Love for Lucy Harris and a Harvest of Frustration (Doctrine & Covenants 3-5)

Monday, January 18, 2021

C: Hi I’m Channing

E: And I’m Elise

C: And this is The Faithful Feminists podcast.

E: But this is not just any come following podcast. We do things a little differently here. We offer approachable feminist interpretations of the Come Follow Me manual for those who want to study and understand the scriptures in a framework of equality, social justice, and sisterhood. We are here to show you all the really good ways that faith and feminism work together to illuminate and deepen the gospel experience.

C: We've saved you a seat on the soft chairs, so join us today for a conversation about Doctrine and Covenants sections 3-5 for the dates, January 18th through the 24th. We're so glad you're here.

E: Welcome back, everyone. In this week's episode, we are talking about sections three, four, and five. And I think this episode will primarily focus our efforts on sections three and four. And before we jump into section three, we just want to give a little bit of context. And this background comes from the Saints book, which says: Martin Harris had asked Joseph for permission to take some of the manuscripts back home that Joseph was translating because Martin Harris, his wife, Lucy has had requested them. Joseph did want to share these manuscripts with Martin because there were a lot of people in town who didn't believe Joseph Smith was doing the work that he said he was doing and that he didn't actually have any gold plates. Joseph was really unsure what to do. And so he prayed for guidance.

And at first the Lord told him, no, you. Don't let Martin take the pages, but Martin was sure that showing them to his wife, Lucy would really change things because Lucy was really suspicious of Joseph Smith's work and the amount of time that her husband and Joseph were spending together. Martin Harrison begged Joseph Smith to ask again. And so Joseph asked a second time, but the Lord's answer was the same. Martin then asked Joseph to ask a third time. And when Joseph did, God changed their answer and God allowed them to do whatever they please, do as you please. So Joseph told Martin that he could take these 116 pages for two weeks if he covenanted to keep them locked away and show them only to certain family members.

As you can see from the background we have what appears to be a not very prominent character in this story, Lucy Harris and Martin Harris is her husband, but that's actually not the case. We want to spend some time really trying to understand Lucy Harris, because as you know, throughout section three, these 116 pages of the manuscript get lost. And often the way that the narrative goes is that Lucy stole them and burned them because she was just this like suspicious, devious woman who was really…just didn't believe Joseph Smith and who really had it out for him.

C: Right. And in turn, when we come across stories that kind of vilify women, we're always a little suspicious.

E: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. So a lot of the things that we're going to be talking about today regarding Lucy Harris come from an article titled “Lucy Harris: Toward a Compassionate Reinterpretation” by Rhett Stevens, James. C: This was such a fascinating read and we will link it up in our show notes so that you can enjoy it too, because Lucy Harris had the most interesting life I've come across in a little while. The first sentence in the introduction of this article says Lucy Harris was hard of hearing and that concept kind of frames the entire retelling or, more accurate telling of Lucy Harris's story, because it provides some context for what she goes through and encounters in her life.

I also think that with the story of Lucy Harris, it situates us right at the intersection of disability and gender. And we hope that throughout our conversation, we can see both of those elements coming to play and interacting with one another because they can't be separated from one another. Her gender as a woman and her disability with her hearing loss and her progressive deafness, those two things are intertwined and they always already influence who she is and how she interacts and um, how people interact with her in the world.

C: The author does a great job setting up for us what Lucy Harris has experienced with quote, “hard of hearing” looked like, and the author Rett Stevens James proposes that Lucy had what is called progressive deafness, which just means that over time, her deafness grew more and more pronounced. And James also provides for us an illustration of what the stigma and understanding of what deafness was treated like culturally at the time. And it's really unfortunate. And I feel like this quote from the article demonstrates that really well. James says, quote, “deaf persons in Lucy Harris’s lifetime were often the brunt of terrible unkindness and bigotry. Some people regarded them as mentally deficient or even demonic. It was not uncommon for a family to put a deaf member in another room when guests visited.” And not only is this unfortunate and unkind, but it's also inaccurate. And based on our understanding of this disability now for modern times, we can see a little bit better that people who experienced progressive deafness or deafness in general absolutely are not demonic. And they don't deserve to be ostracized from family or general society because they have so much to offer.

So it's interesting to receive this perspective about a character that we've typically demonized in our own culture based on her actions. But once we kind of get a whole picture or increased understanding about what her life looked like, it offers us an opportunity to create space, to invite her in and see what we can learn from her.

E: The author continues to make the case that Lucy Harris knew how people could, and were treating her because of her disability. And he writes that “she undoubtedly would have felt herself slipping in her capabilities. And maybe even more painful was her awareness that her position of respect and honor in the community faded from respect and envy to one of low regard and pity.” And I think that's often the way that we approach people with disability is that we either pity them or we think that they are so inspiring in spite of their disability. There's no every day experience of the world with disability.

C: Another interesting point that the author makes is he talks about the way that progressive deafness presents itself in a psychological and physiological way. And he provides us another look into what this experience would have been like for Lucy Harris personally. And James describes the psychological presentation of progressive deafness as “fear, fear of failure, fear of ridicule, imagined sounds, fear of being slighted, avoided, made conspicuous. These are just a handful of the fears that haunt the waking and even the sleeping hours of the sufferer from progressive deafness.” And so James argues that it's no wonder that Lucy Harris shows up in historical accounts the way that she does given this potential diagnosis of progressive deafness.

Historical accounts described, “as Lucy Harris's hearing worsened, she spoke loudly annoyed people and became an embarrassment to others in her daily affairs.” And this just kind of showcases the stigma, the intolerance, the annoyance, and the pity that those in her community were beginning to show her once her disability started to present itself more clearly.

E: And so with all of this background, right, Lucy Harris has been represented in literature by most writers and historians as a very like crotchety, cantankerous woman. And for some, she might even represent the embodiment of evil. And I think here is where we get into that intersection of disability and gender, because there is a long-standing history of women being painted as kind of the downfall of humanity, the ones who are not as Holy, not as good as the men in society. And with the James article, we also see that people with disabilities might also be represented as an embodiment of evil. And to make it really clear, this is because how the story goes is that it was really Lucy Harris's fault that these 116 pages were lost. She's the one that gets blamed for stealing them and burning them. That's how the story goes.

C: Or being complicit in their theft too, right? Like there's, it's not really a hundred percent clear exactly what happened, but we can make some conjectures.

E: And the history writes it as if that's kind of how things played out. But we do know that she was the one asking her, her husband, Martin Harris to like, no, let me see these. Let me see these manuscripts. Because Lucy Harris was kind of left behind. Martin Harris would, he was kind of sponsoring or funding Joseph's translation project. He would leave, um, leave town to do these, I don't know, large spiritual events or translations with Joseph Smith and things like that. And he would leave Lucy behind and what she wanted was kind of like proof that what Joseph and Martin were working on was something substantial that wouldn't put her in her family and her property at risk. And she felt Martin and her security slipping away from her.

C: The other thing that I think is important to note here too, is that it's not just that Martin Harris was gone for a long time. It was that Lucy, because of her progressive deafness, relied on Martin's presence to maintain her good standing in the community. He was kind of that buffer zone for her. And also, you know, just for like the day-to-day dad husband duties. And so it wasn't just that she was like ornery and mad because he was leaving for self-care time. It was that he was kind of abandoning her and her family in a deep, deep, deep time of need. And so this idea that like, oh, she needed proof because she just didn't have enough faith, no, she wanted to know that her husband was leaving her when she really, really needed him for a legitimate reason.

E: Right. So we hope that now you can start to see some of the complexity and context surrounding Lucy Harris, but I think one of the things that still stands is that she is painted and represented as this embodiment of evil. And I think we can also see a similar thing happen in other stories about women who get blamed for like, all the bad things that ever happen ever, for example, Eve, or Lot's wife or even Job's wife, because in each of these traditional interpretations of the stories, the women are constantly dismissed and excluded from participating in their own story, their own history and their own authority.

And so they play seemingly small roles (purposefully) until suddenly things go wrong because of their actions. You terrible women. And if you could see me, I'm like wagging my finger because that's how the he story is told. For example, Eve, Eve, you got everyone kicked out of the garden and all of humanity is curse to toil and suffer because of you. For Lot’s of wife, you didn't have enough faith and trust in God's plan. You turned around for a moment to check on your family and your children, and to say goodbye, and you have immediate punishment and you have death by salt.

C: Oh, gosh, so traumatic. And then you also have job's wife who is painted similarly in the text where Job was going through all of these trials that seemed pretty inexplicable. And Job's wife is just like, you know what Job? Just curse God and die already. That’s basically what she said. Well it’s what she's painted to say in the text.

E: With each of these women's stories, the takeaway seems to be: Look, lady, you should've stayed in line. You should have kept your mouth shut. You should have been a good little girl, but now look what you've done. You've screwed up things for the entire world or for the entire restoration process or for future generations. And these stories reinforce women as evil and unlike God, which then also reinforces the idea that men are better, and godly, and good. That they’re more Holy. These stories teach that women are fallen and lesser. They're less Holy and more evil when you only have these traditional interpretations. That's what's given to us if we don't push past the, push past that surface level.

C: Right. And so just like we've talked about in the Book of Mormon and doing a reimagination of what these women's stories look like, the benefit that we have here with the Doctrine and Covenants being a more historical text is that we actually get to have historical accounts of what these women look like. And so it's a lot easier to create a fuller picture of what their lives looked like. So that it's not just this one-sided story, because just like you said, Elise, history is just someone's story about what happened. But the nice thing, something that I always see, um, Michelle Franzoni Thorley from, @florafamiliar say, she always says, um, “in genealogy, we have receipts.” And I think in history, it's the same, there's receipts. There's proof. There are journals. There's diaries. There is a way to show that it's not always okay. That the way things were back then are not always the way it's being told now. So yay for that at least.

E: Yeah. And I think the things that I didn't know that I found out through reading this article, the James article and studying for this episode, one of the things that I thought was really fascinating that no one ever talks about is that after Lucy Harris and her sister Polly had heard of Joseph Smith's gold plates, these two women were among the first to offer financial assistance. They were the first people or among the first people to say, wow, like we want to help fund or sponsor your project Joseph. However, Joseph Smith refused the financial assistance directly from Lucy and thought it better to do business with Martin Harris.

C: Yeah, I can imagine from Lucy's perspective, how hurtful that would be, especially considering that, um, one of the things that I learned from the article that we read was that Lucy brought considerable like wealth and property into the marriage, um, between her and Martin and she held a pretty highly respected place in society. And so to be turned down from her pretty generous offer in favor of her husband, not that her husband was like any less awesome from what I gathered from the story he wasn't, but just that perspective of feeling left out from the project and turned down, even when she was trying to help for me personally, that would hurt and I would feel, I would feel kind of offended.

E: And I think here too, we can see a bit more clearly the intersection of disability and gender, because being excluded and dismissed for trying to support the project for trying to be in on this like secret boys club, I think both sexism and ableism show up here. Was she excluded and dismissed and looked down upon because she was a woman or because she had a disability and there's no piecing those things apart. It's not one or the other. They're both always already all the time.

C: Right. Because it's embodied in her experience. Her has Lucy.

E: Yeah. Yeah. She doesn't only just get to show up as Lucy Harris with progressive deafness. Or only get to show up as Lucy Harris, as a woman only. She shows up in all of her multiple intersecting identities, just like we all do. There’s also a brand new Come Follow Me podcast called wHoly Human by Serena and Katie. And this Come Follow Me podcast focuses specifically on neurodiversity and disability. So, we are excited to hear this episode that they come out with. And honestly, every episode that they've published has been fantastic, but we're looking forward to the discussion that, but we're looking forward to the discussion that they're going to have about Lucy Harris this weekend as well.

E: Another piece of Lucy's story that I had no idea of is that Lucy Harris actually had her own dream and vision of the gold plates. In fact Lucy Harris was the first recorded person after Joseph Smith, Jr. to have had any kind of view of the gold plates. In Lucy Smith's like account, which is Joseph's mom, she wrote down that :The next morning, soon after she, Lucy Harris arose, she related a very remarkable dream, which she said she had had during the night. And here's what happened. Lucy Harris said that a personage appeared to her who had told her that she, that as she had disputed the servant of the Lord, Joseph Smith and said his words were not to be believed and had also asked him many improper questions. She had done that, which was not right in the sight of God, after which he said to her behold, here are the plates, look upon them and believe.”

So she has her own like dream vision visitation of the gold plates too, that we never hear about, we never hear about, and we also never hear, I think we only ever hear Lucy Harris painted in this really negative kind of apostate anti-Mormon light. And we don't get to hear about all of the other ways that she was onboard at times and trying to support the work at times, and also feeling really left behind and dismissed not only by her society, but by her husband too.

C: Well, and by all the people involved in the project, like, it doesn't seem that, um, Lucy Smith made any special effort. Or with Joseph Smith rejecting her generosity and trying to help support his transcription. She just seems rejected from every front. And that would be so difficult to just feel kind of completely cut off and ostracized from every point of contact that she has with the outside world.

E: Right. Right. And so we hope that with this discussion, I think one of the things that stands out to me the most is that people are always more than we expect them to be. They're always more than the stories we hear about them, and it's not until we spend time trying to learn them, trying to understand their world, their motivations, their just what their life was like that we get to see them in a more robust and vibrant picture than what we are given. Especially in Doctrine and Covenants, she's not even mentioned here explicitly.

C: It was really interesting for me to read Lucy Harris's story from a perspective of my own experience and kind of a marriage that is a little bit rocky and is definitely going through a tough time right now. And to see her experience of feeling alone, feeling cut off, feeling abandoned. I can relate. I can relate to those feelings of anger. And if she did burn those 116 pages, honestly, Lucy Harris, wherever you are in the universe, I don't blame you. I get it. I understand. And knowing that later in her life, after so much drama had happened between her and Martin Harris that eventually they ended up living separate for the remainder of Lucy Harris’s life, Lucy Harris ended up dying very young. She died at the age 44. She left behind children and family.

And seeing similarities, not in every way, but in some ways, between her story and mine, I have a lot of compassion and a lot of understanding for her experience. And for me, I'm kind of like reading her story, I'm like Lucy Harris was kind of bad-A. Like I really like her and I really relate. So I'm grateful for this more, just like you said, robust retelling of what her story is and what her story is like instead of this tiny little snippet and hearsay about the terrible, awful, horrible things that she did. And I also think that with her whole story, God will be pretty understanding too.

E: Yeah. Also in section three, there is some pretty powerful verses that stood out to me specifically verses three and four, which read, “Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men. For although a man may have many revelations and have power to do many mighty works, yet, if he boasts in his own strength and sets that not the counsels of God and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur vengeance of a just God upon him.” I think that this verse showcases pretty explicitly that people and prophets, even if they have the power to translate, or they have many spiritual gifts and revelations, like they will make mistakes, especially when they think that they know better than God, especially when they think they can kind of take a detour from the purpose or the calling that God has laid in front of them. So people and prophets are fallible.

Another thing that I like about these verses is that it holds prophets and people of course, accountable for those missteps and for those mistakes and says that there will be consequences. Like if you lead people astray or if you deceive people or are not doing everything that you can to do God's work, then there will be consequences. And I want these verses to be my mantra for the rest of the year in my personal life. And in my approach to scripture that it's not God's work that is frustrated, it's human's work that is frustrated. And one of the questions I wanted to ask is really, in what ways is the work of humans frustrated? I think oftentimes we get it wrong. We mistake our own desires and needs with what God desires and needs. And we leave our messy fingerprints all over everything. Sometimes I think that we think systems are God-given and God-made when really they're human-made. And that means that they're flawed and imperfect and oftentimes really harmful.

Another idea that's been rolling around in my mind when we think about frustration and whose work is frustrated is I wonder if, do we have a responsibility to frustrate the work of others who think that they're doing God's work? Like, do we have a responsibility to frustrate the work of the people who, who think and act as if God's work and will is to keep Heavenly Mother silent and hidden? Like how do we intentionally frustrate that work? Or, or how do we intentionally frustrate the work of people who say that God's work in will is for LGBTQ folks to live a celibate life or not make it to heaven? Or another example, how can we intentionally frustrate the work of people who say that God's work and will is that trans people are non-existent because gender was pre-assigned in heaven and God doesn't make “mistakes”?

There's also a line that keeps coming to me. When we, when I think about our responsibility to frustrate this work that masks itself as liberating and godly when in reality, it's oppressive and violent. And it's a verse from Joseph Smith history in verse 20. There's a line when Joseph writes that “it seems as though I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyance in his kingdom.” And he's speaking of being a disturber of the adversary’s kingdom. And I think that this line is one way that reminds us that sometimes we do have to frustrate, disrupt and annoy work that claims to be God's work, but it's really simply furthering bondage, oppression, and stagnancy.

 C: I agree. And actually, one of the thoughts that I've been having as I've been watching the consequences rollout for participation in the insurrection at the Capitol two weeks ago is how this same exact idea of being a disturber and, uh, and an annoyance and disrupting for the work of God can be equally used by both sides of the problem. You know what I mean? Like for us, when you and I talk about disruption and change and doing God's work, we have a very specific set of values and ethics that are driving that. And for you and I, those ethics are community, care, equity, safety for everyone, not just one specific definition of what is most human or best. And I think, um, the other side, like the people who participated at the Capitol thought that they were doing this exact thing. They thought they were frustrating due process of the US constitution and doing God's work by participating in a violent insurrection and so it's really interesting to me that the same idea can be used.

And I think an important question to ask ourselves when we're talking about our responsibility to disrupt or annoy is what value or what ethic is driving us. And I think the distinction that I would like to make is like for myself and for the work that we do is, is God's work about protecting me and people like me or is it about protecting everyone, especially people not like me? I think that that's a large distinction for people who are practiced in doing that kind of work. But if you haven't confronted the prejudices and privilege that we personally hold internally, really, it can be really difficult to distinguish between the two. And so I, I think, I think as I've just been watching the tension grow between the right and the left in the US, the liberal and conservative, the fundamental and the nuanced to see this tension just rise and rise and rise and increase in see how, similar verses are weaponized or used on either side to different purposes. I think that we have to know and be really clear about what value, what ethic we are working towards with these words, because they're powerful. Right?

We talked about stories last week in the episode, that stories and words are powerful, they have the power to create. And so we have to be so careful, so clear about what we use them for. I don't want to participate in that we have to fight, we have to fight, we have to fight. We do, with a clear purpose in mind. One that encompasses safety for everyone and not just like a stubborn sticking to ideology or not just sticking to what we think is right, but what is safe, valuable, and life-giving for everyone. And like I said, especially people not like us.

E: That is such a good, no, I'm so glad that you brought that up. That's such a fantastic point because I think what I understand you to say is that yes, we need to check our like internal motivations and intentions, but we also have to be equally aware and cognizant of the impact that it's having. Am I seeking power and privilege and more freedom and liberty for the few, for just a few people that are like me, or am I seeking to, to distribute and reformat the system in a society in a way that is more loving, accessible, acceptable, equitable for, for all. And the line that keeps coming to my mind is the it's the slogan of the Labor Party movement in the European Union and it's “For the many, not the few.” I think that's a nice check that we can put on the work that we say that we're trying to frustrate. Are we frustrating it because we are trying to open it up and expand power and liberation and freedom and love for, for the many and not the few? Or do we find ourselves only, like you said, doing it for the people, the few people who are like us, right?

C: Yeah. I agree. Before we move on to our final topic. One verse that I wanted to bring attention to and talk about just simply because I'm really excited about it is section three, verse two, and this verse says, “God does not walk in crooked paths, neither does He turn to the right hand nor to the left. Neither does he vary from that which he has said. Therefore, his paths are straight and his course is one eternal round.” I found this first super interesting, because one of the things that I, one of the ideas that I've been working with as I've been sitting with feminism and feminist theology, is this idea of instead of life moving across a linear line of like, okay, at the beginning of the line, we start with the premortal life. Right. And then we're born and then we live our life and then we die. And then we spend some time in, you know, spirit prison, or spirit paradise, and then we're resurrected. And then we live like, then we have the judgment and then we live forever in all eternity and whatever section of heaven we've been assigned to. Right?

That's a very, that's a very linear way of looking at a spiritual progression throughout life, like premortal and eternal life. But one of the things that I've come to understand and appreciate and accept a little bit more as I've explored feminist theology and also with my yoga and a yoga understanding of the universe is that time and life actually moves in a cycle and the cycle is always moving. It is a cycle, is an eternal round because it just goes up and down, up and down, like in a circle. So. On one side of the circle, we have creation. We under, we know God as a creator, right? God in Genesis created the entire world. God separated, light and dark God separated, water and land. God separated Earth from space. And so God is creator is not a foreign topic for us, but we also get to see, and we have come across in the text before, as God has destructor, or God as destruction.

And we tend to think that those two things are opposite and totally not connected to each other, but they are, especially when we look at the cycle of nature. We have creation where in the spring we have flowers that are rising and blooming out of the Earth. But then as we move more into autumn and winter, we see those flowers and trees dying and dropping their leaves, dropping their blossoms. And what we don't see with our physical eyes happening is that all of those things that those organisms have lost are then reabsorbed into the earth, through the process of decomposition and as they decompose, they offer nutrients to the soil. They offer seeds and food for wildlife, and they are just absorbed into the general ecosystem, which then provides the energy and nutrition for new life to them blossom again in the spring. And so I love this, um, example of nature because it shows that creation or spring and summer naturally move into the opposite side of the cycle was just destruction, autumn and winter. And they feed each other. They move in one eternal round. It never stops. We don't suddenly get to the end of summer. And we're like, Oh, we're all done. Like time to repeat again. Like it has to happen in this cycle.

And this understanding is a more feminine, distinctly feminine way of looking at time, rather than like we talked about last week, like logic and reason are more masculine, a linear understanding of time is more masculine as well. And so it was just fascinating to me to see this interplay. Just contained in this one little verse. So that's all I really wanted to say about it, but it's, oh, it's so cool. I love the way that as I read through the chapter that I got to see this, um, new understanding of a more cyclical understanding of the universe, kind of play out through the text. So super cool. I love it.

E: Moving into section four. This is a really small section and this section is all about Joseph Smith's dad. Joseph Smith's dad asked Joseph Smith to ask God what his role in the restoration was. And I really like the sentiment because I can often feel, and I really like the sentiment because oftentimes I personally can feel overshadowed by the work of others, but I still want to participate, but I don't exactly know how or where like I fit in with everyone else doing really fantastic work. And I wonder if that's kind of how Joseph Smith's dad is feeling. And what comes in this section is God's answer and God says, look, if you desire to do the work, then you're called to do it. And I find this both reassuring and daunting for those who feel this kind of growing desire to become more involved in maybe like feminist issues or racism issues or LGBTQ issues or disability issues like this verse says that you don't even have to be an expert, but if you have that desire growing in you, you do have a responsibility to do something about it.

You are called to do the work. One distinction that I want to kind of highlight the verse, talks about being called to do the work. But I think we need to remember that doing the work is also your work or our individual work in order to do the work that's like a larger work that we are all called to. You have to be sure to do your own work first. Like I have to be sure to read and watch YouTube videos and do lots of Google searches and follow Instagram accounts. And I have to be sure to listen. I can't expect other people to do my work for me in order to start doing the work. Like I can't place the burden of teaching and explaining on BIPOC and ask them to really tell me exactly why step-by-step and word for word, why X, Y, and Z thing was racist or ask them to analyze a work situation for me so that I don't have to do any critical thinking or heavy lifting, or I don't need to dump my like racist aunts and uncles on them and ask BIPOC to teach them like, that's my work. And my work has to happen, I don't know if it's before or in order to, or maybe it's simultaneously, in order for me to start doing the larger work.

C: Well, I think it is maybe all three, like, because just thinking from my own experience from my feminist awakening, I had to do my work to understand feminism, patriarchy, how I had participated in it, how it had affected me in order to four years later, be able to talk about it cohesively and share my experience with it. But even still, just because I've been through quote “a feminist awakening” doesn't mean that I don't additionally have responsibility to continue learning about my own internalized sexism, how sex and sexism shows up externally. And then also educate myself about intersectionality. Educate myself about racism, about ableism, about all of the things, because the work is never done. So yes it is before and in order to, but just because you've made it to understanding sexism, doesn't exclude you from done. Yeah, it doesn't mean you're done. It doesn't mean that you don't have the obligation and the responsibility to continue educating yourself about all of the other things that also influence your place and position in the world.

E: I think that actually transitions us really nicely to then some of the next verses that are often used in terms of missionary work. It's the verse that says there, um, like the field is white and ready to harvest, just like thrust in your sickle. But what I want to explore is outside of missionary terms, what does a field that is white and ready to harvest mean for us in light of “doing the work.” Some ideas that I had were maybe it means like, just jump in anywhere you feel called to, because the work is both abundant and endless, like you said, it's a continual work.

C: It’s also that whole cycle again, right? Like I had a feminist awakening and I felt like, Oh my gosh, this whole, new understanding of a world is being created within me. And then as I encountered, um, my own internalized racism, I had to deconstruct some of those ideas that I had encountered in feminism and unlearn them as white feminism to then reintegrate them into a new understanding of intersectional feminism. And so even just in that small, you know, four-year portion of my life, there was a cycle of creation and destruction. And so you're right. The work is endless, not just because the field is so big and there's so much to harvest, but because guess what, it's going to harvest and then the spring it's going to grow again.

E: Yep. Yep. Well, and I think what you're saying, highlighting here too, is that we need to be specific in what it means for us to do the work. Like what does that mean for each of us and yeah the work, like you're saying doesn't end when 1) maybe the latest event quiets down on social media or 2) when you've blocked your sexist uncle, or 3) when you feel less guilty or 4) when you feel like you've arrived, it's, it's an ongoing continuous process that requires commitment all season long. Like you're saying, working in this field that is ready for harvest is only one season of the work. All of the other seasons require, I don't know, tilling the ground and pulling the weeds and planting seeds and waiting and watching and harvesting again. So doing the work will look different in different seasons, but we are always engaged in some type of field work and some type of doing the work in this large field and harvest that we have.

The rest of section four outlined some kinds of necessary characteristics or characteristics that will qualify us to do the work. And we encourage you to spend time with each of these attributes, faith, hope, charity, love, and see how you can start to embody these characteristics and build them into your individual practice for what it means for you to do the work

C: Friends, we've loved sharing this conversation with you exploring the Lucy Harris's life, talking about what the work and our own individual work looks like, the cyclical nature of God and the universe, and about what it means to frustrate the work of men or for the work of humans to be frustrated. It's been a robust and well-rounded and nuanced conversation, and we're so grateful that you're here for it. And that we get to continue the conversation with you this week on Instagram, in the comments, the DMS and in our emails. We love you so much. We have so much planned for this year. So much goodness that we just can't wait to share with you. So until next week we love you.
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