Saturday, June 14, 2014

Old Hat

I'm sure many of you have heard of Ordain Women. Kate Kelly has made quite a name for herself in recent months, and I have seen the dividing line grow ever wider between both camps: those for women's ordination, and those who aren't.

All the ruffled feathers sparked my earlier post, Steadying the Ark.

The last few days, though, have caused me to readdress this whole thing, in light of what is happening with Ms. Kelly, and events in my own ward.

Last week, while I was home with a sick Joshua, the lesson in Relief Society apparently agitated some of the sisters enough that they went to talk to the Bishop. The lesson, of course, was on the Priesthood. They discussed this letter by Michael Otterson, spokesman for the LDS church.

I felt like Bro. Otterson's letter was thoughtful and inspired and all the talks on the priesthood given in General Conference recently, namely Elder Oaks' address, I found enlightening.

I am not a blind follower. I have questions, and I don't know all the answers. But I have faith in the leaders of the church that they will do what Heavenly Father bids them do. I know they are human, but they are so much closer to their eternity and perfection than I am. I have met President Monson (yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaarrrrrrsssssss ago), and the spirit he and the other apostles and First Presidency exude is one of peace and love. I really don't feel like these men would lead us astray.

Now, if you are still with me...

What has struck me in the last few days is that this whole Ordain Women is nothing new.

It's old.

Super old.

Like, thousands of years old.

Kate Kelly is doing nothing new.

In the 16th chapter of Numbers in the King James Version of the Bible, we get the story of some leaders of Israel.

It goes something like this (for those who don't want to read the whole chapter...I would recommend doing so...the Bible is the greatest soap opera of all times):

Four leaders of Israel, Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On, took 250 princes of Israel and tromped up to Moses and Aaron. Upon meeting them, they announced that, "Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?"

Moses then fell upon his face. I'm not sure if this was because he was dodging the potential lightning that he knew was coming, or what. But, nevertheless, he fell on his face.

I can imagine Moses' heart breaking at this moment. Here he had rescued these people from Egypt, parted the Red Sea, crossed on dry ground to the other side, fed these people, rebuked these people, loved these people, was proxy for these people with the Lord, and was on the cusp of having them inherit their own Promised Land, and there they were, standing at his doorstep demanding more.

"We're all good enough to be priests," they were saying, and were ready to take it by force.

Nevermind that the offices of the priesthood were given to the sons of Levi. And that the other tribes had their own inheritances. Grass is greener and all that.

Moses, wise man that he was, didn't tell them "no," but told them to make sacrifices to the Lord the next day, and if they were meant to be priests in the temple to the Most High God, their sacrifices would be accepted by the Almighty. If they were not accepted....

Before Moses finished with Korah, he said this:  And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?
 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
The anguish of this statement makes my heart ache, and is further troubled by the response he gets from the other two men, Dathan and Abiram (I don't know what happened to On. Maybe he thought better of it after watching this exchange between the Prophet and his brethren, and then sidestepped his way out.).

They say to him, "Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?  Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up."

At this point, Moses gets torked, and asks the Lord to not accept their offerings because they are ungrateful and spoiled (my words, not his).

He then gives them instructions of what to do the next day in the tabernacle.

The three men and their 250 princes show up next day, and present their offerings according to Moses' instructions. At this point, the Lord manifests himself to the entire congregation.

The Lord then instructs Moses and Aaron that they (Moses and Aaron) need to separate themselves from the entire congregation so they don't get burned up. In response, Moses and Aaron fall to the ground, and plead for the people, begging that the people not be punished for one man's sin.

The Lord then instructs Moses to tell the people to move away from Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and the 250 princes, which command Moses obeys.

The people "gat" themselves up, and moved out of range.

Moses then spoke to the congregation these words: Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.

After finishing his speech, the ground opened and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, Abiram, their families, and all those who were standing with them.

And the hosts of Israel ran away screaming.

And a moment later, those 250 princes were consumed by fire.

Moses then instructs the priests to scatter the burning incense as a memorial to the people so that they would remember what happens to people who try to instruct the Lord.

And that should have been an end.

But it wasn't.

The next day, the people were mad at Moses for what had happened, saying that he had killed the people of the Lord. These people really needed glasses, apparently.

They loomed threateningly near Moses and Aaron, and at the moment, the Lord appeared in a cloud over the Tabernacle.

And the Lord spoke, and Moses and Aaron fell.

And then 14,700 people died of the plague.

And there, in the middle of all the carnage, stood Aaron, holding burning incense, as a shield between those alive, and those dead from plague.

And I wonder if he walked back to his brother with a heavy heart.

Over 15,000 souls had been lost over this whole thing. All because they thought that Moses was trying to put himself in a position of power, and because they thought that their own responsibilities weren't enough, or were somehow lesser than those given to those men in the tabernacle. "Ye take too much upon you..." Those are haunting words, words that Moses turned back on them, perhaps in an effort to correct them, and to prevent what eventually came. He gave them every chance, and all this was done before the people in their entirety.

" ...then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord."

When I read these words a few days ago I thought of Kate Kelly. She has literally come before the Tabernacle of the Lord, and demanded that she is "good enough" (even though that has nothing to do with it) to hold the priesthood, and that she should have it. And she has garnered quite the following. And now she faces the gaping ground in front of her, and is offended by it, claiming, as the Israelites did, that the leaders of the church are "slaying" her, when in fact, despite warnings, she has proceeded to "make offerings" having been warned time and again and is now facing the consequences of her own actions.

The thing is, both of these tragedies could have been prevented, by humility, faith, and gratitude.

Will women one day receive the priesthood in the capacity that Ms Kelly demands? I don't know. It's up to the Lord. I will not storm the tabernacle. I will abide in my tent, and do the work given me, and build my faith on principles as they are revealed. The Lord has given me more than I could ever understand, and more than I deserve, selfish, prideful being that I am.

I will wait on Him as I should. 

4 comments:

Katscratchme said...

Yes!
Not understanding truth doesn't make it not true.
Different but equal...

Trillium said...

Amen!

Tina said...

You have such a beautiful way of speaking/writing what is in your mind and what is in your heart! Thank you for your testimony!!!

Anonymous said...

I love your biblical example here. The thoughts that kept coming to me during the last week were the references in the Book of Mormon about people in the church "dissenting" and calling the traditions of their fathers foolish and vain. These groups like Ordain Women and Feminist Mormon Housewives want the church to change to be more like the world. They feel the church leadership is to conservative and needs to change. But our doctrine is based on the righteous traditions of our fathers. It's like they are saying, "hold to the rod, but move the path so that it is more comfortable and culturally and socially acceptable."

When Ordain Women first launched, I was thoughtful about it. I prayed and I read in the Book of Abraham. I received a very clear answer about how the Lord feels about female ordination when I read Abraham saying the Priesthood was passed from father to son from the time of Adam. This is the pattern and organization of God's church from the beginning. Why would that need to change?!

I love the great talks about women and the priesthood from conference and other meetings. I love that we are exploring more the differences between the "power of the Priesthood" which is available to all men and women alike and the "authority of the Priesthood" which men hold.

We all have the opportunity to be joint-heirs with Christ, to receive all that the Father hath. Who am I to say, "my current circumstances in the church aren't enough, give me thine power" - I seem to recall Lucifer asking for God's power also. That didn't work out so well for him. --Kristin Peart

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