help me write a talk!

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help me write a talk!

Post by Stayforthedip » 09 Jun 2017, 09:43

I was asked to give a talk on "honoring and magnifying the priesthood." I probably would have said no, but they asked me (a woman) to be the concluding speaker! I consider myself a feminist and part of why I stay in the church right now is to help be the change I want to see. This is something very simple, but I have literally never seen a concluding speaker be a female in my ward of 10 years.

Anyhow, now I need to give a talk on this. It will be on father's day, so they also said I could talk about fathers, Heavenly father, etc. and tie it all to the priesthood.

So here is where I need help. How do I give this talk when 1) I don't really have faith in the priesthood 2) I am pretty agnostic about the existence of a Heavenly Father 3) I am a feminist that want more air time given to women and Heavenly Mother (should she exist either). Oh, and 4) I have a terrible relationship with my own father who is a very high ranking church official?

I want to quote women at least 50% of the time, so I plan to do lots of reading up on Okazaki.

Any suggestions on how to word things so I am true to my (un)belief but still speak the language of the audience?


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Re: help me write a talk!

Post by mom3 » 09 Jun 2017, 10:03

This is like most excellent awesome.

First thoughts off the top of my head - Prophetesses. Deborah, Miriam, Huldah.

Ray's recent HPG lesson on woman and temple priesthood connection.

Definitely Chieko. She may not be totally direct on the topic though.

Another talk here for ideas

I will start with those. My brain will be chugging on this all day. So love it.

And of course Eve-
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Re: help me write a talk!

Post by Holy Cow » 09 Jun 2017, 10:38

Of all the Mother's Day talks I've ever heard, the only one I remember is when a woman talked about the strained relationship that she had with her mother growing up, and how she felt guilty that she felt more relief than grief when her mother passed away. Then she talked about how her relationship with her mother drove her to do things differently, and it has given her the drive to be there for her own kids. And, she talked about other women in her life who filled that 'mother' role that she was missing, and how we can help the children and youth in our ward as their leaders.
I think you could do something similar. Focus on fathers, rather than priesthood. Even if your relationship with your father wasn't great, you can still talk about traits that you recognize in other fathers, like your husband, other church leaders, school teachers, coaches, etc. Drop the priesthood piece of it, and nobody will even notice. Make it about Father's Day, instead of Priesthood Day.
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Re: help me write a talk!

Post by Heber13 » 09 Jun 2017, 10:44

I will start thinking as well, don't have any particular content right now but will come back here when I do and give thoughts.

Initial thoughts:
1. Good job for accepting the assignment...on Mother's Day...they often have men talk and give women a break on that is good to see your ward do the equal reverse on Father's Day.
2. Rock it! Make is so damn good that everyone respects you and is uplifted and they want more of the concluding speakers to be women
3. Focus on examples of priesthood and leadership that values equality, not just priesthood placating women or saying how much they value women while elevating priesthood above women. No...find the examples that women are capable of doing anything men do in the church, even if there are some divisions in what they are called to do. The true men you look up to...and ultimately Jesus...valued women in all areas of life. Women and men are side by side, or on equal ground when it comes to eternal potential and value. Heavenly Father, the true father, values his daughters and his sons equally.
4. I like Holy Cow's thoughts because there may be members of the congregation that don't have the perfect dad or perfect relationship with their dad (or their perfect relationship with their Heavenly dad for that matter)...and there are encouraging words to people on a holiday to honor dads when it isn't perfect. As he said, on mother's day...those were comforting to some to know not everyone has the best scenario...but can still shine despite it. I like that angle.

I'll let you know if I come across content. Mom3 has some good ones to start.

Can't wait to hear how you put this together. Thanks for sharing! You'lll rock it!
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: help me write a talk!

Post by LookingHard » 09 Jun 2017, 13:45

Not sure if this is something that is "you", but let me throw it out there.

There was a VT lesson in the Ensign a few years ago ... r?lang=eng that talked about a wife/mother that had some issues that made it hard for her to iron the clothes. The article talked about how the father/husband seemed to have sacrificed eating lunch and saved that money to buy some contraption that made ironing much easier on the mom. It sounded like (if I remember) that the mom still had to do the ironing during this time even though it was painful.

The thought for me was "We can do better than that!" Talk about how the husband could have eaten his lunch and taken a bit of time at home and done the ironing himself. I am proud to say that 99% of all the ironing for my clothes has been done by me, not my wife (oops - I think I forgot that my mom probably did a bunch for me - sorry mom - thanks and love ya). It seems to me (and others ... -examples/) that there would have been a better ending to the story. Encourage the men to think about how to be better.

This is a bit leaning on the husband to step up and I would hope your whole talk isn't saying "your not cutting it, you must do more MORE MORE" (the men in the audience might think they are in the Priesthood session of General Conference and start tuning out).

This does remind me of a fathers day when I was a teenager. The wife of one of the guys in the ward had the final speaker spot. She spent 20 minutes going over all the great things her husband did - always doing the dishes, helping with the laundry, always changing the baby's diaper, taking out the trash without ever having to be asked, mowing the lawn, I think even painting the nail polish on her toenails. I know the guys still and he really is the real deal nice guy. But he caught HELL from all the men in the ward as most of their wives were now on their case, "can't you be more like Brother Perfect????" I remember even the bishop in Priesthood opening exercises making a remark about it months later. I am glad I heard it as a teenager and had a real example of someone like that as a husband.

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Re: help me write a talk!

Post by Minyan Man » 09 Jun 2017, 14:25

I like personal stories from members lives.
You can teach a gospel principle & members can know more about who you are.

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Re: help me write a talk!

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Jun 2017, 20:33

I would quote from Elder Oaks talk in which he emphasized that "the Priesthood" is not any person or people. It is not men who have been ordained to Priesthood offices. It is the power of God , and both men and women have access to its power and authority in various ways.

I also would define "magnifying" as "focusing and bringing into clarity", like a microscope does. My Stake President did that in our last Stake Conference, and it was powerful.

1) Every person ever born is a child of God, born with divinity as part of their very being, and each person can act as such. Anyone can pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. That is honoring and magnifying the Priesthood.

2) Baptized members have taken upon themselves the name of Christ and can act as his representatives. That is honoring and magnifying the Priesthood.

3) Elder Oaks said that temple-endowed members, both men and women, are given the exact same Priesthood power and authority. They all are prepared to officiate in the ordinances of both Priesthoods, whenever keys are used to authorize them to do so. Performing and participating in Priesthood ordinances, inside and outside the temple, is honoring and magnifying the Priesthood - and women can do both of those things when they are temple workers.

4) All members can live the best they can according to the dictates of their own consciences, and that is honoring and magnifying the Priesthood.

There is more, but I would start there.
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Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Re: help me write a talk!

Post by amateurparent » 09 Jun 2017, 22:43

Years ago, I gave a Father's Day talk.

Earlier that year, I had visited for a few minutes with a local mother. She was complaining/commenting about someone who didn't treat their kids very well. She was disapproving of their parenting.

The conversation really had an effect on me because the mother commenting to me was a HORRIBLE parent. Her kids were dirty, the house was a wreck and two of the older kids (10 and 12) were living in her back shed. Her husband had been seen by the neighbors beating their children with a baseball bat. CPS was constantly involved in their lives. Of all people, I thought she would be indifferent to poor parenting.

Listening to her, I realized that people do the best they can. Even when the results are poor, it does not mean they don't care.

My own father was not a very good father. He was actually a terrible father. He loved his children very much, he just had a lousy way of showing it.

I talked about those people and focused on recognizing the efforts that fathers make. I discussed to need to find appreciation in those efforts .. even when those efforts fall short. I talked about God's commandment to honor our father and mother. To give honor to that position of parent -- and father -- in our life is important. It makes us better people.

I didn't talk at all about perfect people.

While I talked, babies were shushed, the chapel are quiet, and people appeared to lean forward as they listened. I took it as a sign that people want to hear about real life problems and situations.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

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Re: help me write a talk!

Post by DarkJedi » 10 Jun 2017, 11:19

I have thought about this a bit, and I think I might make note of some of the interactions Jesus had with women in the NT. The ones that come to my mind off the bat are the woman taken in adultery, the woman at the well, and the woman that touched his robe. Jesus respectfully and lovingly exercised the priesthood in each of those cases.

And, as Ray suggests, I would also use quotes from the Oaks talk. I am a high councilor. In a very real way I exercise the same priesthood authority in my calling as do the stake RSP, YWP, and PP - we all act under the authority (keys) of the SP, not our own. The same is true in our wards, we act under the keys of the bishop.
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Re: help me write a talk!

Post by Stayforthedip » 12 Jun 2017, 11:18

I appreciate all your suggestions and feedback. I am going to separate my talk into 2 parts: 1) the priesthood and 2) fathers. I start by explaining that they are separate topics because men doesn't = priesthood (and I have quotes for Oaks to back that up).

But I kind of want to push the envelope and try and make people consider another side to things. Tell me your thoughts on this:

"The temple is full of symbolism and gives an overview of how the earth was created, the role of Adam and Eve and how we can again return to Heavenly Father. The temple is a window to the celestial and perfected. Looking in that window, we see women participating in the priesthood, including the power, and authority to officiate in ordinances. Thus, we can only assume that in our perfected states, men and women alike will hold, officiate, and fully use the priesthood. "

What do you think? Too liberal? Too feminist? My ward is a mix of pretty black and white members, some more open minded and lots that don't show their cards. So it could be received pretty well by some and also upset others. I don't want to be viewed as radical, but I also want to open eyes a little. (Plus, as I have said, I am pretty agnostic, so to me anything is possible!)

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