justicesword
Some years ago, I happened upon a piece of knowledge while in a conversation with my husband and our friend Michele. It may not be startling to you, but it was – quite – to me. I didn’t know what to do with it, for all it seemed to be was a mental fidgetspinner. Perhaps it was a forbidden knowledge I was not meant to know, and now this torture was my punishment. Had I remained unaware, my bliss would not have flown from me. Or perhaps maybe it was all just me. Maybe I was not spiritually mature enough to understand the reasons for what had to be only an outward inequality… right? I just had to be wrong in discovering what seemed to be, in my perception, another unfair Mormon-patriarchy-heavy gender difference that could be construed as advantageous and even self-serving, again, to guess whom? Oh, if the Ordain Women crowd caught wind of it? I knew such a jagged little puzzler would only set them to further howling and decrying… and misleading by misconstruing mustered from malice. So this spiritual Kryptonite has spent a lot of time locked up and collecting dust in the far-off library stacks of my inner thoughts; filed under P for Pandora’s Box.

But my arms and hands, and the typing fingers attached to them have a mission assigned to them and a real strength given them to enable them to accomplish all that shall be required for Good. Yes, in actuality. So I then began to ruminate upon the thought that perhaps it might be expedient for Good that the boughs of women’s bodies sometimes bear the Sword of Justice; that a woman doing such a thing might not be presumption in unrighteousness, nor power-grabbing, neither overstepping the bounds of divinely assigned gender roles. Gender roles which I accept as given from God. Yet, I wondered, can a sword ever be a tool of nurture and not destruction in a woman’s grasp?

sword of justice

“A woman’s grasp is bounded
by what her mind accepts
and her heart allows.”
– Belle S. Spafford, General Relief Society President

I decided to first study out the issue in the scriptures. Were there women of the sword, shield maidens, even “Eowyns” in scripture?

“THOU ART A BLOODY HUSBAND UNTO ME”

We have the example of Zipporah, the wife of Moses. She didn’t just carry the sword, she wielded it. Hers was the stern stone blade of the mohel. I am unclear if the required act of circumcision was a priesthood ordinance or not. Regardless, Moses wasn’t having it, and God wasn’t having Moses’ refusal.

flint-knife-egypt

From the JST Appendix, Exodus 4:24-27

24 
And it came to pass, that the Lord appeared unto him as he was in the way, by the inn. The Lord was angry with Moses, and his hand was about to fall upon him, to kill him; for he had not circumcised his son.

25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and circumcised her son, and cast the stone at his feet, and said, Surely thou art a bloody husband unto me.

26 And the Lord spared Moses and let him go, because Zipporah, his wife, circumcised the child. And she said, Thou art a bloody husband. And Moses was ashamed, and hid his face from the Lord, and said, I have sinned before the Lord.

27 And the Lord said unto Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses, and he went and met him, in the mount of God; in the mount where God appeared unto him; and Aaron kissed him.

“HEBER’S WIFE TOOK A NAIL OF THE TENT”

Next we have the example of Jael, Heber the Kenite’s wife, who slew an enemy of Isreal when he came to their tent seeking refuge, refreshment and rest. The scriptural passage doesn’t account for Heber’s whereabouts, whether present or absent. I really doubt that Jael had some kind of misunderstanding of Isaiah 54:2 when she used the two-piece sword of a tent-stake and a hammer. I assume her deed to be a presumptive act of war. Despite her use of  ruse, it is my opinion that Jael was not a murderess. Rather, much like David’s dispatch of the Philistine giant, she committed defensive manslaughter in the context of a foreign occupation of Israel (1 Nephi 4:13).

Jael

From Judges 4 in the Old Testament. (See also Judges 5:24-27)

17 Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.

18 ¶ And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.

19 And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.

20 Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and inquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No.

21 Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

22 And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples.

23 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.

“A CERTAIN WOMAN” 

Then, of course, is the nameless “certain woman” who didn’t need to wait for her sword to be honed out from the stone first, before she would chose to act in defense of truth and virtue.

millstonefragment
From Judges 9

50 
¶ Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.

51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower.

52 And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire.

53 And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull.

54 Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died.

55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place.

56 ¶ Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren:

“SHE TOOK AWAY HIS HEAD FROM HIM”

Finally, we have the apocryphal account of Judith, the devout widow who, through guile and strategem, slew Captain Holofernes with his own sword (See also Alma 52:21, Helaman 2:6, Mosiah 12:1, Genesis 38:14, 1 Nephi 4:21, Genesis 12:19). Holofernes was the commander over troops sent by Nebadchednezzar to besiege and conquer this portion of the people of Israel. D&C 91 explains that though the Apocrypha contains truth mingled with error, the account can still be of benefit to those enlightened by the Spirit. Let’s hope that I am such in my examination of the narrative.

marduksword

First I had to get over the translation. Wow! I initially found an awful modern English translation of Judith. Yay, again, for Article of Faith 8. I was amazed at the horrendous head-scratching lack which occurred, just from trying to make out the facts from this thoroughly bleached and colorless version of writ. Fortunately, we are not left completely Tyndale-less! The Book of Judith was translated and included in the original 1611 King James Version of the Bible. Beginning with Chapter 8, the Book of Judith outlines the widow’s reasons for taking matters into her own hands, all of which revolve around one main problem: the behavior of the men.  The the political leaders and priesthood-holding elders of her people have fallen so far from their daily discipleship to the God of Israel that their lack of faithfulness and obedience is obvious. Their abdication becomes open mockery as their own unrighteous dominion goes unperceived by themselves. They are left has bereft of the spirit of prayer and revelation, which, in turn, has brought an amen to the priesthood and authority of these men.  Yet, righteous Judith is counted among them and must abide the day. I found it deeply disturbing, almost in a pornography-soaked sense, that all the men, of the covenant or not, did not seem to recognize Judith as her stunningly beautiful self until she put off her widow’s weeds. Ewww. So much for all the platitudes about spiritual beauty, huh?

It reminds me of a stark and disturbing difference in treatment my virtuous daughter experienced when, after years of attending regular stake dances, she chose to cake on the make-up for a stake-sponsored LDS prom. She’d always been there, but only then did blind boys receive their sight.

JOAN OF ARC & THE SWORD OF SAINT CATHERINE

I must make a further addition to the list of sword-bearing righteous women. More is known about Joan of Arc, the prophesied Maid of Lorraine, than any other medieval person, male or female. In fact, most of what we know is autobiographical, taken first hand from her own testimony at the kangaroo court that was held in order to feign justice and condemn the 19-year-old girl to death (Mosiah 17:1).  Though the accounts of her life are not canonized as scripture, as I have learned more about her, I have come to believe that for me and other women of our day who desire endure in valiance to our Heavenly Father, perhaps these transcripts and letters should count among the writings which we call sacred. I view it as no small thing that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints produced its own documentary film about this remarkable young prophetess; significantly premiering it on that gratitude-focused American holiday of Thanksgiving.

Joan was first visited by the Angel Michael, whom Latter-day revelation identifies as Adam. Later, two other messengers came, who were known during their lifetime as Margaret and Catherine. These Joan understood to be the glorified spirits of deceased young women, the accounts of whose martyrdoms were well known to Joan due to her devout Catholic upbringing. Interestingly, both of Joan’s angelic mentors, Catherine of Alexandria and Margaret of Antioch were teen girls, just like Joan, who “boldly confronted evil in the name of truth and justice” during their own persecution-shortened lifetimes.

In fact, Joan’s famous sword was given to her, by revelation; its location made known to her through her faithful Voices. Just as was spoken to her in her mind, Joan’s sword was found buried in the ground under the rear of the altar of the Church of St. Catherine of Fierbois.  Joan’s sword had 5 crosses. The number five is a scriptural symbol for grace, the enabling power of God. She never slew anyone with it, but carried it, by her own explanation, as an example and as a symbol of the authority given to her by the One whom she called the King of Heaven.

Was there no man as pure, noble and courageous as in all of France to whom the Lord could have gone with the call, the power and authority instead? I do not believe there was.

john_lundemos_sword_of_st_catherine_02_xl-1024x768

I have been fascinated by Joan of Arc since my childhood.  Now realizing that my own given name is Katharine, I observe this Joan-Katherine connection with a degree of soberness (Genesis 37:11, Luke 2:19). My parents knew none of these things about Joan when they named me. So I continue to learn all I can about the noble and courageous Jeanne d’Arc, sensing that somehow I have this unexplainable feeling of kinship toward her for a reason, and that it is a gift.

The name Katherine “could be from a Coptic name meaning ‘my consecration of your name’.” Other etymology connects the name to the early Christian era and the Greek word, καθαρος  (katharos) meaning “pure”. Most baby name books have listed the meaning and many variations of the name as “pure in heart”, thus alluding to the Savior’s Beatitude in scripture as found in Matthew 5:8, “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” As beautifully expressed by author Elizabeth Elliot, “Purity of heart, said Kierkegaard, is to will one thing. The Son willed only one thing: the will of His Father. That’s what He came to earth to do. Nothing else. One whose aim is as pure as that can have a completely quiet heart.” I truly feel that Joan’s life and death can be properly described in these words. I hope that when it is finished, the same might be said of mine, as well.



WHERE THE “SWORD OF JUSTICE” IS MENTIONED

Having found that indeed there were scriptural examples of shield-maidens, I returned to the scriptures and the modern prophets, again. I wanted to find out if and where this specific phrase might have been mentioned and to learn what was being taught in regard to it.

The phrase “sword of justice” appears only twice in holy writ, and significantly within the Book of Mormon, the Lord’s intended book for our day:

Captain_Moroni_by_Josh_Cotton

The Prophet-Captain Moroni, ALMA 60:28-33
Yea, behold I do not fear your power nor your authority, but it is my God whom I fear; and it is according to his commandments that I do take my sword to defend the cause of my country, and it is because of your iniquity that we have suffered so much loss.

Behold it is time, yea, the time is now at hand, that except ye do bestir yourselves in the defense of your country and your little ones, the sword of justice doth hang over you; yea, and it shall fall upon you and visit you even to your utter destruction.

Behold, I wait for assistance from you; and, except ye do administer unto our relief, behold, I come unto you, even in the land of Zarahemla, and smite you with the sword, insomuch that ye can have no more power to impede the progress of this people in the cause of our freedom.

For behold, the Lord will not suffer that ye shall live and wax strong in your iniquities to destroy his righteous people.

Behold, can you suppose that the Lord will spare you and come out in judgment against the Lamanites, when it is the tradition of their fathers that has caused their hatred, yea, and it has been redoubled by those who have dissented from us, while your iniquity is for the cause of your love of glory and the vain things of the world?

Ye know that ye do transgress the laws of God, and ye do know that ye do trample them under your feet. Behold, the Lord saith unto me: If those whom ye have appointed your governors do not repent of their sins and iniquities, ye shall go up to battle against them.

SamuelTheLamanite

The Prophet Samuel the Lamanite, HELAMAN 13:5-8
And he said unto them: Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart; and behold he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people that the sword of justice hangeth over this people; and four hundred years pass not away save the sword  of justice falleth upon this people.

Yea, heavy destruction awaiteth this people, and it surely cometh unto this people, and nothing can save this people save it be repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, who surely shall come into the world, and shall suffer many things and shall be slain for his people.

And behold, an angel of the Lord hath declared it unto me, and he did bring glad tidings to my soul. And behold, I was sent unto you to declare it unto you also, that ye might have glad tidings; but behold ye would not receive me.

Therefore, thus saith the Lord: Because of the hardness of the hearts of the people of the Nephites, except they repent I will take away my word from them, and I will withdraw my Spirit from them, and I will suffer them no longer, and I will turn the hearts of their brethren against them.

And four hundred years shall not pass away before I will cause that they shall be smitten; yea, I will visit them with the sword and with famine and with pestilence.

The phrase “sword of justice” is mentioned three times by modern prophets.

youngwilford

In 1856 by Elder Wilford Woodruff (Apostle, later 4th Prophet of the LDS Church)

It is necessary to reform. The question may be asked, what is the matter? Why, we are asleep; if the eyes of any man or woman is opened as they should be, they could see the things of God as they are in one moment; they would see there is a necessity of waking up and doing something.

Here is a great and mighty dispensation committed into the hands of this people for the living and the dead; the candle of the Lord God is placed in these mountains like a city that is set on a hill that cannot be hid (Matt 5:14); the work is on your shoulders, ye Priests of the Most High God!—on you rests the salvation of this generation, and the Lord will require this stewardship at your hands.

The Lord has given you the keys of the Priesthood with all the blessings pertaining to it—as great and as mighty a work as ever was committed to any man on the earth, and that too in the midst of the last dispensation and fullness of times. The Lord requires us to prepare this generation, both Jew and Gentile, either for salvation or damnation through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the administering of the ordinances of the House of God, and we go to sleep! The Apostles go to sleep—the Seventies go to sleep—the Elders of Israel close their eyes to slumber, and we the only people God has on the earth, upon whose shoulders He has laid the responsibility of performing this great and mighty work!

 

Do you wonder that Prophets get up here and chastise, and draw the sword of justice and hold it over our heads? I do not. I wonder that our children at the fireside do not rise up and prophesy, with a voice like thunder and in flames of fire, unto their fathers and mothers, and unto the people of Israel. I know that the counsels we have had here through the mouths of the Prophets of God are just and true. I know that the warning voice that has been heard in this Stand, and the call that has been made on this floor is necessary; and I do hope and pray God that we, as missionaries, will listen to it.

I want my brother missionaries in the first place to wake up, and get aroused with the mantle of salvation and Spirit of God ourselves, and get our own armor bright. It has been justly remarked here that we have got to labor ourselves until we get the Spirit of God, and then we can walk out among the people and correct them; but if we as Seventies, as High Priests, and Apostles, and Elders bearing the Priesthood, if we are resolved to set our hearts upon things of this earth, without being engaged in the interest of the kingdom of God, what can we expect of the people? Not anything.

I desire that we may all wake up, and listen to the counsel of these men who lead us from day to day. We have no time to lose to prepare ourselves for the things that are coming on the earth; and who wants to lose his crown, his glory, and hope of eternal lives that he has had in days past and gone by receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ? No man that has any portion of the Spirit of God. Let us rise up and magnify our calling, and labor before God until we can get the Holy Spirit, and until our prayers rend the veil of eternity and enter into the ears of the God of Sabbaoth (D&C 88:2) and be answered in blessings upon our heads. Source: Journal of Discourses, 4:146

erastussnow

In 1859 by Elder Erastus Snow (Apostle)

Now, let me say to all such characters—federal officers, the army, Saint and sinner, Jew and Gentile—that instead of being protected in wickedness, they will find the sword of justice that hangs over them will soon fall heavily upon them, and when they least expect it.

Do you ask who will wield it? I answer, The Lord Almighty. He will not always look on and see this land polluted by such curses.

And those who have professed the name of Jesus Christ, and have had the testimony of Jesus, and depart from the way of the Lord, to pursue covetousness and idolatry, will be the first to feel his wrath in the day of the Lord, when he has borne with them sufficiently (D&C 112:24-26). Every man’s works will speak for him, and they will be weighed in the balance, whether he be Jew or Gentile. Every man’s works will make manifest whether he is for law and order—for the principles of the Constitution of the United States and the rights of man, or whether he is here to ride over everybody that will not be influenced by him. The man that does this will find himself in snag harbor, and he will run against snags when and where he least expects it. [He uses a powerful allusion here. See the section I compiled in a former post about Brigham Young’s allegoric teachings on the Old Ship Zion, and it being a snag ship on the river. Snow’s quote absolutely confirms what I surmised the branches to symbolize, thanks to Jacob 5 in the Book of Mormon.]


The Lord says the wicked shall slay the wicked, (Mormon 4:5, D&C 63:33) and he orders it so. I pray God that he will preserve the righteous, and endue his people who love the truth with grace, that they may let their light shine, and be able to bear testimony of the Gospel to all nations
.

spencer-w-kimball-60

In 1949 by Elder Spencer W Kimball (Apostle, later 12th Prophet of the LDS Church)

Has the world ever seen a more classic example of indomitable will, of faith and courage than that displayed by Samuel the Prophet: “One of the Lamanites who did observe strictly to keep the commandments of God” (Hel 13:1).  Visualize, if you can, this despised Lamanite standing on the walls of Zarahemla and while arrows and stones were shot at him, crying out to his white accusers that the sword of justice hung over them. So righteous was he that God sent an angel to visit him. His predictions were fulfilled in due time relating to the early coming of Christ, his ministry, death and resurrection, and the eventual destruction of these Nephite people. So great faith had he that the multitudes could not harm him until his message was delivered and so important was his message that subsequently the Savior required a revision of the records to include his prophecies concerning the resurrection of the Saints.

Proverbs31


WE WEEP. THEN I HOPE WE WIELD

The only solution I can draw from this algebra of women being placed in a gender role traditionally assigned to men is that when Women of God wield the sword of justice it is because they must, due the abdication of that royal role by the Men of God.

Zipporah had to because Moses wouldn’t.

Jael did because Heber didn’t.

The Certain Woman was certain that her gender did not disqualify her from the Good required of her: to step up in defense of her people in their peril.

Judith faithfully honored Him Who Is Faithful when no elder in Isreal desired it.

When Virtue and Truth were all but dead to the sons of men in the world, daughters of God like Joan, Catherine and Margeret were nurturing mothers to Virtue and Truth. They were willing nursemaids, even if maintaining these eternal principles meant that the required milk was the shedding of their own blood (Revelations 12:11).

WHEN WE WAIT AND DO NOT WIELD, IT IS WORSE.

One could argue that women don’t necessarily have to take up the cause. Like some men, they can avoid the sword of justice as well. But I can tell you what will happen then, and point to scripture for my example. Remember the fair daughters of the Lamanites? What a craptastic hand they were dealt. There they were, innocently frolicking in happy young maidenhood, unaware of the lust-laden dangers lurking just beyond: the wicked-nasty Wizards of NoAhtonement, who were slyly watching firm and shapely young female body parts jiggling about in so many wet t-shirts from the safety of the bushes.

O, Susanna! This nasty scene, worst of all male fantasies, has repeatedly played out in history far too many times, and I will never understand WHY THIS MYRIAD!! Out of the vegetation come those crusted-over, sin-hardened, vice-villainized vipers, those pirate priests of the forest. These fake-father Phantoms capturing Christian Christines, insisting, Mr. Rochester-like that the only right you have isn’t to judge but to sympathize with them in the circumstances they insist are not of their own making. Yes, malice-matured men more decrepit than these daughters’ own daddies. Helplessly these young women scream, as nobody but God hears them; heeds them while they are carried off to be ravenously ravished; flowers plucked; their virtue strewn and lost forever across the woodland paths like so many Gretel-y bread crumbs. May-to-December flows over and again, as Spring supports her sucking Winter parasite. We find these girls again, years later: these Sabine Women; these multiplicities of Hades-haunted Persephones; these trapped Pamelas; Or, Virtue [Un]rewarded ;  these 24 individually xeroxed copies of Elizabeth Smart who were not and never will be rescued from their Evil Emmanuels, as they silently wonder why it seems that God is not with them. Now we get the PTSD-Pity-Me Parties, as these sisters, smitten and despoiled by the Stockholm Syndrome, beg their relatives not to kill their Beloved Rapists. Yee haw. Two-score And Four Brides for Two-score Or More Brothers. It’s so musical I could break into a dirge. Seriously, it’s a fate worse than death.

carriedoff

“Yea, twenty and four of the daughters of the Lamanites they carried into the wilderness”

Think of the inner world of one of these doomed debutantes.When you’re not aghast at the survival-driven senselessness that comes rolling, blathering out of your own mouth like foaming vomit, you’re hating yourself for living a lie that makes everybody happy but yourself. You get to be the Inflatable Living Doll, the Walking Corpse, the Object of His Affectation. You get to despise your dense, dung-brained self for ever having thought that an innocent moment of youth spent one day near a forest pond was just a random event and not a tragedy that would never work out “happily ever after” for you, since God obviously doesn’t think you deserving of such. All the other Lamanite daughters look at your lopsided life and think you’re absolutely loony. Just as do you, when you look at yourself in the mirror, painting or slapping on your smile every morning you haven’t woken up dead yet. As you look at yourself with an all-consuming self-hatred burning in your eyes.  Yes, you can only look at yourself that way. You’re the only one you can safely despise with that gamma-beam ocular death-ray you otherwise must disguise from everyone else, or be punished. I’ve been there, done that, lived it.

I’d rather have been lined up at the edge of a pit and shot dead, still a virgin, or sacrificed whole and intact at the altars of the lusts of men, like the daughters of Onitah, than to have been made to make love and long, long, LONG life with a false priest! As the teen folk heroine, Malala of Maiwand said, “It is better to live like a lion for one day than to live like a slave for 100 years.”

By my own life’s education, I came to understand the Old Testament laws about stoning women whose virtue had been lost.  I came to echo, with all my heart, the sentiments of Brigham Young when he said, “When I saw a funeral, I felt to envy the corpse its situation, and to regret that I was not in the coffin, knowing the toil and labor that my body would have to undergo; and I have had to examine myself, from that day to this, and watch my faith, and carefully meditate, lest I should be found desiring the grave more than I ought to do.” (As an aside, we all know that when there’s the slightest hope of true liberty and independence to be had for young wives by virtue of their achieving the status of widowhood, it is then that old geezers will live forever. Case in point: all who abused me yet breathe.)

Oh, but wait! There’s more! Our miserable misogyny story doesn’t end there! This Magnum Opus to Female Serfdom has even more chapters. You’d think she could find some hope, somewhere. Perhaps in devoting herself to her children? As thanks for their victimization, our heroine Lamanite Daughters get to have all the children ever produced from their matings universally hated and hunted down by Nephite and Lamanite alike. The Book of Mormon reports that NONE of the posterity of the unrepentant, wicked priests of King Noah and the daughters of the Lamenites were EVER reclaimed into the fold of Christ. If that’s not the most raw deal in all of holy writ, I don’t know what is.

Yet a close second place must be awarded to the teachings in the Law of Moses which authorize 1.) a death sentence upon any new bride who doesn’t bleed like a gusher upon consummation 2.) a death sentence upon any married woman who doesn’t scream loud enough to be heard while being raped within city limits, and 3.) even countenances a rapist’s betrothal and lifelong hold upon his victim by decreeing and authorizing the forced marriage of the virgin to her rapist! So, win-win! Look at all her perpetrator has obtained and will yet obtain through his commitment to the practice of “nonconsensual immorality” (see Deuteronomy 22:21, 24, 28-29). What the what?!  Lex injusta non es lex! NOW I understand why the ever-present company of a chaperone was a necessary part of life in ancient days. It was this handmaiden who served as a shield and a protection to her mistress, being able to witness events and assure everyone of her lady’s intact honor. So bravo to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for re-introducing and sanctioning the use of this venerable chaperoning practice within the chambers of its Judges in Israel during the darkening of these Last Days prior to the return of Christ. It is tragic to me that such a safeguard is necessary within the sheepfold, not because of the sheep, but because of certain shepherds (Ezekiel 34).

So, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. I’m not putting up with mistreatment, seemingly scripturally sanctioned or not. No woman should ever have to. So cease your sighing, sit up off your grave and save yourself while the breath of life yet remains in your body! YOU are a descendant of The Mother of All Living, endowed with every life-giving, life-sustaining, life-defending power she had. So, LIVE! And if that means you pick up the sword of justice to get yourself to that place of safety, then grasp it in your woman’s hands and wield it with your woman’s arms. That means you stop waiting for a man to do it. You are no man!

youshallnotpass

 

THEN I WILL, SAID THE LITTLE RED HEN. AND SHE DID.

In all of this, I can’t help thinking of the children’s story of the Little Red Hen. The main gist of the story is that when the laborers in the vineyard are few, or slothful or unfaithful the devoted Hen still carries on. She knowing that the work of the Kingdom must somehow be done. She knows that the King is watching and will reward accordingly.

little-red-hen-black-and-white-clipart-1

In recent years, social progressives have attempted to sanitize this fable by omitting the Lord’s true principle of the Law of Harvest. Oprah-like, they wish all in the audience to believe in an unjust, overmerciful God of Free Handouts where, just under your chair you’ll find that there’s bread for you and for you and for you, too!  Yet, as Elder Lynn Robbins recently taught, “Mercy can not rob Justice any more than it can rob Sacrifice.”

The Truth still stands and remains. Unabashedly it repeats to our generation what is has told to our fathers before us:  we reap what we sow and we do not reap what others have sown. The Five That Were Foolish will not find the oil that they never collected nor will they make their way to a Door and a Bridegroom they never prepared to face.

redhen

Then I will, said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” – the Savior, as written in Matthew 13:13

 

#MormonMeToo

Unfortunately, as very recent events have shown, I think the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints currently has its hands full with the fruits of a bitter crop that has been decades in the making. It has occurred for the reasons I have outlined in this post.

It is estimated that within the Church the statistics on the issue of abuse are no different than outside of it. Therefore, all of us must accept the reality that the lives of one in three women and one in four men are negatively impacted by domestic abuse. What’s domestic abuse?  Anything which, in LDS vernacular, might be described as unrighteous dominion.  It can be physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, spiritual, mental, financial and/or psychological. As this post also demonstrates, unrighteous dominion can be committed by acts of commission AND OMISSION (i.e. neglect, apathy, cowardice, abdication, unwillingness, disbelief, mocking, withholding of compassion, refusal to fulfill duty, priestcraft, seeking one’s own will over the Lord’s will,  etc.)

I usually steer extremely clear of the blog published online by the socialist-progressive feminist folks of the Exponent II. However, their articles published under the tag MormonMeToo are crystal. Clear crystal truth and ringing loud, whether the Latter-day Saints want to hear them or not. Laugh if you will, but I am one who rarely, if ever, says, “I couldn’t have said that better myself.”  But my fingers are stilled and my satisfied mouth is shut. This truth speaking? It’s a total mic drop! There are posts that I heartily second because they speak my truth and mirror experiences and feelings very similar to those shared. I have listed these below and recommend them to your review. In all other things Exponent II, I warn you to tread carefully, for there is a definite dismantling and dishonoring agenda.  I wish to put you on your guard, for the mental landmines that make for mormon mutiny are everywhere else present there.

  1. “Healing From Sexual Abuse” by Chieko Okazaki #MormonMeTo
  2.  Guest Post: How Many Blips Are There? #MormonMeToo
  3. Guest Post: Open Letter to the MTC abuse victim and the LDS Church #MormonMeToo
  4. Start Here: Change These Policies to Better Prevent Abuse by LDS Priesthood Leaders #MormonMeToo
  5. Like A Fire #MormonMeToo
  6. Dear Mom and Dad, teach me about sexuality and consent #MormonMeToo
  7. Guest Post: Advocating for Victims in the LDS Church, Part 1 #MormonMeTo
  8. Guest Post: Advocating for Victims in the LDS Church, Part 2 #MormonMeToo
  9. Guest Post: Molested on a Young Women’s Trip #MormonMeToo
  10. Guest Post: An Open Letter to My Ward Members #MormonMeToo
  11. An Open Letter to President Nelson #MormonMeToo
  12. Guest Post: My Mission President Sexually Harassed Me #MormonMeToo
  13. When I Suffered Alone: A #MormonMeToo Post about a Bishop Who Should Have Known Better
  14. Guest Post: Bishops Need To Be Better; But So Do We
  15. Guest Post: Who Is Our Abuser? #MormonMeToo
  16. Slang Terms and Temple Recommends #MormonMeToo

In addition, I also recommend the healing stories and videos available to you on a YouTube channel called Welcome Table. A trio of truly caring LDS sisters have created a beautiful video series called Splitting the Sky. I hope the stories they collected will touch you as they have touched me.

herhands

We will stand as Witnesses of Christ at all times and in all things and in all places

PRESIDE, PROVIDE AND PROTECT

I stayed up a great part of the night last night, pondering all these strands, and trying to make sense of them in my mind. I asked myself how all this could have happened. What happened and what is happening with the men so that we now have, at worst, this vaccuum of courage… and at best, this misunderstanding of what is required to be “even as I AM” (Moses 4:2). I wondered if perhaps these were some of the reasons why the topics of revelation and the Holy Ghost were touched upon by more than one witness at last week’s April 2018 General Conference. I wondered if this was why Elder Bednar delivered the most splendid masterpiece on meekness that I have yet heard in the entire available recorded history of all the prophets since Adam.

Is it not PRESIDING for a man to wield the sword of justice in defense of truth and virtue? Is it not the men who are called to bear the holy Priesthood of God? Is it not the men who are called as Judges in Israel, and upon whose leadership the security of their wives and children, even the whole flock of God depends?

Is it not PROVIDING for a man to wield the sword of justice in defense of truth and virtue by ensuring that the green pastures of the Gospel remain verdant for all within his field of influence? Isn’t maintaining the standards of generations in his lifetime the deed which will ensure their existence and continuance in the lives of his posterity and friends?

Is it not PROTECTING for a man to wield the sword of justice in defense of Truth and Virtue, that these principles might not perish from the earth? Is it not protecting for men bearing the power of God to take up the Title of Liberty and stand as a rock of offense and a tower of defense against any who might harm their wives, mothers, daughters and sisters? Yes, even if that offender is another brother.

If a man is not doing these things, what is he doing instead, that a woman must take up this load in the name of her own: that of nurturing? I am reminded here of an image one of my YW leaders conveyed to me once, when I was a young woman. In trying to explain how a righteous father presides without oppression, and in the hope of illustrating the value of differentiated gender roles, she told a story to illustrate the principle of the righteous patriarchal family order. If a man and his wife found themselves facing an immediate danger with their children, say, an knife-wielding attacker, what would you see those good parents almost automatically do? Why, you would see the man step in front of his wife and children. You would see the woman gather all the little ones up in her arms, just like a little mother hen. She would keep them safe behind the protection of their father. Only if that father was severely wounded or killed would you see her take up where her husband left off; and yes, most of society would even expect her to do that. I felt so sad last night, wondering what it is that has been decimating our brethren. I can take a guess. The situations illustrated in the stories of the scriptural shield-maidens are those same scenerios which we face now.  Screwtape is not dead, and has perfected his traps down to an exact and efficient science of decimation.

There are at least three dangers that threaten the Church within, and the authorities need to awaken to the fact that the people should be warned unceasingly against them. As I see these, they are flattery of prominent men in the world, false educational ideas, and sexual impurity. 

But the third subject mentioned-personal purity, is perhaps of greater importance than either of the other two. We believe in one standard of morality for men and women. If purity of life is neglected, all other dangers set in upon us like the rivers of waters when the flood gates are opened. – Joseph F. Smith (Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, p.312-313)

GOD OF OUR FATHERS, BE WITH US YET. LEST WE FORGET

I can not move on with this essay without a note of thanks to the faithful followers of Christ among my Mormon brethren. I would not be able to stay in this Church  without you. I would not be able to continue to be accused of idealism without pointing to you and saying, “I’m not an idealist. He’s real. And he’s real. And he’s real. Such noble men really do still exist in our day”. You are the pillars of my temple: my Boaz and and Jachin, without whom my world would all come crashing down.

For all my talk of women taking up the sword of justice, it is men like you who I truly would rather see wield it instead. It’s like my feeling about driving. Sure, I know how to operate a vehicle and I can and do putt about in a car with the kids whenever necessary. But when I have the option, I am pleased and happy to enjoy the co-pilot position in the passenger seat. I feel safe, maybe even safer, when my husband drives. I can rest, even close my eyes and sleep in peace.

The same is true about my opinion in regard to women bearing the Priesthood of God. If there was no special role set apart for men that sparkled just as beautifully with divine joy, as motherhood does for me, where would you be? Where would I be? The honor of worthily bearing the power of God on earth makes something more of men than ever could be had of anything earthly. I have my own affairs to attend to, by reason of the missions assigned to me through my gender, my lineage, my callings, my personal assignments from Heaven (among them, those given in my patriarchal blessing), and the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I have no desire to put on the coat of mail not made for me – like David trying to wear Saul’s gear – when men’s armor never designed by its Creator to fit me.

Frankly, if  women were given the priesthood, the beehive of the kingdom of God would be run over with claimants to the throne! Every female would be buzzing that she now a queen at last, Hear Her. Divested of his duty, every last male bee made less than nothing; so yesterday and unnecessary; an afterthought doesn’t even have the lifted-up-as-eagles wings of a drone. You know what the hymn says about them, don’t you? “The world has no need of a drone.” Hardly do the Amazons, either. But the Priesthood authority is not of the world. This is the Kingdom of God! We sisters need you men to “bee” who you already are and to be who you can become. It is only by righteously exercising the Priesthood with that sword of yours,  and in concert with us sisters, that we will, all of us, get there to that prize which is sweeter than all that is sweet and purer than all that is pure. Oh that we would all awake and arise with the Hope of the Son in our eyes!

FEAR NOT

When I was a small child attending a tiny branch of the Church in Michigan, we had the miracle of having a Gospel-loving, musically-talented and enthusiastic woman and her family move into our boundaries… straight from that far-off Mecca of Utah. Sister Julie Hancock taught me the words to a hymn so well that I still know them by heart. I have sometimes wondered why the General Primary Presidency and Board were inspired to choose this particular song for the little children of our era. Yet the older I get, the more I know why it was that I was so blessed to have these words engraven upon the tablets of my heart. They speak strengthening and empowering truths.

  • Let us all press on in the work of the Lord,
    That when life is o’er we may gain a reward;
    In the fight for right let us wield a sword,
    The mighty sword of truth.
    Fear not, though the enemy deride;
    Courage, for the Lord is on our side.
    We will heed not what the wicked may say,
    But the Lord alone we will obey.
  • We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few
    When compared with the opposite host in view;
    But an unseen pow’r will aid me and you
    In the glorious cause of truth.
    Fear not, though the enemy deride;
    Courage, for the Lord is on our side.
    We will heed not what the wicked may say,
    But the Lord alone we will obey.
  • If we do what’s right we have no need to fear,
    For the Lord, our helper, will ever be near;
    In the days of trial his Saints he will cheer,
    And prosper the cause of truth.
    Fear not, though the enemy deride;
    Courage, for the Lord is on our side.
    We will heed not what the wicked may say,
    But the Lord alone we will obey.

 

hafendirecting

“To get salvation we must not only do some things, but everything which God has commanded. Men may preach and practice everything except those things which God commands us to do, and will be damned at last. We may tithe mint and rue, and all manner of herbs, and still not obey the commandments of God (Luke 11:42). The object with me is to obey and teach others to obey God in just what He tells us to do. It mattereth not whether the principle is popular or unpopular, I will always maintain a true principle, even if I stand alone in it.” – Joseph Smith, Jr

d45a1-malala-yousafzai-1-main

He Calls Me His Daughter

 

“From age immemorial, societies have relied on the moral force of women. While certainly not the only positive influence at work in society, the moral foundation provided by women has proved uniquely beneficial to the common good. Perhaps, because it is pervasive, this contribution of women is often underappreciated. I wish to express gratitude for the influence of good women . . . and voice a plea to women to cultivate the innate moral power within them.

Women bring with them into the world a certain virtue, a divine gift that makes them adept at instilling such qualities as faith, courage, empathy, and refinement in relationships and in cultures . . .

A woman’s moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home. There is no better setting for rearing the rising generation than the traditional family, where a father and a mother work in harmony to provide for, teach, and nurture their children. Where this ideal does not exist, people strive to duplicate its benefits as best they can in their particular circumstances.

In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship. By the power of her example and teaching, her sons learn to respect womanhood and to incorporate discipline and high moral standards in their own lives. Her daughters learn to cultivate their own virtue and to stand up for what is right, again and again, however unpopular. A mother’s love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly without excuses, to be serious about education and personal development, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all around them. Elder Neal A. Maxwell once asked: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? . . .

Sisters, of all your associations, it is your relationship with God, your Heavenly Father, who is the source of your moral power, that you must always put first in your life. Remember that Jesus’s power came through His single-minded devotion to the will of the Father. He never varied from that which pleased His Father. Strive to be that kind of disciple of the Father and the Son, and your influence will never fade.

And do not be afraid to apply that influence without fear or apology. “Be ready always to give an answer to every [man, woman, and child] that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.” “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” “Bring up your children in light and truth.” “Teach [them] to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.”

In these exhortations to women, let no one willfully misunderstand. By praising and encouraging the moral force in women, I am not saying that men and boys are somehow excused from their own duty to stand for truth and righteousness, that their responsibility to serve, sacrifice, and minister is somehow less than that of women or can be left to women. Brethren, let us stand with women, share their burdens, and cultivate our own companion moral authority.

Dear sisters, we rely on the moral force you bring to the world, to marriage, to family, to the Church. We rely on blessings you bring down from heaven by your prayers and faith. We pray for your security, welfare, and happiness and for your influence to be sustained.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

– Elder D. Todd Christopherson, The Moral Force of Women, October 2013

You are only trying to get your earthy education.
Defending truth and virtue is not committing a crime.

Advertisements