I Have An Answer

Questions to Gospel Answers

First published in Mormon Women's Forum, vol. 5 no. 3 (1994)

Answer: To question or complain about church programs or policies is the same as "steadying the ark. " It shows a lack of faith in God and in the leaders God has chosen.

Questions: Are church leaders infallible? Do all church programs work well? Are there never times when it is appropriate to say, "this program or policy is having a negative effect on me, my family, my ward, people I know"? Is it inappropriate to provide feedback or crucial information about local conditions that decision-makers in Salt Lake might not be aware of? Is it wrong to ask questions in a church that began with a question?

The story of the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27) seems instructive. These women stood to have no inheritance whatso¬ever in the Promised Land, so they went to the authorized leader, Moses, and presented their case. Moses had never thought about the inequitable situation he was on the brink of inaugurating. But instead of chastizing the women for their "presumption," or scolding them for faithlessness or accusing them of not sustaining him as the prophet, he took their concerns to the Lord. The result was a re¬working of the inheritance laws to take into account female posterity. (Not necessarily the greatest system from a modern point of view, but far better than the original plan.)

It is an integral, essential part of sustaining our leaders to give them honest feedback. It is important for leaders to know the kinds of questions for which we (women in particular) desire prophetic, revelatory answers—not because such answers cannot be found privately and personally, but because the impact of such questions and answers extends far beyond the private and personal.

As with the story in Numbers 27, women's concerns may otherwise never enter into male leaders' consciousness if we stay silent. We are not asking general authorities for their fallible, mortal opinions about doctrines and practices, but rather, we are providing honest feedback to and asking questions of our leaders in the hope that they will respond like Moses and take these concerns to the Lord and receive real answers.

If asking our leaders to ask God about things which have a broad-ranging impact in the lives of the members of Christ's church is "inappropriate," then what in the world is the point of having modern prophets at all?

— A modern daughter of Zelophehad