WHY I WILL NOT JOIN MY SISTERS IN SUPPORT OF “ORDAIN WOMEN”

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Disclaimer: this is a personal blog where I like to share and organize thoughts/feelings. I am by no means an authority on this subject and have very likely not understood it fully, as there are covenants I have yet to make in my life. I’m just expressing what I think. Any cyberbullying, name-calling, or other shenanigans done under pseudonym will not be tolerated and, I will add, are far beneath you. 

This week, my Facebook lit up with the news that the LDS Public Affairs Department had issued a statement that basically bars all Ordain Women advocates from attempting to get into the priesthood session of General Conference. I saw immediate reactions from my friends. Some shared the statement with an obvious sense of validation, others with anger and bitterness. I, honestly, was pretty surprised by it, because it takes a very proactive and forceful stance, more than I’ve seen recently.

Here’s the statement in full:

ordain women memo from lds public affairs 1
ordain women memo from lds public affairs 2

So there’s that. Consequently, there’s a renewed determination to stand in line for the priesthood session anyway coming from Ordain Women members.

So far, I haven’t really talked about the Ordain Women campaign on its own on this blog. I’ve made a few comments on Facebook, some that I’m afraid have come across as condescending and have led to many heated and long-winded conversations on feminism, and I’ve also talked about Latter-Day Saint feminism as a general thing, but aside from that, I’ve tried to keep my mouth shut and mull rather than voice any opinions or thoughts. I let them slip sometimes, but not in detail.

One thing you’ll notice about the church’s statement above is that it notes that “wonderful conversations have been held” about the place of women in the church. Ordain Women advocates would argue, “If name-calling, judgement, and a door slammed in your face is ‘wonderful conversation’, then yeah. They have.” From what I’ve seen, many of these “wonderful conversations” have devolved into us versus them scenarios, held between arrogant and insensitive members who off-the-cuff suggest that leaving the church is the best and only option for OW sisters and arrogant OW sisters who condescendingly berate everyone who disagrees with them. I worry that the real problem here is not that there is no conversation, but that conversation is either going nowhere or everywhere except forward.

And that being said, there is likely little that I can add, being one small voice in the middle of it all. But because I’m a woman in a world that convolutes what womanhood is, because I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, because I have this channel of expressing my thoughts, and because OW members are my sisters, some my friends, I feel I should share what I think, too.

You already know: I will not be joining my sisters who support the OW movement in the priesthood standby line this April. I have no interest in doing that. To be honest, I really have little motivation to support the campaign as a whole. Fight me about it, but that’s just how I feel.

For months, I have sought out the why behind the movement, reading articles, blogs, forum posts, and Facebook posts to get a sense of it. I’ve read stories of women who feel extremely excluded from their child’s spiritual development because they could not bless them. I have come to realize the pain that many women harbor when it comes to their inability to give priesthood blessings or their distrust of their bishops in matters of sexual transgression and confession. Even having read these things, I cannot say with a surety that I know how it feels to be one of those women. But they are my sisters. Their concerns are real, even if I don’t share them.

That being said, it’s very difficult to maintain that individual-focused sympathy when there are many components of the OW movement that I find incredibly frustrating. There are many reasons why I cannot stand alongside these sisters when it comes to the issue of women and the priesthood. For now, I’ll share just a few.

1. Ordain Women dialogue frequently demotes motherhood as something women “just” do. 

In everything I’ve read about the OW movement, the comments that pain me the most paint pictures of a church where women are just baby-makers. “That’s what we’re expected to do in this church,” some say. “We’re only here to pop out babies. That is the woman’s role within the church.”

I have a couple of issues with this. To start with, I don’t quite understand why advocates who are so set on erasing limitations consistently use the words just and only in the context of motherhood. It makes said limitations seem weirdly self-imposed, which causes me to ask where the real problem is. Are women outside of OW saying they only have babies? Are men saying that their wives are just mothers? Ask me, and I’ll tell you that I hear this message from two sources: the world and Ordain Women. This confuses me to no end. It would make logical sense for OW advocates to fight against priesthood holders who might tell them that they’re “just mothers,” but that message is coming from OW. The prophets celebrate motherhood, and I guess that in classic telephone game fashion, that celebration has been translated into patronizing “put women into their place” language. Is that what they’re doing or is that what we’re hearing?

While we’re talking about that message, I have to say that I don’t believe Ordain Women advocates are hellbent on destroying the sanctity of motherhood or denying its importance — that’s just ridiculous — but I can’t help but feel a bit defensive by the claim that having children is something you just do. I am almost 22, single, and have an embarrassingly small amount of interaction with children on a day to day basis. If I was to refer to childbirth as a burden, a menial task or nothing more than manual labor, that would be completely insulting. For one, because I have no idea, but also because that is not what it is. 

If we’re going to use the rhetoric “all I do is just have babies,” then let’s be completely honest about what the process of being a mother entails. I find this to be more appropriate:

All I do is experience heartache and loneliness and redundancy for years before finding a companion and choosing to sacrifice my old life to accept him, an imperfect human being who relies on me to give him strength. All I do is love him and support him and work alongside him. All I do is create life with him, house that life for nine months where my body changes and where I am overwhelmed and where I get to feel that little body press its feet against my stomach. All I do is feed and look after that little body and myself for months before being rushed to the hospital where I, for an unforeseen amount of time, push and labor to get that child out of my body with so many risks associated in the process. All I do is hold an emotional attachment to a little person who will one day grow up to be a leader and a student and a man or a woman, who will likely love me all the more for being the first one to provide for him or her, all I do is pray with that child, make that child’s world, create forts with that child, feed that child, clean up after that child, chase that child around the yard, talk about life and important things with that child, help that child change and improve, make sure they know right from wrong, make sure that they do their homework, make sure that they’re okay at night, make sure that they grow up into someone they and their father and I can be proud of, someone who loves their friends and loves their country. All I did is bring an individual into the world who will one day love and change many peoples’ lives in his or her lifetime after years of being taught how to do it by me. Yeah, that’s all I do and I’m indignant that I can’t give a blessing, too.

I don’t mean to be patronizing, but we all know that mothers are not just anything.

Lastly, female OW advocates like to talk about the priesthood as a gender neutral thing — if motherhood is our grand role in the plan, they say, then fatherhood should be the opposite, not priesthood. Why, then, can’t women have the priesthood?

What if fatherhood and priesthood holder are interconnected? What if motherhood is in fact the complimentary role to priesthood holder because it is just as important? The Lord created the universe and us, did He not? The Lord blesses all of us, does He not? If priesthood is the power of God, then creation is very much a part of that. To claim that the procreative and nurturing power of women is somehow secondary to ordination is to claim that our own existence is a secondary thing, which we know to be false because we know that God’s “work and his glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). To claim, as some women do, that procreative power is incomplete without ordination/priesthood is to be more accurate, which is why I’d guess that men bless life and women create life. Neither, you’ll note, can bless or create without the other, and maybe that codependency is the real issue. It isn’t that women are less than but that women must depend upon someone who depends upon them, which can be hard when you’re independent and a woman.

The fact that so much confusion surrounds motherhood and its place should be evidence enough that Satan is doing his best to attack it. That being said, we must be very careful that we protect and celebrate it at all cost instead of making what we are not and do not have the issue.

2. While church administration stresses the importance of ministering, Ordain Women focuses its attention on the importance of church administration.

From all that I can tell, many of my OW sisters feel less than because they do not play a more central role in church administration. They cannot be the prophet or the bishop, and that angers them. That makes them feel a sense of inequality, which is understandable, because that’s what we’re told today. If a woman cannot do the same job a man has, then geez, that is completely unfair. The weird truth of the matter is that every book and every talk I’ve heard of in the last, gee, I don’t know how long has reinforced that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is primarily focused on ministering to others. Nothing about administration matters if your administration is not centered on serving other people.

The message I keep hearing from OW is that it is so unfair for women to not sit in these spots because women can do so much good and are somehow being kept from their potential. I would argue that visiting teaching alone does more good than we could possibly imagine, more so than administering in a ward or in the Church Office Building, in some ways. It isn’t administration that ennobles us, but ministering, which we all can do and have been asked to do. Ministering is less about laying hands on a person’s head and more about giving them bread when they’re hungry, helping them fix a home that’s falling apart, talking to them when they’re lonely. Women are innately good at that, so much so that it’s no wonder the Lord has us work on a local level where we interact with neighbors, friends, and strangers all the time, people who we instinctively know need help.

Didn’t Christ teach us about ministering? I can guarantee that you’ll see the Savior ministering more times than you’ll see him managing in the New Testament and Book of Mormon. He knew, as we should know, that talking with and loving people one on one is more significant than administering. In reality, it makes no difference if women are or are not in the Quorum of the Twelve or the bishopric, because ministering matters more, and from my experience, the Lord puts us in the position where we have the capacity to minister best, not lead best.

3. What matters in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Atonement, eternal life, other people, and what we become, not who does and doesn’t have the priesthood. 

My intention in writing this post was not to be cruel or unkind, and I hope that I haven’t come across as that. As I finish with this point, however, I have to admit to some indignation when it comes to certain doctrinal topics the Ordain Women movement often, without necessarily intending to, undermines. Those things are the Atonement and eternal life.

In all Ordain Women discussions I’ve ever been a part of, not ONCE that I can remember has the Atonement of Jesus Christ been mentioned. This, quite honestly, disturbs me and causes me to distrust the entire campaign. Why is the Atonement not being talked about? Why is it not there? My guess would be that nothing else matters if not for the Atonement and nothing else matters as much as the Atonement. That is why it’s not being brought up. To me, it invalidates all arguments of women being on unequal footing, even if that unequal footing is somehow being perpetuated by church leadership.

The Atonement is the great equalizer in this church, not the prophet and not a movement that continues to make noise until something happens. The prophets certainly are led by him, and to assume they collectively don’t know what they are doing is to assume that Christ isn’t directing them (by their fruits, ye shall know them, and we have pretty great fruits in this church), but his Atonement is something he alone can give. Every single person in this church and in this world has been given the gift of the Atonement, and our salvation depends upon what we do with that gift, not about what authority we do or do not have. Through Christ, we are made equal, we are made clean, we are made godlike. He has already gone through all of the pain and all of the heartache and all of the agony to help get us back to the Lord. How can we ask him to do more? How dare we demand that from him? If he truly leads this church, then we must trust it and trust church leadership. If he truly leads this church, then how can we feel like it’s going astray because women don’t have the ordination/authority aspect of the priesthood? To say it’s going astray would be to say that Christ has no authority over this church and that everything is questionable and invalidated, and I know that it is not.

Another thing I feel OW disregards is eternal life, something that I know we are all guaranteed if we work for it. Isn’t it great? We can all become like God, no matter who we are or what we think we lack. In the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there is no limitation on what we can become. It might take different forms of doing to get there, but the reality is that we can all become like our Heavenly Father. Isn’t it funny, then, that it’s the doing that we’re hung up on? As women, we often do a whole lot: write letters, bake things, host parties, visit the whole block. As women, we often want to do more. But the Lord, in his infinite mercy, is telling us to stop stressing so much about the doing and to realize that who we are is so much more important. In taking issue with the doing part, we often forget the becoming part and don’t become who we need to. It doesn’t matter if you don’t hold the priesthood. If you’re not becoming someone better, then what’s to come of you?

The point is if I were part of a church that doctrinally denied me the healing power, the enabling power, or the forgiving power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ (Even the thought of that sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?) simply because I was a woman, I wouldn’t be standing at the tabernacle door, I would be screaming and beating at it (maybe not screaming, I’m not really like that). If I was part of a church that doctrinally denied me eternal life because I was a woman, well, let’s be honest. I wouldn’t be a part of it. The truth is that we all have access to all of these things if we choose to and all of these things are found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The ordinances help us to obtain eternal life, and it is those ordinances that matter, not the people with the authority to oversee them. For me, it’s a blessing to have the priesthood on earth at all, for what it does and who can access it are infinitely more important than what gender holds it. It’s there for all who seek it.

You see, the Gospel isn’t about you. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has never been about you or I — it’s about him. It’s his church, his word, his brothers and sisters. Even the priesthood, something that people like to claim is a gift doled out to one segment of the church, is codependent on other people and administered in his name. It does not exist without women and men and the Savior together. It just doesn’t. And to argue that priesthood authority, something that we’ve established is codependent and which has associated blessings available to everyone, is something we need more than the Atonement, something that deserves more attention than the Atonement, is to forget that we are all utterly hopeless and unworthy of that priesthood without that Atonement. The second we make this Gospel about our perceived deficiencies, what we want, what we think we deserve, and what we think we lack, we forget Jesus Christ and violate the very covenants we make every week. It is and always has been about him. We’re all given access to his spirit every single week if we so choose it. Do we really realize the power of that gift?

It’s been argued by my OW sisters that Christ said nothing about women and the priesthood, that Christ would have us as equals, that Christ would not condone contention and judgement. These things are all true, but let’s not forget that the most important thing about Jesus Christ is who he is and what he was willing to do for us. Let’s not argue over the he saids in Christ’s life or disregard the Atonement or focus so much on priesthood authority that we treat the Atonement as a secondary thing that doesn’t have the power to elevate men and women together, because that completely undermines Christ’s role and cheapens the Atonement. He is so much more important than I am or you are, and I truly believe that if we kept our covenants and always remembered him, we would feel less of a need to contend about one piece of doctrine in a huge, everyone-centered plan. We, too, would be everyone-centered, because Christ was and is.

I can’t give blessings, nor can I be a bishop. I am needed elsewhere in the Lord’s plan, and I am okay with that. I’m grateful He trusts me with His children, who matter so much more than we give them credit for.

This General Conference, I want to become something better and I want to be a better piece in the Lord’s plan. I personally cannot do that by standing in a line and demanding to get into a session to prove a point or express a desire that will not be rewarded by my presence there. I can do that by trusting in the Lord’s will, forgetting myself to go to work and actively participating in a worldwide sisterhood that is diverse and divine and more powerful than some of my OW sisters, sadly, give it credit for.

Call it ignorance, oppression, concession, or defeat. I call it faith.

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14 comments

  1. 1. Equality is not a feeling.

    2. It's fine that you don't feel like standing in line and asking to be admitted to the priesthood session won't make you a better person or a better piece in the Lord's plan. I think that it is important, however, to recognize that these women aren't doing it to "prove a point", but because they feel that it is helping them "become something better" and "be a better piece in the Lord's plan". They're doing it because some women hurt. They are doing it to mourn with those who mourn. They are doing it because gender-based stereotpyes are archaic and hurtful. I would strongly discourage minimalizing someone else's personal revelation. Perhaps these women feel like this movement *is* actively participating in the diverse, divine, and worldwide sisterhood. Perhaps this *is* the Lord's plan for them. That is called the benefit of the doubt. That is the atonement at work. That is ministry. The kindness and mercy that you are not affording them is ministry. Perhaps being part of this is not your ministry, but kindness and mercy towards them is everyone's ministry.

    3. If you're 22 and single, you haven't been to the temple. Women *are* ordained in this church. They *do* give blessings. They have a form of the priesthood. It is in the plan, just FYI.

  2. Thank you for your thoughts, Kate. You're right. I am 22 and I am still figuring things out, and I realize that my opinion is not by any means authoritative on this subject, nor is it polished and perfect. I often blog raw and rough draft thoughts, and they don't too often get read by lots of strangers, so please keep that in mind. Any minimization of pain or personal revelation was not intentional on my part, nor was any unkindness.

    As far as gender-based stereotypes go, I agree that there is much room for improvement.

  3. Be careful, Arianna, to not give Kate much consideration. Gender-based stereotypes are borne of our natural and God-given abilities and strengths. They ARE archaic, in that they are timeless and time-proven. Modern feminists are neither clever, original or helpful to the women they claim to be fighting on behalf of… they are simply regurgitating the same junk that has made women more miserable since Gloria Steinhem and her fish-piloted bicycle. They are acting on behalf of the One who would like to see us all miserable, destroying the home and family by attempting to further blur the lines between men and women. They are sad and misguided and lost.
    Kate also assumes that because you are 22 and single, that you have not entered the temple and that somehow she knows more about what goes on inside. That is an assinine assumption… many young single sisters enter the temple as future missionaries or at their own discretion at an age younger than yours. She has no advanced or inside knowledge over you (she doesn't mention if she's entered herself)… she may know what takes place, but I doubt she understands it well. I wouldn't make an assumption myself… but her comments lead me to believe she is just confused. Not bad, or evil, but confused.
    Lastly, she defend those women as ones acting out because they've received "personal revelation" that things within the Church should change. While I appreciate that Kate is trying to keep her own mind open by giving these women the benefit of the doubt, we (and she) have been taught that these protestors are not capable of receiving revelation on behalf of the Church. We are also taught that "by their fruits, ye shall know them". Angry, abrasive, confrontational protests are neither conducive nor feminine. They are not helpful or even effective. These women do not speak for you or for me, but they don't care. They want what they want FOR THEMSELVES. This is fruit enough for me to recognize how misled they have become.
    I appreciate your comments and I think you have made some great points in your blog post. I am sure you will make a fantastic wife and mother some day, and if that is "all" that you do, if you are "just" a mother like me someday, I hope that you will find much joy and satisfaction in the gender-based stereotype of "mommy".

  4. Hoooooo-ee, this is a fun can of worms. (Typoed that one "can of words," which might also be fitting, eh?)
    Yuck.
    I hate contention. Thank you for trying to articulate yourself in a manner than is not contentious.

  5. 1 – I am LDS. 2 – I am male. I understand that according to some these facts make me incapable of contributing meaningfully to the discussion. Let me say simply to you, Arianna that I appreciate the thoughtfulness that you put into this post. I will contribute by saying I am fundamentally opposed to discrimination or bigotry of any kind and I also have a strong testimony of the Lord and His prophet. I have seen this as a potential paradox in many areas – one of them the issue presently being discussed. I appreciate the way you clearly demonstrated how it is possible to transcend that paradox. In point of fact, how it really isn't a paradox at all.

    One last point in support of chz2bhpy, but based on your opening to your point 3 above I believe you likely don't need me to point it out – Kate made what felt to me like token appeals to ministering and becoming, and yet still left the Atonement completely out of it.

  6. Thoughtful approach and response Arianna. Thanks for sharing your considered view. I'll add that, where Kate is right that the temple has clear indications that women can and will be more involved in the administration of priesthood, it also does not align wholly with your conclusion that "we all have access to all of these things if we choose to." The ordinances for men and women in the temple are different, and women receive different promises than men. I won't dive into it here, but these differences have been highly problematic for me and many other members, in that they don't ultimately represent the church's claims that "all are like unto God" and that we all receive the same/equal promises and ordinances (a claim often made over the pulpit by our highest leaders). That is simply untrue: the differentiations are hurtful to many, and not acknowledging them in our narrative about supposed equal blessings of the priesthood, access to God in the temple, and the same promises and covenants, all can also be problematic.

    Just wanted to throw that into the discussion. Thanks for framing this with a tone that, regardless of your OW opinion, invites kindness and respect for all people engaging in the conversation.

  7. The temple is beautiful and sacred. We have all been promised eternal life if we live worthily. That is the greatest of all the gifts of God and is available to all men and women equally. Focusing on the atonement and having faith in Jesus Christ is always the answer. He will make all things right. All he asks of us is that we continue to have faith and follow the prophet.

  8. I just wanted to say that this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Well thought out, well articulated. It is rare to find anything on this subject that I feel is wholly uncontentious and also striving to use basic doctrine. Joseph Smith said that “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 121) And I believe it was President Hinckley who said 'It's true isn't it? Then what else matters?' It is wonderful that when so many are not, you pointed to Him. There really should be nothing more important to us than the Savior and the Atonement.

  9. Arianna First off Congratulations on earning your robes symbolizing your mastery of the art of English. Those robes are probably important to you symbolically.

    I hope you will note that Elder Oaks in his opening address in priesthood meeting spoke to the female holders of the priesthood. While noting that it is ecclesiastical offices that are delegated only to worthy males within the church, women exercise priesthood Power and Authority while dressed in their priesthood robes.

    These things are sacred but openly talked about in church publications by individuals such as president Packer so I feel safe sharing them here. I will not divulge anything that is improper to the sacred ordinances.

    Women under the authority of those who hold the keys to the priesthood (ecclesiastical offices) officiate in ordinances that are preformed by priesthood keys. Since the destruction of endowment houses we no longer practice these ordinances anywhere outside the temple.

    A wonderful institute instructor invited me to see a document he had in his office. It was a letter from President Snow to his ancestor (she was RS president) because she wrote him with questions pertaining to the ordinance of healing by anointing which was a sacred priesthood ordinance practiced by women while wearing priesthood robes.

    Continued…

  10. He told her that it was correct that the men of the priesthood should be the ones to administer the ordinance of healing the sick and afflicted, that such a thing should only be done by the power of the priesthood. the last statement on the letter however was that,… however when an elder is not available to preform the ordinance that she should remember how to wear the priesthood robes.

    Women no longer preform these ordinances because those with the Keys have said they no longer are authorized to do so (Elder Oaks talk explaining this is amazing BTW). This was done, I am told because Women with the spiritual gifts of healing were being sought before the elders. and for example RS presidents were sought after for judgement and council before the presiding judge, these are duties of the Bishop not RS president. The stance of the brethren to more strictly urge the women to sparingly preform priesthood healing ordinances and eventually bar the practice altogether was impart because things were getting out of order, the men of the church are to hold ecclesiastical offices. This close of the ordinance being done by women was a legitimate function of the Elders exercising the Keys

    There is only one point in which my view diverges with that of Elder Oaks, but only in terms of semantics as it was clear he was speaking of ecclesiastical priesthood offices when he said, it is the lords divinely established pattern that only men hold these offices.

    The act of christening in Catholicism means to anoint with chrism. Christ and Messiah mean anointed to become king. this is what happens when one is christened. Men and women are not coronated as far as i know. there is some debate about that in the "Calling and election made sure" but I have little to no knowledge about that. If you wish to know about women being "Ordained" look to D&C 25 We no longer say women are Ordained members. but that language is accurate.

    But most critical is what you did point out in the post. I don't know if you were being subtle and wanted us to piece it together or if you have not done so yet. You spoke of offices and Motherhood. You spoke of motherhood as if it is something comparable to priesthood. But it is important to note Patriarch and Matriarch as a Co-presidency is the higher administrative law under the Patriarchal order as opposed to the current apostolic structure we have today.

    Motherhood I would almost say is even more precious than ecclesiastical office, except that it is a priesthood office. as is patriarch. When the Bishop enters the home of a ward member he does not preside in the priesthood. nor does he preside even if the father is not present. The Matriarch presides. So to compare Motherhood as something a man cannot have almost seems to fall short of recognizing the tender feelings of fatherhood, this is the most important priesthood calling I have ever experienced in my lifetime.

    I hope you don't see this as picking at the gnats, but as me trying to say keep up the good work, and here are some thoughts. My apologies for my horrid grasp of the English language and its mechanics. And again congratz.

  11. Honestly 1 Cor 15 Is probably my most favoritistist chapter in the holy bible

    And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

    Wonderful testimony to preach Christ risen. because nothing else matters in terms of magnitude. I almost think every major doctrine of the church can be found in or expounded upon in that chapter.

  12. I believe I know what you're referring to when you talk about different promises in the temple between men and women. I had a problem with that too until I realized the reasoning and symbolism behind it. The temple ordinances have so much symbolism to them. Almost everything is symbolic.

  13. I understand that this is late in the game, but I thought I would share anyways. This is from President Boyd K. Packer, and is a parable.

    Once a man received as his inheritance two keys. The first key, he was told, would open a vault which he must protect at all cost. The second key was to a safe within the vault which contained a priceless treasure. He was to open this safe and freely use the precious things which were stored therein. He was warned that many would seek to rob him of his inheritance. He was promised that if he used the treasure worthily, it would be replenished and never be diminished, not in all eternity. He would be tested. If he used it to benefit others, his own blessings and joy would increase.

    The man went alone to the vault. His first key opened the door. He tried to unlock the treasure with the other key, but he could not, for there were two locks on the safe. His key alone would not open it. No matter how he tried, he could not open it. He was puzzled. He had been given the keys. He knew the treasure was rightfully his. He had obeyed instructions, but he could not open the safe.

    In due time, there came a woman into the vault. She, too, held a key. It was noticeably different from the key he held. Her key fit the other lock. It humbled him to learn that he could not obtain his rightful inheritance without her.

    They made a covenant that together they would open the treasure and, as instructed, he would watch over the vault and protect it; she would watch over the treasure. She was not concerned that, as guardian of the vault, he held two keys, for his full purpose was to see that she was safe as she watched over that which was most precious to them both. Together they opened the safe and partook of their inheritance. They rejoiced for, as promised, it replenished itself.

    With great joy they found that they could pass the treasure on to their children; each could receive a full measure, undiminished to the last generation.

    Perhaps some few of their posterity would not find a companion who possessed the complementary key, or one worthy and willing to keep the covenants relating to the treasure. Nevertheless, if they kept the commandments, they would not be denied even the smallest blessing.

    Because some tempted them to misuse their treasure, they were careful to teach their children about keys and covenants.

    There came, in due time, among their posterity some few who were deceived or jealous or selfish because one was given two keys and another only one. “Why,” the selfish ones reasoned, “cannot the treasure be mine alone to use as I desire?”

    Some tried to reshape the key they had been given to resemble the other key. Perhaps, they thought, it would then fit both locks. And so it was that the safe was closed to them. Their reshaped keys were useless, and their inheritance was lost.

    Those who received the treasure with gratitude and obeyed the laws concerning it knew joy without bounds through time and all eternity.

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