Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gender roles

I believe that we are all God's children. He loves us. He created us all in His own likeness and image, as we can read in Genesis 1:27. We all have the potential to become as He is and receive the blessings He has prepared for us. However, none of us can do this alone. I have a firm testimony that both men and women are necessary to God's plan. We need each other. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many teachings on this subject, which are summarized in "The Family: a Proclamation to the World". Because of these teachings, I believe firmly that men and women are equal. It's very easy to start questioning particular doctrines, but if we know that God loves us, we can trust that He knows what is best for each and every one of his sons and daughters.

When I experience doubts about my place as a woman in God's plan, I find it very comforting to read the words of Church leaders. One talk that I found yesterday was by Elaine S. Dalton. One of the quotes that stood out to me was this:
As daughters of God we are each unique and different in our circumstances and experiences. And yet our part matters—because we matter. Our daily contributions of nurturing, teaching, and caring for others may seem mundane, diminished, difficult, and demeaning at times, and yet as we remember that first line in the Young Women theme—“We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us”—it will make all the difference in our relationships and our responses. 
I like this quote because it reminds me that God knows and loves me. I matter to Him. What I do matters to Him. We're not all poured from some divine mold. We're literally spirit sons and daughters of God. We're all different, yet we all have a part to play in God's plan. 

Another quote that I found was by President Gordon B. Hinckley, the previous prophet and president of the Church. He said:

First let me say to you sisters that you do not hold a second place in our Father’s plan for the eternal happiness and well-being of His children. You are an absolutely essential part of that plan.

Those words are incredibly comforting. Occasionally, I feel that society sees men and women as competitors, striving for first place.  That's not how it should be. Let's just remember: God has enough "first place" spots for everyone. This isn't really a competition. Women aren't better than men, and men aren't better than women. There's no need to boast about our gender. It's simply a part of who we are. Obviously, men and women are different. But their roles were meant to complement each other, not compete. I like this quote, by Sheri Dew:
Two are usually better than one, as our Father confirmed when He declared that “it was not good that the man should be alone” and made a help meet for Adam—someone with distinct gifts who would give him balance, help him shoulder the burdens of mortality, and enable him to do things he couldn’t do alone. For “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”
 It is good to know that God has a plan. Our gender is an important part of that plan. I know that to be true. It is reassuring to know that my part in God's plan is no less important than anyone else's. I am truly grateful for the opportunities to serve which are available to both men and women as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that God's plan is for all of His children, men and women, to return to Him and have joy together.