A few weeks ago as I sat in a lesson in Relief Society, the phrase, “they just don’t understand the Gospel…” was muttered. At first, I really bristled at this trope. It seemed to be a way to suggest that the speaker was somehow superior to others who do not agree with her conclusions. But as time has passed, I’ve reflected much on this statement. For a long time, I fought it. I wished to cry, “no, no, no! I DO understand!” but the reality is that they are correct. I don’t understand.
I do not understand how gender roles are so central to the Gospel when I always thought the Gospel was the good news that Christ died for my sins, that He was resurrected, and that through Him, I may live again.
I do not understand a Gospel that tells me that my greatest calling is to become a wife and mother when I remembered Jesus telling the woman in the crowd that it is not motherhood, but hearing and obeying the word of Christ, that makes me blessed (Luke 11: 27-28).
I do not understand a Gospel that tells me the greatest use for my time and talents is in the home when it was Jesus who taught me the greater part was to hear his word and to sit as his feet in preparation to teach it to others (Luke 10: 42).
I do not understand a Gospel where I’m told that my role is separate but equal from a man’s when the scriptures teach me there is no male or female in the Lord (Galatians 3:28; 2 Nephi 26:33).
I do not understand a Gospel that was first proclaimed by a woman chosen to act as the witness to the resurrection, when 2,000 years later, I am unable to witness the baptism of a mortal in His name.
I do not understand a Gospel that tells me that my uterus defines my role with God when I was always believed God looked upon the heart, the same organ that beats in men and women alike (1 Samuel 16:7)
I do not understand a Gospel that teaches me I cannot approach God in my own right but only through my husband whom I hearken and obey.
I do not understand a Gospel that claims to follow Jesus’s teaching to leave the 99 to go after the one and then excommunicates the one, casting her out of the fold all together, after refusing to even have a conversation.
I do not understand a Gospel that teaches the importance of two-parent families, that we have loving Heavenly Parents, and then denies their daughters and sons access to the Mother.
I do not understand a Gospel that teaches me to come to know truth “by study and also by faith,” but then treats me as a cancer when I study the more troubling and difficult aspects of our faith and history and am, unsurprisingly, troubled by them.
I do not understand a Gospel that teaches that God’s ways are higher than our ways, but then practices tribalism and exclusivism in relation to truth claims and upholding the status quo, which is certainly a practice of the “natural man.”
But more than all of that, I do not understand how it’s difficult to see how in spite of all of this, I could not understand.