This is a topic that has been commented on quite a bit lately, but I thought I might weigh into the discussion with some thoughts of my own. (I am technologically challenged so I can’t reference those blogs here)
I recently heard someone say that the late 60?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s and early 70?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s were a difficult time for her at university, especially as it related to the Church and it?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s position on Blacks and the priesthood. I remember those times well, and the angst that we all felt as it related to the issues of the day. These times were explosive in a number of ways.
God had been declared dead in 1960 (I believe that?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s the year I read it in the headlines), free love was on the move, mini-mini skirts were a fad, women?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s rights were coming front and centre, marijuana was the recreation of choice, Martin Luther King came to the forefront, J. Edgar Hoover was pointing his finger at just about everyone, JFK was assassinated, then MLK, then Bobby Kennedy, war protests were going on everywhere, cities were being torched, music was undergoing a revolution (hootenannies were a big thing in the early to mid 60?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s). These were not the best of times and the anxiety level of many was high.
With that as a background let me return to the concerns of my friend. It was a trial of faith and patience for her to be a member at this point in time.
There are two ways to look at this issue of faith and patience as she described it. One is to be patient with impatience that the Church is going to see the light and change its ways; or two, the Church is directed by the Lord and change comes in His time, and our faith and patience is demonstrated by our trusting Him even if no change is made.
At the same time, we need to consider the fact that we live in the present and should be aware of the issues. Being aware also causes us to have thoughts and feelings, one way or the other, as we become informed. Would our feelings on a particular issue influence our testimony with respect to the Church and the Gospel, or, as free agents are we able to rally for change and still maintain membership without being patient with impatience that the Church will change to fit the times?
Now, this isn?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t about whether or not the priesthood should have been given to all worthy members at that time. There can be no question of its rightness. I remember teaching a family in England in 1968, where the father was Jamaican. They asked me if Blacks would ever receive the priesthood. I will never forget the impression I received at that time ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú I answered that I believed that they would receive it in the next 10 years.
That was one of those occasions where you walk away shaking your head saying where did that come from. I also remember driving down the highway in 1978 and heard on the news that the Church had announced the proclamation on all worthy male members. I instantly burst into tears and felt such a swelling of joy.
The issue, however, is, in my mind: Should the Church change it?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s position on doctrine and practices based on public sentiment and the changing social mores espoused by various groups in and out of the Church ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú and should we be part of those voices – or as members do we exercise our faith and patience by enduring public ridicule (even if we agree with public sentiment) and trust the Lord even if nothing is done?
At this particular time, what challenges is the Church facing and in whom, or what, should our faith and patience be focused?