Shafts in the Whirlwind

…when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind
Helaman 5:12

Let me begin frankly: I think those who support Ordain Women are wrong.

I also think that many who oppose Ordain Women are wrong.

I don’t see how else to write this, so I’m dividing this into columns. On the left, my words to the members and supporters of Ordain Women. On the right, my words to those who oppose it so vehemently that they say things like “excommunication,” “apostasy,” and “form your own church.”

To the Supporters of Ordain Women

Can you believe I love you while I think that you’re wrong? I hope you can.

It’s not because of blind faith in our leaders. I can see approaching the Prophet in the spirit of Jethro, as Moses’ father-in-law came and corrected him when he was failing to delegate responsibility to others. I don’t think asking for admittance to the Priesthood Session of General Conference was how this could be accomplished, but my point is this: our leaders aren’t infallible, and they can at times merit information from man. That said, in this case, I believe the Prophet and other General Authorities to be correct, and Ordain Women to be wrong.

You’ve heard all the arguments by now. I believe that many of you have felt it in your hearts that what you’re doing is right. But there’s precedent here as well.

And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this are ye justified?

Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong.

D&C 50:15-16

There are such things as false spirits. Establishing that one has been deceived is hard to determine. How can I know that the impression I felt to write this wasn’t a false one?

I guess, in the end, I don’t. Perhaps I’m being deceived. But I’m going to choose to err on the side of the Brethren.

Know that while I think you’ve been deceived, I still love you. I don’t know you, or your stories, but I want you as part of the Fold of God. Please accept my apology for ever allowing feelings of anger to taint my heart – see the column to the right – and forgive me if I’m offending you even now.

To the Opposers of Ordain Women

Here’s Helaman 5:12 in its entirety:

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Note the word “whirlwind.”

Often, when we find ourselves in opposition to something, we imagine a tug-of-war with the devil on one end, and us on the other end. Pull! Heave! The truth is this way!

That’s not quite right. The truth is, the devil is on both ends.

The devil doesn’t send forth his mighty wind, his shaft in the wind — no, it’s winds and whirlwinds. That is, winds from all sides. He’ll pull on us from all directions, trying to drag us down.

There are reports of Priesthood holders shouting at participants of Ordain Women on April 5th. Regardless of whether Ordain Women is right or wrong, that behavior is certainly wrong. Not misguided, or mistaken, but deliberately and evilly wrong. The devil has pulled those opposers right over the edge – their foundation was not on Christ.

I’ve been one of them.

I never shouted at anybody, but I’ve had those feelings welling up inside me. I’ve thought to shout down at those who support Ordain Women, and found myself imagining their intentions as greedy or prideful – but I don’t know the intent of their hearts, do I? Am I truly a follower of Christ if I’m “angry because of my enemy?” (Although, if you read my column to the left, I hope you’ll see I don’t consider Ordain Women my “enemy”.) Nephi knew that wasn’t right, and chided himself for it.

In short, I had to repent. Though I don’t know these people personally, they are my brothers and sisters. I don’t want them to leave the Church. I want them to receive celestial glory, just as we desire all to receive it.

If you find yourself angry at the men and women of Ordain Women, or if you sullenly wish they would just go away, you are, I believe, guilty of the greater sin.

I don’t want to post this. I’m afraid. Afraid of making people angry at me – I hate confrontation of any kind. But I believe I’m supposed to write my feelings here.

I’ve had my testimony strengthened in recent months. I know God lives, that he loves us, and that we’re going to make the world a better place wherever we can.