I’m grateful that Church spokeswoman Ally Isom (in her RadioWest interview with Doug Fabrizio) acknowledged there is room for healthy dialogue and even for questioning. Naturally, most of the revelations Joseph Smith received were because members brought issues to his attention or he himself asked a question. People help shape the content and context for prophetic inquiries. So in a very real sense, there’s always been trickle-up revelation.
But while listening to her on the interview, I was frustrated that Isom kept conflating a bishop in a disciplinary hearing with God–and suggested it is always the member’s choice to stay in the Church rather than be excommunicated, not acknowledging the reality is that it is the choice of one man in a position of “a little authority” (regardless of whether or not he is exercising unrighteous dominion) as to whether or not the accused remains in the Church.
Apparently there are too many literalistic Mormons who seem to conflate God and the prophet too. These folks seem to believe that if God wants change he will literally dictate it to the prophet, as though the prophet is a puppet, so they assume we mortals can just sit back and wait for divine direction.
But from my experience and also in history, I see that God expects for US to make the first move. WE humans decide to act or take a question before the Lord and THEN hope for divine direction.
I’m not crazy enough to think that in 1978 “God changed his mind about black people” or that humans pressure the Lord anymore than he pressures us (which is pretty much zilch). The only real power He has to effect change over us is through love, and there’s a lesson in that for us. He doesn’t coerce, and nor should we. I think the Lord waits patiently for us to figure things out on our own. He had made it clear he “denieth none that come unto him, black or white, bond or free, male or female…all are alike unto God”. But WE didn’t get part of that before 1978 until WE changed our perspective.
Historically it has taken us mortals (even our prophet leaders, since they’re not raised in a cultural vacuum) a long time to realize what God already desires for His children. With Paul and all the other prophets, we “see through a glass darkly.” But God waits patiently and lovingly for us to correct our perspectives and figure out His will for ourselves. He even shows long-suffering to apostles who live so set in their ways and convinced of the rightness of their position (even though their position turned out to be wrong, and regardless of the “certainty” they spoke with that they knew or “know” Gods will.)
I personally think there’s still part of that “all are alike” scripture (and no, he’s not referring to biological/physical sameness) that the Church collectively isn’t understanding right. Instead of believing Him and taking His word that “all” are alike unto God, in terms of who can or can’t be ordained to the priesthood we continue to deny those who happened to be born female, and regardless of their spiritual strength, leadership talents, and the worthy desires of their hearts.
God has never declared that holding priesthood keys or offices was or is some divine gender role–we the people have projected antiquated gender roles onto God.
I think those of us who believe the ninth article of faith–that many great and important things are yet to be revealed–should be patient, but I don’t think we need to be passive. As President Kimball once wrote in a letter to his son Ed: “Revelations will probably never come unless they are desired. I think few people receive revelations while lounging on a couch.”
I believe women should be ordained.