Today the discussion we did with Sister Beck was finally put up on the Mormon Channel. Thank you for being patient with us while we worked on this amazing project. It has been a very humbling experience and we hope that someone finds comfort, hope, encouragement and answers to the things that we were able to discuss.
Sister Beck was very gracious and actually met with me twice-- once in January for over 2 hours and then again when we were finally able to record our discussion. The format changed and morphed from our original idea due to scheduling conflicts with the studio and with Sister Beck’s crazy busy schedule. I honestly feel like what we came away with was perfect and the personal lessons that I learned have been invaluable.
When this idea was presented back in December 2011, I was intrigued and frankly terrified. Intrigued because who doesn't want to be able to sit down with the General Relief Society President and just talk with her like you were long lost BFF’s? I did. But I was also terrified because Hello! Who want's the General Relief Society President knowing your name and watching you? That's kind of scary.
When I posted my query to all of you, I was shell-shocked with how quickly the comments came pouring in -- deep and poignant questions were asked in the comments. Then the emails started pouring in. And then I started receiving phone calls.
Over a two day period I received over 300 personal emails with people wanting to have not only their questions asked, but their pain recognized as well. Underneath everything that was being said in comments, on FB and via email was this: Women want to feel validated and heard.
I can promise you one thing: While not every single question, topic or category was discussed in the recording, they were in our original meeting and they were heard. I feel like Sister Beck acknowledged and validated those questions and the pain some of our sisters are carrying.
I will be honest: My heart was heavy as I read email after email of women who were struggling in their faith, struggling in their marriages or with their children. Emails came in from around the world and from a lot of women who are in a lot of pain. My heart was heavy and it ached deeply. Being able to see just a small glimpse of the pain we, as women, are carrying was a humbling experience. As Sister Beck and I discussed the topics of questions that were posed, I recognized in her what I had been feeling: Her heart IS heavy for all of us. She is acutely aware of us and she worries about us; She loves us and she cares for us.
She knows that we all have questions and struggles. She also knows that some of us are deeply hurting. I saw her get emotional as we discussed how hard life really is, and she understands that we are ever searching for that little piece of hope to help us get from one day to the next. And, that through blogging those needs are being met and that hope is being found.
Please know that I took all of the questions-- in the comments, and emails -- and categorized them and then discussed the categories with Sister Beck. She is keenly aware of the questions that were posted in the comments section on MMB and we discussed the topics at length. It was nearly impossible to be able to answer every single question that was posed, so we did the best that we could and I am very pleased with the final outcome.
Over the next several weeks you will see a new “page” appear here on MMB, at the encouragement of Sister Beck. She was gracious and gave me access to all of the interviews that have been done not only on the Mormon Channel, but throughout the stakes that she has visited. We have been furiously categorizing those videos for this new page aptly entitled “Women in the Mormon Church” where all of the categories of your questions will be answered, one video clip at a time.
As you can imagine, this has been a huge undertaking. It has taken a lot of our free time to make a place where you can “one stop shop your questions”, so to speak. It’s our hope—mine and Sister Becks – that this resource will help people with their quest for further light and knowledge and help to give them guidance in their journey. However, the ultimate way that we each can gain the answers to our questions is in pondering those questions while conversing with the Lord. Revelation is personal, we all know that, and it comes “line upon line” in it’s own due time and individual way to each of us.
I do not envy her job—or that of any of our leaders. Their burdens are heavy and their list of worries long. All I can do – all any of us can do, really – is take the charge to be Women like Abish seriously and rise to the occasion. Does that mean that we blog exclusively about our religion and bear fervent testimony hourly on our blogs? Heavens no. It means that we make our FAITH more relatable to those around us; we do as they teach every young missionary entering the MTC: Build Upon Common Beliefs – One post at a time.
Click here to listen to Sister Julie B. Beck, General Relief Society President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discuss the value of questions with Elisa Scharton, owner of Mormon Mommy Blogs.