Faith In God, My Gospel Standards, and The Gift of Giving Life
“That they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”
I was recently released from serving in Young Women. My new calling is to teach the Valiant 10/11 year old girls. In addition to that I am also their Activity Day leader. I have been studying the Faith in God program with new eyes, looking for ways in which it prepares a girl (or boy) to give life.
The entire purpose of the Faith in God program is that each girl and boy of the age of accountability is set on a path that will bring them to know God and Jesus Christ.
The program is split into four sections: “Learning and Living the Gospel,” “Serving Others,” “Developing Talents,” and “Preparing for Young Women or the Priesthood.”
All of the requirements are identical for a boy and girl until you reach the section on Preparing for Young Women or the Priesthood. The choice of scriptures for these sections is not a coincidence:
For the soon to be Young Women: “Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come” D&C 87:8.
And for the soon to be Young Men: “The Priesthood of Aaron . . . is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances” D&C 107:13-14.
Did anyone else catch the significance of comparing these two scriptures next to each other? These young priesthood holders administer in “outward ordinances,” which begs the question, what about the “inward ordinances?” Inward ordinances happen inside a holy temple, in “holy places.” There are the washings, anointings, endowments, and sealings we have all been taught about that take place in holy temple buildings. But we are also told that our body is a temple. If you have read Heather’s essay, “The Two Veils,” you are aware of some of these inward ordinances: intimacy, conception, pregnancy and birth. I would add to that list, menstruation and lactation. These girls are preparing to shed blood as did the Savior. They are a holy place where ordinance work will take place beginning with menstruation and continuing through other the other inward ordinances.
As our girls become young women we must teach them the sacredness of their bodies and that they are places of holy ordinance work symbolizing the mission of our Savior. (Boys need to be taught their bodies are sacred too. This could be a whole other post. I’m just concentrating on the role of girls preparing to be young women.) The point I am trying to make is that if we do not teach them what that means they will be confused as to why and how to express the power they hold within them. Why be modest? Why avoid harmful substances? Why keep the Gospel Standards?
It is easy to misunderstand the importance of inward ordinances. It is easier to understand outward ordinances and their significance because of their apparent visibility but that does not mean they are more important than inward ordinances. The fact that inward ordinances are so misunderstood speaks to how sacred they truly are.
As a girl becomes a woman she experiences changes in her body that are symbolic of the Savior’s life giving properties. Hair begins to grow and is symbolic of life. The curves she develops give her body the strength and shape to carry life within her and bring it into this world. Hair begins to grow and is symbolic of life. Her breasts grow so that they may eventually be filled with living water to nourish her baby just as the Savior’s living water is meant to nourish us. Her body begins to ovulate and shed blood as did the Christ. Whether inward or outward we should always, ask ourselves, “in what way does this ordinance testify of Christ and His Atonement?”
Each of the sections within the Faith in God program is preparatory to coming to know God and Jesus Christ. In order to truly know God we become like our Heavenly Parents. Part of that is reverencing inward ordinances. We must help our boys and girls keep baptismal covenants, learn and live the gospel, serve others, develop talents, and prepare for more ordinance work in the young women and priesthood programs.
How do we help our boys and girls understand inward and outward ordinances?
- Utilize A Parent’s Guide. It is a manual by the church for parents to help with teaching our children about their bodies and intimacy according to their understanding and age.
- Participate in Faith in God. Attend scouting or activity days.
- Celebrate and teach them about the inward ordinances. Consider a coming of age party for your daughter as she nears puberty.
- Put together a special binder/book of information for your daughter about the changes she will experience.
- Attend the new General Women’s Meetings with your daughters (or boys the General Priesthood Meeting with their fathers). It seems God has much in store for our girls and we must be ready to help them understand what is coming. Study both the Women’s and Priesthood sessions. Teach your daughters and sons what was discussed at both.
- Listen for those informal, spontaneous moments when you can talk about these topics and bear testimony of their significance. Don’t have this conversation just once. Leave the lines of communication open for questions.
- Go on “dates” with your child. They need not be extravagant, they just involve one on one time.
- Be aware of how you talk about your body, motherhood, and fatherhood, etc. Our children tend to mirror our insecurities.
I have already been learning a great deal from these powerful girls who are on the cusp of becoming women. They are smart. I have to prepare for their lessons studying not only the primary manual but the adult Sunday school lesson as well. Their questions are thoughtful and reflective. I feel a great responsibility to give them what matters most. I seek the spirit every week as I prepare to teach them.
I would love to learn from you. What have you done to teach your children or primary kids the significance of inward and outward ordinances?