Thursday, April 3, 2014

Women and the Priesthood...again.

Many of you will remember the General Conference event six months ago that made headlines everywhere: The group Ordain Women (mostly members of the LDS church) had decided that the Church needed to stop discriminating against females and, in the name of gender equality, ordain them to priesthood offices within the Church. I blogged about it then, and I'm talking about it now because the same event has been planned for priesthood session during this conference weekend.
This year, Ordain Women sent a letter to the Church regarding their position and requesting tickets to the April 5th Priesthood Session. In said letter, they informed the General Authorities that their desire was "non-negotiable." In other words: Hey Church, you need to do it our way. 

Here is an excerpt from the Church's official response, issued on March 17th of this year:
Declaring [female ordination] to be non-negotiable, as you have done, actually detracts from the helpful discussions that Church leaders have held as they seek to listen to the thoughts, concerns, and hopes of women inside and outside of Church leadership. Ordination of women to the priesthood is a matter of doctrine that is contrary to the Lord’s revealed organization for His Church.
You are detracting from what we are trying to do to help everyone understand this.

This is a matter of doctrine. It is not a policy.

What you want is contrary to what the Lord wants.

How can you get any more of a "NO" than that? 

But what was the group leader's response? She and the group still plan to go to priesthood session and try to get in, just like last year. Here's the founder's response to the Church's answer:
“We are disappointed that we weren't granted tickets, but it is a positive step that public affairs is responding to us, indicating that one day maybe the higher authorities will be able to hear our concerns.”
I don't see why they were disappointed that they didn't get approved for tickets. What exactly did they expect? Also, the higher authorities of the Church are well aware of their concerns. Nothing leaves the Public Affairs Department without the higher authorities' approval. It's just that they will not say "yes" when the Lord has already said "no." When one tries to change His doctrine, it never works.

Why will women never be ordained? Because they do not need priesthood offices for exaltation. They do not need ordination to have access to all of the blessings that the priesthood has to offer. Regardless of your gender, if you have made covenants, you have priesthood responsibilities. 

But here's where many people get confused.

There's this idea that has seemed to become unofficial doctrine among many members (I was once included in this group). It is this:
Men are the priesthood and therefore, women have been shortchanged.

This is not true.

Here are some reasons why this thought has been perpetuated:

In addition, I heard a story from a friend about an unfortunate conversation she overheard. A male who was struggling through an ended engagement was talking casually to his bishop. He was expressing his sadness and in doing so, stated that he still loved her and that he wanted to be able to bless her with his priesthood, but knew that it wasn't going to be his responsibility anymore...

...Excuse me? His priesthood?

No wonder there's a big problem with understanding what the priesthood is and now it really works.
God's power is just that: His power. It comes from Him and Him alone. It is realized by and through the faith and worthiness of those who seek access to it, be it from a blessing or from covenant-keeping. It is not--and I add, can not be--owned or embodied in males. This defies all reason. The young man who said that he wanted to bless a girl with his priesthood was confused when it comes to that. It's not his priesthood, it's His. The blessings that the power of God can offer to a woman are not conditional upon having a man in her life.

Just for fun, go back up to the bullet points in the scroll. Every time you see the word priesthood, replace it in your head with power of God. Does some of it sound a bit silly? Good.

Even so, I've heard a few arguments for female ordination.

But it's not just things within church itself. Many women feel that in order to be equal to their husbands in the home, they need to be ordained like he is.

I can't blame them for their thought process on this one because that's all we see in the organization of the church: a very distinct line of authority. Very few people have explained that priesthood authority in church and priesthood authority at home don't work the same way.
The family unit is created through temple covenants that the husband and wife participate in as equals. That makes the husband a patriarch and equally, the wife becomes matriarch of their family unit. The husband is not free to pull rank on his wife because he has no rank to pull. The two titles are on equal footing; neither can exist without the other nor is one on a higher pedestal than the other.

For more detailed information on that, click here.

In the same letter that the church issued as a response to Ordain Women, the group was informed of the following:
Your organization has again publicized its intention to demonstrate on Temple Square during the April 5 priesthood session. . . . If you feel you must come and demonstrate, we ask that you do so in free speech zones adjacent to Temple Square, which have long been established for those wishing to voice differing viewpoints.
The founder's response was as follows:
“It’s striking they would direct us to the free-speech zones. We feel as faithful, active Mormon women we have nothing in common with people who oppose the church and want to protest against it. The church is its members. We aren’t against the church, we are the church.”

Dear Ordain Women,
The Church is not its members. The Church is an organization founded by the Lord himself and is directed on Earth by living prophets and apostles. By your definition of the word, you are acting as if you have been accused of being against the general membership when, in fact, you are against a core doctrine of the Church. Therefore, you are demonstrating against it when you come to Temple Square to publicly show your opposition. Those who seek to publicly show opposition go to the free-speech zones.

I do understand your confusion. I really do. Those who read my blog about this six months ago know about this and how I was angry about the fact that women could not be ordained. But you have been officially told by the Church that what you want is against the Lord's doctrine. Doctrine does not change. 

On your website. you have posted a link to a special fast for your cause. Instead of fasting for something that the Lord has declared doctrinally incorrect, would it not be better to fast for a testimony and sure knowledge of the power of the priesthood in your lives?


  1. Great article! You pointed out things I never really thought out before!

  2. Thank you for being a positive voice on this matter! My heart breaks when I see these issues make national news in their false forms. I love Elder Bednar's recent CES Devotional where he asks if we have the faith to NOT get what we want. I hope there can be more humility as Children of God and less demands made to Him and His Church. I am a proud woman of His church and am proud to work side by side with my husband in helping God's children come closer to Him.

    1. Than you so much, Lauren! I feel the same about the way the media is twisting the truth about the priesthood. The Lord would never use His power to discriminate against his daughters. That, in part, is why I posted about this again. I have hoped that as many people as possible will see it and be able to learn the truth. In the past 48 hours, this post has gained over 600 page-views and I hope that more are able to see it.


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