In fact, the earrings stayed put into my marriage too. Until a talk by then President of the church, Gordon B. Hinckley, made me rethink my allegiance to them.
Rick and I had been married about six months when President Hinckley spoke to the youth of the church. It was a blunt talk. He was very to the point, as he was known to be. This was the talk of the Be's: Be grateful, Be smart, Be clean, Be true, Be humble, Be prayerful. Those alone merit their own blog post. But in the explanation of one of these, Be clean, I knew that he was talking to me. He spoke of the body as a temple. He spoke of tattoos, and of piercings. And I knew where he was headed.
Yes, I'm sure that I felt the chastisement of his words when he spoke of tattoos. But what could I do? What was done, was done and would stay done until the monetary means necessary would allow me to go under the laser and have it removed. But when he spoke of earrings, my holders of the seven I wore perked up. True, this was only two sentences of his whole talk, but the words pricked my heart, because I knew that I could show my love by obeying his counsel. He said, "As for the young women, you do not need to drape rings up and down your ears. One modest pair of earrings is sufficient." Boom. It was said. And without giving it a second thought, I was quick to observe, and five of the seven earrings came out immediately, including (though, this one broke my heart) my cute little one up in the top of my left ear.
Since that talk in 2000 I have worn only one pair of earrings. But don't pat my back yet, because I have a confession to make: I have been keeping those five holes open. Every few months, I've been stabbing earrings into those secret piercings so that in case a prophet ever says, "Hey! It's TOTALLY OKAY to wear lots of cute earrings! ESPECIALLY up in that cute little point of your left ear, Wendy Jepson!" I'd be ready to go. But guess what? Fourteen years later, that hasn't been said. And last week, after re-piercing my five secret earring holes, I realized what I was doing. I was being disobedient to the words of the prophet.
Elder Bednar shared a story about a return missionary, a young man, who had been dating someone for a while and was hoping to make their relationship more serious. He’d heard President Hinckley's talk about the earrings and knew that his girlfriend had too. Elder Bednar shared:
The young man waited patiently over a period of time for the young woman to remove her extra earrings, but she did not take them out. This was a valuable piece of information for this young man, and he felt unsettled about her nonresponsiveness to a prophet’s pleading. For this and other reasons, he ultimately stopped dating the young woman, because he was looking for an eternal companion who had the courage to promptly and quietly obey the counsel of the prophet in all things and at all times. The young man was quick to observe that the young woman was not quick to observe.
Like Elder Bednar goes on to say, this wasn't about earrings. Nor is it about earrings for me. It is about hearing and following the prophet's counsel. It's about being quick to observe whatever the Lord says we should do, and to keep obeying it. Even if we don't understand it. Even if it seems an inconsequential, small thing.
Says Elder Bednar, "Quick to observe. Prompt to watch and to obey. A simple gift that blesses us individually and in our families and extends blessings to so many other people."
After my realization last week, I made a promise to myself and to God that I would not re-pierce my ears. I know. It seems a silly thing. But it's not, at least not to me. It's my renewed commitment. And because it's not small to me, I know it's not small to the Lord.