Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Three New Apostles

I'm a Mormon, and like every other Mormon, I was excited for this month's General Conference because three new apostles were going to be called! That hasn't happened for a long, long time -- since 1906, to be exact, and I felt like I was witnessing something big. So on Saturday afternoon, I walked with my friends to the North Visitors Center on Temple Square and made my way to the theater, where the broadcast was being shown on the big screen. It shouldn't have been a surprise, but I was shocked to see just how packed the room was. There were people spilling onto the floor and out into the hallway. I found a space at the front of the theater and sat on the floor in pain as I strained my neck to look up at the giant screen of Elder Eyring's face. This was the moment everyone had been waiting for. Who would the new apostles be???

Since this is a global church, I thought we'd witness unprecedented diversity. With nearly 4 million members in South America, we'd definitely get a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking apostle. Or maybe with just over a million members in Asia, the next apostle would be from there. My dad suspected maybe there would be one from Africa. The possibilities were endless! And then.

Elder Eyring called the names of three white men.

It was an interesting moment in my mind, when Elder Rasband, Elder Stevenson, and Elder Renlund were called. For a second, I doubted that the existing apostles had gotten it right. Less than a minute later, though, I admitted to myself that I believe in divine revelation. That God had revealed to the brethren of the Church the names of three men who were meant to have an apostolic calling at this time.

I did think about it, though, for the rest of the day, and obviously, I'm still thinking about it now. Here's what I've come up with: How small-minded of me to think that 1) I know better than the brethren of the Church, and 2) The new brethren called aren't diverse.

It's that second point I want to emphasize because as a rule-following, sometimes-shy, never-trendy middle-class white girl, strangers and acquaintances in high school and throughout life often called me sheltered. They expected me to be a normal girl with typical thoughts and boring tastes. But I surprised them -- with my love of rock and roll, my openness to new ideas and varied perspectives, and my curiosity to learn about everything around me. I give nearly all credit for those traits to my parents and siblings, but the rest goes to the Deep South. I learned so much about life when my family moved from Oklahoma to Georgia, and I discovered that you can never fully judge someone's mind and heart by their physical appearance. And here I was this weekend, thinking that three white men fell short of the diversity mark. That they would be too normal, with typical thoughts and boring tastes.

Since Saturday,  however, I've seen lots of things online about just how diverse Elder Rasband, Elder Stevenson, and Elder Renlund are, and I suspect that many people had similar thoughts as me. I suspect that many people besides myself wanted to see more physical diversity in the new apostles.

I also suspect that naysayers and many non-Mormons wonder why I feel the need to correct my initial reaction to the announcement. I can hear them now: "Sara, you're simply justifying your faith and buying into a belief that you were taught as a child." And that's true. But we all do that on some level. The neat thing is that we can all constantly evaluate our faith and upbringing and decide whether they are things we want to continue to believe in and trust. For my part, I do.


Thing I'm thankful for: a good bed.

8 Comments:

Blogger Richard Marriott said...

Sara, As a 'jack' Mormon my reaction would have been the same as your initial reaction. But, then, it's really none of my concern. I've come to really like Mormons since living outside of Utah.They are fine people, true to their beliefs and I love having them in my home and being in there homes. But, I feel the same way about my friends who are Jewish, Muslim, Protestant. full-gospel.etc. That's my problem. I believe there it one God who is the God of all.

Keeping writing. I enjoy your posts.

9:06 AM  
Blogger russell jack said...

so… here’s a naysayer’s take: i totally get it. i can remember several talks/lessons i’ve given on how to handle “disappointing” revelation. i actually think that process is really healthy. there’s always that small struggle as you determine how to resolve that cognitive dissonance. but that bit of skepticism is what separates earnest faith from blind faith (i know you love that term).

that’s why it’s a little sad to me that a talk would be given that ridicules those who want to “touch the wet paint.” i feel like if a legitimate testimony is something one is going to obtain, it should be earned through some measure of "wrestling with the spirit." it should be investigated, and agonized over - otherwise it’s not worth much.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Dracoverde said...

While these brethren may not be from other continents, each of these brethren have worked extensively on a different continent (Europe, Africa, Asia). Taken into consideration with the other apostles who have worked throughout the rest of the world, the Lord has chosen a group of leaders who are aware of the global needs of the diverse members of the church.

11:57 AM  
Blogger cardlady said...

I differed from you and dad surmising there should be more diverse members of the 12 apostles. I figure, the Lord and President Monson are knowledgeable of the possible new members. I also think it would be a difficult calling, to never have rest and work all tge time and people clammers g to see them and talk to tgem, when they may desire a bit of orivacy.
The church governance, is in good hands. I'm good with these new names.

1:09 PM  
Blogger cardlady said...

People clammering.

1:10 PM  
Blogger cardlady said...

People clammering.

1:10 PM  
Blogger cardlady said...

I differed from you and dad surmising there should be more diverse members of the 12 apostles. I figure, the Lord and President Monson are knowledgeable of the possible new members. I also think it would be a difficult calling, to never have rest and work all tge time and people clammers g to see them and talk to tgem, when they may desire a bit of orivacy.
The church governance, is in good hands. I'm good with these new names.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Granted, one may say I am more jack-mormon-ish these days but I do agree that their experiences may lead to more open-minded discussions and thoughts. Perhaps even the ability to understand others better but past that I don't resinate with the claim of diversity on any level. As someone I know said Sunday morning, "I woke up and realized that either this was more of a choice and less true revelation or God really does like white people more." As a person of color, I think this woman has every right to feel that way. I am going to go with "no" on diversity and "yes" on the hope that there is a chance they won't turn out to be what they are...very white, very upper class men. :)

3:20 PM  

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