Redefining Missionary Work (Doctrine and Covenants 30-36)

Monday, April 5, 2021

 



Channing: [00:00:06] This is The Faithful Feminists podcast 

Elise: [00:00:11] but this is not just any come follow me 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. 

Channing: [00:00:36] We’ve saved you a seat on the soft chairs, so join us today for a conversation about doctrine and covenants sections 30 through 36 for the dates, April 5th through the 11th. We're so glad you're here.

Elise: [00:00:55] Welcome back everyone. We're super glad that you're here. Not only because it's been a little while, since we've heard from you but we hope that everyone has been enjoying our Easter series Women with Him, but we're especially excited today because we have a super special guest on and her name is Duvy. And we think that there are so, so many of you out there who are doing honestly, like really fantastic work who care about liberation, who feel called to explore the text and the gospel through a feminist lens and who try and show up to lessons and personal study and just live your everyday experience in a way that exemplifies how faith and feminism work together. And this is to say that we know you're out there reading and interpreting and questioning.

And we wanted to bring on a guest who we think does all of those things really, really well. Like I said before, her name is Duvy and we actually met her over on Instagram. She's been a listener. So Duvy, would you like to introduce yourself?

Duvy: [00:01:53] Hi everyone. Uh, so just in June a little bit about me, I grew up in Chicago.
I consider myself to be Mexican-American or Latina, whatever is fine with me. And I guess the last thing is that I can't bake to save my life, but I love to cook. So I think that more than makes up for it. 

Channing: What's your favorite thing to cook?

Duvy: Uh, I think it's just the dishes that my mom makes. 

Elise: [00:02:25] Yeah, amazing.

Well, we're super glad to have you here. And we met Duvyon Instagram. Um, she's been a really awesome supporter and friend and, and will often share a lot of her own thoughts on her Instagram posts. And we just felt honestly really called to try and reach out and have Duvy on. And when she, you said, yes, we're like, this is going to be so fantastic.

And it was funny because we had originally had Duvy slotted for a different episode, but then for some planning reasons, it didn't work out. And so we were lucky enough to have her on for this episode that's really all about missionary work. But when we first sat down to introduce the episode to her, um, I know Duvy, you had like lots of thoughts and feelings come up.

Do you want to share a little bit about how you were feeling when you first saw that these chapters were so heavily embedded in missionary work?

Duvy: [00:03:12] Uh, sure. So I think, um, yeah, I have a complicated relationship with missionary work and it is really hard to unpack all of that right now. But I guess one of the biggest things for me is, uh, how is it that I can communicate to someone that's first learning about the church and express all the good without feeling that I'm covering up with glitter and hide all the pain and hurt that it has cost me and later might cause them. So, yeah, I mean, I love the gospel. I love the church and all the good that it has given me, but the church much like any family is not perfect and has a lot of flaws. 

Elise: [00:04:03] Yeah, absolutely. You don't have to share this part if you don't want to, but I was going to ask, like, I know that you, your family converted mainly because of you, right? Or they followed your example. Is that, do I remember that correctly? Yeah. 

Duvy: [00:04:14] So, um, we were not, we were inactive, I guess you could say going on and off for years. Um, and then my mom got pregnant again and she had twins and it was just harder to go to church. And so we sort of just stopped going. And for me, I started to feel there was something missing, um, and little Duvy at 11 years old, uh, decided to one day that I was going to go back to church. And so I woke up Sunday morning. Got my bus fare and told my parents that I was going to church.

And yeah, I did that. Um, of course my parents got a ride for me, but, um, after that my sisters came and then my parents, and since then we've been going very, very regularly.

Elise: [00:05:08] I feel like your story of like, feeling called back to church and like going by yourself, I feel like that's often a really ideal missionary experience that people try and like showcase in the church, especially when they talk about missionary work. Like look at this one person who brought their whole family back. Is that like how you feel about it? 

Duvy: [00:05:29] Yeah. I mean, I think it was really great at that moment. I think that is what I needed. I needed just the sense of family, the sense of love that I knew and missed from going to church. I think now it's a little bit different.

Um, more so just, uh, even though my family has been a member for all my life, my parents aren't sealed. And so for me, um, I think the message that we get as going to primary and young women, especially when we're talking about the temple is sort of, you want to get sealed with your family to be together there forever.

And that is such a wonderful thing when it applies to you. Um, but it doesn't, it can really hurt. Um, Yeah. So for me, it just, for a very long time, I blamed my parents, um, for all the hurt and pain that it was causing me, because I just didn't understand why we weren't sealed, why they didn't want us to be together forever as a family.

Um, and then, um, little did I know that like they were suffering too because they were trying to get sealed, but just a lot of things were difficult. I even had to get rebaptized when I was trying to get my endowments because, um, my dad's church records couldn't be found. Now, I don't think the church has a monopoly or has the whole truth about families being together for the eternities. Yeah. I don't know why we teach that specific thing or the way that we're teaching that, um, maybe needs to be revised so that people who are not going to the temple are not feeling like, oh, I won't be with my family ever again. 

Elise: [00:07:27] Right, right, right. Wow. Thanks for sharing that with us.

I actually think that you opening up and sharing your personal experience leads us really smoothly into the overall context of these scriptures, which it's sections 30 through 36 and in almost every chapter, it talks about a different person and their personal experience with being called to missionary work or what their relationship is to missionary work.

And what does it mean to preach the gospel? Um, and so I think it was a really nice start to the episode for you to share some of your thoughts about, you know, your personal understanding, um, or your personal relationship to missionary work. 

Duvy: [00:08:05] I actually wrote a poem about this and yeah, just trying to construct what I'm feeling this time. I turned to writing a poem, so here it is:

Families can be eternal you see
Eternal your family can be
Together forever in al eternities
Don't you want that for your family?
It is quite simple, you see,
you must be married in that white house, you see.
In that white house will be sealed with your family for all eternity.
But what if you’re not, you see
Will I not be with my family?
Surely that cannot be
for I love my family.
Surely God will not keep me away from my family.
All I know is this. If you want to be with your family,
you will marry in that white house, you see.
For this, I was told, and this I was taught.
My family will not be with me for all eternities
For they did not know 
and couldn’t see
the pain their words brought to me.
For many years, I did believe
that God would be so cruel to me to not let me be
for all eternity, with my own beloved family.
Yet now I know, and now I see
they do not know I will not be
together with my family
for all eternity.

Elise: [00:09:48] Thank you for sharing that. It's nice to be in the company of other friends that care so much about like words and trying to sort through and trying to sort things out that way.

Channing: [00:09:56] And I, I just wanted to also add that I think that, um, your willingness to share your story with us and that beautiful poem that I think is just really poignant in the way that it points out and showcases kind of that like 11 year old innocence and that 11 year old self of trying to figure out where do I fit in this narrative? Where do I fit in this story? Where where's my place, where is my family's place? Where, where do we belong in all of this?

And I think that your poem showcases that complexity. Of trying to figure out where you belong, when a space isn't made for you. And also like moving through kind of a journey of understanding and moving into maybe a new understanding of what that place looks like and claiming a place for yourself. And so I've just really appreciated hearing your story and hearing your experience with this. And I think you've really gifted us with such a beautiful, like, new understanding of what these sections are. Um, what opportunities these sections are presenting us with for a new understanding of the text. So we are so grateful. Thank you so much for being authentic and sharing. So vulnerably with us. 

Duvy: [00:11:18] Oh, thank you both for allowing me the space to be here with you. 

Elise: [00:11:23] I think now would be a good time to jump into section 31. And out of all of these sections, we actually wanted to spend some time talking about Thomas B. Marsh and Elizabeth Marsh and their story.

Although Thomas is the only one that appears in this section, we're going to focus on both of their stories here. 

Channing: [00:11:40] The section of the text is really interesting because each section is dedicated to um, one person and I think there's one that's dedicated to two people and all of these people have their own stories that are highlighted in the church resource that the manual links to it, which is called Revelations in Context. Um, but Thomas Marsh and Elizabeth Marsh's story has stuck out to us the most. And it's one of the ones that we feel is the most relevant for our conversation today. So we wanted to get a little background on his story.

So section 31 is directed to Thomas Marsh and the story of Thomas Marsh is um, and this is directly from the Revelations in Context. Um, apparently he ran away when he was 14. And eventually was introduced to Joseph Smith and the book of Mormon and was converted to the church. And, um, soon after his conversion, he was called to go on a mission.

And that's the calling we find is in section 31 and he goes on a mission. And then returns home. And one of the promises that Thomas was given in his calling was that all of his children would be cared for in verse two of section 31. Thomas' promise that your little ones will be blessed. And, um, one of the hard parts obviously I'm like going through his story very fast. There's so much packed into such a little bit of time. Um, but pretty soon after Thomas Marsh returns from his mission, he and his family moved to Missouri. And once they get there, His eldest son dies of a really sudden illness, like sudden onset illness.
And so this kind of seems to start a process of like faith crisis or the article, unfortunately calls it a spirit of apostasy. Um, but kind of the hinge point of Thomas Marsha's story is um, there, it sounds like there had already been quite a bit of tension between leaders in the church and while they were living in Missouri, Elizabeth Marsh had an agreement with another woman in the community that they would share milk to make cheese.

Elizabeth was accused of skimming the cream, like the good part of the milk off of the top of the milk and keeping it for herself, which would be really hard to make cheese if you didn't have cream. So back then the church structure was a little bit different. And from what I can tell in Revelations in Context, church leadership seemed to have been involved in trying to determine who was at fault for this and kind of trying to play a little bit of their own justice system it seems. And so it sounds like after a series of discussions or like formal discipline or whatever, um, it was found that Elizabeth was guilty of skimming the cream off of the milk and apparently, this was a huge, like huge, huge uproar. And it caused a big riff between the Marshes and the church.

And one of the things that I appreciated about this story is that Thomas Marsh, upon hearing that his wife was determined to be guilty, he stood by her and he even like, went as far as to say, look, if I have to choose between the church’s opinion of my wife and my wife, I'm going to choose to stand by my wife.
And so from that point on, um, the Marshes move away and eventually Thomas B. Marsh actually starts to oppose the saints and kind of write some very violent things about the saints and eventually agrees with the governor about the extermination order against the saints in Missouri. And, um, and I think that that really goes to show just how strong this rift and this, um, point of disagreement was that it caused so much pain for the Marshes. And so decades pass by eventually Elizabeth dies and a little while later, Thomas B. Marsh writes to the saints who are now in Utah. He writes to Brigham young and asks for his membership to be reinstated. And so Brigham Young, put it to a vote at the next general conference, and it was unanimous that he should be reinstated.

And that's kind of where the Revelations in Context ends Thomas Marsh's story, but I thought that this was a really interesting story to include in this episode for a couple of different reasons. One, we have a situation here in church history where, uh, a prominent man in leadership in the church has chosen to stand by his partner, stand by his female partner and side with her instead of with the church. And I think that we've come across other stories, even just this year in the Doctrine and Covenants, where that hasn't necessarily been the case. And we really felt that it was important to highlight the times when that does happen. And I also think that it's interesting to look at how these stories are framed and shared in the church as well.

Um, I had never heard of Thomas B. Marsh and wouldn't have ever been aware of the story had I not done the background research. And secondly, the other reason why we wanted to highlight this chapter is because there was one verse that seemed to really stick out to me among all of the other sections.
When you're getting missionary call after missionary call in the text and the section starts to get kind of repetitive. But this was one that I felt like was really unique because in verse 10, there's some really interesting language that I hadn't heard before in connection with missionary calls.

Verse 10 says to Thomas B. Marsh, “Behold, I say unto you that you shall be a physician unto the church, but not unto the world for they will not receive you.” And I think that this wording is really significant and interesting. A physician unto the church, especially given that Thomas Marsh was not a doctor.
He worked in a, a print shop, I believe before he met Joseph Smith. And so this wording of being a physician to the church is really interesting to me. Um, my partner works in medicine and something that I've come to realize the more I learn about the medical field is that of course doctors and healthcare professionals are here to heal us.

And that is the most important function of a physician. But often it's really interesting when you think about it, often, a physician has to cause hmm, seemingly more pain or more damage in order to heal. For example, if you need to have a knee replacement, your knees might hurt, but it's going to hurt way worse to get the surgery and then do the recovery.

It's going to hurt to get your knees replaced. And there's going to be a lot of recovery involved in that, but it's for the long-term benefit. Like eventually you're going to feel better. Um, or for example, my partner works in physical therapy and oftentimes. It can seem like that process hurts away more than just letting the injury be.

But what happens in the process is that eventually you gain more strength and more mobility. And so I think that this concept is really interesting when we're talking about missionary work, right. Being a physician and to the church, I think on the podcast, one of our biggest critiques is that we're too critical and that we don't offer any healing because we have so much critique.

And I think that it's an interesting perspective to take on missionary work. When we talk about healing that sometimes we have to look at the damaged parts. We have to clean the wound. We have to look at what is causing the pain and then fix it. And sometimes that can seem painful. Sometimes that will be uncomfortable, but the hope is that we can heal those hurting parts so that in the longterm, we actually end up with a more whole and healthy body of Christ. And so we wanted to highlight this story in the sections for multiple reasons, but. One of the questions that I wanted to ask Duvy and Elise is what do you think that this story of Thomas B. Marsh has to offer um, a new understanding of what missionary work could look like? 

Duvy: [00:20:20] Uh, one of the things that I really like about this is what you mentioned in the beginning was that Thomas B. Marsh stood by Elizabeth. And so I've been reading a book called All Things New by Fiona and Terryl Givens, and they offer a different interpretation, I guess, a little bit to the two greatest commandment, um, in the passage found in Moses chapter seven, verse 29 is where Enoch is asking the Lord how is it that thou canst weep, and the answer comes in verses 32 and 33. And he says, “the Lord said unto him, behold, thy brethren, they are workmanship of my own hands. And I gave unto them their knowledge in the day I created them. And in the garden of Eden, I gave unto men, his agency. Unto thy brethren, I have said, and also given commandments, they should love one another and that they should choose me, their father, but behold they are without affection and they hate their own blood.”

I think what is interesting here in these verses is that the two greatest commandments flipped. With loving one another being first and second being that we should choose to love God. And then secondly, that, although both of these commandments have been broken by the people referenced, he's weeping because they are without affection and they hate their own blood.

He's not weeping because they do not love God or not worshiping him. He's weeping because they show no love and affection, no affection to each other. And so I think at times we fear in our lives, uh, when we have, when we feel that we have to choose between loving God and loving our family or others. But I think in these verses, we see that what is most important is to show love to one another. And that in loving those that are around those, we are honoring God. So it is just as like, if we have done it unto one another, the least of the brethren, ye have done it unto me. So don't we see? So let us not let a commandment stand in the way of love we have for one another.

That is the mistake that the Pharisees have made. And so let us not make the same mistake. Instead, embrace and love one another, invite, and make space for the gospel of Jesus Christ that's all encompassing. And if it is not, then we're not casting a wide enough net. 

Elise: [00:22:57] I could just cheer after that. This is one of my favorite parts of the gospel.
Like, and when you quoted Matthew 25:35, like if you've done it unto the least of these, you've done it unto me. I think that is spot on. That's my favorite part of the gospel that loving God is loving, loving your neighbor and the stranger and standing by your partners and your friends and your companions.
Channing: [00:23:20] I love that. So as we move from the story of Thomas Marsh into kind of a broader, more generalized discussion about missionary work and perhaps, maybe the pitfalls, but also the hopes that are tied to that. We wanted to just focus on what these sections offer us. And potentially find a new understanding of what the potential of missionary work could be.

Elise: [00:23:44] I think I wanted to spend a little bit more time trying to figure out what the people in these sections were being called to do, because I think my understanding of missionary work might be different than the understanding of missionary work that's outlined in each section. And so I went through every chapter and I tried to pull out words or phrases that followed after the Lord called these people to do certain things. And the biggest themes that I found was that the Lord called these people to open their mouth, to declare my gospel often using the voice of a trumpet. And cry repentance unto a crooked and perverse generation.

And so for me, that was kind of my biggest takeaway from all of these sections. And so I wanted to piece apart a little bit, if there's so much emphasis placed on declaring my gospel, which is to say declaring the Lord's gospel, what does that gospel look like? And it seems to suggest that perhaps this is a gospel of repentance.

Duvy: [00:24:42] Yeah. And I think for me, what it means to call repentance is not really an invitation for discipline or to be self-condemned. I think repentance, it's more an invitation to change one's heart in his image. So when we are baptized, we are choosing to allow God to help us change our hearts, to be one with ourselves, others and Christ.

Elise: [00:25:09] I love that. And I know Channing you've often said on the podcast too, like repentance is about a change of heart that brings us back to Jesus Christ. And I like both of these understandings of repentance because it feels less like, Oh, if you're not part of the church, of course you need to repent because you're obviously wicked.

It sounds more like there is so much love from Jesus Christ and God, like, we want to help get you to that in whatever path or manner that might look like. And sometimes I feel at least in my like personal understanding or like personal experience of missionary work, that the kind of surface level missionary work leads to these I don't know, it can kind of feel like a checklist, right? Like I need to teach these amounts of lessons and get these number of baptisms and only share particular parts of the gospel without going into full details. And yes, from a practical standpoint, I understand why you can't rehearse hundreds of years worth of church history in your missionary lessons.

And that's, this is also not to say that I like have a vendetta against missionaries. There are like four, four missionary pairs in the ward that I'm in right now. And I love them all. I'm always so impressed with their like courage and their, honestly their love for God and their love for people. But I also, I can also imagine how at sometimes it can feel a little bit distorted in the message that we're sharing.
If we lose that, this is the gospel of Jesus Christ that focuses on love and repentance. And so for me, I think that there's a moment where it. Or multiple moments where it has the possibility to become distorted. There's a blog post that I found on the Feminist Mormon Housewives page written by Ben Park back in 2013.

And he shares an experience where on his mission, they would often invite like investigators to watch General Conference. And they were working in like a young adult ward or something like that. And they invited one of the young women in the ward or an investigator to watch General Conference. And he writes, “but after she attended one of the Saturday sessions of general conference, she told us that she wasn't interested anymore.

Didn't she enjoy the powerful sermon on kindness by Elder Wirthlin? We asked. Yes, she said, it was very nice. What about the emphasis on family? A primary concern of hers. Yes, she replied. That was nice too. And you can't forget the fantastic Mormon tabernacle choir, we reasoned. Yes, she sighed. They were great.

Then what is the issue? She says, I had come to believe that the restored gospel embodied the diversity of humanity, men and women of all backgrounds, but at your conference that was meant to represent a worldwide family church. All I saw were white males, presiding white male speaking, and white males praying. Surely God's church is more than that.”

He continues to write, “I didn't have a good response then I still don't. I wish I did, but it at least made me start asking more questions.” And I think this is striking. And I just wanted to ask both of you if maybe you've ever had this moment of disillusionment where you feel that the gospel or even the church culture has the potential to be so inclusive, so wide, so loving but then it seems to fall short in the actual lived experience of the gospel. Have either of you had an experience like that? 

Duvy: [00:28:36] One the things that I've experienced is when I've been trying to include Heavenly Mother more into, uh, or just bring her more to our ward. And just some of the pushback that I've gotten and how sometimes I've been made to feel that I'm doing something wrong by trying to make her more part of the conversation.

And so I think for me, there is a very, very big loss potential, and not to say also that, uh, we're not really including Heavenly Mother in the conversations for missionaries, even though we are a family-centered church. 

Channing: [00:29:18] Yeah. I really resonate with that too. I have definitely experienced some of that, not the same situations, but similar pushback when trying to talk about Heavenly Mother and our church meetings.

And I think I'll also answer your question Elise. Yeah, I have definitely experienced that as recently as last week. Last week I went to church for, I went back to in-person church for the first time since COVID happened, where I live and I was really excited to be there. And, um, when I got there, they, they had two men from the stake there to speak, and those were the only two speakers and the youth speaker was also, um, a male is as well.

And I remember just leaning over to my partner and just saying there shouldn't ever be a session of church where a woman doesn't speak at least once. And it was just a really stark, it was really start contrast with what I had been, especially doing the podcast all throughout last year, all throughout COVID, I felt like it was a really unique experience too um, experiencing the gospel in that way in a radically inclusive and visible way for me in my own personal study. And then to bring that to church and be surprised, but also not surprised by just the erasure that I was experiencing there. I think it does happen.

And I think it's unfortunate that even still, by the time our listeners listen to this episode, General Conference will have already passed. So I hope I'm proven wrong, but I'm preparing myself to be disappointed at General Conference. I'm preparing for sessions to pass without a woman speaking. I'm preparing myself to not be seen or represented or feel heard, or have my specific issues and viewpoints of the doctrine and the gospel just like Duvy said, or hear about Heavenly Mother. And that sucks to be a part of a church that I feel like I can only partially be in love and loved by. Does that make sense? 

Elise: [00:31:31] Yeah, absolutely. I think with all the disillusionment that can come with this experience of missionary work, later in that same blog post the author continues to write about maybe a more hopeful understanding of missionary work. One that is, that moves from a place of courage and humility that is open to sharing all of the vibrancy in an authentic way, but also open to receiving truth and goodness, and love from other places than our own religion.

At the end of this, this passage he writes “and that's why in the end, missionary is fruitful because it reminds you that you always remain, indeed, you must remain an investigator yourself.” And I love this thought. And so I was just trying to think about how can our missionary work continue to disrupt the expected authority and hierarchy that comes with the, um, kind of dynamic of missionary and investigator the one where the missionary is the expert who knows all who is here to like bestow all of this knowledge on the unlearned investigator, who is supposed to be just totally receptive and in this really kind of one way relationship.

So how can we, so how can our missionary work disrupt this authority line or hierarchy and have a more fluid understanding of missionary work and investigation that looks like sharing and learning, questioning, understanding, and valuing? How can we continue to be both the missionary and the investigator at the same time?

Duvy: [00:33:04] And I think this is a good place where we can look at the parable of the 10 virgins in Doctrine and Covenants, uh, chapter 33 verses 17 and 18. We see the parable of the 10 virgins mentioned. And just a quick little recap it is a story of the 10 young women, uh, waiting for the bridegroom to come. Five of them wise and five of them foolish. Um, but the five who were foolish, did that bring extra oil and asked the five, who did for some oil as their lamps had gone out. But they were told not so, lest there being not enough for us and you. But go ye rather to them that sell and buy for yourselves. So they did go.

And the bridegroom came during the time that they were out buying more oil and the five who did bring extra oil with them, went in and the doors were shut. Then later the five, the five foolish came and knocked on the door and asked to be let in but the bridegroom said that he knew them not. And rereading this story I found a blog post from exponent ii in where we are invited to think about the oil as our consciousness. And the bridegroom as the feast, the bridegroom feast to enlightenment. I love this fresh new view of the story because when we think of the oil as consciousness, it brings a whole new meaning.
Consciousness uh, when I looked it up, it means to be awake, to be aware. So in having that extra oil and going into the bridegroom feast, we are experiencing multiple awakenings. in the blog it says “It is a process of waking up, of receiving line upon line, of seeing beyond our own experience and understanding. Consciousness means that you are beginning to see things from the perspective of the other. It is consciousness that fuels the light within us so that we are ready for the bridegroom moments of our lives.”

And I think this view allows us to be more open in when we are finding the truth in the people we are finding the truth in the people we are surrounded by in every part of our lives. In my experience, in the gospel, I feel sometimes that the church teaches us to exclude. It does that when they warned us about choosing carefully, where we seek for answers.

So we only look for church approved sources. We are told to choose our friends carefully. So we end up being composed of only members of the church. And then they tell us to marry within the church because if not, our children will fall away from the gospel and we'll do all kinds of bad things. So we marry within the church and our circles become smaller.

And so our potential for growth, for anything different, becomes smaller and smaller. And before we know it, we are living in a bubble and an echo chamber of our own making, where we see anything different as bad when in reality, which what we should be doing is breaking that barrier. And first and foremost, embrace those of our faith that are in the margins who have been cast out because of our beliefs.
That is not what Christ's gospel is about. First and foremost, we must love each other. Bring back and invite and make space for the women or LGBTQ or the disabled for the sinners for the oppressed. While also not forgetting that we need to pop the bubble and also become friends with those have different beliefs than us.

Not being afraid that their beliefs will influence us, but embracing that influence when it is good and adding to ours that has embraced the beliefs in the 13 article of faith that says “if there's anything virtuous, lovely, or a good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” We seek, let us seek them out and being more open to where we find the good in the world and expand our consciousness.

Elise: [00:37:25] I love that so much, especially because it stems from this really well-known parable of the 10 virgins. And I think oftentimes the interpretation is sorry, other ladies, you weren't prepared. And so we can't spare anything for you.

And so we're going to stay in our, like you're saying Duvy our tight our tight bubble and kind of move forward with our lives. But I think that the exponent article, at least the way I understand it is to say that how can we be awake and aware and present for these moments of enlightenment or these, for these moments of deeper understanding.

And I like this, especially because I think consciousness is something that can be shared. It can, it's something that can be learned and taught and expanded upon. And so in that way, I feel like maybe even the story of the the 10 virgins here can be one of sharing new ideas with one another. I need ideas that are filled with oil and light and I also need ideas that are different ideas that are maybe unorganized or surprising to me, ideas that I didn't even know were there in the first place. And I love this idea of sharing.
Channing: [00:38:36] I love the idea that it takes away kind of the singular claim. Like we are the one and only true church and we know everything and we have all of the truth.

Everything that you could ever need is at church. So don't bother looking anywhere else because once you get here, you've arrived. And I think that this this perspective really pushes back on that and kind of opens up the boundary between church and like the church and other and makes it more permeable.

So that there's a good back and forth and a give and take between the two, because you know, one of the things that I I've been thinking about as we've been talking is just the potential, the untapped potential of missionary work for missionaries to go out and learn and bring back to the church like structure and institution, what they've learned, because I mean, if we're honest, the institution of the church is very patriarchal.

It is very like Westernized and colonized. And so what could we learn potentially from our worldwide members who have different experiences, different perspectives, different ways of doing things. And how could that benefit us instead of like, we've been saying this perspective of we're going to go out and share everyone, share with everyone on how things should be and how much more light and love and goodness we could have if we were open to giving and receiving in our missionary work. So I love, love, love this perspective. 

Duvy: [00:40:10] Yeah. And I think, uh, the other thing with this too, is that it opens up to the idea when we're thinking that the gospel will be preached in every language that were seeing that, instead of thinking of the language as a dialect, we're thinking that the gospel will be taught not necessarily from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but it is, uh, anything that is good, any experience that we're looking that makes us better. And so I think that opens up to a wider interpretation of what that scripture means. 

Elise: [00:40:54] It also makes me think of some verses that show up in section 35. In section 35 verses 13, it talks about “wherefore I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised to thresh the nations by the power of my spirit.” And then a few verses later, it talks about “the poor and the meek shall have the gospel preached unto them.” I like this idea, because I think that calling upon the weak things of the world turns our hierarchical, understanding of missionary work on its head.

And it says, instead of turning to the people who are perhaps the most in power, let's turn to those who are meek and humble and weak and poor so that we can not just learn from them in a way that looks like taking from them, but learn from them in a way that looks like centering their experiences, listening and trying to understand as opposed to showing up at people's doorsteps and saying like, clearly you don't know anything, so I'm here to teach you at all. 

Duvy: [00:41:52] Yeah. And so I really love that redefinition of missionary work, where it aligns with what our Heavenly Parents and Jesus Christ’s work is in that God's work is to bring us all back to their presence and Christ and to restore unity in the human family. And his plan requires us to be in participation with them to help each other heal from our wounds and have our hearts grow with love.
So we are participating and missionary work when we minister, when we mourn, and when we bear each other's burdens. It is not only by our own strength that we have become exalted beings, but by the strength of those who have crossed our path and help us along the way together with our Heavenly Parents and Jesus Christ.

Elise: [00:42:41] Thank you everyone so, so much for tuning into our episode today, but honestly, a huge thank you to our very special guests Duvy. I don't think we can say enough good things about the way that you showed up to the episode. So prepared, so vulnerable, so loving. Um, and I really do think that your experiences will connect with a lot of other listeners. So thank you for joining us. 

Channing: [00:43:04] Yes, we really appreciate all of the incredible insights that you've brought. In the time that we've been working together to prepare the episode, I really feel strongly that I've walked away with an increased understanding and a new perspective that I wouldn't have encountered had it not been for you. All of that to say we're so grateful for you. Thank you a million times over for showing up for us and showing up for our listeners. We love you. 

Duvy: [00:43:32] And I really want to say thank you to Elise and Channing for all the work that they have done and for helping me so much in preparing us well, I could not have done this without you guys. And for allowing space um, for me and my thoughts, I think this is why I really love hearing The Faithful Feminists, because they invite us to take the time and encourage us to listen and to feel, and experience and trust ourselves more. And I think it is really a profound thing to do when you were seeing, when I see Channing and Elise doing something and then I think that I can do it as well. And so can all of you guys. So thank you so much for the time.

Channing: [00:44:26] Thank you for your sweet words. We love you so much. And to all of our listeners out there, we love you so much too. And we can't wait to chat with you soon.


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