Today’s guest post is by Richard Redick.
Sunday, October 18, 2015 – I had a dream early this morning. This was not one of those nonsensical dreams one gets because one’s G.I. tract is working overtime while she or he slumbers. Oh, I get those, too – don’t get me wrong. I, also, occasionally get dreams that I am confident come from a source of intelligence beyond myself. I call that source God. I think many people do. This was one of THOSE DREAMS. The dream involves Latter-day Saint women and priesthood ordination. To date, women do not have priesthood authority conferred upon them in the Church, nor are LDS women ordained to the church offices appertaining to that priesthood authority denied them.
Regarding the ordination of females, I have – until today – been something of a fence-sitter on this subject. I am sympathetic to those women seeking ordination, and I do cheer them on and encourage them in bringing to light elements of LDS history that most Mormons are unaware of. When it comes to the question of whether they should be ordained, I have had doctrinal, scriptural, and traditional walls up (not that I really have an authoritative say in the matter, anyway….). The dream I “experienced” this morning has completely changed my perspective.
My dream takes place in the future, and I don’t know how far into the future. I was in a pleasant, middle-class Latter-day Saint home, sitting in the kitchen with a mother (probably in her sixties) and her grown daughter (probably in her late twenties – early thirties). We were having the most sweet, intimate conversation about spiritual experiences we have had with the priesthood, and I asked them to share with me where they were, and what they were doing when the announcement was made that women could now be ordained. I don’t know who these women were. I have never seen them before. Apparently, I was pretty good friends with them, because they really opened-up, and shared with me things that were very special and sacred to them.
The mother spoke first. She shared that she was preparing food in the kitchen, and had the Church’s General Conference on the kitchen radio when the announcement was read of this change. The announcement affirmed that revelation had been received, and that worthy sisters could, now, minister with the authority of the priesthood. This mother was so overcome, that she knelt in humility and gratitude on her kitchen floor, right then, as if to pray. She knelt, and had her head bowed, and hands folded, but she did not pray. Instead, she knelt reverently, and released tears as many deep and profound feelings coursed through her being. She felt a divine peace and joy in that powerful moment. She, then, bore testimony to me of the growth she had experienced in being able to broaden her ability to serve, since being ordained. There was the right mix of confidence, gratitude, love, humility, and POWER in her voice, and her countenance, as she spoke and shared these experiences with me. She brought a sweet spirit into the room. I felt very privileged to listen to her share these things of her soul with me.
I turned and looked at her daughter, and it was obvious to me that she wanted to share her story, as well. She explained that she was serving her church mission, and attending a broadcast of General Conference in an LDS meetinghouse. She was not in the chapel, but in one of the auxiliary rooms watching the satellite broadcast of conference when the announcement was read. She, too, was filled with many powerful feelings, instantly. Like her mother, she responded with reverence, gratitude and humility, but with her own unique twist. She did not kneel upon the floor. She stood with head bowed, eyes shut, and hands folded, and did so standing upon a folding chair. She said she did so to illustrate how this announcement lifted her up. It was not anything she consciously thought about doing. It was just what she felt to do in that moment– almost like instinct. Her eyes, too, released those tears that just could not be held back. She was a full-time missionary, at the time, and she shared how her missionary work became even more special following her ordination. She spoke with great feeling and divine power in the priesthood as she testified of the growth she had received.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. Joel 2:28
I, once again, felt privileged in hearing these testimonies. We enjoyed the sweetest spirit as we spoke of things of our souls. It had been a number of years since this announcement was made, and they had been able to have a number of experiences since then, that they could have had in no other way. I was satisfied that this is correct. We spoke so matter-of-fact about this change, because – in the dream – it was so after-the-fact.
All dreams come to an end. I awoke from my sleep, and thought on that dream for a few minutes, and, only then, did I realize that it is 2015, and neither the policy change, nor the revelation mandating it had occurred, yet. My heart sank. I was genuinely disappointed to be “back” in our present day.
My intention is not to share the words that will frame a future event. I do not know when these changes will take place. I don’t know exactly what will be contained in these changes. This is in God’s hands. The details of when this change will take place, and what this change will consist of is a matter between the Lord, and his servants who hold the authoritative keys to receive such revelations. Whether women in that day will hold the same authority, and the same offices as man (a competitive model), or they will continue in the Church under a complementary model, but with express, legitimate, authority-by-ordination, I do not claim to know. Whatever form this future change takes, I feel to say, based upon what I felt in this dream: All sense of second-class or inferior status for woman was gone. That day is going to come. I have seen it. I have felt it. It was delicious to my soul. It will be to yours, as well.
My daughter asked me, “Dad, does this mean we have been doing things wrong all along?” I answered, “Well, of course it does, honey. And, that is quite normal for us. Heavenly Father sent us down here to earth to do things wrongly, and to learn to do things correctly. Normally, we grow in that ability to do by degrees. Let me give you an example. We see a newborn baby. It cannot roll over, let alone walk perfectly upright. Several months later, we see it crawl across the room. Is it walking upright like you do today? No. But, while we acknowledge that it is failing to walk uprightly, we rejoice that it is progressing. Eventually, we see the child stand, and walking beside the edge of the sofa or the coffee table. It, still, is not doing it right, but it is closer to doing so. So it is with us, God’s children. We are getting there by degrees.” She said, “Dad, it is like we have to discover the truth!” I answered, “Yes, there is always something between us and the truth, and that something must be cleared away for the truth to be uncovered, or REVEALED. What do you think revelation is but the uncovering of that which is, presently, hidden from our view? God uncovers things; exposing them to our view. These things were always there, but, now, he uncovers them so we may enjoy them. The “now” in which God reveals the hidden is when he sees that we are truly prepared and ready to so enjoy.”
I was very disappointed to awaken from my dream “back” into the present. I hope that we Latter-day Saints are truly prepared for the changes I saw in my dream. These changes will bless the lives of all members of the Church, and greatly improve the quality of our “sociality.” The Lord’s standard is “If ye are not one, ye are not mine.” These changes – whatever form they take – will bring us closer to that standard.
Are we Latter-day Saint men and women ready to arise and take a few steps alongside the coffee table? I hope so!