This recent thread at Feminist Mormon Housewives bugged me (shocker, I know). The post itself was fine, asking readers for questions that would be asked of a Seventy at an upcoming stake conference. Okay. But most of the submitted questions were one of two types:
1) Gotcha questions, which aren’t really questions at all, but rather attempts at humiliating the Seventy while making themselves appear enlightened.
2) Questions for which the Seventy has no authority to definitively answer.
The person who asks the first type of question has no intention of understanding, only in MAKING A POINT!! Someone even admitted her question would be picking a fight (and that it would be fun). Another suggested telling him to sit down. Nice.
But it’s the second type of question that I want to focus on. And not even really the type of question, but the implications for the existence of the question. There seems to be an assumption that a member of the Seventy (or the Twelve or your stake president) has some kind of insider access to gospel answers that the general membership doesn’t, and they’re keeping it from us. As if that Seventy were briefed on the real Mother-in-Heaven doctrine when he was set apart. Or in the weekly meetings with the Twelve, the Prophet huddles everyone around and whispers stuff like, “Women are given the Deborahn Priestesshood in the Celestial Kingdom. Don’t tell the Seventy, this is for your ears only.”
If my stake president knows more about the Gospel than me (which he assuredly does), it’s because he studies his scriptures, he prays, he seeks/obeys the Spirit, and he applies his education and years of church service experience. This is why we ask them questions, for their unique perspective, not for some insider doctrine. Look, how much of General Conference is new information? None. But how much spiritual insight can we gain from it? Depends on what questions we’re asking.