Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This Is a Woman's Church

I don't often post just to share a link to something, but this deserves to be shared widely. I recommend watching the video so you can feel and see the energy, passion, and power of this speaker, but there is a transcription found at the link as well. The standing ovation at the end is telling. That's a first for this venue.

The speech is by Sharon Eubank given at a recent FAIR conference. Her background includes working as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate for 4 years, owning a retail education store for 7 years, and since 1998 helping establish 17 international LDS employment offices in Africa and Europe. She also has directed the humanitarian wheelchair program that has 50,000 donations each year, and in 2008 she became regional director of the LDS Charities for the Middle East Africa North area and is currently the director of LDS Charities, the humanitarian organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

I was trying to think of a segment of her speech that  I'd share here that's my favorite, but there are too many. Maybe I'll just share this beginning portion to give you an idea of the tone and subjects she covers. (btw, the link at the end of this portion I share also leads you to a transcription that includes the Q&A at the end of her speech that you won't want to miss):

"... last night when I was getting ready, I thought, “Why did I even say ‘yes’ to this assignment?” I’m not a scholar, I’m not a FAIR contributor, I’m not a church spokesperson. There’s very little to recommend [me] and I’m not going to say anything very startling here today that you’re going to think, “Wow, that was new!” So I started to think, “Why did I say yes?” But the reason I said yes when they called was I want to go on record from my own experience. And my own experience has been incredibly empowering. The doctrine and the practice of the church, for me as a woman, has given me things that I care more deeply about than anything else in my life. So, I want to go on record...Because it will be my personal experience, but that’s the best testimonial that I have, and I feel passionately about it because it’s my own.
There has been some recent press that sort of alleged that the LDS church is sort of oppressive, or that it is stodgily conservative, or that it somehow might be a “toxic” environment for women to participate in. And I just think about that, with maybe a couple of colorful exceptions, my experience in the church as a woman has been incredibly empowering. Of course everything I’m going to talk about is my own experience. There are two sections of this talk. The first part I want to talk about is the doctrine and why the doctrine about women is important. And in the second piece I want to talk about practice and how we actually put our doctrine into practice, and some of the things that we might be able to do that could improve the way that we live up to our doctrine.
... At the end I’m going to try and answer this question (it may have been a poor title for this talk): Is this a woman’s church? But I’m going to tell you a story about that and then I’ll try and answer that question afterward.
The scope and the field that is open to me as a woman as revealed in LDS doctrine is more empowering than I can wrap my brain around. There is nothing else like it in any other faith tradition. There is nothing that I know about, that talks about our identity, and purpose and infinite artistry that’s available to us in this unique way.
I’m going to start out by talking about the doctrine of intelligences. This is, I think, unique to Mormonism. It talks about that we existed as intelligences and that it can’t be created and it can’t be made. We’ve always existed in this way. But, we chose to ally ourselves with God. We had personality and we had volition, and we chose to ally ourselves with a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who could put us on the road to exaltation..."

I HIGHLY recommend finding the audio or reading the rest of the transcription as found AT THIS LINK.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


mending wall went up and a friend of mine said to me recently, 

"God is at the helm."

Good fences make good neighbors. I guess it may be true at times, but I've never been fond of such "mending walls." 

Something there is that doesn't love a wall, 

That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him, 

But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather 
He said it for himself.

"God is at the helm."

It echoes in my ears.

The echo follows me this morning and I feel a nudge to open my old Dragonfly leather journal that Adam made for me years ago.  The evidence of God's guidance washes over me with a sweet peace.  

On one side of the journal's pages, I had recorded quotes from books, speeches and scriptures that influenced my life and resonated with me during the years I filled these pages. 

Every time I return to this journal, it feels like reading a manual of how God works in the life of his children. I feel not only the value of the quotes, but the wisdom behind the divine guidance. This is always confirmed by the memories, written between the lines, that come off the page. 

Flipping my journal around,  the other side of the pages is a record of "likenings" of scripture passages and experiences applying true principles to my life and their consequences. I never finished this side of the journal. It was more convenient to write most of those thoughts on a computer. Maybe someday I'll copy them in. Today, I reread those few that were written originally on the Dragonfly pages. When I get to the little poem, Beyond Walls I wrote last year, I am astonished. Here I was, a year ago, writing about a wall! Then again last month, I write about a wall. Now again, new layers of the wall reveal their self.

 Fascinating... how we think we understand the meaning of words - our own or others - only to find with new life experiences those words have deepened and changed. And what is it with me and walls? I must want them all down. Impatient: me. 

I'm reminded of the phrase, "mysteries of God." There are many scriptures that speak of the mysteries of God. I've heard many people describe how they are those things revealed by the Spirit. I've listened recently to speeches on the Gnostics and their take on those mysteries. 

I always thought those "mysteries" would be new ideas, new principles of how God works, or the works God has done that are hidden. That may still be true. But now it's more simple and more accessible: the mysteries of the kingdom are the deeper levels of understanding of the same simple words and principles we have heard maybe all our lives. Mysteries are hidden layers of something that's always been before us. Words like:






Present Moment



Eye of Faith

In this mortal world, we try to use these words and others to describe the indescribable. Those words become the visible or audible layer of a million-layered  communication. When we read or hear just the words, we miss the deeper meanings, implications, applications, emotions, power... the million other layers merely represented by the words chosen. 

 I'm beginning to understand now: The only way we'll begin to know the "mystery" of those missing layers is through learning and becoming familiar with that invisible language buried in our soul: the language of the Spirit of God. It is the only language that can convey those layers. There is no translation that's accurate and full. No short-cut. It's a language learned by obedience and faith more than study. Immersion, not memorization enhances our fluency. Music helps me learn that language, I find. 

But I'm slow. Sometimes a word takes years just to begin to understand. Like those walls.

I read a few days ago, "[It] is called “unbelief” in the scriptures. It is not necessarily an absence of faith, and can coexist with faith quite companionably. But, it is nevertheless an effective, and often long-lived, damnation of our faith."

Unbelief and faith can coexist. That is a deeper layer of my wall. Something isn't right with the last paragraph of this poem now... reaching is no longer the right action. It's now more like... what? I keep erasing what I type.  It is too much a mystery to describe with words. I'm left to ponder what I wrote last year, linking words to deeper layers...



Pull me outside my little self, Lord.
Grasp my reaching hands in thine,
Stretched out still.

Walls close in.
Only when minds do.
I know this.

The world is bigger then
Scientific methods and laboratories.
The sphere that envelopes the
One my natural eyes see -
It is that sphere that inspired
The methods,
The math,
The mechanics
Of this little sphere.

The crumb that falls to the ground
An ant may discover and be nourished by,
But it is only a portion, not
All there is.
Only all there is in his world.

Scarcity or abundance?
Seek no more for crumbs, but
For Sources.
No more for applications, but
For Truths.

If the walls of my little box are
Solid and shut - Open them!
This is the Present moment.
And the present thing to do:
Find that Presence within.
Every Present Moment.

But I am weak.
I can make but a crack;
A sliver of an opening in the
Wall of my natural world.
And when that crack
 Shrinks and closes! Oh! How the
 Darkness chills me.
It is by my own hand.
Pitiful woman.

Stretch. . . pry,
Yearn. . .

I see His hand stretched outward
As I peer through the sliver in the wall
Made by these actions of thought.

Call a sister,

The sliver grows and swells,
Rays from the Son warm my brow.
Such Abiding Light is
Not sourced from my little sphere -
It is beyond my walls.


Light is imparted. There is a
Window in my wall,
Enlightening; filling my soul with joy.
I can see the real again.
More or less than true is chased away.
I can breath. I am covered:
In love. In light.

If only I could burst these walls!
Turn this reaching into an embrace,
Into Fullness. Union with the Source.

But for now:
Enlightening Joy-
Leading actions that are good,
Illuminating paths to walk humbly,
Guiding ways to judge righteously.

Keep it Kate.
It is yours to choose,
There are not two ways!
There is One Way in
One Present Moment.

Or there is darkness.
Dwarves sitting in a circle of sarcasm -
Manna like manure to their lips.
The darkness is in their eyes,
Not in the world of beauty and light that
Surrounds them,
Covers them.

The Lion chooses no power over
A man's agency.
His power is Love.
Is love,
The greatest power.
The Force stronger then gravity,
That chooses not to force.

Dwarves don't choose the Real.
Don’t know Real Love.
It is beyond their walls and they
Will not reach.

Imagined Kings and Queens,

I choose.
I reach.
I will know The Real, and
The Real in me will
Recognize the false,
Circling in opposition.

One Day, walls will not
Keep me from that Embrace.
One day, by one day -
I knock and pry at these walls.
In this Present Moment,
I Reach.