“Words matter.”Wendy Nelson, 83
I have an appreciation for anyone willing to write, I love learning from other human stories and Wendy Nelson is passionate, genuine, and full of spiritual faith in her church and its design. Nelson is intelligent and gentle; her faith in miracles and prayer boosted my own.
However, her book broke my heart. “I am a witness by being absent” (129), she reveals. “Wendy,” her husband, the prophet said, “you won’t believe what has been happening for the past two hours since you left.” Why would God wait until she left? What is it about the gender of man that God waits for woman to leave before tutoring and revealing? Why would God want women to be absent in the rooms where revelation happens? What was it that God revealed to her husband that he couldn’t reveal to her?
Nelson writes about “the heavenly kingdom” where “Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaiah, Nephi, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father” reside as if it is the palace of men, the chosen elite, filled with the ones who were guided by God and where women are absent. The blind discrepancy is heartbreaking.
In the margins of The Heavens are Open I wrote: “This is beautiful. However, I feel that the left bicep is He: God, Jesus, Father, Him, His, etc, and since I was a child, I have been lifting, curling, and exercising this bicep. It is strong and powerful . . . but my left arm is limp and flimsy – practically useless – causing my spiritual balance and strength to be ridiculous. Beefy and robust on one side, weak and limp on the other. The limp side is She: Goddess, Sophia, Mother, Hers. The weak side is Me. The weakness on this side almost makes me despise the strong side.”
Nelson’s book broke my heart because it makes it very clear how “words matter.” The absence of women matters. And I truly believe that it is not God who waited for her to leave, it is not God who wants women to be absent where revelation happens, it is not God who is strangely secretive and private, limiting power only for men. Nelson’s book broke my heart because she really thinks it is.