My conversation with Kathryn is still ongoing, so I think I'll continue to post bits and pieces of it here. She writes things very eloquently, and she has a different perspective on things that teaches me. So here's installment number two!
Kathryn Petersen Thompson
I’ve given what you’ve said a lot of thought over the last few days. I’ve got many thoughts so it may come out a bit jumbled. I think that the points that you made nailed my issues right on the head. The taboo regarding this topic often feels overbearing. So much of my frustration over these issues, I am learning, stems from the isolation of not being listened to. I often feel that if people would just listen, the truth we would find together would be glorious and bright. But more often than not I am met with disappointment when I try to express my views or questions regarding femininity and feminism.
Just hearing those words is healing and empowering. Saying them is even more so. I recognize that my journey of understanding, healing and growth will be different from yours, but I am grateful for the help along the way. God has lightened a great burden through you. I feel as if I can pray again without feeling as if I am running from God, afraid to admit what is right in front of me and the hurt that it has caused. I can pray again in peace and trust.
That being said, your validation to my thoughts and feelings meant so much. In a way, I feel almost as if I have cheated. From what it sounds like, you had to come to recognize and acknowledge the truths you shared by yourself (with the help of revelation alone). I, on the other hand, have found it so much easier to acknowledge these truths after hearing someone else say them. Truly, injustice has been around a long time and has existed even within the Church, the injustice itself is an egregious problem, healing is available through the atonement, and, I would add (as you implied), the Gospel is still true.
I am grateful that you and I no longer need to live in the isolation that can come from choosing not to leave the church and rather, to heal. I am so grateful God led me to you that day at that conference.
I love the quote that you shared. I had never heard that one before. Like balm to a wounded soul was the sentence, “Then shall woman reign by Divine right, a queen in the resplendent realm of her glorified state, even as an exalted man shall stand, priest and king unto the Most High God.” Much of my studying recently has been centered around the Family Proclamation, particularly the paragraph about familial roles.
The inspiration Josh and I received that informed us that I needed to go to medical school came as a shock to me. I grew up in a home where my mother and my mother’s mother and my mother’s mother’s mother were all stay at home moms and homemakers. I always thought that that was God’s plan for me as well. I still don’t have all of the answers of what God has planned for my future as a mother and physician, but I take solace in the sentence that reads, “In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” It is my belief that God, our Heavenly Mother and Father, work together in such perfect unity and individuality, helping one another in whatever roles They have.
I am intrigued with what you have to say about how this whole hurting and healing process is a central part of what needs to happen for all of us to be prepared to know Heavenly Mother. I often feel wracked with the question “why?” as it applies to not knowing our Mother in Heaven. It seems to me that many, if not most, of the issues our world is facing would be diminished (or eliminated) if we had a proper understanding of the Feminine Divine. I do not yet see the Godly wisdom (or human foolishness) that prevents us from knowing Her. If you have any insight into that that you are willing to share, I would welcome it. I do believe that the day She is revealed will be glorious beyond description. I also believe that we can individually come to know Her in small (and maybe big) ways now through revelation as I have experienced that to some extent. God is good and He and She want to give us our righteous desires as soon as we are able to receive them.
In other news, after sitting through a rather difficult sacrament meeting talk today, I asked my bishop if he would allow me to give a talk regarding what I have learned about what the Proclamation says concerning gender roles, the equality of men and women, and how we are to help each other as equal partners. I told him I would pull the information mainly from this last general conference. He agreed to let me do it although he requested that I show him the talk before I give it so we can go over it together. I know you have thought and written about that topic extensively so I welcome your input.
Kathryn Petersen Thompson
Thank you for being with me during this time Amber. It means so much.