Tag Archives: women

Women

Women

Elizabethe gave an excellent talk about women in church today.  Several people came up to me and asked me to tell her how good it was.

With her permission, I am sharing it.

Elizabethe’s Talk

When I was a young teenager I wondered if we were male and female in our premortal existence or if that was part of the choice of who we are and who we will be in this earthly life. Then The Family Proclamation came along and answered my question:

“Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”
——From the church website under the topic of Women

“Women are a necessary part of the plan of happiness, and that plan cannot operate without them. Women participate in the work of salvation, which includes member missionary work, convert retention, activation of less-active members, temple and family history work, teaching the gospel, and caring for the poor and needy. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, every woman in the Church is given the responsibility to know and defend the divine roles of women, which include that of wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. They stand strong and immovable in faith, in family, and in relief. Women participate in councils that oversee congregational activities throughout the world. They also have, by divine nature, the greater gift and responsibility for home and children and nurturing there and in other settings.”  N Eldon Tanner 1973

From the beginning God has made it clear that woman is very special, and he has also very clearly defined her position, her duties, and her destiny in the divine plan. Paul said that man is the image and glory of God, and that woman is the glory of the man; also that the man is not without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord. You will note that significantly God is mentioned in connection with this great partnership, and we must never forget that one of woman’s greatest privileges, blessings, and opportunities is to be a co-partner with God in bringing his spirit children into the world.

A Conversation with a Client

Some years ago when I was working as a computer professional, one of my clients with whom I had worked for some time expressed his gratitude and appreciation, but asked me how a woman with such obvious intelligence and skill could belong to a religion that was oppressive to women?

I was very surprised and began to educate him a little about life for a woman in the Mormon church. I told him about how we can teach and pray and sing and lead.  The main thing I talked to him about was about how our leaders respect us and how they speak to us. If you listen to our leaders speak to our men you will hear them telling the men to do their duty and to live up their responsibilities and how they should do this. They often encourage the men to be more like the women in their devotion to the gospel. But at the Women’s Conference and when they speak to the women, they tell them, “Don’t be so hard on yourselves,” and “Keep doing the wonderful work you are doing, but don’t lose yourself in comparisons, or in always feeling that you should do more. “

I talked to him about the fact that for men there is no choice, they are to be the providers and protectors for their families. They do not have a righteous choice to NOT work. But women have the choice to work or not work as suits their needs. Women are consistently encouraged to pursue an education. Women are asked to choose wisely and not jeopardize the welfare of their family and children, but we do have a choice.

But what I most appreciate about the Lord’s plan was the freedom and the respect to allow women to be primarily homemakers and nurturers, without the burden of having to also work outside the home and provide for their families. As I went on, his attitude and understanding changed dramatically. He began to understand how much the gospel principles, when practiced according to God’s plan, free us and ennoble us to be all that we can possibly ever be.

My Mother’s Quote

My mother had a lovely quote which unfortunately, I could not find to use in this talk, of one of our church leaders asking the men to whom he was speaking to be more like the women of the church. I quoted that to him and said

Elder John A. Widtse wrote:
“The place of woman in the Church is to walk beside the man, not in front of him nor behind him. In the Church there is full equality between man and woman. The gospel, which is the only concern of the Church, was devised by the Lord for men and women alike” (Improvement Era, Mar. 1942, p. 161).  Spencer W. Kimball – October 1979

Within those great assurances, however, our roles and assignments differ. These are eternal differences—with women being given many tremendous responsibilities of motherhood and sisterhood and men being given the tremendous responsibilities of fatherhood and the priesthood—but the man is not without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord. . . .
Some women . . . must work. We understand that. We understand further that as families are raised, the talents God has given you and blessed you with can often be put to effective use in additional service to mankind. Do not, however, make the mistake of being drawn off into secondary tasks which will cause the neglect of your eternal assignments such as giving birth to and rearing the spirit children of our Father in Heaven. We wish you to pursue and to achieve that education, therefore, which will fit you for eternity as well as for full service in mortality. . . .
Quentin L. Cook April 2011

Author and historian Wallace Stegner wrote about the Mormon migration and gathering to the Salt Lake Valley. He did not accept our faith and in many ways was critical; nevertheless, he was impressed with the devotion and heroism of our early Church members, especially the women. He stated, “Their women were incredible.” I echo that sentiment today. Our Latter-day Saint women are incredible!

Divine Qualities

God placed within women divine qualities of strength, virtue, love, and the willingness to sacrifice to raise future generations of His spirit children.

A recent United States study asserts that women of all faiths “believe more fervently in God” and attend more religious services than men do. “By virtually every measure they are more religious.”
. . . . We of course told her about the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations that are guided by women presidents. We noted that from our earliest history both men and women pray, perform the music, give the sermons, and sing in the choir, even in sacrament meeting, our most sacred meeting.

The recent highly acclaimed book American Grace reported on women in many faiths. It noted that Latter-day Saint women are unique in being overwhelmingly satisfied with their role in Church leadership.

Several years ago I attended a stake conference in Tonga. Sunday morning the three front rows of the chapel were filled with men between 26 and 35 years of age. I assumed they were a men’s choir. But when the business of the conference was conducted, each of these men, 63 in total, stood up as their names were read and were sustained for ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood. I was both pleased and stunned.

After the session I asked President Mateaki, the stake president, how this miracle had been accomplished. He told me that in a stake council meeting reactivation was being discussed. His stake Relief Society president, Sister Leinata Va’enuku, asked if it would be appropriate for her to say something. As she spoke, the Spirit confirmed to the president that what she was suggesting was true. She explained that there were large numbers of wonderful young men in their late 20s and 30s in their stake who had not served missions. She said many of them knew they had disappointed bishops and priesthood leaders who had strongly encouraged them to serve a mission, and they now felt like second-class members of the Church. She pointed out that these young men were beyond missionary age. She expressed her love and concern for them. She explained that all of the saving ordinances were still available to them and the focus should be on priesthood ordinations and the ordinances of the temple. She noted that while some of these young men were still single, the majority of them had married wonderful women—some active, some inactive, and some not members.

After thorough discussion in the stake council, it was decided that the men of the priesthood and the women of the Relief Society would reach out to rescue these men and their wives, while the bishops spent more of their time with the young men and young women in the wards. Those involved in the rescue focused primarily on preparing them for the priesthood, eternal marriage, and the saving ordinances of the temple. During the next two years, almost all of the 63 men who had been sustained to the Melchizedek Priesthood at the conference I attended were endowed in the temple and had their spouses sealed to them. This account is but one example of how critical our sisters are in the work of salvation in our wards and stakes and how they facilitate revelation, especially in family and Church councils.

No Apologies Needed

First, no woman should ever feel the need to apologize or feel that her contribution is less significant because she is devoting her primary efforts to raising and nurturing children. Nothing could be more significant in our Father in Heaven’s plan.

I especially appreciate this element of Heavenly Father’s plan. After 20 years of raising children in a home where I was pressured to contribute financially, I have a deep and abiding appreciation of the Lord’s plan that frees us as women to be thoroughly committed to our families when they are young and they need us.

I am very grateful for Heavenly Father’s plan and to be His daughter and to know that I am loved and appreciated. I know that His plan is the best way for us to be happy in this life and in the next.

Excommunication

Excommunication

There is so much misinformation about excommunication in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I read today that Kate Kelly, the organizer of Ordain Women, has been excommunicated for apostasy.  It is important to note that we will only hear her side of what happened.  Such excommunication proceedings are confidential, and since she didn’t attend her own excommunication, she cannot even comment on what was said in the proceedings.

It’s a sad chapter in this story.  To me, the sadness is she doesn’t understand the church or the priesthood, and she chose to continue in her fallacies rather than learn and grow.

Someone who truly believes in what the church teaches realizes that the priesthood is not controlled by man.  It is controlled by revelation.  I have no doubt whatsoever, that the brethren have prayed about the matter, and the teachings we’ve received in Conference reflect the will of God.

Someone who truly believes would take their petition to God, in prayer, and not lead a campaign in the media and through picket lines.  God doesn’t work that way.  A good example would be God’s dealings with Sodom and Gomorrah.  Look how many times Abraham petitioned the Lord to save those cities. Or, look at what happened when Joseph Smith kept going to the Lord about the 116 pages.

The logical part of my mind says Kate Kelly would, if she truly believed in what the church teaches, repent.   To quote from their own web site:

Debra Jenson of Ordain Women said, “We are deeply saddened by this news. As Mormons we recognize the gravity of this action. We follow the directive of Mosiah 18:9 and will mourn with our sister as she mourns. We regret that there is no way to predict how local leaders will react to conversations about gender inequality in the Church—-many have been supportive in these discussions, others have not. Ordain Women will continue.

(Color added for emphasis.)

One would think a penitent attitude would be to teardown the web site and disband the movement.

It’s not that Kelly believes that women should hold the priesthood.  Albeit a misunderstanding of the priesthood and womanhood in the church, it is how she has gone about her movement.

The irony of the whole thing is quite simply this…. If someone believes the church should change in this regard, that very church would cease to be the same church as we know it.  They are talking about a doctrinal, not administrative, change.  The leadership of the church does not have the ability to change doctrine.

Anyone in doubt should go read the talks of the last General Conference of the church.  (It can be found at lds.org.)

I don’t know what type of person Kate Kelly is in real life.  She may be an absolutely delightful person.  There are indications from some of the things that have been posted on Ordain Women’s web site that she’s not an active member of the church.  (By that, I mean she doesn’t attend regularly.)  Again, I don’t know, but her comment to her bishop where she says her bishop doesn’t know her leads me to believe she didn’t attend much.  But, my conclusion may be wrong.

That said, I do not sympathize with her movement.  Those involved appear to have a gross misunderstanding of how the church operates and the roll of the priesthood.   I will admit that there are some individuals in the church who are on the other end of the stick who don’t understand how women should be treated (in or out of the church), but that is totally separate (and opposite) of church teachings and doctrine.

—–

I managed to get my 4 images off to the Master Artist part of IPC.  I’ve decided, starting now, the entire year will be spent in preparation for next year’s IPC.

It is also good to know that others are very dissatisfied with how the Northeast competition was judged.  And, from some of my critiques, it sounds like some of the judges are imposing their own agenda on images.  I’m hoping IPC will prove me right on this.  If it does, I’m registering a complaint with PPA.

—–

When it comes to technology, some people… trying to say this nicely… are so ignorant.  Based on their assumptions, DiVinci was a bad artist because he didn’t use a Mac, and Ansel Adams was a bad photographer because he wasn’t using a Nikon D800 or a Canon 5D Mk III.  (Of course, neither of those existed when they were alive, but I want to make the point obvious.)

It doesn’t matter!

Someone asked me, “Don’t you want to use the best tools at your disposal?”

Well, if I could afford them.  But, those tools only offer more options, and those options are not necessarily (a) going to be used and (b) going to affect the quality of the final product.

Aye, yi, yi.

So, the next time some one asks me if I’m Mac or PC, Canon or Nikon, the answer will be to show them an image and say, “Neither.  I’m an artist.”

copyright 2014 db walton

Tomorrow’s Conference

Tomorrow’s Conference

Tomorrow’s conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been earmarked again by the Ordain Women group.  I’ve paid attention during every General Conference for the last several decades, and I have a few flaws to point out in their strategy.

Flaw 1:  The brethren will succumb to social pressure.

I quote from their website, “As a group we intend to put ourselves in the public eye and call attention to the need for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood.”

That’s not how the church works.  I’ve heard some say it was public pressure that lead to the allowing all worthy men to receive the priesthood.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Christ Ordaining the Twelve

I think I was about 12 when I learned about Blacks and the Priesthood, and I found it disturbing.  I did a lot of studying, praying and asking teachers and instructors at church.  What I learned was (1) we don’t know exactly why blacks aren’t ordained to the priesthood, and (2) someday, all worthy males will receive the priesthood (and I was taught that if not in this life, in the life hereafter.)  This is what I was taught by numerous leaders in the 60s and 70s.  In 1978, I was on my mission, teaching black family and was instructed that because they cannot receive the full blessings of the priesthood, it was not the time to proselytize them. I explained this to the family and told them I have always been taught that someday, blacks will be able to hold the priesthood.  Distraught, I spent a good portion of the night crying and praying.  The following day, it was announced that all worthy males could receive the priesthood.  I am sure I wasn’t the only one praying for such blessings, but it was a direct answer to my prayers too.

Unlike blacks and the priesthood, I have never heard the brethren say that someday women will hold the priesthood.  I have never heard any teachings that imply that someday, women will be ordained to the priesthood.  Never.  Not once.

You have to question the protester’s activity in the church and understanding of what we are taught in the church.  We are taught that the brethren lead by inspiration and revelation.  I present the following as an example relating to blacks and the priesthood:

“President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple, he presented it to his counselors, who accepted it and approved it.”  (Official Declaration 2, Doctrine and Covenants)

Someone from Ordain Women might ask,  ‘Why don’t they pray about women and the priesthood?’  Who is to say they haven’t?  In fact, I would imagine every single one of them have at one point or another to gain better understanding of the Lord’s plan.

Thus, the all of the protestation in the world will not change the mind and will of the Father.  The church is guided by revelation and not public opinion.

Flaw 2:  “Ordain Women aspires to create a space for Mormons to articulate issues of gender inequality they may be hesitant to raise alone.”

Without getting in to specifics about temple ordinances, women officiate in priesthood ordinances in the temple.  That to me is a bit indication that our Heavenly Father holds womanhood in high regards.

I’ve heard arguments about why women aren’t allowed in governing bodies of the church.  Again, most likely spoken by someone who hasn’t attended sacred councils, where women are present, and the value of their advice and guidance.

The phrase “gender inequality” raises a red flag in my mind.  No place in church teachings is there a limit placed on one’s potential and standing with God.  Yes, we do stress there are gender roles and the importance of those roles.

The Family  – A Proclamation to the World states:

“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

It also raises a red flag in its similar wording used by those who promote same-sex marriage — another issue where the teachings of the church are very clear.

To push the “equality” issue further, why can’t we all be bishops, stake presidents, seventies, or apostles?  It’s silly when you think about it.  Twisting the meaning of equality will only make the person doing the twisting angry and unhappy.  We are all equal in our opportunity to return to our Heavenly Father and be recipients of his love, however, equality does not apply to our roles and talents.  I would love to be able to speak fluent Spanish or Hebrew, but I have not been given that talent, however, I can play piano, trumpet, and I have excelled in my career as a photographer.  That does not diminish my equality before God.

Flaw 3:  “God is male and female, father and mother, and all of us can progress to be like them someday. Priesthood, we are taught, is essential to this process.”

This statement alone reflects the author’s misunderstanding of gospel teachings.  Yes, the priesthood is part of the process, but no place in the scriptures is it taught that a woman must hold the priesthood to receive exaltation.

Further, the gate to the Celestial Kingdom is baptism.  Baptism is available to all above the age of 8, and not required of God for children who die before the age of accountability.  (I should footnote all of this, but seriously, if you are a Latter-day Saint and require chapter and verse these then I’d advise you to do more scripture reading.  I don’t say this flippantly, but sincerely.)  Thus, the statement made by Ordain Women on their web site, “Priesthood, we are taught, is essential to this process”, while being true, in the context they are stating it is a perversion of our teachings — A woman does not need to be ordained to the priesthood for exaltation.

In conclusion

I refer to this quote, “We sincerely ask our leaders to take this matter to the Lord in prayer.”    Again, who says they have not, and I would ask the OW group this question:

If one of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve  stated they have prayed about it, and the answer is, “No”, would you put the matter to rest?

Well, here’s your answer.  President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Women do not hold the priesthood because the Lord has put it that way. … In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.”  Do you really think the Prophet of the Lord would make such a public statement without having prayed first?

—–

The temperatures are dropping again and it is a cold, wet day.  At least there is no snow.

My day was somewhat ruined by a hard drive that some how got its partitioning all screwed up.  I ended up having to purchase a low-level format tool and wiping the drive clean.  It seems to be working now, but I have a few days worth of backups to copy to it.  Uhg.

Another Ride

Clay and I have been pretty consistent in riding at 6:45am.  We again headed east on the Erie Canal Trail for our pre-work bicycle ride.  Today was a little warmer than yesterday.

It is lawn mowing day again.  This time I didn’t use the catcher and just directed all the clippings to one section of the lawn.  The last time it took 4 hours with the catcher, and I don’t have 4 hours to spend mowing today.

I’m still working on my book, Little Black Dress – Never Tell Your Daughters They Can’t.  I need more participants, I’ve got a lawyer, paralegal, mayor, model, student, and I could use many more.  If you know impressive women, have them call me.  The photo session takes about 15 minutes.  The more participants I get, the sooner I can publish my book.

D. Brent Walton is a professional photographer.  He is currently photographing women for his next book, Little Black Dress – Never Tell Your Daughters They Can’t.  The book will feature women from all walks of life with short biographic statements.  The book is dedicated to women who make a difference in this world.  You can see Brent’s work at http://www.dbwalton.com

Reasons are not Excuses

I was taught that an excuse was a unwarranted justification for your actions, and a reason has justification.  With that said, the reason my blog has not had a lot of photos lately is very straight forward.  It takes time to download, edit and post photos.

Thus puts me in the market for time.  I’ve found I can buy a watch that tells time in minute detail, or a calendar which is more coarse.  Neither one of them gives me more time.

I can also use a calendar program that allows me to manage my time better, or a smart phone that assists in time management too.  I can even go the old-fashioned way and buy an appointment book.  None of them will give me more time.

I’ve got 24-hours which I must use wisely, or else it is gone.  No, I can’t find it and get it back.  Once it is gone, it is gone for good.  And, in the two minutes it has taken me to type this, I have lost 120 seconds permanently.

This is not to say I will not have time to do photos on another day.  I just have not had the time lately.

Last night I had a wonderful photo session for my newest book – Little Black Dress – Never Tell Your Daughter’s They Can’t.  It is a book about empowered women.  Below is the press release that has been sent to the newspapers in the region.  Please read it, and if you know of someone who might be good to feature in the book, have them contact me.  (They must be willing to come to my studio in Palmyra for a brief photo session.)

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  D. Brent Walton, (925) 759-3002, brent@dbwalton.com

Book About Empowered Women

PALMYRA, NY – Photographic artist D. Brent Walton of Palmyra, New York, has taken on a project to create a coffee-table book about empowered women.   The book titled, Little Black Dress – Never Tell Your Daughters They Can’t, will feature women from different walks of life who have or are pursuing their dreams.  It will feature doctors, lawyers, pilots, students, just to name a few vocations.

“I raised seven daughters,” Walton says, “I grew up during the feminist movements of the 60s and 70s when girls were taking wood shop and auto shop in high school.  I wanted my daughters to be empowered with knowledge and skills as they grew up in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.  Thus, they helped in the kitchen as well as the garage.  We baked cakes, and we repaired bicycles together.  We changed the oil on the family car as well as braided hair.  I never wanted to tell my daughters they can’t do something because girls don’t do that.”

Walton’s daughters today have careers in the military, educational, homemaking, insurance, and entrepreneurial fields.  Four of his daughters have concealed weapons permits, and two have served in the military.   Being proud of his daughter’s accomplishments, Walton decided to self-publish a book about women and their accomplishments.

Concerning this venture, Walton states, “I am hoping as women find out about my project, they will come forward voluntarily.  It is an opportunity for them to blow their own horn.”

The book itself will be a large coffee-table book.  When someone opens the book, they will see a portrait of the woman on the right-hand page, with a short biography on the left-hand page.  And, in keeping with the title of the book, every woman will be dressed in black.

“Black has come to denote power,” says Walton, “and every woman featured in my book has a story to tell.  Their power may be in the courtroom, or it might be in the kitchen.”

He adds that black is also unobtrusive.  By having each participant dressed in black, attention is drawn to their face and expression.  Walton quotes Lauren Bacall saying, “I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”

Women who have a story of their accomplishments to tell, and would like to be considered for Walton’s book, can contact him at brent@dbwalton.com.   He hopes to have the book published in 2012.