Sunday, May 30, 2010

Strong and Immovable

This month, I keep hearing about Julie Beck's conference talk.  Everyone is reading it, studying it, and teaching it.  It is an exceptional talk.  I think that part of what makes it so great is that she sets up a standard for what women should be.   I think about Marie when I read it, which is also a part of why I like it so well. My favorite part of it is this quote:

The second general Relief Society president, Eliza R. Snow, said this to the sisters: “We want to be ladies in very deed, not according to the term of the word as the world judges, but fit companions of the Gods and Holy Ones. In an organized capacity we can assist each other in not only doing good but in refining ourselves, and whether few or many come forward and help to prosecute this great work, they will be those that will fill honorable positions in the Kingdom of God. . . . Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time. I know we like to be appreciated but if we do not get all the appreciation which we think is our due, what matters? We know the Lord has laid high responsibility upon us, and there is not a wish or desire that the Lord has implanted in our hearts in righteousness but will be realized, and the greatest good we can do to ourselves and each other is to refine and cultivate ourselves in everything that is good and ennobling to qualify us for those responsibilities."

It is a relief to have some strong and immovable ideas of womanhood that are broad enough to encompass our varied lives, but specific enough to give each of us direction.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

motes and beams

I have had some thoughts on religion that I want to share.

In Matthew 22, on of the Pharisees asks Jesus

36. Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37. Jesus answered saying, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it.
39. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
40. On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets.

I think that it is necessary to love God in every way, because when we do, we trust that His commandments will be for our good even when we don't understand how.  That makes it possible to live them.

I think the second law is explained in Matthew 7.

3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull the mote out of thine eye;and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

I think that the beam that Jesus refers to is a failure to love others as ourselves. And it is a huge problem to not love others.  We can only see how to help others when we love them.  By comparison, all other flaws are motes, whereas failure to love is a beam that gets in the way of everything.  Not just helping others, but every interaction.

When Jesus said that "On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets", I think he was explaining how we are to save ourselves and others, and that it is simply and sincerely though loving God and mankind.  I think that when those two commandments are kept, then keeping the rest of God's commandments follows more easily.

I can think of zillions of reasons that it is hard to love others as ourselves.  I struggle with that.  It is easy to love my family, but hard to love annoying or dishonest or mean people.  It's something for me to work on and it is hard for me, but I am trying to do it.  I have a lot of growing up to do.