. This can be emotionally painful and lonely.
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To Ordain or Not to Ordain

In my recent podcast with Bill Reel on Mormon Discussions, I state that I believe ordination is imperative for women.  Among others, my reasons are

  • Allows for a saving ordinance (ordination) to be given to women – for our salvation
  • Brings parity in church governance
  • Legitimizes the priesthood power women already possess and use
  • Gives greater opportunity for the use of spiritual gifts

The discussion goes on to discuss what priesthood for women might look like in the church.  An egalitarian priesthood where women are plugged in to the existing structure? Or a separate quorum brought directly to women from the feminine divine.

I’m wondering where you, dear readers, fall on this issue:

Ordination is necessary for women?
Yes?  No?

What type of ordination resinates most with you?
Egalitarian Priesthood
Separate Quorums?
Something Else?

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