Two Women

A Parable by Denver C. Snuffer, Jr.
Once there were two women.
One was born to privilege, whose family had great wealth.
The other, named Martha, was born poor.
They both grew up and at length Martha married, but the woman of privilege never did marry.

As adults both women felt the need for motherhood.
Martha bore seven children.

The woman of privilege spent seven years in college studying child development and education, eventually receiving her Ph.D., but never married, nor had a child.
Now as coincidence would have it, the woman of privilege inherited her parents‛ home and moved back into the wealthy neighborhood in which she was raised.

Martha’s family needed more room and searched for a house.  They found a modest home located in wealthy neighborhood which had once been a servant’s. Now the servant’s home needed repairs, and few were interested in a home which, in comparison with the others around it, seemed merely a servant’s residence.

Martha however, believed there was an advantage for her children to grow up among the children of greater privilege and therefore purchased the unwanted house.
And so it was that the woman of privilege and Martha came to live in the same neighborhood.

Martha, ever eager to learn more, had read books to better understand parenting.  She was surprised to learn one of her favorite teachers lived in her neighborhood.

As coincidence would further have it, both the woman of privilege and Martha were called upon to serve together in teaching neighborhood children.  They spent many hours together, but oftentimes did not agree.
For Martha, the experience of raising her own children led her to view things differently than the woman of privilege whose experience was based upon study, borrowed understanding and the science of others.

After six years, Martha concluded the conflicts between them were insurmountable.

In the seventh year, Martha concluded that if the woman of privilege could gaze into the eyes of her own children for but five minutes, she would know more than she did now, notwithstanding the many years of study which she had devoted to child development and education.  

In the eighth year, Martha concluded it was her responsibility to teach the woman of privilege, and so the occupant of the servant’s house undertook the burden of teaching the needy but unwilling. 

It was a role that would require many years, with only limited success.
Pride is unbecoming in a pupil; and meekness ever required of a teacher.

2 thoughts on “Two Women

  1. You point out well in most of your books that we can learn truth but that doesn’t mean we get to teach it. We need to be lead by the Spirit to teach truth.

    I believe this principle applies to all truth and not just to the mysteries of godliness. In my experience, it’s wrong to teach people things before they’re ready to hear it. To teach them prior to their being ready (or prior to being led to do so by the Spirit) just sets them up to be condemned. They hear stuff they aren’t ready to handle and that makes them stumble even more. Even the simple Word of Wisdom is in this category.

    I don’t think it’s enough that Martha knows the truth. If the Spirit is directing her to teach the privileged woman, that’s a different matter. What say ye?

  2. This is a subject which the scriptures raise and we all need to resolve for ourselves. Alma’s teaching about the balance between what you know and what you teach found in Alma 10: 9-11 is just one place where the issue is raised. Included in Moses’ endowment teachings, restored through Joseph Smith, and inserted into the narrative is the warning: “And now they are spoken unto you. Show them not unto any except them that believe.” (Moses 1: 42; see also 4: 32.) Yet the account now appears in the Pearl of Great Price and can be read by anyone.

    Hugh Nibley remarked that the greatest protection for the mysteries is the general disinterest.

    A 10th Century Muslim teacher named Al-Ghazali preserved a saying from Jesus Christ which taught: “He who bestows knowledge on the ignorant wastes it, And he who withholds it from the worthy has done them wrong.”

    The issue only arises when someone is in possession of sacred knowledge. Anyone who has attended the Temple becomes qualified to confront the issue. Of course, there are other ways of attaining to sacred knowledge which should be guarded. But the issue finally comes down to two questions:
    1. Is it the kind of thing which is absolutely prohibited from being revealed, except at a certain place where the information is only to be discussed? If so, then the prohibition ought to be respected at all times and in all places, except where it is permitted to be used.
    2. Is it the kind of pearl which ought not be cast before swine? If so, then the issue comes down to whether the discussion is with a swine. If so, then it will do them no good if you give it to them. If not, you have done them wrong by withholding.

    The chief defect in handling sacred knowledge lies in the inabilities of the teacher. All great truths are simple, as was demonstrated in The Second Comforter. I am going to add a comment to the main board today on this issue. But in the hands of a great teacher, such as Christ, truth becomes a melody woven into a great hymn, which causes the listener to rejoice and exclaim in a chorus: “Hosanna!” In the hands of a clumsy teacher even great truths are so awkwardly put, so poorly explained that even a worthy student will have trouble accepting it.

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