Conflict #3: The desire of many women to be ordained to a priesthood office to become "equal" to men
Many women and men have left the church because they felt that the priesthood gives men an unfair advantage over women. I have heard women say that they look forward to the time that they will be ordained to the priesthood and thus become equal to men. Sheri L. Dew, a very well-known, unmarried LDS woman, stated the following:
“Sisters, some will try to persuade you that because you are not ordained to the priesthood, you have been shortchanged. They are simply wrong, and they do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ." (Daughters In My Kingdom, p.128)
The priesthood is "without father, without mother, . . . having neither beginning of days, nor end of life (Heb 7:30), nor maleness nor femaleness. It is head to them both. Male and female alike come under it and must understand their true relationship to it, one to serve as priest within it, the other eventually as a priestess. Men here are given the priesthood power, but both man and women must bring themselves into submission unto it, rather than she to him as a person. The man must assume the same relationship of honor and obedience to priesthood truths and doctrines that the woman does. That is, it precedes them both." (Source)
Thomas S. Monson, the current president and prophet of the church today, has said the following:
". . . while your husband may be the head of the home, you...are the heart of the home. Together, through respect for each other and sharing of responsibilities, you make an unbeatable team." (Be Thou An Example, Oct 2001 General Conference)Think about that:
- The heart and head of any human body have very different responsibilities, yet cannot function 100% independently of each other
- When you make a decision with your head that your heart disagrees with, how good does that decision ultimately end up being?
- If a person is declared brain-dead, the heart can keep the body alive. But what happens if the heart stops beating? Think about it.
Conflict #4: Men are the patriarchs in the home, which means that theirs is the final say in the family
This dilemma has plagued many families and has even kept many women from marrying due to fear. It is not fear of abuse, but the fear that "If I get married, I'll have to let my husband ultimately make all of the decisions for me and the family and I'll have to accept them because he's the priesthood holder." Many people think that the priesthood functions this way in the home because that's basically how it functions in the church: In the ward/congregation, we do what we are instructed to do by the bishop because he is the appointed leader. Those who are converts to the church have only this method of learning how priesthood authority works. However, there have been many people who have clarified that church and family priesthood authority do not work the same way.
"While [priesthood] authority presides in both the family and the Church, the priesthood functions in a different way in each of them. This principle is understood and applied by the great Church and family leaders I have known, but it is rarely explained. Even the scriptures, which record various exercises of priesthood authority, seldom state expressly which principles only apply to the exercise of priesthood authority in the family or in the Church or which apply in both of them." (Dallin H. Oaks, Priesthood Authority in the Family and in the Church, General Conference, Oct 2005)
"In the stake, when a decision is to be made, you will seek the opinion of your counselors and other concerned individuals. Then you will prayerfully reach a decision on the matter, and they will all rally around and support you because you are the president and you have the mantle of authority. In your family when there is a decision to be made that affects everyone, you and your wife together will seek whatever counsel you might need and together you will prayerfully come to a unified decision. If you ever pull priesthood rank on her, you will have failed in your leadership." (Carlfred Broderick, One Heart, One Flesh, pp. 31–32)
"Moreover, contrary to scripture and the teachings of the latter-day prophets, some men and women have interpreted presiding to mean that after equal counsel, equal consent is not necessary because the presider (or husband) has the right of final say. But President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained: "In the Church there is a distinct line of authority. We serve where called by those who preside over us. In the home it is a partnership with husband and wife equally yolked together, sharing in decisions, always working together" (emphasis added). (Hudson, V. M and Miller, R. B., Equal Partnership in Marriage, Ensign, Apr 2013)Many men and women forget that the wife is the matriarch of the family, and matriarch is at the same level as patriarch.
"Genesis 3:16 states that Adam is to 'rule over' Eve, but this doesn't make Adam a dictator. . . . Over in 'rule over' uses the Hebrew bet, which means ruling 'with,' not ruling 'over.' . . . The concept of interdependent, equal partners is well-grounded in the doctrine of the restored gospel. Eve was Adam's 'help meet' (Genesis 2:18). The original Hebrew for meet means that Eve was . . . equal to Adam. She wasn't his servant or his subordinate." (Hudson, V. M and Miller, R. B., Equal Partnership in Marriage, Ensign, Apr 2013)
"Sometimes a husband may believe that his role as head of the house gives him a right to be exacting and to arbitrarily prescribe what his wife should do. But in a home established on a righteous foundation, the relationship of a man and a woman should be one of partnership. A husband should not make decrees. Rather, he should work with his wife until a joint decision palatable to both is developed." (H. Burke Peterson, Ensign, July 1989, p. 9).
"Since the beginning, God has instructed mankind that marriage should unite husband and wife together in unity. Therefore, there is not a president or a vice president in a family. The couple works together eternally for the good of the family. They are united together in word, in deed, and in action as they lead, guide, and direct their family unit. They are on equal footing." (L. Tom Perry, Ensign, May 2004, p. 71)
I hope that this has provided a greater insight regarding the main conflicts/misunderstandings of how the priesthood of God works on earth. As always, if you have any further questions on the subject, please feel free to ask.