I really love preparing my Sunday School lessons! We're studying the Doctrine & Covenants and church history which is not one of my fortes. I learn so much each week and wish I was more diligent in regular study.
As I read the accounts of all the amazing meetings and topics being discussed in those early days of the church being organized, I can't help but wish to have been present. Oh, to see the prophet Joseph Smith receive revelations and feel the Holy Ghost confirm his words in my heart! I admit that in the back of my mind, I'll note the meeting was attended by a small group of men and a little sadness will settle in for all those hard working women who were also sacrificing along side the men but may not have been able to be present. Inevitably, however, by the end of my readings, I'll have come across at least one account each time of a woman who yearned to be present and was able to be there too.
For instance, tomorrow's lesson is on the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. Very young children were not permitted to attend and when I read that my heart just sank for all the young mothers like myself. Then I read that a second dedicatory session was to be held the following week. Swaps anyone? Then I read about a young mother who had traveled a long way, couldn't bear to miss the dedication and was upset she couldn't find anyone to watch her six week old baby. Joseph Smith Sr., the patriarch, told her to bring the baby and promised her that the baby wouldn't disturb the meeting. His words bore true, even though the meeting lasted seven hours! HURRAY FOR HER!!!
I wonder what challenges lay ahead for this young mother that she was able to endure because of the things she saw, heard, and felt in this meeting. We know the Saints were driven from their homes a number of times in the coming years and endured losses of everything in this world they held dear. Many even buried spouses and children along the way.
I relate to this young mom. It reminds me of the life of Abigail Adams during the American Revolution. She wanted so badly to be present at all those meetings of the Continental Congress shaping our Independence and new nation - often so she could box the delegates' ears and make them see reason! What she faced on the home front and wrote to her husband, John Adams, helped ground him - and thereby the Congress - in the harsh realities faced by the young nation's constituents. I know she and many others were blessed in the lives they led even if they couldn't be where all the action was. The Lord needed her and used her where she was. He needs each of us, men and women, where we are to do our part and give it our best shot. As I go change yet another diaper, I'll try to remember that.
I am humbled. The Lord loves us all and knows our hearts. Simple as I am, He knows I need those sections in the lesson. I have a very small class most Sundays, just three girls usually. We've had some great discussions as they are able to ask questions and are often curious about women's place in the church. I am so grateful for my testimony of the role of women in the church. I know many have encountered difficult situations and been offended. My heart breaks for them. But I know that the Lord's gospel is true. A comment by the late Elder Wirthlin always pops into my head when I hear about these hard situations and I can't believe it's from 2001! Seems like it was just last conference.
"Some mistake the Church for a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, think perfect thoughts, and feel perfect feelings. May I quickly dispel such a thought? The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to help and strengthen each other as we strive to return to our Heavenly Father. Every one of us will travel a different road in mortality."
Elder Wirthlin says more great stuff on this subject, but I'll leave it at that.
Happy Saturday! We're off to see an old castle be lit up by fireworks tonight in Heidelberg with our new friend Janelle!