Tomorrow I’m teaching a small group of 12-13 year olds about women and the priesthood. I’m still working out what I want to say, but I think I know what I want them to learn: that men and women are true equals in the sight of God. Getting to that conclusion is weighing on my mind. The narratives of the manual are fairly limiting and frankly these students are still grappling with basic gospel principles; the complexity of Nauvoo cosmology and distinctions between ordinations for health and ordinations to offices are probably beyond them.
I’m not putting up this post to solicit ideas — though of course I welcome them — but to say that callings have real weight and impact. I feel a duty to these children to teach them principles that are true and that will set them on a path for a long-term relationship with God. Sometimes the weight of the calling is crippling and it’s tempting to dodge it with games or food or walks around the building (all of which I think are an essential part of a youth curriculum, FWIW). I honestly don’t know how people handle ‘weightier’ callings where they must counsel or receive confession or succor material needs. My feelings are pretty tender when I think about how people perform these callings around the world without remuneration or glory (or training or resources, but that’s another issue!).
I waver in how I feel about God’s intervention in our lives. I wrestle sometimes in how I can feel answers to some of my prayers but not others. But somehow the kindness of others helps me bridge that gap, and the most frequent and common occurrences of that kindness are with others through Church. Perhaps the structure of the lay clergy helps us overcome some of these problems of evil by giving us the potential for reassurance and mutual support. Perhaps that lay clergy also makes it possible for us to witness miracles on a more quotidian level, helping us attune ourselves to a spirituality centered in service and daily work.
Anyways, I need to finish this lesson. But thanks to you – to all of you – who have shown me that the jewel of Mormonism is in this community of saints.