{feminine} A Response to "Let Us Think Strait" Part I

Saturday, September 07, 2013

This is part one in a series based off of Elder Russell M Ballard's BYU Ed Week Devotional, "Let Us Think Straight'', given 20 August 2013.

If you haven't had a chance to to listen to Elder Ballard's address from BYU Education Week, I highly suggest you do so now. I have loved the Prophet and the Quorum of the Twelve's response to the new-again hot topic of gender roles and women's place in the church. So many talks from last conference touched me with their sincere love and respect for all of God's children and especially His daughters. There are so many gems from the prophets, seers, and revelators of our church to answer concern, give peace and understanding, and affirm our purpose, value, and Christ like characteristics as women. But this speech give by Elder Ballard was a particular treat to be able to focus on one of my favorite topics at greater length and in more depth than in conference addresses. He took many of the important gospel principles involved in the discussion, organized them and layered them together to put them all in perspective of each other.

Since there is so much invaluable material in his address I'd like to respond in a series of posts, each focusing on one of Elder Ballard's five main points in turn. This week we begin with his first point:

God our Father, with His supreme and perfect love for all His children, knows the best way to lead each of us to our greatest happiness by way of the Plan of Salvation.

"Our Heavenly Father created both women and men, who are His spirit daughters and sons. This means that gender is eternal. He has a plan designed to help all who choose to follow Him and His Son Jesus Christ achieve their destiny as heirs of eternal life.
Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ are perfect. They are omniscient and understand all things. Further, Their hopes for us are perfect. Their work and Their glory is to see Their children exalted—to bring about the immortality and eternal life of mankind.
Surely if our eventual exaltation is Their essential goal and purpose, and if They are omniscient and perfect as we know They are, then They understand best how to prepare, teach, and lead us so that we have the greatest chance to qualify for exaltation ...  His comprehension, His wisdom, and His love for us are perfect. Surely we must agree that our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ know best which opportunities the sons and daughters of God need to best prepare the human family for eternal life." -Elder Ballard
The first principles of the gospel, faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Spirit, and enduring to the end, are simple and powerful (4th Article of Faith). All of the rest of the gospel are based on these principles and so are our testimonies. The core of my testimony is my knowledge that there is a God and that He is our kind and loving Heavenly Father. I know that everything He does and asks is for my good, to lead me and my family to the greatest peace, strength, and happiness possible. To have faith in Him and His Love is the basis of my life and my beliefs. It gives me the strength and the patience to withstand all the challenges of life and all that I don't know until my study and experiences can lead me to the truth.
When all is said and done, each of us has the privilege of choosing whether or not we will believe that God is our Father, that Jesus is the Christ, and that They have a plan designed to help us return home to Them. This, of course, requires faith, which is why faith is the first principle of the gospel. Our testimonies and our peace of mind and our well-being begin with the willingness to believe that our Father in Heaven does indeed know best.   -Elder Ballard
It seems counter-intuitive at times, but peace doesn't always come from having all the answers. True peace comes from either gaining the truth or having faith until we receive the truth. All truth will be ours, but we can not know all things now. There will be some things we don't know yet, so we must rely on and have faith in what we do know.
When thinking about those things we do not fully understand, I am reminded of these words by my deceased friend and Apostle, Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who said, “What we already know about God teaches us to trust him for what we do not know fully” (Deposition of a Disciple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976], 56).
And Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated in this last April general conference, “In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know” (“Lord, I Believe,” Ensign, May 2013, 94).
 In living with all the things in the world that I don't understand, I've never been disappointed when relying on faith. The peace that comes from relying on what I do know has never run out before I find the peace of understanding what had been unknown.

When it comes to women and the priesthood of God, I have never been disappointed or left shortchanged. The incredible blessings that come with being a daughter of God have never run out. In fact they have multiplied and are endless in my mind. I don't worry about what I haven't got because what I do have is far more than I'll ever be able to comprehend in my earthly state.

What I know about God teaches me that he loves me incredibly. What I know of being a woman, wife, mother, and daughter of God teaches me that He thinks the world of me and that His greatest desire is my happiness. The more I rely on that, the more I am able to see myself through His eyes, and boy can I tell you, the view is incredible.

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  1. I've always felt appreciated and loved in our church, I'm so confused on how some ladies don't feel equal. My husband has supported me throughout working full time, during my college degree (degrees hopefully). We are a team and have created that type of love and spirit in our home. I've felt nothing but love and respect when listening to General Conference talks given towards women. His greatest desire is our happinesss-love that.


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