There is no happiness in causing contention

I’ll start out by saying, I am not a feminist. But I am a daughter of God, who loves me very much. I believe that, I know that, and I am not disappointed in this. I’m not going to try and convince anyone that what I’m going to write about today is right either.

Yesterday I made a comment on a Facebook thread. The topic of the tread had to do with the planned protest by Mormon feminists and the Ordain Women group to demand entrance to the Conference Center for the Priesthood Session of the Conference. For some background, these women wrote and asked Church headquarters for tickets to the session, and were politely turned down. Their plans now include marching to the Conference Center to make a scene. This is exactly what they want, a scene to be blown up in the media and online.

In response to my comment, another friend contacted me privately and asked me why I opposed what these women are doing, and gave me several examples of how people had asked the Lord for a change and it was granted, so why not this? I was direct in my answer to him, and will be here as well. I am opposed to what these women are planning because it will cause contention, and because their protest is disrespectful of the leaders of the Church and the council system of the Church. The Book of Mormon is very clear in 3 Nephi 11:29, that “Contention is not of me, but is of the Devil, who stireth up the hearts of men to contend one with another.”

Because we believe in modern day prophets, our Church receives revelation and our Church can make changes as the Lord sees necessary. I welcome the changes that happen in the LDS Church, when they come thru the proper channels, and way. We have a system in place for change to happen, and that system has been set up and organized by the Lord, in his wisdom. We must remember he sees the whole picture. We need to trust that things are how he wants and needs them to be. I have a strong testimony of prayer and the power of prayer and of asking the Lord for the things we need and want. But, I also know that many times the answer is, “No”, “Not right now”, “Be patient and wait” or “This is not worth the worry”.

I have my own answers to why women do not hold the priesthood in the LDS Church. They have come thru thoughtful study and prayer. They have also come, because I’ve been willing to receive the answer the Lord had for me. If anything, those answers lead me to rejoice in the fact that I am a woman, that I belong to the Relief Society, and that I get to be a Mother in Zion. I am thankful beyond words for the ordinances of the temple that allow me to have the same access to salvation as my husband, sons, brothers and father. I am happy and content letting the men take care of their responsibilities too. That is not to say, that I have never had issues with men in the church. However, I feel that these issues were the fact that they were just men with weaknesses making themselves manifest, and not because they were men exercising their priesthood wrongly. Sisters, the men do not sit around thinking up ways to exclude us, nor does the Lord. The blessings of salvation are available to anyone who is willing to humble themselves, to participate in the ordinances of the gospel and to endure to the end. As Sisters in Zion we have so much to do, there should be little time left to protest and complain. The Lord needs us to work in his vineyard.

As I mentioned, it is the contention and controversy that surrounds what these sisters are doing, that troubles me the most. The Lord does not use division to save his children. He needs us to be united; he needs us to embrace the path that he has for us. Men and women are both vital in The Plan of Salvation and we all have our unique and distinct roles. Instead of adopting the ways of the world, by agitating protesting, and causing contention, let us look for ways to magnify our callings, and to serve and love one another. Let us support and love one another no matter who we are, or what callings we hold.

39 thoughts on “There is no happiness in causing contention

  1. Joyce, thanks for your thoughts. I have never met (in person) a single active Mormon woman who would want the priesthood, but I have met many who definitely do not want it and I have met many who feel put out by the contention being caused by a very small minority.

  2. A reminder of what Elder Ballard has said on this issue:

    “Repeating what he said in general conference in April earlier this year, Elder Ballard said: “In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood-endowed plan, men have the unique responsibility to administer the priesthood, but they are not the priesthood. Men and women have different but equally valued roles. Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman.

    In the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by a husband and wife.

    “Why are men ordained to the priesthood offices and not women?” he asked, later explaining, “When all is said and done, the Lord has not revealed why He has organized His Church as He has.”

    It is when thinking about the things not fully understood that individuals have to rely on faith, Elder Ballard said.

    “Do we believe that this is the Lord’s Church? Do we believe that He has organized it according to His purposes and wisdom? Do we believe that His wisdom far exceeds ours? Do we believe that He has organized His Church in a manner that would be the greatest possible blessing to all of His children, both His sons and daughters?”

    Women are integral to the governance and work of the Church, and it is through their participation—as they serve as leaders in the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary in addition to their service as teachers, missionaries, temple workers, and in their homes—that they are able to use their unique spiritual gifts and propensities, he explained.

    “Let us not forget that approximately one-half of all of the teaching that takes place in the Church is done by sisters,” he said. “Much of the leadership provided is from our sisters. Many service opportunities and activities are planned and directed by women. The counsel and other participation of women in ward and stake councils, and in general councils at Church headquarters, provide needed insight, wisdom, and balance.”

    http://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-ballard-speaks-about-the-role-of-women-at-education-week?lang=eng

  3. I’m right with those women. I have no desire to have the priesthood. But I am thankful for it, glad my husband holds it and can exercise it in our home and that my sons will also bear it. The Lord truly loves his children. All of us!

  4. I hadn’t realized it until I read your post, but people who want to pressure the Church to change are at some level convinced that the ends justifies the means.

  5. 2 Nephi 13:12 “And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.”

    Elder Ballard made it clear that women and men have separate but equal roles. For a women to say the want both is only to mean they want to rule. Men can never create a child inside their body. What these women are asking for it to have more than what either part now has.

  6. Thanks for sharing that post Joyce. My wife and I have talked about this a few times and we echo your thoughts.

  7. I actually know, in real life, a fair number of active women who believe women should be ordained. But they are in the minority, and I know quite a few who are opposed.

    I think a more fundamental issue is the disparity of influence (as distinct from ordination), that is, that men hold all the final decisionmaking powers in the Church. Even in the Relief Society, the ward RS president’s decisions are subject to review and approval by a male, the same at the stake and general Church level. Church discipline is administered exclusively by males.

    The fairly recent change making the Ward Council (which includes some females) rather than the Priesthood Executive Committee (all male) as the most important ward governing (advisory) council under the bishopric was an important move to raise the influence of women at the ward level. Similarly, at the Mission level, women now are part of the “Mission Leadership Council” which governs/advises under the mission president. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-adjusts-mission-organization-implement-mission-leadership-council Perhaps the same thing may happen at the stake level eventually (i.e., the Stake Council, rather than the High Council, becoming the governing/advisory council under the Stake Presidency.

    In any event, I think there is recognition at the highest levels of the Church (and I think by God) that structural adjustments can be helpful to facilitate greater female participation in the governance of God’s Church on earth. I anticipate continued adjustments. Whether that includes ordination, I do not know. But I am not opposed.

  8. Joyce,

    Thank you, for adding your voice to this conversation, and for your beautiful testimony of how Jesus Christ has organized His Church. I feel so humbled by the many sisters in the Church, who also share ‘our’ feelings, standing up with us. This, to me, is how we will bring about Zion.

  9. Isn’t it odd that some are so dissatisfied with outside things, while the rest of us ever strive within ourselves, introspective, seeking balance and inner peace?

    If women need to be ordained, it will happen. Not because of boisterous agitators, “peace” marches, web pages, or blog posts. But because it reflects the Lord’s will.

  10. DavidH, thanks for bringing up the changes in the ward council and the mission leadership council. I can think of nobody I know who opposes those changes. The reason: they took place by virtue of the normal Church decision-making process, which involves revelation and acceptance of priesthood authority. The Church has made literally hundreds of changes over the years, and anybody involved with the Church over time will see more changes (just to cite one prominent example: worship services did not always take place in one three-hour block — you used to go to Sacrament and then hold Priesthood and Sunday School at different times).

    Nobody spends time worrying about these changes because they take place through the normal Church decision-making process without agitation and dissent.

    It is the agitation and contention raised that are the issues. Such agitation is exactly the opposite of the Church’s long-held method for making change. So, I hope you can see the difference between accepting change (which just about every does) and not accepting agitation and contention.

  11. I found this post very insightful. I agree with your sentiments on the issue. Your thoughts also reminded me of a beautiful scripture in the Book of Mosiah about what we should do once we have chosen to follow Christ into the waters of baptism and into his Church:

    Mosiah 18: 21–22 “And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith, and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love towards one another. And thus he commanded them to preach. And thus they became the children of God.”

  12. We live in a day when there are many political, legal, and social pressures for changes that confuse gender and homogenize the differences between men and women. Our eternal perspective sets us against changes that alter those separate duties and privileges of men and women that are essential to accomplish the great plan of happiness. We do not oppose all changes in the treatment of men and women, since some changes in laws or customs simply correct old wrongs that were never grounded in eternal principles. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, The Great Plan of Happiness

  13. Well said, Joyce.

    Contention and disputation have never been considered ends in themselves by anybody. That means, when the Lord says that there is to be no contentions or disputations, He is saying that there are no ends which ever justify those means when it comes to the church.

  14. Pingback: Feminists and General Priesthood Meeting: “There is No Happiness in Causing Contention”

  15. Joyce, I appreciate your post.

    Some of the women who want to be ordained are saying all they want is for the prophet to ask the Lord. How do they know he has not asked?

  16. I once prayed to the Lord that I would be able to have sufficient for my needs, and that I would be able to exert an influence for good.

    His response in my mind was a question: “Did you just pray to me for money and power?”

    It’s a good question. I can think of lots of people who should be asking it of themselves.

  17. Here is a thought experiment: What if a group of Mormon bishops were to demonstrate outside the Conference Center during General Conference demanding that they be paid for the work they perform as pastors of their wards. Since they are called to serve more hours per week than other positions, and have more significant responsibilities, they want the president if the Church and the apostles to ask God for a revelation that will authorize that bishops receive financial compensation for their extra sacrifice. And if not pay, maybe season tickets for BYU home games?

    I think we would all immediately recognize that such a demand is contrary to the fundamental nature of the priesthood in the LDS Church, which requires meek and unselfish service in order to receive the endorsement of God and His promised endowment of spiritual power. The demand may seem just if the Church were merely a secular institution, but the priesthood as it has been revealed in 1829, 1836 and thereafter, makes demands on us on behalf of God. It teaches us to subordinate our will and ego and ambition to the will of God. Ambition and the urge for power over others invalidates any priesthood ordination. To assert in the imperative “Ordain Women!” Is to demonstrate that you do not understand what ordination is for.

  18. It bears mentioning that the priesthood session was broadcast over the internet for the first time instead of having to wait to read it in the Ensign. This was a big step forward in my humble opinion also.

  19. “It bears mentioning that the priesthood session was broadcast over the internet for the first time instead of having to wait to read it in the Ensign. This was a big step forward in my humble opinion also.”

    I am not so sure this should be counted as a “victory” for women. Now, they get their husbands hanging around the house in pajamas — rather than heading off to Church? No more “ladies’ night out” for Priesthood session. Seems like another loss for the ladies to me.

  20. Absolutely beautifully expresses my exact sentiments on this issue, on the role of councils in the Church, the humanity of our brethren, the exercise of the Priesthood power, and the role of women in the great Plan of Salvation. Bravo!

  21. Why would you preface this with ” I am not a feminist?” We need to be careful with our petitions to the Lord. He has granted the desires of our heart after several “no’s” and that didn’t turn out so well. I don’t know why they can be admitted, other than to allow for more of the intended target audience. But it’s on TV anyway. Chill out and listen at home. They shouldn’t think they should crowd out the seats of the bretheren, any more than the bretheren take our seats at general RS conference sessions. Crazy. These women would get more accomplished by classier moves. Wheter the sister eventually receive the Priesthood is up to Him. I have little idea of His long-term plans. We need to be still and remember He is God.

  22. I began with “I am not a feminist” because of the next point. I am a daughter of God, and that’s all I need to be. Feminist is a label and a movement of the world. I don’t want to be associated with it, or the things that people do under this banner.

  23. I agree about going about this in a contentious way. It actually surprises me that any LDS woman would basically be demanding the priesthood from the church leaders.
    I would just like to share a quick thought.
    Women are powerful! We can have such an influence and control over what occurs in our homes. I believe that women were born with something natural and equal to, if not better than the priesthood. I feel we never needed to put a name to the natural gift we have as women because we should not be letting our egos get in our way when it comes to religion.
    I think men are different in that they need to feel like they are of importance when making decisions in the home. But I can tell you that it is the women who confide in their husbands and discuss the family’s needs that are using their natural gifts to the fullest. Hello! You are the one who influences your husband to do many things. Back to school blessing, fathers blessings, healing of the sick blessings, we put together the majority if FHE nights, we gather the family for prayer and we are the ones who can influence our husbands to use the priesthood in the home the way we see fit.
    I hope that women can relax and have the knowledge that I do. And that is, that in a way we do have the priesthood because we have a way of influencing our husbands in the home.
    Relax ladies! All good things really do come with time! I also want to note that I am more of a liberal and feminist on most issues but when it comes to The Lord, trust in him. This is not an issue than can or should be forced.

  24. Thanks for writing. I do not have the priesthood in my home, but have always had great neighbors to step up when I have ever needed help. I trust that heavenly father knows what is best for me and my girls, and will always feel that way. If in time that changes, then so be it, but I have no interest in holding the priesthood. I know also that if I ever am in desperate need of help, I can offer up prayer. If it’s whats best for me I know HF will provide for us.

  25. Heidi, I so agree. I was once home alone and far from other members of the church. My husband was out looking for work, before the days of cell phone so I couldn’t reach him. My little son drove a shovel through his bare big toe and just about severed it completely. We didn’t have medical insurance so I cleaned and wrapped it tightly and laid him on the couch with the foot elevated. He asked me for a blessing. You just can’t tell you child you can’t have one. I gathered him in my arms and plead with the Lord to bless him and be mindful that his father held the priesthood and would give him a blessing if he were there. It wasn’t long after that prayer when my son wanted to get up and run a around and play. It took all I could to make him lay quiet on the couch until his father came home hours later. We unwrapped the toe and it was completely healed. There was a faint white mark on the toe nail and little scratches on the edges. But it was healed. I will never forget that lesson I learned. If women are faithful they will never be denied priesthood blessings in time of need. Even when a priesthood holder is not around. These women wanting the priesthood just don’t understand what they already have.

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