The Gospel Doctrine lesson #37.
The manual’s stated purpose for this lesson is, “[to] help class members recognize the need for our living prophet, understand his roles, and more faithfully obey his counsel.” Recognizing the need for a living prophet has never been an issue for me. I was born into the faith – having a living prophet is the only type of organizational structure I have personally know. I was born with a believing spirit. Believing in the authority and mantel of the prophet came easy to me. Obeying his counsel, however, is another story.
Sometimes this comes easy to me; sometimes it doesn’t.
Some of my struggles with obeying the counsel of the prophet have been the result of youthful striving for independence, a lack of maturity or an uninformed understanding of principles and doctrine. And some of it has been straight-up defiance or laziness.
But the hardest struggles have been when the counsel of the prophet doesn’t align with my lived experiences or my core values. These moments challenge me. These moments bring me to my Heavenly Father in tearful heartache seeking direction and comfort. There have been times when I’ve been able to reconcile my beliefs with the counsel of the prophet. This usually comes when I humble myself and stay open to the teaching of the Spirit. And yet, there are still some things, even in humility, I have not been able to reconcile.
So, what do I do?
I keep my covenants. I’ve lived life not honoring my covenants, and I’ve lived life honoring them. Honoring them brings me peace and hope. Being rooted in peace and hope sustains me as I put my shoulder to the wheel to collaborate in the creation of a faith community that is egalitarian and generous.
I seek personal revelation. My relationship with the Godhead is a life’s work. I’m continually learning the nature of our Heavenly Parents, to have faith in Jesus Christ and how the Holy Ghost communicates with me. Seeking revelation strengthens and affirms my relationship with the members of the Godhead.
I wrestle. Just as Jacob wrestled the angel, I wrestle with the counsel that I disagree with. And I wrestle with my feels and thoughts about it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not fragile. The Church is not delicate. So, I push back. I pull apart. I dig. I question. Yes, it’s frustrating and sometimes even scary, but I find that I am stronger daughter of God for having done it.
I get to work. Being an editor and contributor to the The Mormon Women Project gives me a platform to connect to all of you. It reminds me that I’m not alone in my faithful striving to have women’s stories shared, honored and empowered that we may be a stronger community and faith. I works as a Relief Society teacher to create space for the sisters of my ward to talk through their struggles and challenges without judgement and shame.
I bear my testimony to myself. I cannot deny the witnesses of the spirit that I have received. I cannot deny my sure knowledge that I am a daughter of Heavenly Parents, who love me. I cannot deny that I love this gospel and Mormons – with all of its/their messiness.