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The Vision Beautiful
By Susa Young Gates
The world of man looked out with unseeing eyes into past and future glories when the Vision was vouchsafed to the youthful prophet in the early spring day of 1820. But if it meant much to men, with all their hold upon the earth and its fulness, what was the effect upon the women of the world? That wonderful appearance in the Grove, at Palmyra, held in its heart, like the half-opened calyx of a rose, all the promises of future development for woman, foreshadowed by that revelation given to Moses concerning the creation when he saw “man” created in the express image of his Maker, “male and female created he them.” There was to be no bond and free in Christ Jesus, but all were to be free. Therefore, the Vision held the bright promise of equality and freedom for women. The divine Mother, side by side with the divine Father, the equal sharing of equal rights, privileges and responsibilities, in heaven and on earth, all this was foreshadowed in that startling announcement of the Son: “They were all wrong! They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me!” In an age-long darkness and apostasy, woman had been shackled because of her very virtue, tender sympathy, and patient desire for peace.
Men had trafficked and struggled with one another during the long centuries, outside the sanctuary, since the walls had fallen upon their religious ruins. But man had held woman by the wrist, had controlled her religiously, financially, and civilly. What rights and what privileges she enjoyed through those dark ages of superstition and oppression after the Master’s vision had closed upon mankind with the crucifixion, were hers through sufferance of her male guardians and possessors.
Can you conceive, then, what the Vision meant to woman? It meant in civil, religious, social and finally, financial matters, the right of choice; it meant woman’s free agency, the liberation of her long-chained will and purpose.
She has erred in her judgment at times, since that day of prefigured release in the Grove at Palmyra. So has her husband, her son, and her brother. But, O! the wonder and joy of that Vision! Today, and since that day, in this Church and Kingdom, as was divinely ordained, together men and women stumble along, now climbing, and now slipping on the steep hillside. Joined by the clinging hands of their little children, both are facing the rising sun of the coming day of peace and power. When the key was turned in the opening portal of sky and earth to admit men once again in life’s sacred courts, men were endowed with the power and majesty of the Holy Priesthood; and all its blessings, gifts, and powers are shared and shared alike by man and his true mate. He of right enters into his Priesthood heritage, while the Gate Beautiful opens wide to admit all of us women into the glories of the Court of the Women! Nor are we there confined! Side by side, men and women climb the golden stairs, pass Solomon’s Porch, the Altar of Sacrifice, the symbolic tables and glowing candle-branches, into the Holy Place; and as we go together into the Holy of Holies we voice the hymnal of our sex—
“When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you.
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I’ve completed,
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation.
Let me come and dwell with you.”
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