I'm going to try to post something each Sunday that pertains to "preaching" truth - or aspects of the truth. This first one is a bit lame. But it matters to me. And since this is my blog... well, you can skip it if you prefer. :)
At the first session of the General Conference for my Church on Saturday of this past weekend, there was a rather historic change announced. It's exciting and wonderful and I immediately knew that the change was inspired of our Heavenly Father.
In my experience, when I happen upon or experience something exciting, I want to talk to others who may feel similarly about it. I want to talk about the implications... how the new thing/experience will alter the future and impact me and others like me. This is true of all aspects of my world from homeschooling, to Motherhood, to my religious practices, and so forth. I also believe humans need to communicate to enable the process of synthesis more fully.
While I immediately felt the surety of heaven's guidance in the announcement of new, younger, ages that men and women could potentially serve missions, I also very much wanted to communicate with others about it. Not because I doubted the validity of the Revelation the world's Prophet, his counselors and the 12 Apostles had received, but simply to process through the exciting change more fully.
I was excited and happy to see so many folks posting about it on Facebook (since I really do not enjoy phone conversation and don't live all that near anyone in real life with whom I might discuss this subject at length). I was especially happy to see the line of comments posted as a result of one particular friend's posting of another person's tweet. Almost all of the feedback to that post was really wonderful. It was just the kind of communication that reveals thinking people sythesizing new information into their current paradigm. This is necessary and good. Laudable. Beneficial. God desires His people to be a thinking people.
One person, however, posted some comments that astonished me. This particular commentor has become somewhat of a "nemesis" to me. I refer to her as my nemesis mostly in jest. Jessie counseled me to unfriend numerous folks from my former Ward (church group) when "my nemesis" and a couple others were commenting in reaction to my Facebook postings in ways that reveal they do not know me or understand how I communicate at all. Their comments were arguementative and even, a few times, inappropriately condemning because they did not understand my tone and had interpreted my words incorrectly. I have had this problem all too frequently in the recent past. And not just among those who don't really (and couldn't really) know me since they never took the time when they had the chance and I just don't roll with the high rollers (meaning I don't "do lunch" with the women of the Ward for lack of funds and desire). Anyway... I refrained from commenting on the wall of the facebook friend to whom my "nemesis" had commented because I am simply done with being targeted and beat up by her. (Hereafter I will leave off the quotation marks around nemesis because I hope you get the point that she really is NOT my nemesis... just someone with opinions very different from mine who does not understand me at all.)
Even though I did not comment on my fb friend's wall, I wanted to respond to my nemesis in a non-confrontational way. I'm relatively certain she doesn't read my blog. And anyway... I get to do what I want here. And I don't have to deal with her being nasty to me in response.
After much discussion of implications and reactions to the Revelation about the new ages for missionary service (none of which was condemnatory or negative at all... just sythesis-type communication, really), my nemesis questionsed why everyone was trying to disect revelation given by a Prophet of God. She asked if it was just too difficult to say we believe in revelation.
A couple of people responded to her, including my fb friend who originally started the line of discussion. They responded totally appropriately. Additional comments were made. Yet, my nemesis didn't get it. She didn't comprehend that no one on that line of discussion was trying to pick the revelation apart or doubting the reality of revelation. They were simply thinking through and synthesizing new information.
She then posted, "Stated twice and repeated as an answer, 'His is God hastening His work. This is not about the youth.'" I'm sure this comment was one made in the press conference immediately following the session of the announcement. Regardless of who made the comment, I think it is limiting and short-sighted. You see, God acts for all who are affected. When evil is perpetuated against someone, God's sight is set on the perpetrator AND the person acted against. Not one or the other. God has in mind that his youth will be prepared more diligently by their parents and the Church to potentially serve Him as missionaries AS WELL AS to hasten the missionary work itself. Surely anyone with eyes that see can see this. Right?
She then posted a longer piece to which I desire to respond as if I were speaking to her, yet am not.
"As a convert of over 40 years, a Primary president, a Young Woman's president twice, a Relief Society President, and a Seminary teacher of many years, Elesha there is a vast difference in someone asking questions and someone immediately trying to place a defining statement as to 'why a revelation was received are very different. One example, in the late 60's early 70's here in the USA the word of wisdom started to be defined as a caffine issue, while at the same time in Brazil it was that hot drinks were the offenders since the Portuguese often drink drinks at such a high temperature burned the mouth tissues so much it became like leather. Both discussions omitted simple obedience as the why. The Word of wisdom is one of the issues you speak of, if it had been placed as a commandment when given most of the brethern would have been on the outside looking in. They needed time for simple obedience, which is where you will find the word of wisdom in most indexes. Also in the 70's when the blacks received the priesthood, the issue was the church coming around to the world. Asking questions is good, but no one has posted questions. These are comments and opinions. Seek the guidance of the brethren and if you don't agree with their verbage pray to either adjust your will to be in aligh with the Lord. It is dangerous to be giving reasons for a Prophet's revelation."
I find it interesting and upsetting, nemesis, that you would list the offices of your service to God as if these works that should have been consecrated to the Lord make you some sort of authority in His Kingdom. If your words cannot stand on their own strength, the fact that you try to bolster them with you resume of Church service is only sad and prideful. Given that I know you rejected the opportunity to be a temple worker with your husband because you'd "already done that" and told whomever was offering you the calling that you needed to do something different... well, the potentially impressive list of callings is drastically diminished in my esteem. I wish you could know that rolling out your resume decreases your stature with every "star" you attach to the list.
It's not just questions that are good. Thinking is also good and highly esteemed by our Father in Heaven. He is pleased with obedience for obedience sake, I am absolutely certain. But how much more pleased with us would He be when we are obedient and know WHY we choose to be obedient... Perhaps He is especially pleased when we step out in obedience even though we may step away from our own position to BE obedient. I imagine that our Father in Heaven and His Angels rejoice when we work to change our own heart TO BE obedient by BEING obedient. Stepping off a cliff, as it were, not knowing how we will be all right, but knowing that He has commanded it.
How is it dangerous to synthesize new information into your current paradigm? This simply doesn't make sense!
Another commentor responded beautifully to this part of my nemesis's silliness. I quote him, "People need to understand why - it is the basis of mental reasoning, and in our case, encourages faithful support through personal revelation and group discussion. I don't like following things from the "Because I said so" mentality. Never have, and I am glad my Heavenly Father understands that about me. So, he provides me reasoning through my own pursuit and his perfect revelations to my heart. There really is nothing wrong with having a desire to explain in logic what is revealed in Spirit - both are a part of us as a human soul."
I know in my own experience, as I attempt to fit something that is God's into my own mind and life (especially when it is in opposition to how I have been), it has helped me greatly to give myself reasons to do it or endure in it. Are the reasons always Gods? I don't know. I don't think they are against His ways. I think they are lower than the highest of His thoughts, but how does one climb a ladder but by starting on the first rung?
Finally, my fb friend who originally started the discussion responded to my nemesis and I conclude this post by quoting a few of her words, "I believe God wants us to have our own opinions and thoughts and be flexible and teachable by the Spirit. I have found that the Spirit usually teaches me only when I’m mentally engaging in particular content. If I don’t think about something, I get nothing. Respectfully, it looks like you saw a dangerous situation when only good things were happening."