On the way to preschool this morning Kenzie and I had a deep Mormon doctrine discussion:
"Mom, who will be the next prophet when Pres. Monson dies?"
I begin wracking my brain for his name. I can see his face. I can hear his voice. He has glasses and hair.
"Umm, I don't know. The man who's next in line. But Pres. Monson won't die for a long time. I think."
"Will it be Jesus and Heavenly Father?" she asks, playing with a small picture of Jesus her Primary teacher gave her last week.
"No sweetie. The prophet is the man who speaks on earth for Jesus and Heavenly Father."
"Mom, why can't girls be prophets?"
Uh-oh. Cue shakiness in testimony and issues I have. I try to keep it simple and neutral. She is after all, 5.
"Well, girls don't have the priesthood," I say.
"Well," she asks innocently, as we pull into her friend's driveway to pick him up for preschool, "Why don't they have the priesthood?"
I briefly wonder if I should talk about motherhood, the temple, or project some belief that someday when the whole truth is revealed, it will be different. But I don't necessarily believe that someday women will get the priesthood. I don't want the priesthood. Yes, sometimes I question the whole "males only" thing and I wonder, but the conclusion that I mostly come to is "I don't understand." And my next conclusion is that I am okay with not understanding. I understand that God loves me and I am comfortable with my relationship with Him. I like being LDS. I don't always agree with the way everything goes down, but I love the doctrines and truths that I have found in the LDS church.
So I take a deep breath, push down all my emotions and insecurities and say simply, "That's not the way the church is organized."
"Mom," Kenzie says, "What can I be when I grow up? Will you please just guess and tell me?"
(I often tell her I don't know and the only thing I can do for her is to make something up.)
We are waiting for her friend Trais in his driveway as the conversation continues.
"Well Kenz," I say, choosing to broker in dreams and ignoring that I just said she can't be a prophet, and why in heaven's name would you ever want something like that? "You can be anything you want to. What do you want to be?" I hold my breath and hope she doesn't say something crazy.
"I want to be a real, real live princess!" Oh, well then. That's much more realistic than prophet anyway. I begin explaining that being a princess isn't all fun and games.
When Trais climbs into the car she asks him if he will be her Prince and live in her castle with her.And Trais asks me what karate guys do.