To Some It Is Given

by mraynes

I was introduced recently to the work of up-and-coming Tel Aviv street artist, Know Hope. I don’t know that much about street art but I was deeply touched by his simple and profound messages of hope and love, especially in a city that knows so little of both. But it was his name that stopped me short; know and hope are two words that don’t naturally fit together for me.

The verb “know” means to be certain of the truth or factuality of a subject. “Hope” means to desire with anticipation. Perhaps it is because of my Mormon education that I see these two words as a contradiction.

When I think of the word “know”, I think of fast and testimony meeting: “I know the church is true…with every fiber of my being…without a shadow of a doubt.”

When I think of “hope”, I think of Alma 32:21: “And now as I said concerning faith–faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”

The distinction is important to me. I have always been a little embarrassed of my lack of knowledge. In a church that places so much importance on personal revelation and truth, my seeming inability to get either has been deeply troubling. Despite my sincere efforts, the hours of fasting and scripture study, the strict obedience and the tearful pleadings with the Lord, I have never received a personal witness of the truthfulness of the gospel, or of Joseph Smith or of the Book of Mormon. I never even got an answer to whether mr. mraynes was the right man to marry. (I hope I made the right choice.)

Instead, my mind is often drawn to D&C 46: 13-14: “To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.”

I do know that Jesus Christ is my Savior so I extend these verses to the answers I don’t have. I have accepted that for the time being, it is not for me to know. I believe that my belief is a spiritual gift. In fact, I believe that the with-holding of answers has been a tender mercy. My heavenly parents know me well enough to know that I could not and can not understand a dogmatic god and so I have not been allowed to be dogmatic myself. I am comfortable in Mormonism and if I knew, really knew, that the church was true I’m not sure that my eyes would be open to the things that could make it better. Not knowing has allowed me to be more charitable with those who struggle with their faith…to see shades of grey and interpret the gospel in a way that strengthens my relationship with God.

In not taking for granted that all choices by fallible men are divinely inspired, I have been allowed to ask questions that are scary and painful and viewed by some as “not useful.” I have asked why God allows horrible things to happen to innocent people. Why do the strong prey upon the weak? I have asked why God allows half of humanity to be routinely oppressed, violated and silenced. If women are equal to men, why can’t they have the priesthood or preside?  I ask why God would allow His church to sanction polygamy, racism and homophobia. And seriously, God, who’s idea was it to make the entrance age for nursery 18 months?

…I haven’t received any answers. But I continue to keep my covenants, fulfill my callings, attend church every week and go to the temple. I teach my children about God and maintain my relationship with my heavenly parents. I try not to let the wound of unanswered questions fester. I do all of this because I love God, because I am stubborn and because I have theories and ideas that work for me. That I can believe in. That I can hope for.

All of this is a long way of saying that just because some of us have questions it doesn’t mean that we are hostile to the church…or to the prophet…or to those who are generally satisfied and know that all of it is true. We just haven’t received the same answers. And that can be a blessing in and of itself. It can be the way that each of us knows hope.

Mraynes

Mraynes lives in downtown Denver with her husband and four children. She spends her time lobbying at the Colorado Legislature, managing all the things and preparing Gospel Doctrine lessons.

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40 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    That was beautiful. Perhaps the most touching testimony I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing it… it’s making your baby sister think a lot, and I always appreciate it when you make me do that.

  2. z says:

    Is anyone else confused by this post? I don’t get it– is your position that if you really knew the truth about various things, you wouldn’t like it, so it’s better that you can remain in a state of not-knowing because the truth is too unpleasant? Because when you put it like that, it sounds like you’re saying that your HPs are going along with your desire not to face up to things that you actually do think are true. And I don’t see why that would be a desirable situation, compared to having a different religion in which you actually did want to know the truth and the truth wasn’t something that would horrify and upset you.

    I definitely see what you’re saying about your experience giving you insight, making you a more understanding person, etc.. I can see that there are lots of benefits. But ultimately, I don’t understand why you think this withholding of information is a good thing.

  3. Linda says:

    Thanks for this honest and articulate post. I appreciate (and am not confused by) your exploration of the gifts of hope, faith and knowledge, and also for your gratitude for the nature of the gifts you have. I’m glad you stick with the church experience. It makes the place more welcoming for others of us who have unanswered questions but similarly won’t let them “fester.”

  4. Jane says:

    This is the first comment I’ve made, although I’ve been reading posts here for awhile now. I really appreciated the thoughts and feelings you’ve shared and fortunately didn’t find them confusing at all, probably because I’ve had my own struggles with knowing. Thanks very much for your words – I don’t know anyone around me who seems to think the way I do and it helps to know that I’m not the only one!

  5. mraynes says:

    Sarah, I’m glad you were touched and that I could make you think. It takes time to become comfortable with your beliefs and I am proud of the efforts you’re making to understand your spirituality. You are wonderful and I love you.

    z, I think that you misunderstood what I was trying to say. I am not afraid of the answers I might get; I have asked the hard questions, stuff that might be really painful to find out, but God hasn’t blessed me with that knowledge. Despite not having answers and the angst I feel about some of the aspects of Mormonism, I appreciate the faith that God has blessed me with. I have prayed about going to a different church, once again, God has not confirmed that decision. But God has given me strength to know that I can make a difference in the community I am a part of. I love Mormonism, warts and all, and so I am willing to put up with not knowing and to bloom where I’m planted. Does that make sense? Thanks for your comment.

    Thanks for your comment, Linda. I think there are more of us who have questions than it appears. The culture of Mormonism makes it difficult to be honest about not knowing but I have been enriched and comforted by those who have shared their feelings with me. I hope that I also can provide that comfort to those who need it, it is one of the major reasons I stay.

    Jane, I’m so glad you commented! Welcome to our community. It is really hard to feel like you are the only one without answers when you are surrounded by surety. I know how lonely that feeling is; you not only feel different than others but I, at least, have felt deserted by God at times. I hope that the Exponent can be a place of support for you. Thank you for your comment and the validation of my experience.

  6. Brooke says:

    mraynes, I really appreciate your words and feel that I completely understand where you are coming from. It is beautifully personal and intricate. Thanks for writing it and sharing with us.

  7. Caroline says:

    This was absolutely wonderful. What you said really resonates with me.

    I just gave a talk yesterday in church on gifts of the spirit. One of the gifts I mentioned was the gift of spiritual seeking. I think you embody that one beautifully.

    I also mentioned my own relationship with the church, one characterized by faith and doubt and hope and despair. But that in the end, I love the idea that there’s room for me in the body of Christ, because we’re all different and the church needs those different strengths. Your gift may not be absolute knowledge, but it certainly is thoughtfulness, hope, and faith.

  8. G says:

    mraynes, this is beautiful.
    In my own mind I made a direct connection between these two phrases: “the with-holding of answers has been a tender mercy…[and] I have theories and ideas that work for me.

    Imho, the cultural tendency towards claiming “knowledge” of things “without a shadow of a doubt” is extraordinary damaging.
    Thank you for your questioning. (and for your faith too)

  9. T says:

    MRaynes
    I love it when I see that you have written posts both here and on your personal blog. Thanks for being so inspiring and for speaking honestly about your feelings and experience.

  10. You’ve conveyed a sense of peace I found personally hopeful. Thanks for your honesty. We could use more of both peace and honesty!

  11. momE says:

    I have been lurking here for just awhile, and this topic seems to be a common thread for many of your readers – myself included. Many seem to be desperately searching for an answer to every question they have about life, God, the church, etc. Then, and only then, when they have “figured it all out”, they will give themselves, immerse themselves and be fully believing and obedient to God, and especially the church. Your post holds a powerful key: belief, hope, and faith. To believe without a sign. This is what I tell myself each time I pray for the witness of the Holy Ghost and there is no “burning in the bosom”. It does feel a bit like perjury to bear testimony that “I know this church is true”, but it would be awkward to get up on fast Sunday and say “I hope this church is true”, even though most of the congregation likely feels the same way. Most of the time I avoid bearing any sort of “testimony”. Does having a testimony mean you have to have had some sort of “witness”? For now, I will continue to believe and have hope… and be content with the few answers and revelations that I have right now.

  12. mraynes says:

    Thanks for all the kind words.

    Brooke, it’s nice to know that other people understand and relate.

    I wish I could have heard your talk, Caroline. It sounds fantastic. Maybe you could post parts of it here?

    Thanks for your comment, G, you are so sweet. I agree that too much certainty can be dangerous, especially in regards to God and religion. One thing I love about Mormonism is that there is never a last word, continuing revelation leaves open the possibility for so many things. I admit to really struggling with people who say things like “God is never changing” I just think it is presumptuous to be too certain about God.

    Thank you so much for your support, T. I need to get First Fig back up and running again. I’m starting to emerge from the shock of a major life change so maybe I can take on that project soon. Thanks again.

    Moniker Challenged, I hope that we will see an increase of honesty, I know it would help me continue to be honest. Thanks for your comment and I love your handle, bytheway.

  13. z says:

    Well, I just don’t get what about the lack of information is a “tender mercy” rather than an opportunity for personal growth or some other, less extreme language, or, as you describe it in your comment, something that you’re willing to put up with. Is it because the lack of information allows you to hope or pretend that things are as you wish they could be, not as you suspect that they are?

  14. mraynes says:

    momE, I’m glad you decided to comment. You’re right, a lot of our posters and readers deal with questions about different aspects of the gospel. It is such a hard row to how, to feel different than your brothers and sisters and gospel and to feel cut off from God. Those of us who struggle with this have to figure out how best to handle this situation. For me it is to hope and believe and endure but that is not best for everyone. I also have a hard time bearing my testimony; I usually avoid doing it or I stick to the things I know, like God loves me. But I personally don’t think you have to have a personal witness to bear testimony and I would be thrilled to hear somebody say “I hope Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.” It would take a brave person to do it, I’m not that brave yet. Thanks for your comment and keep following the spiritual path that is best for you. I hope Exponent can be a place of support for you.

  15. mraynes says:

    Ok, z, I think I see where you’re coming from now. I can understand how you might think that I am intentionally stunting my progress, I just don’t see it that way. Mormonism provides me with a lot of ways to grow without having to know explicitly that it’s true. For example, I’m not a patient person so not getting answers and putting up with some of the darker sides of the church teaches me a lot of patience. I also like to have a cause to fight for, Mormonism provides me a place where I can be an activist. These are simple examples, I’ve had more profound but it would take me too long to write about them now. I suppose if there came a time when I felt there was nothing left for me to learn from the church and I still didn’t have answers, I would probably go searching somewhere else. But for the time being, I’ve got plenty to learn from the church of my childhood and this is possible because I don’t have answers. I do see this as a tender mercy.

    As for your last point, I think all of us who stay in problematic religions use this as a defense mechanism. I would quibble with your word “pretend.” I do not pretend that women will be full equals with men in the eternities because I do not know this for sure. In the same vein, I try not to suspect that things may be really bad because once again, I don’t know this. Of course my mind goes there but this is what I mean by trying to not let wounds fester. If I focused on this all the time without receiving answers it would be really corrosive to my soul. I can’t learn the things I need to learn if I am too concerned about hypotheticals. I hope that our current practices are not the way they will always be, I hope the church is true and that we have further light and knowledge to gain. For now I know that God loves me and has things for me to learn in Mormonism. This is enough for me.

    I want to thank you for the opportunity to articulate these things further. I hope I make sense, if not, I’m sure you’ll let me know. 🙂

  16. Two of Three says:

    I love this post. It fills me with comfort to believe that not everyone “knows”. In a church where the doubters often hide, the “hopers” can be lonely. I also like what you said about not letting “the wound of unanswered questions fester”. Trying to navigate the hairy spirital road I am on, I fell into the briars of the “festering wound”. The anger was too heavy. I recognize it now for what it is. Now that it has a name, I can purge it.

  17. z says:

    That is an explanation that makes sense to me, mraynes. The tender mercy is being granted the opportunity to grow in other ways rather than being frustrated and alienated by concrete knowledge of things you don’t like. It allows you some breathing room. It’s not the mercy of withholding upsetting information that is actually true, and allowing you to misinform yourself for the sake of peace of mind. That’s what I thought you were suggesting, and it seemed like a really odd form of mental gymnastics.

    I wouldn’t say you’re “stunting” your progress, because that seems kind of harsh. But it does seem like you’re deliberately choosing not to pursue certain areas of inquiry in order to maintain peace of mind. Does this make you in some way a less active or committed feminist or Mormon? Obviously nobody can pursue all topics of inquiry at all times, but to be grateful for a lack of information seems kind of like a different category of disengagement, or a subtle rejection of the premise that the topic or information is important.

  18. z says:

    I realize I’m kinda giving you a hard time here– sorry about that. I just think these are such interesting questions, but no pressure to respond!

  19. mb says:

    z,
    Here’s an example that might be helpful in your search to understand what mraynes is talking about:

    I’m grateful for the veil of forgetfulness that makes it so that both you and I cannot remember my life with God before this one. Like you,I cannot know, in this life, what it was like. God intended it that way. Because I can only envision it in my minds eye from the brief descriptions of it in the scriptures, I must develop faith and hope about what it must have been like as I figure out the continuum of my existence in the eyes of God.

    That is an example of a circumstance where not knowing something creates the necessity to develop other spiritual gifts.

    Each of us has some things that we do not know. None of us have the same set of unknowns, but all of us have some of them, and with that set we can choose. We can choose to rail about not knowing, we can choose to become cynical and disbelieving, we can choose to feel like failures when what we know doesn’t correlate with what our neighbor feels she knows, or we can choose to continue to follow God with our whole hearts in spite of our unknowns, blessing his name for them because they allow us to develop hope and faith in him.

    We talk much of the gift of knowledge and it is a sweet gift of the Spirit. And the passage in Doctrine and Covenants also points out the gift of believing on the words of those who know. They are both great, sweet, divine gifts of God. And as the verses before that passage state, before launching into a long list of gifts, including these two:

    “For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
    To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.”

  20. Sterling Fluharty says:

    I have wondered how to reconcile D&C 46:13 with Ether 12:6. I feel like I was born with a testimony. But does this mean my trial of faith was in the premortal existence? Sometimes I think I would be more faithful if I had to work for my knowledge. But maybe the journey from knowledge to faith is just as worthwhile as the one from hope to knowledge. Maybe it all balances out because charity is at the center of both quests. If it wasn’t for charity, I don’t think I would make it.

  21. mraynes says:

    Wow, lots of good comments here!

    Two of Three,I’m glad you’ve taken steps to purge the anger. I think anger can be healthy for a time, it is certainly a natural feeling, but if held onto for too long it can be very damaging. Recently I had to adjust the way I dealt with annoying things at church (sighing, eye-rolling) because it was negatively impacting my husband to the point he no longer wanted to go to church with me. It was a good wake-up call that my angst doesn’t just affect me and that it had gotten to the point where it was hurting everybody in my family. Thanks for your comment!

    mb, that was beautiful. Thank you for your thoughtful and articulate comment. I’m going to print it out and put it in my scriptures to look at when I start feeling down about my lack of answers.

    Thanks for your comment, Sterling. I agree that D&C 46:13 and Ether 12:6 are difficult to reconcile. The only way I can make them work together is by acknowledging that there are things that I just inherently know and then there are things that I have faith in. For example, I have always known that God loves me. I have had time of depression and anger with God and even through all of that, I’ve never doubted Their love for me. I think that both the journeys you mentioned are worthwhile and difficult, their just different. I love what you say about charity; we absolutely have to have charity for ourselves and for others. If we don’t I think we’ve missed the point of faith.

    z, don’t worry about being too hard on men, I can take it. 🙂 Like I said before, this is a good opportunity for me to better articulate my feelings. I want to do justice to your questions and answer them in a thoughtful way. Unfortunately, I have to run to a Relief Society meeting so I will have to answer them when I get home. Thanks for the dialog.

  22. mb says:

    Sterling, you are still young. 🙂 The trials of faith will come, whether you recognize them or not.

    In Ether, if you read the verse in context, the trial of faith is not necessarily an internal challenge to the validity of what you believe or a surge of doubt. The first example in that passage of scripture that Moroni gives of people who had a trial of their faith before having the faith necessary to see the resurrected Lord are those to whom he appeared: Mary, Mary Magdalene, the 11 disciples, the two on the road to Emmaus…

    Except for Thomas whose doubts are specifically pointed out, there is no evidence that the rest were not suddenly consumed with doubt or disbelief. They were, however, suddenly confronted with a totally unexpected, tragic, rapidly developed series of events that caused tremendous grief and dismay. And in the face of that they chose to continue to have faith that Jesus was who he said he was and that his teachings were right. They had no idea how they were going to go on or what they would do next, but they chose to keep their faith, however tenuously, through that trial.

    I think the trial of faith that Moroni is talking about is not necessarily a challenge to your beliefs about what is good and true, but can be, rather, a terrifically challenging life event which you do not expect. At such times, choosing whether or not to continue to have faith in what God has said is good and true, is the trial referred to.

  23. mb says:

    oops. I meant
    “there is no evidence that the rest *were* suddenly consumed with doubt or disbelief.”

  24. mb says:

    No, wait, wait! Scratch that last comment of mine. Just re-read the chapter. Wrong continent. Should be Lehi, Nephi, Brother of Jared and Ammon, not Mary, Mary, disciples and Emmaus duo.

    Same theory, but different examples. Good heavens. Where is my brain?

  25. Deborah says:

    Lovely, mraynes. I think, as spiritual gifts go, knowledge is over-rated (because don’t we all see through a glass dimly in this life, anyway?). Hope and charity are way way way up there in my book.

  26. D'Arcy says:

    I love this post.

  27. Abbie says:

    Sometimes I feel as if hope is all that I know and some days I feel as though I am clinging to mere threads. Whatever hope is made out of, it sure is some strong stuff.

  28. mraynes says:

    Sorry, I’ve had a crazy day and a half, what with the season premiere of Lost and all. 🙂 I appreciate the continued conversation on this post.

    mb, I love how articulately you share your opinions about the meaning of the scriptures. That is a gift I wish I had. Thank you for being here and giving some doctrinal weight to this post.

    I totally agree, Deborah. I think hope and charity teach us the only thing we really need to know in this life, that God loves us and all of our brothers and sisters. With that knowledge, the little particulars cease to matter.

    Thanks, D’Arcy. I love you.

    Abbie, your comment reminded me of the Emily Dickinson poem, “Hope is the thing with feathers.” I love that poem and I think it goes right along with what you were saying about how strong hope is. That hope exists is one of the reasons I know God exists. They programmed in us a way to see good even amidst all of the despair of mortality. Thanks for your comment.

  29. mraynes says:

    Sorry again for the delay, z. Before I get to the meat of my response I just want to say that I really admire your fortitude. I know that you get a lot of flack around the bloggernacle and I, at least, appreciate that you stick around to engage with us.

    I’m not sure that I would categorize my state of mind as “at peace”. I am constantly struggling with the very problematic aspects of our religion. There is not a day that goes by that I do not question parts of our doctrine/history/culture and feel some kind of pain in regards to it. I am at peace with the knowledge that I will always have questions and that I will most likely not receive answers to them.

    I would say that this doesn’t affect my ability to be a good feminist because I ask the questions, I talk about them with other people, I have at times made my leaders aware of problems I see and I feel that I am actively fighting the battle for equality within the Mormon church. But I guess my “Mormon-ness” is in the eye of the beholder; I would say that I’m committed but I’m sure there are other members who would qualify me as “chaff.” So I may not be a good Mormon in the traditional sense but I do think there is a place for me within the community, a place which I am committed to holding onto.

    Definitely, information is important. But I guess I would rather have a lack of information and fight for the things I think we need to change rather than have a confirmed knowledge and sitting idly by not wanting to rock the boat. In knowing myself, I think whether the knowledge was good (yes, women are equal in the eternities) or bad (no, things are perfect the way they are), I would become complacent. To me, that’s a lot worse than not having answers.

    I hope that makes things a little clearer? Thanks again!

  30. z says:

    mraynes, you’re just such a nice person sometimes! I always find your writing fascinating. But I’m puzzled as to why you have set up this dichotomy between not having information and being an activist, vs. having information and not being an activist. Why would having information cause you to become complacent? Because it would be so depressing that you would be incapacitated? And isn’t being complacent better than living your life in the wrong way, if that’s what you’re really doing? If the answer really were “Submit to all men for all eternities or be cast into outer darkness” wouldn’t you want to know that, so as to make an educated decision?

    Maybe it’s just my personality, but I have a hard time fathoming not wanting information. If you really think there’s truth in Mormon doctrine, and that your adherence to it, or engagement with it matters, wouldn’t it follow that it’s important to have information? Otherwise you might be doing the wrong thing without knowing it, or be missing out on something important. If you really, really believe that this stuff is true and matters, wouldn’t it be important to live the way you are supposed to, even if that means hearing something you don’t like and potentially giving up feminism and being subordinated to men all your life? I can understand being ‘at peace’ with a lack of information, but your post seems to go beyond that stage into “I sure am glad I don’t have knowledge,” and I’m really having a hard time getting my head around it. Do you ascribe value to seeking any information at all?

    Are there any other areas in which it’s acceptable to intentionally desire not to know something? Could someone say “I don’t want to know any more about [any doctrinal topic], because I might not like what I learn” and retain your respect? Or would such a person seem unserious or childish, uninterested in genuine engagement?

  31. z says:

    I didn’t mean to suggest that you don’t value information– it’s obvious from the original post that you do. I’m just unclear on why the reasons for valuing information generally aren’t as compelling for this particular information.

  32. mraynes says:

    Maybe this will help explain why I’ve set up the dichotomy, z. If I received an answer that the church is true and women are subordinate forever, I would leave and enjoy the mortal life I have in as equal a way as possible. I would rather be cast out then spend an eternity with a misogynistic god. If I received the answer that patriarchy is only a mortal condition and things will be different in the hereafter along with all the other questions I have about the truthfulness of the gospel, what motivation would I have to be an instrument of change? Either scenario renders me useless to the religion I love.

    I have obviously done a really poor job at explaining myself. I do want answers. Really badly. I ask for answers all of the time, pretty much everyday. And they don’t come. I understand why God might do this because of what I said in my first paragraph. I am okay with not having answers because what other choice do I have? I can’t force God to give me answers. I could be angry and bitter and depressed but what good does this do me or anyone else?

    So to answer your question, yes, I see a great deal of value in seeking knowledge. And I do feel compelled to get answers in regard to the truthfulness of the gospel and women’s place in this religion. That is the reason I read everything I can get my hands on, why I participate in the bloggernacle, why I continue to go to church, why I fast and pray. Just because I don’t have answers doesn’t mean I’m not interested in getting them.

    In the end, this post has nothing to do with me not wanting knowledge and everything to do with accepting God’s silence. If this makes me seem childish then I guess I can’t change that.

  33. momE says:

    I am thankful for articulate people who can formulate the questions and thoughts I have had for so long into eloquent commentary.

    mraynes: speaking of “childish”, for as long as I can remember, in my desire to know if the church is true (a witness, a testimony) I figured I hadn’t stumbled across the right combination of “magic words”. Bizarre, I know. It conjures up images of Hermione in Harry Potter trying to cast a spell with her magic wand. But I am in prayer, on my knees hoping for THE ANSWER. When it doesn’t come, I try asking in a different way. Then another. Finally, I give up then come up with reasons for “God’s silence”. Maybe I don’t have enough faith, I’m not worthy, I haven’t put forth enough work or effort, I haven’t been tested, or maybe I already have a testimony. It’s as though I’m trying to come up with an excuse, so as not to blame God – I want to take responsibility. I feel the answers are already there, I just haven’t found the magic combination, the key, or my procedure was somehow off. But that doesn’t feel right either. Is this childish? Desperation? I can see how this would cause people to become frustrated, then apathetic, then hostile. Luckily, I have been blessed with enough faith to tide me over, but I still hope that THE ANSWER will come.

  34. AS says:

    Beautiful. I, and I believe many of us have felt some of the things you are saying, but haven’t been able to express it so exoquently. Thanks for sharing with us your gift.

  35. z says:

    Thanks for the explanation, mraynes. I guess I read your original post to be something stronger than “I am at peace with not knowing”– something more along the lines of “I hope I don’t find out,” even though you say in other places that you do want the information. That’s what’s confusing– you want the information, but somehow it’s a “tender mercy” to not have it? Because it’s an opportunity for personal growth?

    I don’t really understand why you would lose motivation if you knew everything would be perfect in the hereafter. Lots of people believe that, yet they manage to retain some motivation to improve present conditions. Why would the feeling of uselessness bother you, yet the feeling of patriarchal oppression suddenly stop bothering you?

  36. mraynes says:

    z, I hope you will forgive me, I’ve had a really busy couple of days. I’m not really sure how to answer your questions to your satisfaction. I think there are plenty of examples of women, some who comment on the bloggernacle, that once they know gender equality won’t be a problem in the eternities don’t have any desire to rock the boat here in mortality. They just write our current situation off as the will of God. I get why they do this, I just wouldn’t be happy doing it myself. It is obvious to me that if God gave me answers that patriarchal oppression wasn’t a problem then I would no longer see it as a problem. Therefore I would no longer have much impetus to abolish that oppression. I suppose there would still be things I could do to enact change, like helping people be more Christlike and empathetic, but I don’t think I could be as effective to enact the kind of change I want now. So, yes, I do think that this is a tender mercy and I guess we’re going to have to disagree here.

    I’m sorry the post came off to you as “I don’t want answers”, that wasn’t my intention at all. My intention was simply to articulate that I don’t have answers, I don’t expect God to provide them despite my constant asking, I’m at peace with this and instead of being upset about it, I will use what I’m given to make myself and the church better.

    I’m going to beg off further discussion on this point because I really have to focus on my graduate school applications, I hope you understand. I really appreciate this conversation, z; I’ve learned a lot from it.

  37. mb says:

    Best wishes on the applications! 🙂

  38. Kelly Ann says:

    Mraynes, thank you for this post! I have found hope knowing that so many people struggle, that no one has the answers, that really people are doing the best that they can. Thank you for sharing your experience and good luck on your applications.

  39. Alisa says:

    Coming late here, but I read this post a couple of days ago and it really resonated with me. Beautifully written. Great discussion here too.

    I am a personality type that is prone to questions. Sometimes I feel that our culture values answers more than questions, but it’s the questioning that can provide some people (I’ll count myself among them) with the greatest opportunity for growth. I suppose we’re given knowledge or questions or whatever that will fit our unique needs and present us with the challenges we need.

    I used to feel that I was spiritually tone deaf because I too had prayed and fasted and done all of the “Sunday School” answer ways of trying to get a testimony, and it wasn’t really happening for me. I didn’t expect a visitation or anything, but I expected to feel some change. And, that this didn’t happen has caused me so much heartache.

    Only recently have I began to learn the language God uses to speak to me. This is through nature, poetry, nuance, and solitary meditation. These haven’t given me concrete answers, but it’s helped me see myself as a more spiritual person, and I have received answers to questions I’ve had in my personal life.

    Anyway, sorry to come late. Good luck on those graduate school applications, mraynes!

  1. February 1, 2010

    […] Exponent:  To Some It is Given (by […]

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