Am I an Apostate?
I’m a feminist, a liberal and an aspiring intellectual. I occasionally watch R-rated movies. I support same-sex marriage (which Pres. Monson said is ok) [EDIT: To clarify, I am not claiming that Pres. Monson supports or condones same-sex marriage, rather that he believes faithful members of the Church can be on both sides of the issue politically]. And I stood in line with Ordain Women at the Tabernacle on April 5, 2014, in solidarity with my brothers and sisters pleading for the question of women’s ordination to be brought before God.
The same Spirit that testified to me of God’s unconditional, overwhelming, uncompromising Love and the power of the Book of Mormon, led me there. That same Spirit that brought me to BYU. That helped me find some lost clothes when I was only 8 or 9 years old. That inspired me to go on a mission when I did. That brought countless words and scriptures to my remembrance as I worked with and taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Lithuania. That witnessed to me time and again that God loves me and all His children. That guided my words as I gave priesthood blessings. That only a few days ago witnessed to me that Pres. Packer (who’s words have caused me and close friends pain) is a devoted disciple of Christ, that despite our differences of opinion, he acts out of a deep, abiding love for our Savior- the same love that motivates me, that we may disagree, but we want the same thing- a better world, a more loving, righteous, Christ-like community.
That Spirit led me (since my youth, but largely over the past 6-12 months) to support Ordain Women and stand with my fellow saints, who want to more fully participate in the Kingdom of God. If that was wrong, then I don’t know what I can believe anymore. If I can’t trust the Spirit that brought me to where I am today, then everything I believe falls apart.
I’ve been troubled by gender inequality in the Church for as long as I can remember, asking my mom when I was super young if she could ever be the prophet. When she said no, I asked why and I haven’t found an answer that satisfied my soul yet.
Maybe that’s why I feel anxious when others start bashing those that support female ordination as being power-hungry and faithless. As apostates and heretics that don’t go to Church or love their Savior. That don’t understand the doctrine and are working to destroy the Church from within.
I can’t believe that’s the case. Asking for the prophet to pray about something, seems to suggest a clear understanding of the doctrine- that a change like this can only come from the Prophet himself, even if it is the result of culturally influenced practice (like blacks and the priesthood).
I firmly believe that women will have the priesthood one day. I think the temple makes that clear. When will that day come? I don’t know. But if women will have the priesthood in the eternities, why not now? Isn’t this life all about making the Church and the world more and more like Zion, and the life hereafter?
I also think there is something to be said for revelation only coming when the Church can accept it. Look at the members of the Quorum of the 12- they likely don’t agree on everything (historically they definitely have not), so having them all agree on something is sort of a litmus test for if the members are prepared to accept the doctrine.
This may seem a bit offensive– that God would wait to reveal certain truths, even if that means perpetuating unjust and hurtful practices, but to me is empirically proven. Blacks and the priesthood are one example. After all, Joseph Smith said, “Brethren, if I were to tell you all I know of the kingdom of God, I do know that you would rise up and kill me” (Parley P. Pratt in MS 55 (September 4, 1893): 585).
Some may be concerned with acting in a way that is not directly the same as what Church leaders have taught, even obeying the voice of future prophets to neglect the words of current prophets. I have wondered about this, and have a couple brief comments. First, the members need to prepare themselves for future revelation, which won’t happen unless people talk about different ideas that could be revealed.
Also, Doctrine and Covenants 58:26– “For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.”
And Article of Faith 9, “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”
The path I walk is not an easy one, but discipleship was never meant to be easy, was it? I’m torn between the ideals that I feel in my soul and the reality that I see all around me. Yet, within the Church I will stay, working to bring reality closer to the ideals that burn within me.