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Priesthood: Privilege or Burden?

Today in testimony meeting our bishop opened the meeting by describing the baptism of his youngest daughter yesterday. He said, in part:

It was an honor and a privilege to baptize my daughter yesterday…I’m still floating on cloud 9.

As I sat there listening, I reflected on some of the comments about gender equality in the church this past week. Ryan posed some interesting questions. I’ll try to answer them here.

Here’s how the church defines the priesthood on LDS.org:

The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. Through the priesthood God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power He redeems and exalts His children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man.” God gives priesthood authority to worthy male members of the Church so they can act in His name for the salvation of His children. Priesthood holders can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern the kingdom of God on the earth.

What is the Big Deal About the Priesthood?

What is it exactly about the priesthood that you sisters desire?

Hearing the bishop’s statement above, I wanted to ask, “So, is it ‘an honor and a privilege’ or not?” Priesthood, schmiesthood. It’s just more work! Or does it bring both privilege and responsibility — as all privileges do?

You simply can’t play both ends of this and maintain credibility. Either the priesthood is pricelessbrings power and blessings or it doesn’t. You can’t tell the young men one thing (to get them excited and motivated) and the young women another (to get them to accept the status quo).

Is it the responsibility of presiding over meetings or directing the work in the church or giving priesthood blessings or [insert desire]?

Asking about gender disparity always seems to draw such questions. “Why do you want to be a bishop anyway?” “What is it that you want to do so badly?” “What silly little administrative nonsense are you ‘agitating’ so much about?”

May I first ask you to answer the same question? Why did you allow someone to ordain you? Why did you want the priesthood? Why do we recognize and congratulate men on ordinations?

When you ask what it is that women want, I don’t really understand the question. I’d suggest that it’s not markedly different from what men want. But I’ll humor you with an of example.

About 14 years ago — when my husband was on a plane to Germany — my daughter Alana, who was three-years-old, was attacked by a pit bull on the church lawn as we were making our way to the car. As I sat on a bench in the church, holding my blood-soaked, terrified daughter and waiting for the ambulance to arrive, someone had to call the missionaries — who didn’t know my daughter at all — to come give her a blessing.

It would have been really nice had I and my close friend Rolain (who was standing by me) been able to bless my daughter.

The way I see it, women don’t need the priesthood because you’re born with it. We call ours Priesthood and yours is called Divine Nature. In my opinion, the latter is even more powerful than the former.

Divine nature isn’t a different priesthood. Divine nature simply means that you’ve “inherited divine qualities.” And, of course, that’s not something unique to women. Which is “more powerful” isn’t germane to a discussion about gender distinctions, since men have both divine nature and the priesthood and women only have the former.

I find myself feeling envious of you sisters at times when I witness the patience my wife has…

Why would you be envious of “you sisters” because of a specific character trait your wife possesses? That’s like me saying, “I find myself envious of you brothers at times when I witness the height of Manute Bol.”

To address the stereotype, the single most common statement I get from other moms about homeschooling is, “I’d love to homeschool, but I don’t have the patience.” Not all of us have patience. (My homeschooling aside, I don’t either.)

But certainly men have the capacity to develop patience.

…with seemingly no temptation to act otherwise.

A number of years ago I learned a valuable lesson from a friend. She had been married as a virgin and her sister got pregnant out of wedlock. Amidst the discussion she disabused everyone in the room of the idea that people who don’t break the law of chastity do so pretty much because they just aren’t really sexually interested or inclined.

The fact that someone chooses to behave appropriately shouldn’t be seen as an indicator of lack of temptation.

The man holds the Priesthood, performs the priestly duties of the Church, but his wife enjoys with him every other privilege derived from the possession of the Priesthood.

That’s kind of the point. From now on, women get all the desserts (along with cleaning the dessert dishes). But don’t worry. Men get “every other privilege” derived from possession of treats (except actually eating them).

The ordinances of the Temple are distinctly of Priesthood character, yet women have access to all of them, and the highest blessings of the Temple are conferred only upon a man and his wife jointly.

While it’s not the center of this post, it’s worth noting that the temple ordinances and promises are somewhat different for men and women. The endowment and sealing are both different. And while I’ve never witnessed a male washing and annointing, there are at least a few words that have to be different.

Without knowing any of you, I wonder if you are confusing the lack of “equality” for which you are longing as something doctrinal and cultural, or if for some reason only you and your spouse would know, something in your home and in your lives is such that you are not an equal partner who shares the priesthood responsibilities as the Lord has commanded.

This statement compels a response. The implication that women who “agitate” probably have some kind of creepy, overbearing, male chauvinist husband who doesn’t follow “priesthood sharing” counsel (what is that, anyway?) is offensive.

First, let’s note, it was a man who started Agitating Faithfully. (Yea, he’s probably a henpecked, woosy face being dominated by his burly wife. But he still started it!) Second, my own husband is the best man I’ve ever known. He has never treated me like a second-class citizen. He has never pulled the “I preside” card. He has always asked my opinion and treated me like an equal. He doesn’t just “seek [my] council and advice” about issues, we decide together.

I do not have “dividing feelings like inequality” in my marriage. I have them in the church.

The Future of Gender in the Church

The church has very clear gender distinctions. They bother some, they don’t bother others. As our culture becomes generally less sexist, such distinctions will seem less and less in line with the culture. We all know being different from a (sometimes) corrupt culture isn’t necessarily bad, but it will demand explanation the more out-of-step it seems to be. (Witness the Prop 8 situation.)

This expectation for a logical explanation isn’t just coming from some crazy, disgruntled women in the church. Nor, as Ryan implied, from women who have brutish husbands. It also comes from non-members, investigators, media, friends.

I have been asked literally dozens of times how I can belong to a church that doesn’t think women are as good as men. While I think that’s a misunderstanding of the situation, the idea behind it shouldn’t be ignored. Women don’t have remotely the same voice in the church as they do in other walks of life and as women progress culturally, this gap will seem wider and wider.

There isn’t a clear scriptural or doctrinal source for the gender distinction in the church. As far as I can tell, it’s a cultural artifact, a tradition. There may be more to it, but that case is certainly not clear.

As we attempt to make sense of the issue, let’s not belittle those who ask or attribute to them apostate motives. Neither should we use fallacious reasoning or just blatantly make stuff up to try to answer questions that — as of yet — don’t have really solid authoritative answers.

I submit that holding the priesthood of God is both an honor and a responsibility. Like having children — which has been both the most difficult and the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life — I think having the power to “act in His name for the salvation of His children” is probably worth the effort.

{ 71 comments… add one }

  • Barney March 7, 2011, 12:39 am

    Love how you clearly and logically responded to this.

  • Darcee Yates March 7, 2011, 1:14 am

    Alison, These are some very well thought out words. And I can see that the misunderstanding of your intentions has caused you some frustration. I hope none of my comments added to that.

    It’s just that I personally have never felt any desire for it, nor that I was restricted in any way by not having it.

    Here’s one reason why. Do you remember the story from seminary about the mother at Haun’s Mill whose son’s hip was shot away in the attack? The men had all been killed and there was no Priesthood there. This mother prayed and then following the spirit quite literally built her son a new hip. Her prayers, it seems to me, where every bit as effective in ‘healing’ that boy as any blessing or healing a holder of the Priesthood could have offered. Although, if there were a Priesthood bearer there, the proper order of things would have been to ask for a Priesthood blessing.

    My point, Priesthood or no, there is nothing that is withheld from us.

    Though out the history of God’s priesthood on the earth He seems to have given it to whom he pleased when he pleased with little or no explanation as to the restrictions.

    As to officiating in baptisms or ordinations and such. Maybe I have not the imagination to desire it. Whatever satisfaction or thrill or sense of wonderment my husband receives from being able to do these things, I’m pretty sure it will never match what I felt to carry life inside me for 9 months. And giving birth? The was the greatest Big KaHUNA ride ever. And then nursing. I don’t care what anyone says, holding a bottle for a child, doesn’t not bond in ‘exactly’ the same way. (I nursed two children and bottle fed two). All the agitation in the world will never win men the privilege of knowing what I know or experiencing what I have experienced.

    I think we are in marriage to be a team and if we are going to keep things equal, we need to think of something else to give the men.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 7, 2011, 3:17 am

    Darcee, honestly I’m not frustrated and I didn’t feel misunderstood. I was just trying to answer Ryan’s questions. I thought they were valid.

    Certainly, like you, some aren’t bothered (as I stated in the OP). I understand that, but think it’s a different issue. To me it’s a bit like the women’s suffrage movement. I am sure that there were many women who didn’t care at all about not being able to vote, who weren’t activists, and who didn’t feel slighted. They simply felt that they had other things to do.

    In fact, given human nature, I am sure they heard, “Well why do you want to vote anyway? You have other influence. Keeping up on politics and issues is so much work. I already have plenty to do, I don’t want more!”

    That didn’t make those who marched misguided or wrong. I’m perfectly fine with the fact that some women don’t care at all. But that doesn’t show the validity of any particular position.

    There are a couple of points about the Haun’s Mill story that I would like clarification on.

    (1) It seems that you’re saying that there is no difference between priesthood blessings and other prayers. I can accept that, but wonder why we have blessings at all. (A bit like my T&S question a couple of weeks about about the prayer roll.)

    (2) You indicate that it was fine for the mother to heal the son, but that if there had been a priesthood holder available, he should have been called. Why is that? Women’s prayers are just as powerful as men’s priesthood blessings, but men should get first dibs?

    Also note that it was pretty common in early church restoration history for women to give blessings. It was later discouraged.

    I assume your last two paragraphs go together? That because women give birth men need “something else”?

    Let me frame the “big hahuna” of chid birth in the same way you frame the priesthood issue. “It’s just that I personally have never felt any desire for it, nor that I [would be] restricted in any way by not having it.” :)

    I feel very blessed to have been able to have children. As an adoptee, I know many don’t have that blessing. But I would have gladly donated my egg and let Sam carry and deliver them. I appreciate the miraculousness of it all — of going to the hospital with two exposed people and coming home with three. But, very sincerely, I did not need to be the carrying partner to appreciate that. I was pregnant 11 times to have our six kids and my body has really paid for it. My pregnancies were difficult and “high risk”and my deliveries long and painful. Not the worst thing in the world, by far, but not something I looked forward to.

    Nursing? Sorry, I don’t think it’s a big deal at all. I nursed all my kids as much as I could (had a number of issues with it), one child nursed exclusively for seven months (the biggest “success” in the bunch). But I have no different bonding to my kids. Being an adoptee, I obviously wasn’t breast fed and my folks seemed to like me just fine. :)

    Back to the “something else” men need. Don’t they have fatherhood?
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Amazing Life- If You’ve Never Failed- You’ve Never LivedMy Profile

  • jennycherie March 7, 2011, 10:43 am

    How ironic that you started the post with a father glowing over a baptism – that is where some of my biggest frustrations have been. I am thrilled when my children get baptized and we have had four very different bapstims – but each time I am frustrated – this ordinance is something special that only my husband can perform (of the two of us). And I still feel like the rest of the program is still organized and ordered by the priesthood. My part in it (other than the drying off and fixing hair) ends up being whatever my husband says it is. I have many more thoughts but I should probably wait until I can seriously think through them. Already this sounds whine-y!
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  • jennycherie March 7, 2011, 10:44 am

    I should say – Amen, Alison, on the nursing. I’ve experienced both. Can’t say that I am any less attached to my son, who was physically unable to nurse.
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  • Darcee Yates March 7, 2011, 11:13 am

    “Women’s prayers are just as powerful as men’s priesthood blessings, but men should get first dibs?”

    Hmmm. Let me see if I can answer this without stepping on my tongue.

    I think that that Heavenly Father hears and answers ALL prayers. But I think there is a proper order to things. I think kneeling and bowing ones head are the proper order of personal prayer before God. It shows our reverence to Him. BUT–If you are driving down the road and suddenly have a need to pray, please keep your head up, and eyes on the road.- and It’s my opinion that God will receive that prayer with as much favor as the one on your knees that morning.

    Likewise, when available to us, we ask for a Priesthood blessing because it shows reverence to Heavenly Father and His power on earth. If the Priesthood is not available to us, and we are in need of blessings- prayer has been shown to suffice.

    You might ask– what about ordinances? If we don’t have the Priesthood in a certain place we can’t perform temple sealings on our marriage union or even a baptism for someone and make it valid. But then, that is true whether you are a man or a women in a place or time where the Priesthood was/is not available. But- through the redemption of the dead- the saving ordinances are available to all past, present and future.

    I don’t think of it so much as ‘men’ get first dibs- but that we reverence the office of the Priesthood and the power thereof coming from our Father in Heaven.

    I’ll probably get blasted for this- but I’ve often wondered if men having the Priesthood were a yellow feather sort of thing. (movie Dumbo- I know poor choice of name). Women instinctively know they can fly. Men have to hold the yellow feather to believe it.
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  • Janiel Miller March 7, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Just for clarity’s sake, and my brain, could you offer a concise statement as to the reason that those women who agitate for the priesthood want it? Thanks!

  • Alison Moore Smith March 7, 2011, 12:04 pm

    jennycherie, I’ve told the story before but maybe it bears mentioning here. I’ve always had a very strong sense of fairness and this came into play with the priesthood when I was very young.

    My sister was baptized in 1968. I was four years old. While she was in the font I stood by my mom. I felt sorry for her (who, for the record, never, ever had any issues with women and the priesthood, etc.) and said, “Mom, when I get baptized, I want Dad to baptize me and you to confirm me.”

    My mom explained that only men did that. It was the first time I understood that there were gender distinctions in the church.

    I kind of feel the same way about baby blessings. To be honest, I don’t think I’d want to do it, I’d find it nerve-wracking. But heck yes I’d like to be able to touch my baby or hold her or something other than sit in the pew, half-way back in the church, straining to hear over the fussing kids.
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 7, 2011, 12:23 pm

    Darcee, your tongue is fine. :) (Love your avatar, btw.)

    I generally agree with you. But I think there is some precedence for the importance of having the priesthood expanded well beyond ordinances. Why don’t we just ordain a couple of people per ward or something. Why does every man who meets minimum qualifications get it? Why can men exercise it in their homes even if not, say, attending church and paying tithing? In other words, I think the pattern shows that it’s not just about sealings and such, but about having the active power on a daily basis, when possible, in every home.

    I also agree with and understand the idea of “reverence the office of the Priesthood and the power thereof coming from our Father in Heaven.” But I don’t see how that supports the position of “women can heal, too.” If the priesthood is “the power thereof coming from God” — which I agree is doctrinally supported — then it’s substantively DIFFERENT from NOT having that power from God.

    That’s really my point. I think we strain, on one hand, to exclaim the great importance of authority from God (indeed, it is the ONE thing that is supposed to set us apart from all other churches) and then, on the other, claim that women aren’t missing anything by NOT having it because we already can do everything done without it, etc.

    As for the yellow feather, I’ve heard the idea before (though not as cleverly presented!). I just really don’t believe it. It’s a bit offensive to me in the same way the men are scumbags assumption is. Like I said, I’m sensitive to fairness — not just to fairness for women. I don’t believe men are inherently inferior.
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 7, 2011, 1:02 pm

    Janiel, let me tell you the problems with your question:

    (1) Concise? Me???

    (2) I can’t speak for anyone but myself :)

    (3) Church culture is such that answering such a question always leads to accusations about “aspiring to callings” or “seeking position” or some other such horrific thing

    (4) the question suggests that men do NOT want the priesthood, but only, grudgingly, take on the “burden” with heads hanging down and knuckles dragging because God commands it, poor dears. ;)

    So, to first clear the air. No, I don’t want to be a bishop. At least not in the sense that I’m trying to take over the world (or the ward).

    I actually loved being the Relief Society president. It wasn’t my favorite calling (that’s probably a tossup between RS teacher, Gospel Doctrine teacher, and RS 1st counselor). But it was a great experience and I worked with so many great women. And all the work kept me out of trouble.

    I don’t think I’d hate being a bishop, but I think there would be both good and bad about it. Things I’d enjoy and things that would be hard. (Just yesterday my bishop, in his testimony, also expressed gratitude for the “blessing” of being able to serve as the bishop, sighting pretty much the same things I said about RS president.) There would definitely be lots of work — which would probably kill me at this juncture in my life. But I like working with people and organizing and planning. I like speaking. I like being compelled to be better. :)

    That said, I think men do, generally, want the priesthood. Some more than others. And while some don’t like the added responsibility, some don’t mind it at all. And I think a huge bunch of them would mind it if they were excluded and if women were the major deciding body and if they had to get everything approved by women. (That’s not just a church thing, but something that still is a problem in our culture.) I’m practically holding my breath to see some woman tell men they need to decorate their tables in quorum meetings. :)

    So, to your actual question. First, I’d ask why men want the priesthood, since I don’t think the answers are markedly different.

    The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. Through the priesthood God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power He redeems and exalts His children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man.” God gives priesthood authority to worthy male members of the Church so they can act in His name for the salvation of His children. Priesthood holders can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern the kingdom of God on the earth.

    Next, given how the church describes the priesthood, I’d ask, “Why wouldn’t you want it?” What a blessing!

    Last, here are some specific reasons (for me). This isn’t all-inclusive, but some things off the top of my head. I would like to be able to:

    • “act in His name for the salvation of His children”
    • administer ordinances, particularly with regard to my children
    • administer to the sick, particularly those in my family
    • have more decision-making autonomy in women’s organizations (as RS historically was)
    • have women at the general level seen as “authorities” so we had more modeling and more female-centric council (given that men and women ARE different according to the church)
    • have females included at all levels of decision-making so that we have a voice in those decisions (for example, with scout funding vs. activity day/ym funding)

    P.S. I didn’t specify blessing for “my children” and “my family” to somehow soften the statement. (In other words, I’m not trying to keep my suggestions to “my place” or to seem less “threatening” to men.) I’m just sincerely most interested in being able to be involved with those closest to me as a practical matter.

    I’m not interested in, say, blessing babies of complete strangers. But I certainly think it would be more memorable for a mom to baptize her son than “the guy who was my home teacher when I lived in Chino.”

    Enough for now. :)
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  • jennycherie March 7, 2011, 1:21 pm

    Janiel – we know there are some blessings that will be withheld until we ask. Wouldn’t it be a shame if we withheld blessings from ourselves by never asking or by shaming those who do ask? Even if the answer is “no” or “not now,” how much more faithful can I be if I *know* that what’s happening is his will and not just a leftover of our cultural traditions?
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  • Janiel Miller March 7, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Alison – I thought your answer was point by point very concise, so good on you. :) Thanks for the clarification. There were so many opinions tossing around that I lost track of what your basic feelings on this were.

    Jennycheri – I absolutely agree that no one should ever be shamed for asking. Nephi received the vision on the Tree of Life specifically because he asked about his father’s experience. I think God wants us to ask him anything in the universe we can think of asking. And he’ll answer because he likes us quite a bit.
    Thanks.

    Lots of food for thought in this topic.

  • Brandi Leigh March 7, 2011, 5:55 pm

    I’m actually Darcee Yates’s daughter. We talk non-stop and this has been something we’ve been discussing for last couple of days. Darcee just loves this site, has for several years. This is my first visit.

    I think this “gentle agitation” is along the lines of Martin Harris’ wife needing to see the transcripts her husband was making, only for them to be lost. Oliver Cowdery asked to translate the golden plates, was allowed but could not produce scripture. Uzzah, of the Old Testament, put forth his hand to steady the Ark of the Covenant and was struck dead. These people appear to be guilty of wanting to be “more special.”

    Why did these things happen? Did God lose 187 pages? Did God make a fool of Oliver? Did God kill a servant out of spite?

    We are all special. We all have callings. And we all have the capacity to fill every calling. We can do everything. Really. Even bless a daughter in need. We are all chosen.

    Nothing is closed off to us. Even the priesthood, while I do not carry it in my pocket, is at my disposal. Even with my father a thousand miles away. My blessing and calling to be a Queen or Priestess feels equal to a husband’s King or Priest calling.

    The sexes are equal but unique. By asking why we are not more equal I think you are forgetting your divine nature to be a Daughter of God, not just a Child of God. If we were to list Men and Women’s natural strengths we would find them to be different. BUT it doesn’t mean Women cannot bare the strengths of men and Men cannot bare the strengths of women. In fact we have full capacity to “be like men.”

    When you are asking to hold your husband’s priesthood, are you just asking to be more special than you are now?

    Maybe there should be more of a discussion on what role our Heavenly Mother plays in all this. She does not hold the priesthood, by the way. Yet, she is equal to our Heavenly Father. Little is said of Her to show reverence, so I say that with reverence.

    The question was, why are not women given the priesthood same as men? Try, How is it still equal?

  • Alison Moore Smith March 8, 2011, 3:22 am

    Brandi, welcome. Thank you for you insights.

    I think this “gentle agitation” is along the lines of Martin Harris’ wife needing to see the transcripts her husband was making, only for them to be lost.

    Could be. I’ve heard such comparison before. But I think differently.

    One day 1978 (I was 14), in my parent’s home in Orem, Utah, my mother came bursting down the stairs, calling out to us, “Blacks can have the priesthood! Blacks can have the priesthood!”

    We all jumped up and down in the dining room, hugging and exclaiming. Within minutes, people were literally spilling out of their houses to hug and talk. It was such a happy day. Obviously this was an issue that most had thought about before.

    For weeks, all I heard was how so many prayers had been answered. The first presidency’s official letter said that they had “pleaded long and earnestly” for this change. A couple of years ago, Elder Holland said that he had prayed for blacks to get the priesthood since he as a CHILD.

    Understand, the ban on the priesthood for blacks was a position that had multiple authoritative statements attempting to justify and back it up. It was talked and written about quite a bit. It was said to be God’s will and was specifically said to be an eternal doctrinal principle.

    In spite of that future apostles, current apostles, and prophets prayed that it might change.

    Given that there is no scripture prohibiting women holding the priesthood and almost no authoritative statements — outside of “we don’t know why” and “it could change but no one cares about it” — and given the precedence above for praying for change of stated doctrinal positions, I sincerely do not have any problem with asking questions about church gender distinctions.

    Here’s the thing, Brandi, almost every modern day revelation given was the result of a direct question. I think that’s a good indicator that asking questions is OK with God. (And it sure helped Emma clean up the stink in the School of the Prophets, he? ;) )

    Maybe there should be more of a discussion on what role our Heavenly Mother plays in all this.

    That would be an interesting discussion, but what sources would you use? LDS.org has 22,312 reference to “God,” 10,558 to “Heavenly Father,” 1,310 to “God the Father,” 123 to “Elohim,” etc. On the other hand it has 18 to “Mother in Heaven” and 11 to “Heavenly Mother.” Not a lot of source documentation there. What sources do you have that define her role?

    She does not hold the priesthood, by the way.

    What is your source for that? And what is a priestess?

    Little is said of Her to show reverence, so I say that with reverence.

    According to the LDS Reference Encyclopedia, this idea came from a 1960 statement by a seminary teacher. Do you have a different source, because I’ve got all sorts of crazy quotes I got from seminary teachers! :)

    For the record, the most recent reference to Heavenly Mother I could find on the church website was from 1991. 20 years ago. It’s worth reading: Daughters of God. (This is a talk I heard while living in Boca Raton — and I’ve often referenced the letter from the 14-year-old that he quotes.) But it doesn’t tell you much about her.

    President (he was then in the first presidency) Kimball’s talk is really wonderful, but it actually brings up some other interesting gender issues. Maybe we can discuss those later. I’ve got to go to bed!
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  • Darcee Yates March 8, 2011, 9:59 am

    Alison– 3 A.M? Really? I don’t know how you do what you do and still get up in the morning.

    Thank you for being so well read and sharing references for your position. You always do that, by the way, and that in turn makes me more well read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Pres. Hinckley’s talk on Daughter’s of God this morning.

    You have given me much food for thought. And whether or not we choose the same courses, I hope it can be said that we enjoyed a good meal together.

    The least that I’ve gained is a better understanding of your position, but I think I’ve gained more than that.

    The first time I went through the temple, (I was the first in my family and no one warned me of what to expect). I was somewhat disturbed by the initiatory blessing. I believe my exact panicked response was (does Pres. Kimball know what you are doing?????!!!) It seemed to me like a Priesthood blessing given by a women, and we all know women don’t hold that.

    After I calmed down, I came to the personal conclusion that- “Well of course we are worthy of it, we just don’t officiate in it in most cases. Accept for this one instance for obvious reasons.”

    Anyway, I guess I’m more receptive now to the idea, should it be offered through proper channels, but it’s still not something I want to press for.

  • Darcee Yates March 8, 2011, 10:06 am

    ALthough…… I would be interested in being on the OTHER end of the initiatory blessing…Yeah, I’m 52 and that’s the first time THAT has occurred to me. I’d like to do that once, just to see what it felt like. Does anyone know how those women are set apart for their calling?

  • Darcee Yates March 8, 2011, 10:07 am

    HMM…what it felt like. Like would I start to grow a beard or have a sudden urge to scratch? lol. sorry.. maybe not called for.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 8, 2011, 12:45 pm

    Oh, Darcee! Yes, I think I understand how you feel! About three years ago I wrote Terrified at the Temple to explain what I experienced.

    Believe me, I totally understand that others feel differently and don’t want to “press” for more clarification or insight. I’m totally good with that and hope that no one thinks I’m pushing for everyone to agree with me.
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 8, 2011, 12:46 pm

    I’ve always thought it would be cool to be a veil worker. Don’t know why. But now that you mention it, yes! That would be a very interesting experience.
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 8, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Heh heh…

    But think about it. I’ve seen dozens of times when worthy, priesthood holding fathers have still had their older sons baptize younger sons. Every time they said something along the lines of wanting the boy to have the spiritual blessing of being involved in performing the ordinance. Sounds to me like they think it’s a POSITIVE thing.
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 8, 2011, 12:53 pm

    Oh, and in answer to your question about posting after 3:00 am. Yeah. I’ve been asking myself since I was a kid, “Why can’t I sleep?” :/
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  • LeGrand March 8, 2011, 2:56 pm

    Is it possible to treat dissenting views with any sort of respect at all? Why do dissenters have to be belittled and told their views are stupid and irrelevant? I cannot understand that. (Very well demonstrated in your response to Brandi above.)

    So she made a statement that may or may not be correct about a Heavenly Mother. Does that automatically invalidate her entire post? Why would it?

    “I think differently.” What you don’t write, but imply, nonetheless, is, “Therefore I am better than you.”

    A great evidence to that is in your reply above regarding women’s suffrage. Clearly, you believe that you are on a higher plane than other women who will one day thank you when they receive the priesthood and are ordained elders. Perhaps they will even put your likeness on a coin. Jacob 5:48.

    What is scary is that you have people who actually read and concur with your unfortunate, misguided thinking. How much happier would we all be if we could be content with the blessings God chooses to give us and serve faithfully knowing that more will come at His discretion, rather than sticking out our hand and saying, “Not good enough. More please.”

  • Kerry March 8, 2011, 4:09 pm

    Allison, I sure hope you are going to answer this post. It’s so self-righteous and full of it, but I have to go pick up my kids. Right after I vomit on his shoes.

  • Kerry March 8, 2011, 4:10 pm

    by the way, Mr. LeGrand, I think you’re the one who has no respect for other viewpoints. Look at your nasty post. Allison’s was very polite.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 8, 2011, 4:24 pm

    LeGrand, I appreciate your participation here. But sometimes it’s so time consuming to respond to such statements that it’s almost not worth it. I would ask in the future that you read more carefully and focus on actual statements rather than insert your own biases into what others say. You don’t ever have to agree with me and I’ll post your comments just the same. But I ask that you use logic and avoid ad hominem and impugning other’s motives.

    Now…

    If you actually read my response, you’ll see that I didn’t once tell Brandi her views were stupid or irrelevant. I can’t see a single point on which I treated her with disrespect. I sincerely believe you are reading something in that isn’t there at all. But I’ll try to address your specific points.

    So she made a statement that may or may not be correct about a Heavenly Mother. Does that automatically invalidate her entire post?

    Brandi suggested more discussion about Heavenly Mother’s role. You’ll note that I agreed with her! I can’t tell how that could be construed to mean that I turned that agreement into some kind of invalidation. I simply asked if she had more resources to provide us a path to have the discussion she suggested. There is very little info available about her role that I’m aware of and, in fact, such discussion has been discouraged and called “problematic.” And I didn’t even bring up the fact that numerous women have been excommunicated for overreaching as far as the Heavenly Mother doctrine is concerned. I, very honestly, don’t know how to go about such a discussion.

    She said that Heavenly Mother didn’t have the priesthood. I asked her for a source. (I’ve not seen one.) She said we don’t talk of her to show reverence. I asked her for a source. (The only source I’ve seen for that isn’t reliable or authoritative.)

    “I think differently.” What you don’t write, but imply, nonetheless, is, “Therefore I am better than you.”

    Sincerely, the implication you draw is bogus. I agreed that the agitation might be what she thought, but told her I didn’t think it was and told what I thought was a similar experience to show why it might not be. I have no idea how you draw “I am better than you” from that. This isn’t a sissy boy slap party. We’re just discussing an issue.

    Clearly, you believe that you are on a higher plane than other women who will one day thank you when they receive the priesthood and are ordained elders.

    LeGrand, you employ a logical fallacy. Extreme cases are often very helpful in analyzing the validity of non-extreme cases. Using a situation where most have a common ground can help gain common ground in similar situations where there is disagreement. To make that a point of ad hominem (such as implying that I suppose I may be lauded by future priesthood-holding women) is fallacious.

    You’ll note that my point in bringing up suffrage was specific. Stating that lots of LDS women don’t care about the priesthood issue, doesn’t somehow prove that no one should care about it. Suffrage is a good example. It’s something that most of us do now value (common ground), but certainly not all women pre-1920 took to the streets and not all cared about voting. (Heck, in my lifetime average voter turnout has only been about 48%.)

    How much happier would we all be if we could be content with the blessings God chooses to give us and serve faithfully knowing that more will come at His discretion, rather than sticking out our hand and saying, “Not good enough. More please.”

    Like I said, LeGrand, this flies in the face of the restored gospel.

    Why did Joseph Smith pray? Why wasn’t he just content with the various churches he already had? Why did he ask all those silly questions that gave us nearly the entirety of the Doctrine & Covenants? My goodness, we should have been content without the Word of Wisdom (shame on Emma! I could be drinking my java right now!). Why all the names on the prayer rolls? If God wants those people helped, he’ll help them. How unfaithful to think we can nag God into helping someone!

    And, for crying out loud, what were our leaders thinking (not to mention the boy Jeffrey Holland!) praying for revelation about blacks and the priesthood! Why couldn’t we just leave well enough alone?! It was all good! If God wanted blacks to have the priesthood, he would have said so!

    Or maybe it’s OK to ask questions and discuss issues and ask for clarification on things we don’t understand or that don’t make sense to us. Just maybe.
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 8, 2011, 4:26 pm

    Kerry, we cross-posted. Thanks for watching my back. Don’t vomit on his (her?) shoes. I like to hear all sides of the issue, I would just like it to stay above name calling. :)
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  • Marnie March 8, 2011, 4:38 pm

    I’m not a Morman and don’t know much about your church. I just read Alison on another blog and saw this here.

    I just want to say that I was really interested in these comments. I don’t understand the whole issue but thought that Darcee, Alison, and Brandi all gave good ideas and discussion without being unkind.

    I was just taken aback by Legrand having his nose so out of joint. It was very unpleasant. If you can’t stand differing viewpoints, you ought not read blogs!

    Thanks for listening.

  • Marnie March 8, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I’m sorry! I should have said “Mormon.” It’s even in the blog title!

  • Whitney March 9, 2011, 1:29 am

    Hi everyone, I just found out about this blog through Agitating Faithfully, and am adding it to my list of blogs I read regularly!

    To answer Darcee’s question, I was a temple worker for a year. It is considered a calling–not a priesthood office or anything like that–and I was set apart by a member of the temple presidency, just as you are set apart by a member of the bishopric for any calling in your ward. I was not given the priesthood in the setting apart. I was not married at the time, so it had nothing to do with “sharing my husband’s priesthood.” I think I asked someone about why/how women can perform the initiatory in the temple, and I was told that in this capacity we are simply using the priesthood held by the temple presidency.

  • Whitney March 9, 2011, 1:30 am

    Oh, and yes, it was AWESOME. I am so glad I had that experience. I would love to do it again.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 9, 2011, 1:50 am

    Whitney, welcome to Mormon Momma.

    Thank you so much for your insights. Very interesting. Kind of a delegation of priesthood power… What a great experience.

  • jennycherie March 9, 2011, 8:47 am

    Marnie – nice to have you here! I agree that it is best not to read blogs if you can’t discuss differing viewpoints!

    LeGrand – there is nothing “implied” that I can see anywhere. You have to read and respond to what is actually said. Implications are things we add due to our own biases. It’s always nice to have differing viewpoints, but your post was far more disrespectful than anything else I have read here. Perhaps it is good for all of us to re-read our posts and make sure they are not worded more harshly than we intend.
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  • jennycherie March 9, 2011, 8:48 am

    thanks for sharing that! I’ve always wondered!
    jennycherie recently posted…Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words to Each OtherMy Profile

  • SouthernMan March 9, 2011, 10:48 am

    Brandi, Regarding your doubt is the Heavenly Mother holds the priesthood… I doubt that Heavenly Father holds the priesthood. He IS the priesthood. As the definition of Priesthood might be the authority to act in the name of God, He wouldn’t need it to act in his own name and neither would She, being a God herself. She would act in her own name. Just my $.02 worth. I will go back to quietly reading.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 9, 2011, 11:09 am

    Welcome, Marnie! We love new readers and new input. :)
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 9, 2011, 11:11 am

    jennycherie, good advice for me, to be sure! Sometimes what I write sounds harsh to others when, to me, it just sound neutral. it is so apropos that your blog link is to “Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words…”
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 9, 2011, 11:19 am

    SouthernMan, you are so right. I’d never thought about that before.

    I wonder, though, if one must have the priesthood in order to become a god, or if that’s just a completely earthly thing that is irrelevant. Ideas?
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Ward- I’m Worried About the BeavMy Profile

  • LeGrand March 9, 2011, 12:13 pm

    The replies to my comment only serve to prove the point. I am called self-righteous, when I would call my response pointed and unapologetic. Kerry wants to vomit on my shoes. A differing viewpoint is simply what I put forth.

    To say there was no other implication is your response to Brandi, sounds like you believe there is no such thing as non-verbal communication. Only what is actually written or actually spoken can be construed as what is actually being communicated. Tones, word choice and body language (in the case of face-to-face dialogue) do not contribute to the intent of the communicator. You are taking the “I think differently” line that I pointed out as though it was the only part of your response. It was just the ending of the written paragraph, but not the actual end of the thought, as I read it.

    Next, to say that fight for women’s suffrage is related to not having the priesthood and then to take it back and say you weren’t comparing yourself to those who pushed for the right to vote is disingenuous at best.

    I didn’t say we shouldn’t pray for answers to ANYthing. But rather what our response should be when we receive that blessing.

    Further, the point about Joseph praying for clarification is not really comparable to praying for women to have the priesthood. The Joseph Smith story was not that he wanted to start his own church and be the right one. Read it again. There were so many differing viewpoints of God that were contradictory, inflammatory, and argumentative that he just wanted to know which church God would have him go to. Seems like a logical person to ask.

    The Doctrine & Covenants remark? Come on. Line upon line.

    The Word of Wisdom is also unrelated, since it was simply a request by Emma to Joseph and then Joseph to the Lord about what could be done to help the mess situation. Not “Is it okay if everyone stops smoking and chewing and drinking coffee?” (Man I sure wish we didn’t have that so I could be drinking coffee right now. That ruddy WOW is the only thing holding me back.)

    The closest relationship is priesthood being extended to all worthy males. Although, it fails the point because males could have it anyway, so why not non-white males?

    Each of those were solutions to obvious problems – for MANY people. We should seek the Lord’s guidance to solve problems. But not to create them where there are none. The vast majority of members – men and women – of the church have no problem with who has the priesthood authority. This is not women’s suffrage.

    Finally, in light of that, Marnie’s response is perfect evidence of my concern. There are non-members who are obviously reading your blog and it only serves to create problems in their minds that may not otherwise come to the forefront, or at the least be as large as they end up being.

    Call me self-righteous. I’ve been called worse. I don’t or won’t equivocate the standards of the gospel or the church. If President Hinckley’s words were so important in every interview and each one meant something deeper and significant, then I am sure you conform to and obey what he said in his 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace:

    Mike Wallace: No alcohol, no tobacco, no coffee, no tea, not even caffeinated soft drinks…
    Gordon B. Hinckley: Right.

  • Darcee Yates March 9, 2011, 2:47 pm

    Southern Man-”I doubt that Heavenly Father holds the priesthood. He IS the priesthood.”
    Alison- “I wonder, though, if one must have the priesthood in order to become a god, or if that’s just a completely earthly thing that is irrelevant. ”
    Alison and Southern Man- I’m feeling- BINGO on these ideas. Alison, I think the Priesthood is eternal but maybe we only have an earthly understanding of it. Christ told his disciples that if they had the faith, they could literally move mountains. I think that would be more an eternal understanding of the power of the Priesthood. But I’ve yet to hear a single story of a Preisthood holding man doing that. I would also change your phrasing a bit, to ‘one must have the blessings of the priesthood (temple ordinances/blessing) in order to become a God. If we needed to HAVE IT, we, as women, would sure be up a creek. huh! There’s no way for us to know, of course, but these are interesting thoughts.

  • Darcee Yates March 9, 2011, 2:52 pm

    Whitney- thank you! I’ve been looking all over lds.org today trying to find something that would tell me exactly how you were able to ‘give a blessing’ without actually holding the priesthood. ‘Using the priesthood held by the temple presidency’– interesting. That follows the same chain of command really as outlined in temple teachings. I can see that.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 9, 2011, 4:41 pm

    LeGrand, you’re being a little dramatic. Yes, Kerry wanted to vomit on your shoes, and I asked her not to. Can you handle that? I suggest that the negative response you got wasn’t because you had a different point of view, but that your presentation was to simply accuse me and make stuff up.

    sounds like you believe there is no such thing as non-verbal communication

    LeGrand, in written text there isn’t much non-verbal communication. Word choice is verbal. Since you don’t know me (as far as I know), you might suspend your assumptions and, at very least, take what is actually written at greater value than your biases. If I thought Brandi was stupid, I would have said so. (Like I said, you don’t know me very well.) I didn’t. I have different opinions on this subject. She presented hers, I presented mine. I respect her opinion.

    I just spent a couple of hours with another writer here, Janiel, whose feelings are very different from mine on this (and lots of other) issues. We talked about it, presented different ideas, and (I think) enjoyed the conversation. I respect her a great deal, even when we differ.

    And thank you for pointing out that “I think differently” was only the end of a paragraph. I’ve been wondering about that confusing point. :/

    …to say that fight for women’s suffrage is related to not having the priesthood and then to take it back and say you weren’t comparing yourself to those who pushed for the right to vote is disingenuous at best.

    LeGrand, you’ll notice that I didn’t take it back at all. I took the time to explain to you the actual point I was making. (That comment wasn’t made to Brandi, btw, but to Darcee.) Instead of having the decency to say something like, “Oh, I didn’t understand what you meant by that.” you continue to insist that you can divine my intentions or that — now that you’ve trapped me in my quest for public adulation (bwahahahah!) — I’m changing my story. It’s more than a little difficult to have a civil discussion with someone who is so unwilling to let others define their own thoughts.

    I didn’t say we shouldn’t pray for answers to ANYthing. But rather what our response should be when we receive that blessing.

    Actually, you said this:

    How much happier would we all be if we could be content with the blessings God chooses to give us and serve faithfully knowing that more will come at His discretion, rather than sticking out our hand and saying, “Not good enough. More please.”

    Being “content” with what we already have and waiting on the Lord’s “discretion” certainly does preclude asking for more, as your last statement affirms. I don’t have a problem with your contentedness. But it baffles me that you have a problem with my questions.

    Further, the point about Joseph praying for clarification is not really comparable to praying for women to have the priesthood.

    First, I’m not praying for women to have the priesthood. (I don’t necessarily have a problem with it, but I’ve never done it.) To me, that’s not the real issue. I can see all sorts of reasons why having the priesthood would be a great blessing — JUST LIKE IT IS FOR MEN and for pretty much the exact same reasons. That’s a no brainer. But I haven’t even gotten to the point of deciding whether or not I want it personally. I’ve never prayed about that in my life. But I have prayed for more clarification on gender distinctions in the church, for more understanding.

    Second, women praying to get answers about gender distinctions in the church is completely comparable to Joseph’s prayer in the sense I presented it. That is, it is OK to pray for answers to things we don’t understand and for clarification (or peace) for things that seem problematic. It’s not evil. It’s not apostate. It’s not heretical.

    You seem to be held up on the idea that my position is wrong because I’m praying for a specific action (giving women the priesthood) and you think only general questions are allowed. As I’ve already said, your assumption about what I’m praying for is erroneous. But even if it wasn’t, your point isn’t upheld by history.

    As I’ve stated, Elder Holland said that he prayed from the time he was a boy that blacks could have the priesthood. Is it your position that his prayers were inappropriate?

    Also, note the body of counsel where we are specifically counseled to make a decision before we pray and then ask God blessing, being sure to submit to his will. Do you have some indication that I (or women who might actually pray for the priesthood) are unwilling to submit to his will if it differs? For example, are they ordaining each other anyway or something like that?

    The Doctrine & Covenants remark? Come on. Line upon line.

    Can’t make heads nor tails of that comment. Yea, line upon line. A question at a time. Why is it that you have presumed to determine what questions other people can ask?

    The closest relationship is priesthood being extended to all worthy males. Although, it fails the point because males could have it anyway, so why not non-white males?

    Is this a prank phone call? Have I really spent all this time responding to someone who has so little respect for logic? How about this, LeGrand:

    Human males can have it anyway, so why not non-male humans?

    Sheesh.

    If you have no problem with who has priesthood authority, more power to you. I submit (did you like that word?) that you don’t speak for everyone or even “the majority of members.” I also submit (I’m feeling super meek today) that this is already a problem for a lot of non-members, as per the OP.

    I’ve quoted Wallace numerous times. Here’s the distinction you missed. Some try to elevate the soft drink statement to doctrine. That’s the fallacy. Dane didn’t do so. He simply used Hinckley’s statement as the catalyst to ask some questions. Probably a safe bet.

    This is a church founded on questions and in a world with such easy access to information, it behooves us to try to answer them.
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  • jennycherie March 9, 2011, 4:46 pm

    heehee, some day that blog link will change if I ever make another post. ;)
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  • jennycherie March 9, 2011, 5:32 pm

    “This is a church founded on questions and in a world with such easy access to information, it behooves us to try to answer them.”

    Amen! How else do we gain a testimony but by ASKing.

    I will say that this (women not holding the priesthood) WAS a major sticking point for me when I was investigating. In fact, that was my first question for the missionaries when I met them. My then boyfriend (a returned missionary, no joke) jumped in with the answer: 1 Corinthians 14:34-5 (https://lds.org/scriptures/nt/1-cor/14?lang=eng) In the end, once I gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon, I accepted that men holding the priesthood was the Lord’s will (for now). And, even if this is His will for eternity, I’m fine with that. But if he’s not fine with that and he’s just waiting for us to ___ (ask? be worthy? be prepared to receive more? build 2000 temples? increase membership to 25 million?), then I would hate to miss out on the blessings that would come if we ____.

    On the flip side, what I am NOT fine with are the subtle biases that happen within our church, simply because it is run by imperfect humans. It is important to ALL of us to abolish those in all parts.
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  • Darcee yates March 9, 2011, 6:55 pm

    Alison. Thank you for bringing this up. It has spawned some very heathy, thought provoking andentertaining conversation between my husband and myself (as well as my daughter). And, BONUS, a renewed intrest in studying scripture instead of just reading lightly assuming I’ve read it all before and know what’s there before I read it.

    I fly again starting tomorrow. I’ll miss you all unless I get insomnia in Pasco or Minneapolis. I get to work with my daughter though, so I’m Sure it will all be good!

  • Ryan March 9, 2011, 7:54 pm

    Okay, I told Alison I wasn’t going to comment further on this but I’m outspoken so I guess I can’t help myself.

    Here is the issue I see and the undertone I am reading in most of these posts. I may be mistaken but after having read all of the posts on this thread as well as those requesting people visit the Agitating Faithfully blog and sign their names, etc., I am pretty confident I have a grasp on the “unspoken undertones brought about by word choice and an effort to portray our feelings through writing” (that was a long quote that you will not find anywhere in any of the posts above).

    I’ll get to my point. This is really what seems to bother me about things. I feel like these kinds of discussions, groups, or whatever are toxic. Let’s boil it down here: Is this the Lord’s Church on the earth? Is this His prophet? The resounding retort to this has continually been, “What? Is it SO WRONG to ask questions?” My answer would then be, “Well, that depends on the intent of your heart in asking that question.” And with these kind of discussions, there is always the underlying arrogance that you somehow understand things more clearly than the Lord’s chosen servants. Combined with a kind of “Why hasn’t the Church made an official statement about EVERY POSSIBLE POINT OF DOCTRINE or thought that passes through my head?” In my humble and small brain, I can’t help but think that Father loves each of us – each child – without favoring genders, nationalities, or whathaveyou. So, perhaps – just perhaps – the family is created by divine design so that each one of us has the same opportunities to learn, grow, and progress, regardless of gender or any other parameters. Perhaps Father knows EXACTLY what He is doing, and the fact that we don’t have the clarity He does means that we humbly walk by faith, and one day we will know.

    Isaiah 55:8 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

    Is it “bad” or “evil” or “apostate” to ask questions? No. Is it dangerous and self-righteous (to use the ad hominem approach of another individual here) to assume we know more than those called by God to lead and guide this church? Yes. Is it also arrogant and presumptuous to assume the prophet and/or the other leaders of the church have not inquired of the Lord as to whether or not women should hold the priesthood or preside more in meetings or talk more in general conference or have larger roles in the performance of ordinances like baptisms or…? Perhaps. As I stated above, maybe our leaders have inquired. Perhaps the order of things is the way it is now for a reason. Perhaps not everything in this life will be spelled out to us in our own time and under our own desired circumstances. Perhaps faith means more than just reading our scriptures like we’re supposed to and praying with our families and individually like we’re supposed to and holding regular family home evening and attending the temple regularly and wearing our garments faithfully and attending our meetings and magnifying our callings. Maybe faith isn’t an expression of outward actions as much as it is a state of being and way of life and a submission of our will to that of our Heavenly Father.

    Now, before I get another answer like, “I’ve said all along if the answer is “no” I’ll be okay with that. I just think we should ask.”, I want to come back to Joseph’s inquiry. He had an INDIVIDUAL question to which he sought an answer. His question was one of great importance and one he wanted answered for himself. As such, he went to the Lord and asked. He received his answer and he received a visit from God The Father and Jesus Christ telling him how he should proceed. Joseph didn’t take his question to the town meeting and tell everyone else to ask it. He didn’t reach out to his friends and family and encourage them to “agitate” along with him. In fact, he didn’t agitate at all. He humbly went to the Lord individually and inquired with faith. I think we can learn a great deal from that approach. Sure, there may be other members of the church with the same questions. There may be a number of them. But, just as Joseph did, maybe we should individually take these questions to the Lord and have the faith to receive the revelation and guidance the Lord has for each of us individually instead of coming together in a blog and making assumptions and riling each other up and creating controversy that sometimes becomes almost hostile. Because I can guarantee you all that where there is contention the Spirit will not be. And where the Spirit is not found, revelation and answers to prayers will not be found.

    My final thought before I leave is a link to a devotional given at BYU Idaho in 2002 by Elder Cree L. Kofford. The link is below. Please pay special attention to page 3 of the talk.

    http://www.byub.org/talks/Talk.aspx?id=1382

  • Alison Moore Smith March 9, 2011, 8:20 pm

    Darcee, so glad to hear. :) Thank you. (Wouldn’t I have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that!)

    Fly safely. And please do get insomnia in Pasco! :)

    Oh, and when your new posts go live, I’ll leave a comment that you are out of commission for a bit. The next posts tomorrow. I’ll hold the third until you let me know you are back to respond. :)
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 10, 2011, 12:33 am

    Well, that depends on the intent of your heart in asking that question.”

    Ryan, don’t you find it problematic to believe you can determine the intent of another person’s heart? For the record, I think your very next statement indicates that you do, when you claim to know what “always” is part of such questions.

    And with these kind of discussions, there is always the underlying arrogance that you somehow understand things more clearly than the Lord’s chosen servants.

    I would, very sincerely, like you to explicitly state that you believe Elder Jeffrey Holland was arrogant and thought he understood things more clearly than the apostles and prophets — from the time he was a boy until 1978 — when he prayed that blacks would get the priesthood.

    If asking questions about policy or implementation of policy is “always” arrogant, as you say, then I ask you to be consistent and apply it to others as well. Don’t sidestep the issue. Don’t ignore it. Apply the same logic to men — esteemed men — that you do to women you don’t even know.

    For the record, I don’t think Elder Holland was arrogant at all. I think he knew about a policy — one that was strongly pronounced as doctrine by multiple authoritative sources — that concerned him or that he saw problems with or pain around, and he hoped it could be different. Due to that, he prayed and asked God if it could be different. For years, according to him.

    As I pointed out in the OP, when this revelation came, every single person I discussed it with rejoiced, because they, too, had hoped the “doctrine” would change. I would also like you to state that all these people were arrogant as well, and they should never have hoped or asked for understanding or change.

    OTOH, there were people so entrenched in policy — and so sure it meant more than it did — that they left the church over the change. I know of a handful of people in a ward in northern Utah, for example, that would not take the sacrament from the black sons of a friend of mine.

    Combined with a kind of “Why hasn’t the Church made an official statement about EVERY POSSIBLE POINT OF DOCTRINE or thought that passes through my head?”

    Ryan, do you think it’s possible that to some people this is a bigger issue than merely one that passes through their heads? In my opinion, the arrogance is in thinking that because something isn’t important to you that it simply is not important at all. And asking about something that isn’t important to you is akin to nit picking every tiny issue.

    I think you can see the problem with that position.

    Perhaps Father knows EXACTLY what He is doing, and the fact that we don’t have the clarity He does means that we humbly walk by faith, and one day we will know.

    In my experience in the church, the leaders are much more practical than you seem to think. I tend to think God’s that way, too.

    For example, I think that most of the black priesthood ban had to do with the general culture’s imperfections and prejudices. It don’t think it’s quite that simple, but in a nutshell, I think the church couldn’t have survived at the time it was restored if it had accepted blacks as equals due to the general racism in the country.

    As culture changed — and the hearts of members, like Elder Holland, were ready to accept a different model — the structure of the church could change with it and still grow as it needed to.

    You may have a different explanation for the ban that makes sense to you, but that’s pretty much mine.

    With no definitive statements about why women can’t have the priesthood, with the scriptures discussing prophetesses, with Joseph Smith making numerous statements that seem to be more inclusive of women, with multiple references to priestesses, with nothing in scripture to give clarity on when “men” means males and when it means “mankind” (see President Hinckley’s talk linked above), I think there is ample room to ask questions about how all this works, why it is the way it is, how much of it is culture and how much doctrine.

    Perhaps it already is how the Lord wants. But perhaps it isn’t. Given statements like President Hinckley’s, I have no doubt that many of our leaders don’t think anyone’s bothered.

    Personally, I think the issue greatly harms missionary efforts in most developed countries. The idea of gender distinction has become so culturally unaccepted (sometimes to the extreme), that many people can’t even fathom why a church would hold to such ideas.

    Of course, doctrine can’t change because of that, but policy can and does all the time. I certainly don’t think the black priesthood ban being lifted just after all the US civil rights events was coincidental. Do you?

    Women got the vote 50 years after blacks did. If there is a cultural mix in this at all — and I think you’d be nuts to say there was no cultural gender bias in the church — then the same lag may well exist in the church to relieve the culturally inspired distinctions, whatever they may be.

    P.S. I also hope that some day activity day girls will get even close to the funding boys get for scouts. And I ask questions about that, too. Oh, the arrogance of thinking I know better than my leaders!!!

    More in another comment…
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  • Brandi Leigh March 10, 2011, 1:02 am

    Thanks Alison for starting this discussion. Because it has been interesting and thought provoking.

    The way I see it: I’m not training to be God, I’m training to be A goddess with a god.

    Priesthood is acting is God’s name. And (we’re assuming) that God acts in His own name, and his Godly Helpmate acts in Her own name. So, when we are exalted, we will be ordained as Priests and Priestesses… of our own name and power. Right? We women would then be acting in our own name and power without the benefit of the earthly practice of acting in the name God, like our male counterparts are now doing with the priesthood. That would be an argument for women holding the priesthood now. But… is it the same power we will be using in the hereafter? Can a woman act in the name of God, our Heavenly Father? Basically is there a separate but equal female priesthood?

    How about this: Maybe, there are less references of Heavenly Mother because Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father act as one. What is She doing every time He is doing something? Home knitting while He is flooding the earth? No, what He does, She does.

    Male and Female are two parts of a greater whole. We are either male or female. Is God still God without a female counterpart? We do not exist without both Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father. Is the Priesthood complete without an outside female influence? <==== These are just questions!

    Say women can and do start holding the priesthood here on this earth, now. How would that effect our earthly situation?

    What would that do to the family structure? Two people can't drive the same car at the same time. And someone has to navigate. (These are not gender specific roles.) But only one person can be at the helm at a time. I don't care who, but only one.

    I maintain that as a female, our role model is our Godly Mother. Thank you for linking that talk; I want to read more.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 10, 2011, 1:05 am

    Is it dangerous and self-righteous…to assume we know more than those called by God to lead and guide this church? Yes.

    You employ the same fallacious attribution here that you did above. You’ll have to explain what you mean by “assume we know more.” Since I haven’t claimed to “know” anything, but I’m asking questions because I would like to know more…

    Is it also arrogant and presumptuous to assume the prophet and/or the other leaders of the church have not inquired of the Lord as to whether or not women should hold the priesthood or preside more in meetings or talk more in general conference or have larger roles in the performance of ordinances like baptisms or…? Perhaps

    Again, you presume something that no one has stated. How would I know if the prophet has prayed? All I know is that (A) he hasn’t told us that he’s prayed about it and (B) he’s said he doesn’t know the answer and (C) he (speaking of Hinckley here) didn’t think it was an issue with anyone.

    It does make me wonder, though, if he didn’t think it was an issue with women and it wasn’t one with him, why would he bother praying about it? He probably had plenty of things that he did think were issues to spend his praying time on, if you know what I mean.

    Perhaps not everything in this life will be spelled out to us in our own time and under our own desired circumstances.

    Ryan, I need to stop you here and have you reread the rest of that paragraph beginning with the quote above. This is my read of it. You have decided that women/priesthood is not an issue and that it’s as God wants is. So you take umbrage with others who aren’t satisfied to sit back and be content with that idea, but have the “arrogance” to ask questions about it or discuss it.

    Do you apply the same standard to your own prayers? Do you ever ask for insights, peace, understanding? Do you ever ask for a particular blessing or help? If you do, please realize, I could apply the exact same standard to anything you ask or pray for and could claim you to be unfaithful due to your “thinking you know more than” God.

    Are you willing to apply that standard to yourself and to stop asking for insights, help, peace, blessings, healing, and understanding?

    What about your discussions with others. Do you apply this standard there as well?

    You’re right, Joseph didn’t go to the town hall to ask his questions. God appeared to him. He doesn’t appear to me. Please don’t assume I haven’t prayed privately about this. (What was it you said about arrogance?)

    I do not have the authority to answer church policy questions. No women do. As I said, I believe the church leaders to be practical as well as spiritual. I believe that they care about members and are willing to listen to them and consider their concerns. I don’t think that necessarily changes policy, but I believe it influences it, and I believe that when they know of concerns, they do what they can to address them.

    I don’t know how old you are, but did you ever attend the temple pre-1986? Why do you think the ceremony changed? Did you ever have the old washing and annointing? Why the difference? I suggest that it’s because there are lots of things that aren’t about doctrine and can change to best suit the people.

    Further, I think that it’s erroneous to believe that our leaders will divine all the needs of the people if we just pray hard enough. God is elegant and efficient. If I’m in the same room with the bishop and he asks me how my calling is going, should I use my mouth or send my heart’s desire to God hoping he’ll convey the message back to the bishop?

    If policy can change for people based on their situations (and it obviously does), it’s simply nonsensical to assume that those situations were not, at least in part, made known by things like discussions and questions.

    Do you think Homemaking changed to HFPE (which changed to Enrichment and then to “another” Relief Society meeting), because the general RS presidency had a bolt of lightening to the head? Or do you think they heard about problems, talked to lots of women, and tried to address it? I suppose if any woman said, “The RS lessons aren’t working in our ward because of _____”, they would be apostate for “assuming to know more than their leaders” who, after all, sanctioned the RS manual.

    Under your standard, anyone bringing up difficulties or concerns and discussing them is ipso facto unfaithful, arrogant (“always”!), and out of touch with God’s will. Ryan, it makes no sense.

    You speak of contention, but I think the contention comes not with discussion, but when people (like you and LeGrand) basically tell people who want to discuss the issue that they should sit down, shut up, and be more “faithful.”

    Look at the original post about Agitating Faithfully. What’s contentious about it? If you ask me, the only contention was your response!

    Unbelievably you implied that women who wonder about gender disparity must have creeper husbands, for crying out loud!

    For the record, let’s please note that my husband has never told me I should just shut up and have more faith. He has never asserted that things that aren’t important to him are not worth asking about. He has has never attributed my concerns to just silly little ideas that popped into my head and I decided I had to make a hormonal PMS fit about. He treats me with the utmost respect and love and does his best to help me work through my concerns and to find answers or information that will help. That is my idea of presiding appropriately.
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 10, 2011, 1:28 am

    jennycherie, thanks for you input.

    LOL yes, it’s pretty shameful that women speak in church now. Paul probably isn’t too happy about it. Or, maybe he doesn’t still hold the cultural ideas he did back them. :)

    I agree about the “subtle biases.” Finally, when the brand new handbook came out, my ward started allowing women to give opening prayers in sacrament meeting. Progress. :)
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 10, 2011, 1:40 am

    Basically is there a separate but equal female priesthood?

    Very recently I was talking in person with someone about this very idea. I don’t have an answer, but it’s an interesting thought. I really love your questions!

    You say you believe that when Heavenly Father does something Heavenly Mother does, too. I don’t know that I necessarily believe that. Just as sometimes Sam and I do things together and sometimes we have different responsibilities, I think it’s probably like that to some extent. Maybe some things require both people.

    I find it an odd idea that they are both doing the same things all the time, but only Father is seen, heard, mentioned. Like when God and Christ appeared to Joseph Smith, there is not mention of Heavenly Mother. I think Joseph would have brought that up. :)

    I understand your statement about two driving a car and all, but I really don’t agree.

    Now, I will agree that it’s harder to have a real partnership. We own a sole proprietorship, an LLC, and a C-corp. We intentionally do not have any business entities formed as partnerships because of the difficulty of really sharing equal power.

    However, I’d honestly say that my husband and I have worked that way for 25+ years. And my parents did, too. Neither of us would dream of making a big decision without complete agreement between us. Not as in Sam getting “counsel” from me and then making the ultimate decision, but in us working the whole thing out from top to bottom together.

    And we’re probably the most in love middle-aged couple you’ll ever find. Just ask my kids. :)

    Night all!
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  • jennycherie March 10, 2011, 7:03 am

    “(that was a long quote that you will not find anywhere in any of the posts above).”

    Ryan – it might be more constructive if you would actually quote what was said rather than your interpretation of it. I can’t see anywhere in your post where you actually reference something that was SAID.

    The talk you posted was great – I don’t for a minute believe that asking questions or desiring equality (even if that does not mean holding the priesthood) is following Satan’s plan for womanhood, but nice of you to make that accusation.
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  • jennycherie March 10, 2011, 7:13 am

    “maybe we should individually take these questions to the Lord and have the faith to receive the revelation and guidance the Lord has for each of us individually instead of coming together in a blog and making assumptions and riling each other up and creating controversy that sometimes becomes almost hostile.”

    You know – I think many of us have taken these questions to the Lord. How dare you assume otherwise? You accuse people of lacking faith because they are having a discussion? Seriously? The only contention or “riling up” that I have seen has been from your post and LeGrand’s post. I will assume that you are both motivated by a concern for others but it is hard to see in what you wrote. Are we just supposed to be happy and have faith, even when something seems very wrong? I’d really love to hear your response to some of the points made by others – not just your general, negative impression referring to no actual comments.
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  • KLC March 10, 2011, 11:03 am

    Alison, I’m a little wary about wading into this discussion because I realize any counterpoint I offer can be interpreted as aligning myself with the arguments and ideas of Ryan and Legrand, but here goes.

    In the decades leading up to 1978 it was accepted LDS doctrine that someday all worthy men would receive the priesthood, I know because I was there, I was concerned about this issue, I asked the question to many of my own leaders and professors and that was always the reply. This explains the context of Elder Holland’s prayers that he offered since childhood. He wasn’t asking the Lord to change his mind, he was asking him to change his timetable. And that was also a generally accepted idea at that time, that when we were ready and prepared and willing as a people it would happen, so sincere prayer was seen as a means of showing that readiness and thus hastening the day when it would happen. That also explains the context of the celebrations you saw when the announcement was made. This was a long anticipated day, we knew it was going to happen someday and now that day had arrived.

    Does that same doctrine and anticipation exist in the church regarding women and the priesthood, ie, that we all know that someday they will receive it but the time has not yet come? I can’t say that we do believe that, if we did I think President Hinckley would have said exactly that to Mike Wallace, if we did then the innumerable blog discussions of this issue would all revolve around an anticipated when rather than a controversial if. So I think that the events culminating in the Official Declaration of 1978 and Elder Holland’s prayers regarding them are not as useful as they first may appear to be in the discussion of women and the priesthood.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 10, 2011, 12:55 pm

    KLC, I always appreciate your measured, thoughtful input. I don’t think I’ve ever had an interaction with you where you weren’t more respectful than I (or anyone else) deserved. Thanks for commenting.

    Could you give me some sources for this idea that it was always understood that black men would eventually get the priesthood? I’ve read a number that indicate otherwise (obviously McConkie, but many others as well) and so would be interested in what they say and the timing, etc. The important note, I think, about McConkie’s statement, was his withdrawal of it after blacks received the priesthood:

    There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren that we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality.

    Of course, this isn’t just attributable to “early bretheren” — unless he includes himself among those. This was a perpetuated position for many years and I appreciate that he acknowledged, in this statement, that there were published, authoritative statements that were disproved by the revelation.

    For the record, again, I’m not asking God to change his mind. I’m just asking for clarification. I don’t know that “his mind” has been made known on the issue and, if it has, I don’t understand the meaning of it all. I would like to know more.

    Again, thanks for your comments.

  • KLC March 10, 2011, 1:53 pm

    Alison, good question about any sources. Right at the moment I can’t. And maybe I should have written in my first response that it was a commonly accepted belief and not doctrine which may be too strong a word. But I do kn0w that the idea that all men would someday have the priesthood, we just didn’t know when, was absolutely the standard answer to our critics in the decade before 1978. And it can mesh with McConkie’s quote as well I think. In that case the when was not in mortality, but there were plenty of people who believed it would be in mortality. I’ll try and find some better support for this than just my memory.

    I have to say I have always admired your even handedness and desire to be fair yet also to think critically in your comments I’ve read in the bloggernacle.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 10, 2011, 2:02 pm

    I look forward to any info you can provide.

    Also, thank you very much for your kind words. They mean a lot to me.

    What I find interesting is the transition from “never in mortality” to “sometime in mortality.” You noted it in the decade before the revelation. When did that shift begin? How did it begin. Holland was obviously a boy before 1968, but it’s interesting to see how this train of thought might have progressed. Who was the first to say things counter to “conventional wisdom”?

    Anyway, thanks again and I look forward to reading more.
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  • LeGrand March 10, 2011, 5:41 pm

    I’m converted. Sign me up.

    This all reminds me of when we were warned on the mission to never engage in “Bible Bashing.” “There will always be a reply or retort and nothing will ever be resolved,” we were told. I should have recalled that advice from my Mission President’s wife. My time the last couple of days would have been much more wisely spent.

  • Marnie March 10, 2011, 7:49 pm

    LeGrand, I’m a big girl and can take care of myself. If you think that it was this post that exposed the sexism in Mormonism to me, you are naïve as well as mistaken.

    I’ve been reading Alison’s goal blog for almost two years and only recently realized she blogs here. In fact, it is Alison that changed my mind about Mormon women, as I was of the impression (unfair, I agree, but based on the things I’d heard) that Mormon women must be subservient, unintelligent, and childlike. She’s anything but.

    On the other hand, your post (and Ryan’s) certainly does confirm stereotypes about Mormon men, that they are chauvinists who think women should be kept in their place. It is your own words you should be worried about. I would never consider looking into a church that had men with such attitudes.

    If men really do have some God-commanded dominance over women (which I don’t believe a loving God would do), then I would pray to God the only men involved would by like KLC or Alison’s husband seem to be. Otherwise it would be intolerable.

    I’ll go back to lurking, but just couldn’t stand to let that statement go unchallenged. Thank you.

  • Brandi Leigh March 13, 2011, 12:42 pm

    I like what Ryan has to say here, that we ought to ASK. Jennycherie has been saying the same thing. But when we ask, we are asking for ourselves, we are asking for personal wisdom, not church or political movement wisdom.

    Agitation doesn’t belong in a religious discussion. (Definition of Agitation: 2- Persistent urging of a [i]political or social[/i] cause before the public.) Even if it is gentle. There are channels for this (even if it is through men). Talk to your bishop and write to our apostles. Write Sherry Dew. (She’s been known to write back!) Ask your Heavenly Father. We will find more answers in asking.

    I thank you all for your respect and kindness in reading my “immature” responses (my word not yours). I still just figuring it all out. But I know that I love this church, I love the Gospel, I love Joseph Smith for asking of God in that grove for wisdom, and I love our latter day prophets like I love the ones of old. [b]God doesn’t just hear our prayers, He responds to them.[/b] Agitation is not my path as I try to follow the Lord. I trust Prophet Monson. If he asked me to pray for us (all) to hold the priesthood I would.

    However, I have to tried to use my word to describe how I feel on that. I don’t feel it is logical for me hold the (same) priesthood, like the men of our church do.

    What I do want to get back to is equality. This is what I want to see changed and discussed:

    Didn’t this all start with a backhanded comment? That we women are all essentially saints for putting up with men? Why? We all marry men we believe have the potential to be like God. I mean, did we marry the best or what we had to?

    Allison wrote: “P.S. I also hope that some day activity day girls will get even close to the funding boys get for scouts. And I ask questions about that, too. Oh, the arrogance of thinking I know better than my leaders!!!”

    If they want us to be equal, let us balance the budget. Or at least take turns. :)

    Thank you all for you discussion.

  • jennycherie March 14, 2011, 6:29 am

    A new thought occurred to me yesterday at church:

    One of the benefits that I see in women holding the priesthood (or a type of priesthood) is that it carries with it a further obligation – something in addition to the baptismal covenant. Any time I have seen this discussed, the discussion includes a lot of “women are divine by nature” or something along the lines of women being so good (and so busy nurturing children ) that they don’t need it. This goes along with the “Men are scumbags” post, I guess. Anyway, priesthood holders have greater obligations – particularly in regards to service and home teaching. If I understand correctly, every man is assigned as a home teacher, whether he wants to be or not. While the sisters can beg off of visiting teaching for the slightest of reasons. That works fine, when we are all behaving well. But when we are not behaving well, it frustrates me to bits! Women sometimes need to be pushed in the same way – to be REQUIRED to do things. I had a sister tell me yesterday that she does not do visiting teaching because she doesn’t drive. I was surprised, especially since she works outside the home. On further questioning, I learned that she DOES drive ( a very cute little car), just not to unfamiliar places. She knows how to get to work and church and the store but she does not drive anywhere else. If she were a priesthood holder, this is about the place where she would be delivered one of “those” harsh talks.

    So this makes me wonder, how do we create that same sense of obligation (because the baptismal covenant should be enough, right?) and that pressure to serve and improve for women?
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  • MB March 14, 2011, 10:56 am

    Great discussion.

    I, for one, am of the opinion that though I do not currently, as a woman, officiate in priesthood ordinances, God expects me to be prepared to do so. I hope I’m prepared.

    In the meantime, I think about how this issue can become divisive as we explore it. And I was struck by an experience my husband had recently which I’ll share.

    A few months ago, my husband, L., got a call from a friend, T. asking if he would be available that morning to go to the hospital with him to give a child a blessing. Dear friends of their family, members of another faith, had a child with a terminal illness who was there and they had been touched and open to T. and his wife’s offer of a priesthood blessing. L. said “sure” and about half an hour later T. and his wife, J. came by to pick him up for that. He came home an hour or so later, moved by the experience and grateful to have been asked to assist.

    A few days later I shared my latest musings about women giving priesthood blessings with L. He thought about the blessing he had been able to participate in at the hospital and said that if there had been two women with priesthood there he is absolutely sure that the two men would have bowed out and politely suggested to the women that they perform the blessing. No question. I wonder if that would not be happening all over on a large scale; thoughtful men, selflessly or with a sense of relief, passing along the opportunity to bless.

    But then (and this is what struck me) he said that he had been thinking about watching T. and his wife, J. at the hospital. J. had been the one to touch the father, embrace the mother and articulate lovingly the words of comfort and friendship and peace to them. He and T., he said, stood solemnly and carefully and gently performed the ordinance, but neither of them had the skills J. used to comfort and bless. He said it was enlightening to watch T. and J. use their gifts in tandem to bless that family and how it united the two of them. The power of both together doing different aspects of the work was far more than the sum of the two independently.

    I think we don’t often see those gifts in tandem in the same room at the same time. Sisters and brothers tend to do their godly work separately. Because we are humans in a telestial world, we tend, even the most enlightened of us, to place more value on the work that the men are doing, even though we give lip service to both, which is part (by no means all, I admit) of the reason that this division of labor feels so unfair to some. In the good scenarios of church work we see men and women in the church counsel together and keep each other appraised of their work. In the best scenarios they work totally in synch, as one. Way too often most of the work of one group is done independent of the other, with occasional calendaring involved.

    As I said, I sense that God expects me to be prepared to officiate in priesthood ordinances in the future. In the meantime, I need to ask myself, am I making this current division of labor a source of further divisiveness between me and my brothers or between me and my unlike-minded sisters, or am I helping to create the power of unity between brothers and sisters that I anticipate He will require of us down the road?

  • Angie March 14, 2011, 1:05 pm

    MB, I love your post and I am doing some thinking on it before I say anymore. Suffice it to say I feel much the same way.

  • StarieNite March 15, 2011, 11:11 pm

    I have only one reason why a women should be allowed to hold the priesthood in her own right.
    No women should have to be alone in the hospital crying and begging God to let her child live. She should be able to lay her hands on her child and give her child a priesthood blessing. That happened to me on January 1st. It took six hours for my son to get a blessing because I was absent a man, because by the time my husband got to the ER he has getting prepped for transfer, and then had to be stabilized at the second hospital.

    I was always felt that women should hold the priesthood this trauma cemented it.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 15, 2011, 11:34 pm

    StarieNite, I’m so sorry for the difficulty you went through. Is your boy OK now? Best to you.

  • StarieNite March 15, 2011, 11:39 pm

    Yes he is fantastic now. He still has some therapy to deal with issues that his illness caused and one more procedure to take of his condition. There was no serious long term damage done to him.
    It was seriously horrific and I wouldn’t wish it on my most hated enemy, but he overcame it and is back to his old self.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 15, 2011, 11:49 pm

    I’m so glad to hear it. Those situations can be the most trying and frightening in the world.
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  • MB March 16, 2011, 10:13 am

    StarieNight,

    I’m glad your boy is better.

    I had an experience years ago where the fervent, anxious, faiathful prayers of a 17 year old sister at the bedside of her frighteningly ill younger brother, at a time when no Melchizedek priesthood holders were available, healed him. So I have a firm testimony that though God works through formal priesthood blessings, when they aren’t immediately available, he works with what is. He’s that kind of God.

    I think you are not giving enough credence to the power of God working through your faithful pleading. It was there. And I suspect that it played a much more powerful role than you think in his recovery.

    Again, happy that your boy is better.

  • Dan March 23, 2013, 7:14 pm

    I am a priesthood holder. personally I don’t get what all the fuss is about concerning equality. I see the priesthood as a means God uses to help men focus on what they need to focus on, namely being a blessing in the lives of women. That is really what it is. I cant bless myself in spite of the fact that I hold the priesthood. But my function as a husband is to be a blessing in the life of my wife. How do I do that? By being a worthy priesthood holder, so I can actually be useful.

    I kinda see the “priesthood” and “motherhood” as kinda the same thing in all reality. Mostly they exist to bless others. To be honest it kinda reminds me of a tree. A tree has roots that cannot get the energy and sugars they need to grow. And a tree has leaves that cannot get water or minerals like nitrogen on its own. The leaves and branches need the roots to suck up water and minerals out of the ground so they can be transported to the leaves. In return, the leaves create glucose that that are sent to the roots so they can grow. Call me simplistic but that is really how I see the roles of the priesthood and motherhood. They were created to be mutually beneficial. One cannot exist or thrive without the aid of the other. Nor is there a point or purpose to one without the other. In that sense they really are equal. Aren’t we?

  • Alison Moore Smith March 24, 2013, 6:06 pm

    Dan, this is a very timely comment. You have brought up:

    1. What is all the fuss about?
    2. The priesthood is just about service?
    3. Priesthood = Motherhood

    I have addressed these and other reasons for an exclusive priesthood here, because I’ve done it over and over and over for years. :)
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  • jennycherie March 26, 2013, 11:33 am

    AH, this has me thinking again. A few weeks ago, I substituted for the gospel doctrine teacher in our ward. The topic was “The Only True and Living Church.” We were discussing why the restoration of the priesthood was necessary. One of the men piped up: We had to restore the priesthood so that the Relief Society could be organized so we could get things done!

    I have heard this type of comment many times before, and I think it usually is intended to be complimentary towards women, but how to respond? This time I smiled, and said something profound like, ‘oh, ok,’ and moved on to the next comment. But it has really bugged me! I’ve been trying to figure out how to respond to this type of comment. Any suggestions?

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