Some obvious known facts about me…I am a woman. Further, I am a Black woman and if you take it a step further, I am a Black LDS woman. Unless you are living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard about the Ordain Women movement in the LDS faith and its founder Kate Kelly. If you haven’t, well Google it if you’d like.
There are a few blogs I’ve read recently on Sister Kelly’s excommunication that are so well written I see no need to reinvent the wheel. Two of my favorite’s can be found here and here and the two embody everything I feel as a LDS woman. What they don’t touch on though is my position/thoughts/feelings/sentiments/emotions/testimony of what it means to be a Black woman in a “white religion” (GASP…oh yes I sure did just go there).
I remember some 20 years ago when I joined this church all the grief I got from people concerned that I’d be treated poorly or who had genuine concern over the fact that I was joining a racist church. One that didn’t even recognize Black men as equal to white men until the 1970’s. Being a proverbial student type, I elected to tell these naysayers to stick it where the sun don’t shine, got baptized anyway (truth is truth after all) and then I set out on a mission to do two things…first to prove all the ways the Book of Mormon contradicted the Bible (still looking for proof 22+ years later) and get to the bottom of these racist claims.
For the sake of concise, I’m not going to get into all the people I talked to, all the research I did, all the books I read, or any of that. What I have to share about how I feel as a Black woman knowing that my beautiful Black brothers weren’t allowed to hold the priesthood until the 1970’s is this…
It has been my experience that God ALWAYS gives us what we need when HE knows we need it most. Power and authority is pointless without the ability to use it right? Let’s consider the state of Black men in America in the 1970’s shall we…actually that’s a bitter pill to swallow so maybe we shan’t. I will say this is not the first time God has withheld priesthood authority though. I’m sure all of you Old Testament fans recall King Saul right? Do you also recall how much dirt he got into for offering up a sacrificial animal without having the proper authority? I’m pretty sure, it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that the church was racist then too right because only priests were allowed to do this, not kings. Maybe not racist, but certainly classist at the very least.
OK OK…I know what you’re thinking “crazy Black LDS Woman is going WHERE exactly”…Saul wasn’t given priesthood rights and responsibilities because he didn’t need and couldn’t use them. Black LDS men were not given priesthood rights and responsibilities for the SAME reason. At least that’s how I think of it anyway. Let’s get real here people…in the mid 70’s we STILL had active KKK rallies and by active I mean publicized or well-known, we were barely 10 years post Civil Rights Era, churches and yes even schools were still segregated. With this kind of national sentiment (always of course there are exceptions but the world is built on rules not exceptions), what exactly could a Black LDS man hope to do here in the United States?!?!? I’ll tell you straight up…not much. Women have not been ordained to the priesthood for the same reason. It is presently unnecessary.
It wasn’t that church doctrine says Black men are inferior because they are Black, it wasn’t that the church wanted to stay segregated, it wasn’t that the church is racist or any of that. It was simply that fair doesn’t always mean equal. Even though Black LDS men didn’t receive the priesthood until 1978, they were not denied any of the blessings having the priesthood again on the earth allows. This same thing goes for the Ordain Women movement as well. In the Proclamation to the World on the Family, it says “all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” Yes I know a few other wormy cans that can be opened with this statement but the part that sticks out to me in light of the Ordain Women thing is this…”each has a divine nature and destiny.” My destiny as a woman is not the same as my brother’s. If we all had the same nature and destiny, wouldn’t we then be asexual beings and have no need for two genders? Men and women, by divine design are created different, but equal. I so love what Dallin H. Oaks said in a recent address on this issue and a beautiful image was created highlighting a key part of this talk. Check this out:
And, if you’d like to take a few minutes to watch the entire address, please click play on the video player below. I will say that Elder Oaks is one of my all-time-fave General Authorities EVER and it’s so worth the time it takes to watch this talk. Even if you aren’t LDS, especially if you aren’t LDS actually.
I do not take offense to the fact that my fellow Black LDS men weren’t able to hold the priesthood until 1978 and I am not at all offended that I as a woman cannot presently hold the priesthood. Just like the time came when it was prudent for Black LDS men to hold the priesthood, should the time come that the ordination of women becomes necessary, the prophet will declare it and “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same”.
Some of the best counsel I received came from a priesthood holder I adore, my chosen Dad. He said we must remember that there are two forces at work in this world and both are equally committed to their cause. Which we are subject to depends on who’s counsel we choose to take. It saddens me that Sister Kelly is choosing to listen to the influence of Satan. How do I know this is fact? Because only good comes from God and pushing an agenda and demanding doctrinal changes repeatedly due to a stated (and publicized) believe that the ordination of women is necessary is anything but good. If it’s not good, it must then be evil/lies/deceit and Satan is the father of all that. I pray that she finds peace in whatever future endeavors she pursues and I pray that those she has led astray (or those who are also listening to Satan and who share her believe) will be able to recognize whose influence they are under and act accordingly.
Yes GOD does chastise/punish/discipline. In fact, “for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:6 KJV). Remember the dirt Saul got into, and then David lost his exhalation for killing Uriah and I know you all know about Cain and Able and on and on.
And there it is there ladies and gents…it takes us both…male and female. If men were supposed to do everything women did, they’d have a uterus. If women were intended (by divine design) to do everything men do, they’d have the priesthood. Again, fair doesn’t mean equal.