Conversion occurs, "when we stop trying to earn heaven and start trying to learn it. . . As we take each little step to show faith, repent, make and live covenants, seek the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end, we are not paying our way into heaven. We are practicing for it." Brad Wilcox: The Continuous Conversion
I recently read a blog, where the host had written a post that specifically pointed out Mary Magdalene’s behavior at the tomb where Jesus had been placed. This blogger posed the question as to why Mary was weeping; when obviously she should have known that Jesus would be resurrected.” She also chided the behavior of Jesus toward Mary; why did he say her name, why did she not recognize him? I wanted to defend Mary; so I sought answers to these questions.
I looked at two perspectives on these events; in John and in Luke. I am inspired to go with the record of John, which on the surface seems spare, but there is a wealth of knowledge that lies beneath.
In making progressive steps toward a “mighty change” of heart; Mary has exhibited the faith to forsake all and follow the Savior, even unto death. As a female disciple, I feel that she was not able to partake in “everything”. She did not witness the transfiguration, only Peter, James and John. But possibly like Emma Smith, who was also a disciple, when she did not have an opportunity to “see” the plates of Mormon, she was allowed to touch them under cover. This was a bolster to her faith, but Mary Magdalene may have only heard the story of Jesus’ transfiguration... Now, this is Mary’s opportunity to “see” Jesus as he really is, this is the ultimate transfiguration.
3 Nephi 12: 3 Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
John 20:1-2; 11-13
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.
(Peter and John also came to the tomb, after both entering in, they left and went home).
11 But Mary stood outside the sepulcher weeping; and as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the sepulcher.
Have you ever wondered why, out of all of the people who followed Jesus in his earthly ministry; even his disciples and family members, why was Mary the only one who “saw “ the angels and conversed with them? Why did she “see”the risen Lord first. I'd like to believe that she was "chosen" for this. Maybe the Savior did not specifically say: Mary be at the tomb on the third day at zero dark thirty, and you will see me in the garden. I believe that she qualified for that privilege. How did she do that?
John 1:12-1312 But as many as received him, to him gave the power to become: the sons (& daughters) of God; even to them that believe on his name.
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
So here is that tiny little word “but” and if you remember, that word has a wealth of meaning. In this context this word means “except or to set apart”. The men decided to go home after leaving the tomb, and they may have asked Mary to come with them. But Mary, like Daniel purposed in her heart to “wait on the Lord”. Mary started to remember what the Savior had taught all of them concerning his resurrection. What did he say to them after raising their friend Lazarus from the dead? “I am the resurrection and the life”. Why was she weeping? Well obviously she was sad, but I think that somewhere in that weeping, there may have been tears of joy and recognition.
Can you find a similarity with another Mary?
12 And she saw two angles in white, sitting one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they said unto her, Woman, why do ye weep? She said unto them “Because they have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid him.
6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,
7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”
Giving Back the Broken heart
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
D&C 11: For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God
There have been many schools of thought as to why Mary did not recognize Jesus as he was standing there. You could say, "Wasn't it obvious that it was Jesus? I am going to say no. The last time she saw Jesus alive, he was barely recognizable. He was beaten and bruised and the scriptures say his "visage" or face was "marred" or beaten beyond recognition. I know this image was burned into her memory, so she probably could not remember what he really looked like. But now; Jesus is a resurrected being, with all of his body parts restored, his face is beautiful, all things made new, and he may have been surrounded in a partial glory of light and loveliness But Mary did not fully turn around to see who she was talking to though, and she did not recognize the voice. You can't recognize the Savior with your temporal senses alone. At this point I believe Mary pondered in her heart, did she say "Wait a minute, that voice does sound familiar; if I turn around will it be him!!" The beginning of revelation, ask in your mind if these things are true, if they are you will receive a burning in your heart of recognition.
15 Jesus said unto her, “Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She supposing him to be the gardener said unto him “Sir if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou have laid him and I will take him away.
3 Nephi 12:4 And again, blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
The Handmaid of the Lord
16 Jesus said unto her, “Mary”. She turned herself and said unto him, Rabonni; which is to say Master.
Mosiah 5:12 I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also by the name by which he shall call you.
3 Nephi 12:8 Blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
At this point, the “garden” had now become “holy ground”, and as with Moses upon seeing a bush that appeared to be burning, he turned around to examine it further. So did Mary “turn herself around to better see who was talking to her.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush and said “Moses, Moses” and he said “Hear am I “
5 And he said, “Draw not nigh hither (don’t come any closer), put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where on thou stand is holy ground.
17 Jesus said unto her “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended unto my Father: But go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and to your God.
D&C 67:10 And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am, not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things to her.I really have a new found admiration for Mary Magadalene. Throughout centuries, her very own special identity has been lumped together with "other Mary's" as the scripture reports. She has been called a fallen woman, a prostitute, all of that, but here is wisdom; Why did Jesus call her by name? Because it was the "new name", the name that He had personally assigned to her. Yes sure it was still Mary, but going forward it is Mary, chosen of God to spread the good news.
If the sisters who have made covenants with God know what they are supposed to do, that they are in for the long haul, and that they are in with all their faith, then this world will be okay and we will be all right. Sister Julie B Beck; 2010 byu women’s conference