Saturday, February 21, 2015

The "Ites" Menatility

With hubbie being away and having a quiet night with just me and the four legged kiddos and nothing on television I decided to listen to one of the Education Weeks that had been taped last week.  This talk was given by Renata Forste" at Byu Women's Conference, April 29, 2010 and was entitled "Coming Together and Sustaining Each other in Righteous Choices."

In the LDS Church their is a woman's organization called the "Relief Society."  It was formed where woman over the age of 18  could come together and serve one another and their communities and edify and lift those drooping hands.  My mother loved the Relief Society and all her sisters.
Me on the other hand, have always struggled with the "sisterhood" that is suppose to en body the Relief Society.  Most of the sisters have been raised in the church and never strayed and to me they were the perfect model for that common misconception of "Perfect Molly Mormon."
I have and still do not have the traits that "Perfect Molly Mormon has."
I found myself avoiding the Relief Society like the plague.
Preferring to arrive late at the meetings and attend Sunday School and Sacrament meetings.

Sister Forste opened her talk with this passage found in 1 Corinthians 1:10:
 "Now I beseech you {sisters} by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement."

She then points out that we all "speak the same testimony and that is what unites us."
She than gave two examples, one she shared was with two of her Visiting Teaching companions both were older ladies and African American.  She made the point that she did not have very much with them in common but when they talked and shared their testimonies of Joseph Smith they had much in common and they were united as Sisters.  She then explained that she did not feel that connection in her home ward and then shared this scripture found in Romans 1:12:
 "That is, that I may be comforted with you by the mutual faith of both you and me."

She then goes on to to explain that as Covenant women we all come from all walks of life, all ages, martial status, income, ethnic backgrounds... but together "we speak the same simple testimony we comfort each other and sustain each other in our mutual faith. Our testimony of Jesus Christ crosses all boundaries political,racial...we are the same as Covenant daughters of God. That does not mean we are the same in all our life decisions or even how we live the principles of the gospel."

She then shared a statement shared by Sister Funk who was the Young Woman's President,
"The Lord wants us all to return to Him but not in a straight line; meaning that the Lord does not expect us all to be exactly alike." "We are individuals,united in our commitment to the Gospel we receive the same saving ordinances but our life experiences are not the same."

She then talks about our life experiences being different and our challenges are unique our talents, strengths and weakness and backgrounds may vary but we come together because of our same faith, testimony and commitment to the gospel.  She then explains that when we understand what brings us together is our testimony of Jesus Christ then there would be no division among us as Sisters Saints.
She then quotes another scripture from  Corinthians 12:25:
"That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another."

She then went on to tell about a division that took place in her home ward because of the diversity of the members. The ward consisted of older members and college students.  The young student wives began to feel that "their challenges and needs were so unique they needed separate attention apart from their sisters.  Some of these wives felt that they needed their own Relief Society classes specific to them.  They preferred to only socialize and Visit Teach each other. These sisters did not allow the gospel of Jesus Christ to unify them but instead being absorbed in their own needs wanted to be a part. They felt they could only come together and be sustained by those that shared the same circumstances.   Focused on themselves they could not see the strength and wisdom available to them by joining together with all the sisters of their ward"

She then talked about the Nephites in fourth Nephi, "Among whom there was not any matter of "ites" but they were in one the Children of Christ heirs to the Kingdom of God and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God."
She then quoted a quote from Sister Parkin, "Satan know that sharing unites our sisterhood through everyday and the eternities.  He knows selfishness will begin to destroy sharing, which destroys unity, which destroys Zion...Bring your talents, your gifts, your individuality so that we can be one."
She then quoted a passage from the Doctrine Covenants, "I say unto you be one and if ye are not one ye are not mine."

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!  I could so relate to those sisters who felt they needed a "separate relief society specific to me."  I had never thought I was being selfish in this desire, I felt I was "mis-understood."  I believe her talk spoke to me deeply because of an experience I had in my first year of Seminary where we were challenged to "Create Zion" and we studied Enoch's story.
 I still have that music book and I love one of the songs where the author penned these words:
 "One night I dreamed a dream; I saw a noble city, with those who were so pure and of one mind and heart.  Oh what joy, peace, and love filled the souls of Zion.  At dawn when I awoke, I looked around with longing and lo beauty was there.  I felt the joy and light.  Then I knew and the dream burst forth and was Zion."
I remember playing that song on the piano countless times.
 I had an experience that seminary year that was so very special to me that even during my darkest moments of inactivity I found my self longing for that beauty and light of Zion.

I still struggle with my sisters in my home relief society but thanks to a special friend who teaches in my beloved Branch that I love so very and with the whispering's of the Spirit I am finding the courage to attend my home branch relief society and coming out of my comfort zone and trying to see them as my sister in the gospel and not as an "ite".

I was young when I longed for the Zion that Enoch established and also the Nephite's after the coming of Christ.  That joy and happiness is so very wonderful yet can be so fleeting if one gets caught up in self.
Sister Forste then closes with another Ouch for my pride.
She related an experience while on her mission.  Her companion was always asked to speak at Zone Conference and she was never asked and she felt she was just as good a missionary as her companion and she started to feel resentment; as she prayed about it she received this message, "This is not about you.  Zone Conference is not about you it's about training missionaries and the mission leaders can call on whoever they are inspired to call on whether or not you speak at Zone Conference is irrelevant.
Just because you are not asked to speak at Zone Conference does not mean your not a good missionary.  Basically the Spirit told me to get over it."

Before this story she shared a quote from Elder Holland,
"It is Lucifer, our common enemy whose cry down through the corridors of time is always and to everyone, "Give me thine honor."...As others seem to grow larger in out sight, we think we must therefore be smaller.
 So, unfortunately, we occasionally act that way."

Double ouch for me.

In 2008 the Spirit had whispered that it was time for me to step back and let someone else step forward.  I was puzzled. I had so many amazing callings within the ward and could not imagine that coming to an end.  Boy did it come to an end.  I was reduced to being, "just a visiting teacher."  I was horrified and I must admit I reacted rather small.
 Looking back I am pained at how I belittled myself.  I had forgotten the power associated with Visiting Teaching, I had forgotten the worth of a soul but I am now magnifying my calling as a Visiting Teacher and giving it my all just as I did all my "awesome" callings and amazing things are happening.  I am no longer bothered that I am in the background.  Maybe because as Elder Pace said, " I am convinced that when we obtain a witness of who we really are and posses healthy feelings of self-worth because of it, our joy in the accomplishments of others is magnified.  When that joy is felt, we should share it .  To be humble is to recognize our utter dependence upon the Lord...To lack confidence is to have feelings of low self-worth...both pride and a lack of self-confidence cause us to  focus excessively on ourselves and to deny the power of God in our lives."

I am starting to realize who I am as a divine daughter of my Heavenly Father whose love for me is divine.  He fills my soul with peace and love when life becomes unkind.  Do I struggle with low self-worth?  Each and every day I battle my insecurities but I am getting older and that baggage is getting to heavy for me to carry.  I guess that's why the Spirit has whispered that it is time to let go of all the baggage but boy is it hard but with His help I am slowly letting go one finger at a time.

Do I still struggle with my "ite" syndrome hex yes, but fortunately Heavenly Father knows me so very well and He is so very patient as He continues to remind me of that Seminary class so many years ago where in my young heart all I wanted was to establish Zion.

May we lose our "ites" mentality that we may enjoy our shared testimonies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In closing I would like to close with another quote from Elder Pace,

 "When I leave this frail existence, When I lay this mortal by, Father, Mother, may I meet you In your royal courts on high?  Then at length, when I've completed all you sent me forth to do, With your mutual approbation Let me come and dwell with you." (Oh My Father hymn 292)

"Sisters I testify that when you stand in front of your heavenly parents in those royal courts on high and look into Her eyes and behold her countenance, any question you ever had about the role of women in the kingdom will evaporate into the rich celestial air, because at that moment you will see standing directly in front of you, your divine nature and destiny."

2 comments:

  1. I hope you don't mind me commenting. I loved your article. I am a 53 year old husband and father of 3 great grown kids. I grew up in the church but lost all my fait at around 40. I love your faith. You seem like a very sweet and down to earth person. I came upon your article as I looked up the words to that song "Zion" that I remember from seminary so many years ago in the small town I grew up in. I so loved my young life and miss all the feelings you described in your spiritual experience when you were that age. Anyway, Thanks for your words. Your friends were wise to suggest your start writing down your thoughts.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. Like you in my early teens I found myself in a crisis of faith. I was inactive for over 20 years. But the Lord placed some phenomenal priesthood friends who took me under their wings and loved me back into activity. In 97 I went thru the temple and had an Alma the younger experience that forever changed my path. Please don't count yourself lost. I have no doubts our Father in Heaven is aware of you and He is going to help you find your way back home. Your in my prayers
      Maybe it's time to take Almas challenge and replant one tiny seed and take one tiny step forward. May the Lord bless you

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