Repentance can be a very difficult subject. You want to help the girls learn how to recognize when they’ve done something wrong and to improve upon that, but you don’t want to instill shame. I think as an opening activity, I would ask one of the girls to tell the story of the Council in Heaven. In the story, Satan wants to make every one do the “right” thing, but Christ advocates for agency. This story tells us that making mistakes is something that we know will happen and it’s part of the Plan to make mistakes. Doing the wrong thing means simply that we did something wrong; it does not mean that we are therefore “bad” people. In the class, I might emphasize that again: doing something wrong does not mean we, ourselves, are bad and undeserving of love, mercy, and forgiveness.Read More
Three Sundays ago in Relief Society we had lesson 1 in the Joseph Fielding Smith manual. It was the lesson on Heavenly Father. I had ended up on the front row with my knitting and my baby. The first discussion in the class included listing the traits of God on the board. I sat there wondering if I had something to add while everyone else put up all the phrases I was already thinking about: all the omni-stuff, loving, merciful, etc. And then,
By East River Lady
(CW & TW: child and sexual abuse; suicide)
“Ask God for forgiveness first.”
“Okay. God, please forgive me…”
Right before my teenage cousin told me to perform a sexual act on him, he told me to pray to God and ask for forgiveness for the sin I was about to commit. I was around six years old at the time. I realize now, it wasn’t me who should’ve been asking for forgiveness. And I realize he was distorting the beautiful gospel principle that forgiveness is. At the time, I didn’t even think for a second my cousin was at fault. Perhaps it was because I was used to it. Around the same time, my mother had a friend with a teenage son. One evening, when my mother and her friend were in the other room talking, the son took a break from playing a computer game and came over to where I was sitting on the couch. He then proceeded to sexually molest and abuse me.
Growing up, I thought nothing of it. My uncle would make detailed comments about my body and how beautiful it looked and would have me spin around to show his brother how pretty I looked. And then I would be given a dollar. This same uncle would even watch pornography with me in the room. He told me to cover my eyes, but I could hear. It was my father, surprisingly enough, who let me see. He would show me pornographic pictures on the internet. Again, I thought nothing of it.
But my soul knew differently.Read More
On Sunday morning I flipped through picture after picture of women being turned away from the doors of our worship places. The Mormon Tabernacle choir sung in the background. Tears streamed down my face; many of those women are my friends. All are my sisters.
I have performed this song countless times but the cry remains with me always. Hear Thou my cry.Read More
As many people are aware, Ordain Women is planning an action on October 5: attending the Priesthood Session. (Details can be found here.) I support the Ordain Women movement (see my profile here) – and I’ve been invited to attend. I’ve struggled for weeks over the decision: to go or not to go.
I have personal concerns about the action. I worry that in doing this, I will be disruptive to the spirit of conference; that I may disturb the peace of others who are attending to be enriched. I also worry that many will misunderstand the intent and/or be angry about the action (and say harsh words to me). The action is already being called a protest, so it concerns me is that I will be associated with other protesters on temple square – or other protests from the past. I want this to be a peaceful, faithful action, but I wondered if the others attending will feel the same – or act the same. Other questions fill my mind: is it too soon, is to controversial, is it the right place? Within my own family, I worry that my testimony of the church and the gospel will be devalued by my participation in this action.
These concerns have given me pause. They have created an earnestness in my prayers and a focus in my temple worship. I’ve given this much thought and had many conversations about this choice I am seeking, I am asking, I am knocking.
In the end, I have decided to attend the action. Here are my top 10 reasons:
- When I pray I feel guided to go. I feel called.
- When I go to the temple, I feel peaceful about going. I make covenants in the temple to use my talents and resources to build Zion. I have unique gifts and talents and I feel compelled to use them to work in this movement. Equality feels like Zion and I am at peace when I work toward it.
- My conscience compels me to attend.
- I love conference. I am uplifted when I attend and when I hear the words of the prophet. I know I would enjoy being a part of the Priesthood Session – in person. I go because I would like to attend this session with my brothers. And I hope when they see me there in line, they will see me as their equal.
- I love the scriptures. I learn about Priesthood there. And I feel a part of it.
- I want to be seen. When Jesus allowed a woman washed His feet, he was criticized. His response was, “Do you see this woman?” Like her, I want to be seen – for my gifts, for my worth, for my divine potential. And I want my leaders to hear my voice.
- This is the Church of Jesus Christ and I love the that. And I love Him (greater thoughts for another blog post). It is also the church of latter-day saints – and that’s me. And I’m here. And I plan to stay and be an active part of my church.
- I know this will happen whether I’m there or not, so I’d rather go than not.
- I want to go because I can. I know many others can’t go for a variety of concerns and constraints and I go for them.
- I am a Daughter of God.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.