27 September 2007

Random Thoughts On Authorities

Since my ward has tickets to the General Relief Society meeting this year and thus my mother and sister and possibly aunts will be going together, I decided to read through the biographies of the Relief Society General presidency. This will be their first General Relief Society meeting since being called and sustained in April 2007 conference. This Relief Society presidency is surprisingly, almost consciously representative: one BYU graduate and full-time homemaker and mother with little leadership experience, one from a Latin American country who's been on missions with her husband, and one single career woman (with apparently no church experience worth mentioning in her online bio--is this just because it's less likely for unmarried women to receive leadership callings in the church?). This kind of diversity is probably easier to accomplish in auxiliaries since they change much more frequently than the General Authorities.

This has led me on a spree of semi-legitimate research on General Authorities (though I suppose technically the RS presidency are general officers) and from there to priesthood in general. Prepare for much disorganized randomness.

According to this site, "Patriarch to the Church is one of only two positions in the Church to which one may be called by right of birth (and, of course, worthiness)." Now I thought I knew everything about Mormon culture, but what in the world is the other? Something to do with Levites? Ah-ha, says Wikipedia. "According to Latter-day Saint scripture, a bishop does not need to be a high priest nor does he need counselors if he is a Levite and a direct descendant of Aaron, Moses' brother. In the LDS Church, there has never been a bishop selected under this doctrine, and such a bishop could not fulfill all the duties enumerated above (such as serving as the presiding high priest of the ward)." I forgot about that. Where in scripture does it say this and to what purpose? D&C 107:16-17. Hmm. Interesting. And no one has ever used it. I wonder if anyone in the Church could.

And what about those number limits on the size of quorums? What's that about?

A very interesting article by Elder Packer on priesthood government, a lot of stuff from which I didn't know. I think they should teach more about the organization of the priesthood in Relief Society, and for that matter Young Women's. You get a brief lesson or two about it--mostly on how to support the young men by dressing modestly and telling them to cut their hair, or later on how to help your husband honor his priesthood by asking him to move heavy objects for the neighbors. All right, that was a little overstated, but I think helping all members to better understand Church organization ought to be something we focus on. Women and men of the Church rely on the priesthood equally: we ought to understand it equally. I know I sometimes feel intimidated by return missionaries with their mysteriously obtained knowledge of the order of the priesthood, ordinances, and Church government. Is there a real reason to be secretive about these things?

And do men really learn this stuff in Priesthood, or is it like a mission thing? We were going through George's mission stuff the other day for FHE (decluttering so that all of our stuff might actually fit in our capsule-like apartment). It was the first time I've ever seen the so-called white handbook, and as I flipped through the pages, I thought, "Gee, why was I never taught all this stuff?" As a woman in the Church, I've only learned how different types of blessings are supposed to be performed by observation. Obviously, I'll probably never need to perform them myself--though unlike the Gospel Doctrine teacher in our singles' ward, I do know that women in the early Church could and did perform blessings, and still perform ordinances in the temples. Regardless, though, of whether I'd use it is the question of simple knowledge. Knowledge is the best guard against false doctrine and folk practices.

On the other hand though, Mormonism is a religion that runs on continual revelation. Perhaps providing extremely strict guidelines would limit the "creativity" that is so vital to our religion.

So that was random, but hey, I'm trying to gain some momentum here, so cut me some slack.

24 September 2007

Back from Hiatus

So, eh, it's been a long time. If my artistic expression weren't above it, I would now insert one of those anime-looking smilie faces with a nervous sweat drop coming off its face. Anyway, I apologize for being gone so long. I've been undergoing a whole bunch of life-altering changes. The ironic part about life-altering changes is that they make great material to write about, but when you are actually going through them, it's very difficult to do so. A synopsis of what has happened since I last blogged (August 1):

The Wedding
I got married. I suppose this is obvious, but I thought I'd include a few obligatory wedding pictures, all courtesy of Marisa's facebook since I don't have the candids from my parents with me and the photographer ones are all watermarked. George and I coming out of the temple. I love my dress (from Bridal Image, my aunt and grandma's bridal store in Bountiful).

My baby brother Josh (8) carrying my veil--the veil's my mom's.

Obligatory reflecting pool pictures. Note the awesome gloves and George's brown tux.

Me smearing George's face with some frosting after my cousin Barb specifically told us not to. :D This is at the reception in our backyard.

And yes, married life is great. But I see no point in writing about it since the single people will just be annoyed and hopefully the married ones already know.

And now I know I definitely disagree with Ben.

No More Double Major
I come back from my honeymoon one week late to the new fall semester at BYU and discover that physical chemistry is not really a chemistry class--it's a physics class in disguise! I passed the math class on which it is based with a C+ last fall. I hate physics with a passion because it's one of the few subjects that I have to work at. I proceed to stress out and have various mental breakdowns about my adequacy. George holds up admirably. I decide to quit the chemistry major and declare a minor instead. I am now trying to pick up the shattered pieces of my identity. Don't worry, I'll get over being a normal single-major-with-minor person like the rest of you. It'll just take time.

BYUAML Presidency
I'm now the president of the student chapter of the Association for Mormon Letters. I've started a BYUAML blog (of course) and a Google calendar to keep track of activities. I really enjoyed my first AML board meeting, and I'm flippin' excited about the Writing Conference on November 10th. Yay! I'm really interested in all the activities we've got going on, so I think it's going to be fun.

Miscellaneous Other

  • Working on my Honors thesis project, a collection of 4-5 personal essays on various aspects of being a Mormon woman.
  • Taking the LDS lit class and trying to narrow down the subject for my research paper. I'd like to write all twenty of them, but I think one will have to suffice.
  • Trying to find time to work on more Hugh Nibley stuff. I've been on a hiatus from working for Jack Welch and he probably wonders where I am.
  • Learning not to agree to do every project that comes along just because it would be so much fun. I have to have time to see my husband too.
So, I really will try to blog something real tomorrow, and it has to do with either 1 Cor 14 or D&C 93. Or maybe I'll actually post on Blogger of Jared, since I've been a guest blogger since April and written exactly nothing.