At 5 pm, the gates closed and the sisters got fed lasagna and we took the underground tunnels to the temple. Life is good.
We're getting a lot of investigators recently who ask about women's issues in the church. We get people from all over asking, "so what does a woman do in this church" with a raised brow, and others asking about Heavenly Mother. For a while I wondered if it was something I was doing wrong in the way I presented myself that was attracting all these people. Women+church is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, but everything I've learned over the years that has given me peace in my heart is information that is irrelevant to my work as a missionary. It was quite frustrating. Sister Burgoyne said to me one day, "maybe these people are coming to you because you're the one who actually cares about this issue." I don't think I successfully addressed the concerns of all these people, but I do think that I handled it the best I could. There have been so many times in my life where I could have been having a spiritual conversations instead of intellectual ones. Intellectual conversations are important, but how many of them actually get anywhere? I've been arrogant (yay because repentance is real) to think that the knowledge that I have is enough to resolve any questions or heal broken hearts. We can pull out any distorted fact from history and dissect (misogynistic?) diction from scripture and compare numbers of "liberated women" (or whatever), but it is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that we can move on. We don't have to fix the world and its problems to feel at peace again. All we need to understand is that Christ understands: "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief".
I will admit, I have been tempted many times to be swept up in fiery arguments about scriptural interpretation and church doctrine. I am still working hard to make sure that every conversation I have is uplifting and loving. I hope that we can all receive those that have had their hearts broken by the church with love, and remember that they are only angry because something they hold dear to their hearts has been wronged by silly humans, not God. Not Christ. And let's not be those silly humans that alienate people from the blessings of the restored Church of Jesus Christ! We really can all do a little better.
And speaking of being offended: we just had an emergency mission meeting regarding the new announcement the church made about blessing children of same-sex couples. Please, dear family and friends, remember, be calm. We don't hate gay people or children.
And now, some silly pictures after this heavy e-mail!