Showing posts with label healing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label healing. Show all posts

When Blessings of Healing and Comfort were Performed by Women

I was at distribution to get some more Jesus Jammies yesterday. We always like looking at the artwork. I was being flippant about White Jesus when my husband showed me this one. My heart caught in my throat.

Relief Society Healing, Anthony Sweat

I stood there looking at it, speechless, for a long time. The contradiction between the way things were for women in the Church and the way things are, after more than a century of losses in autonomy and ability, made plain for everyone to sit with. Right before my eyes.

I pushed back tears because this comes so close to what is painful for me about being a woman in the Church. To be loved continually, but not trusted to accomplish the calling God has given to me with all the tools available to me in my religious community. It hurts so much.

I discovered that I have a gift to heal others through my prayers of faith and through my (artificially limited) access to God's power. That's part of how I decided to become a veterinary nurse. What the Church won't allow me to do with consecrated oil, I will do with medicine and prayer. 

I have a gift. I can use it to benefit the Church in its fullness, or I can go elsewhere with it. Either way, I will not hold it under a bushel or bury it in the ground. That was never an option. 

Those are the words that caught in my throat yesterday and I needed to get them out.

[UPDATE: I need every middle-aged Mormon on Twitter yelling at me because I call my garments Jesus Jammies to: 

  1. Back all the way up. 
  2. Sit all the way down. 
  3. Realize what I do is not up to you.

Garments are not inherently sacred objects that will make me spontaneously combust if I handle or speak about them differently from you. This isn't the ark of the covenant. You're picking fights with a stranger on the internet over fabric. Get a grip.

My garments go through my actual life with me. They're stained from my period blood and vaginal discharge. They have sweat stains and smell like dog half the time because I work in a vet clinic. Be precious with yours if that's your life. Don't get pissy with me because I don't.

I know the covenant I made in the temple in relation to the garment. I've performed the ordinances in which they are given. At no point did I vow to be a humorless scold in relation to how other people choose to wear or relate to them. I promised to wear them. Period.

When y'all get the opportunity to return to the Temple, take some time to reflect on the fact that no where in those covenants is a license to police anyone else about anything.]

Seeking, and Not Finding, Healing at Church

There's a tension worth exploring between two ideas about healing I've heard at opposite ends of Mormonism's attendance spectrum:

  1. The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints, which is Dear Abby's variation of Luke 5:30-31: "they that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance."
  2. You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick.

How much I believe either statement depends on the nature of the sickness being addressed. Part of what allowed me to ignore so many things for so long in the Church was because I was going in and out of YSA units so fast, it didn't matter if someone bothered me. Chances were great either they would leave or I would. But once I got married, all of that changed. I couldn't bank on another move, another semester removing crappy people and situations from my life. I had to accept that people are who they are, they very seldomly decide to change, and I would have to find a way to live with that.

I've been thinking a lot about the sacrament meeting I went to at the nursing home. The speaker, for all his other faults, pointed out that we come to church to be edified. We go because it's supposed to feed us and help us. If that's not happening, it's a waste of time. It was an acknowledgement that not everyone who comes to church seeking healing ends up finding it.

I think I like the analogy of eating together a little better than the idea of labeling people in the congregation as being "sick." Sickness is something that happens against your will, in response to illnesses we can't always see or confront directly.

People at church aren't racist, sexist, and full of malice towards the marginalized because they're "sick." They're like that because they can be, and there's very little that prohibits or punishes that behavior at church. It's a potluck and that's what they choose to bring.

So my way of looking at it is "Am I putting my time and energy to make something that took time, energy, effort, and quality ingredients to this potluck, and the only thing there for me to eat is what I brought?" At that point, that's a crap potluck. Plain and simple.

I can stay at my own house and eat what I was going to bring. Why do I need to go somewhere else to do that? The only answer to that I've come up with so far is "the hope it'll be different this time." When I'm in the mood to let my curiosity override my past experience.     

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