"And if thou wilt inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous; therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries" D&C 6:11
Last Saturday was the General Relief Society meeting for the LDS church. I was moved by each of the talks but the part of the meeting that really touched my soul was the end. The closing prayer was given by a member of the General Relief Society board. Usually I don't pay much attention to what is said in prayers (sad, but true) but the tone of her prayer was so heartfelt it caught my attention. Her last petition pierced my soul.
"Help us gain a greater understanding of our mission on this earth as thy daughters in these Later-days."As she spoke those words my soul shouted, "Yes! Yes! Yes! That is the prayer of my heart too."
It almost made me cry to think that here, in front of the whole world and in front of our almighty God, this sister was praying the prayer of my heart.
But I don't think it is just the prayer of my heart. I think it is the prayer of hundreds of thousands of LDS women around the world. As I have listened to women I have felt that many of us are hungry-- ravenously hungry-- for more understanding about who we are and what our mission is on the earth. It isn't that we are dissatisfied with our faith, it isn't that we feel unequal or left out, and it isn't that we want to be ordained to the priesthood. We are just ready for MORE.
More light. More understanding. More truth.
I think this hunger is what is driving things like the Ordain Women movement and other religious feminist movements. They clamor for the priesthood thinking that it will fill the hungry void, but it won't.
Priesthood is something that is given to priests. A priest is a man. We are not priests.
We are priestesses, and what we really want is priestesshood.
In Daughters in My Kingdom it reads, "As President Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth President of the Church, stated, “It is within the privilege of the sisters of this Church to receive exaltation in the kingdom of God and receive authority and power as queens and priestesses.”
Also, Bathsheba W. Smith, the fourth general president of the Relief Society, who was present at the organization of the Relief Society taught that the Prophet Joseph Smith, “wanted to make us, as the women were in Paul’s day, ‘A Kingdom of priestesses' ” Source
The truth is that the Lord has already given women a great place in His kingdom. He has given us priestesshood. The thing is we don't fully understand what it is that we have. We don't fully understand or comprehend our power.
Nor have we yet caught the vision of what the Lord really needs His daughters to be doing on this earth. As Julie Beck, the former president of the Relief Society, said, "What the Lord envisioned regarding... Relief Societies has not yet been fully utilized. Many... Relief Societies are at present much like sleeping giants waiting for you to breathe new life into them."Source We have much knowledge and much direction, but we still don't fully understand the magnitude of who we are and what we are capable of.
And that is what we are hungering to know.
So how do we get it?
By protesting? By writing letters? Through agitation? By shows of solidarity and social media?
I don't think so.
The sister who prayed in the General Relief Society meeting laid out in her prayer what it is we need to do if we want to gain more. She petitioned the Lord to, "Bless us with a greater desire to understand and keep our covenants, a greater desire to not only read but search the scriptures, to have the confidence to ask thee with greater intent and greater faith, knowing that an answer is sure."
If we want more understanding we need to be using our energy to understand-- really understand-- and keep our baptismal and temple covenants. We need to be reading and studying our scriptures everyday, and we need to be asking God, with greater intent and greater faith, for more light and knowledge. Revelation only comes to those who ask.
Still, we need to remember that God knows what we need better than we do. Sometimes I think He laughs when we get worked up and ask Him for something that looks like this
When He is just waiting-- and wanting-- to give us this
He can fill our hunger, more abundantly than we ever dreamed, but it takes work on our part. To gain a greater understanding of our mission on this earth as daughters of God we must constantly be working to align our wills with the will of God. We must be willing to let go of what we think we need and what we think we want and let Him feed us.
The additional light and knowledge so many of us hunger and thirst after is coming-- to us as individuals and as a church--we just have to be ready to receive it.