I attended a stake conference recently, in which a general authority was visiting. Listening carefully to his message along with the message of my stake president made me more certain that ever of two things:
- The worthy women of this faith should hold the priesthood.
- The only reason they are not now allowed to hold the priesthood is because those in authority are failing to ask Our Heavenly Father the right questions.
How did this set of meetings lead me further in that direction?
First, the general authority preached on Abraham 1:2, in which Abraham expresses his longing to hold the priesthood of God, to be a high priest. Abraham’s desire was for both himself (so he could be righteous and knowledgeable about God’s will) and for others (that he could be a prince of peace). As the general authority related, this was a righteous desire and one which led to great blessings for Abraham and ultimately all of us through the Abrahamic covenant.
Second, the stake president shared a direct story of how holding the priesthood blessed his life. It wasn’t about receiving an ordinance from someone else. It was like the experiences I have shared in which the desire to be a righteous priesthood holder shaped his actions and – in his case – led him to a deeper appreciation and practice of repentance.
If wanting the priesthood is a righteous desire and holding the priesthood is a “great blessing” in our lives (as the stake president testified that it had been for him), why would the Lord desire to keep this blessing from some of his worthy children?
I do not – cannot – believe that the fault lies with the women of the Church. They are as qualified as the worthy men. Nor can I believe that God desires to keep his sacred power from those who would wield it with reverence and compassion. I therefore must conclude that the fault lies with those who do not yet see the potential of an army of women bearing more of God’s power.
So I will pray that our leaders gain more of the vision of Moses, expressed when it was reported to him that Eldad and Medad prophesied in the camp. Joshua, jealous of their power, called upon Moses to constrain them.
And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them! (Num. 11:29)
I, too, look forward to the day when all God’s people are prophets, speaking with the full authority of His holy priesthood.
Thing is we don’t need the priesthood to be prophet. Therefore, this is not related. Also, the priesthood is about serving and giving. Holding the priesthood doesn’t grant blessing by holding it, but when you serve others. Where is the need for women to start doing things with the priesthood since men do that work and faith is enough for everything else. The idea of women being not worthy is an easy comparison to debunk. This is not a valid argument
To be ‘the prophet’ or ‘a prophet, seer, and revelator,’ you do need the priesthood. Whether Moses was speaking in exactly those terms is beside the point – I’m talking about a feeling which that verse captured.
The idea that “holding the priesthood” isn’t a blessing is patently false. I have been a priesthood holder for almost 25 years now. I can tell you (and have written, if you follow my links) about how it has blessed my life. My stake president just testified of the same. Those opportunities to serve? They bless those who serve in ways that are different from other kinds of service. I think, if you hold the priesthood, you know of what I speak. It’s a silly rhetorical move we’re making now in which we claim there’s no advantage to priesthood holders. (This is also something I’ve written about here before.)
While I disagree with your claim that we don’t need women to “start doing the things with the priesthood that men do,” it just begs the question: Why can they only hold the priesthood if we need them (logistically) to hold it? After all, the Church doesn’t need ME specifically do to these things – others in my ward could do them. And yet, because I am a worthy man past a certain age, I have been ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood.
But why NOT let women hold the priesthood? Why not?
Very interesting thoughts. I would think the same logic should apply to the LGBT members and the church should embrace same sex marriage. It’s time for the straight, old men’s club to end.
I’d love to see the Church embrace same-sex marriage and LGBT members. Personally, if they want to hold some firm line on ‘the doctrine of the family,’ I think they missed an opportunity to say “We support civil marriages, however defined by the state, as a positive step. We continue to teach that sex outside of those marriages is a sin and hope that loving adult couples will choose long-term marriage relationships. We will also continue with limiting our own religious ceremonies (sealings) to marriages between a man and woman.” That’s not my ideal outcome, but it would have been far better than what we have now.
That would have been a wonderful solution that showed the love of God to their fellow humans.
Interesting, but I see it differently. Whether the LGBT issues or women holding the priesthood, many of us look at those with the eyes of the “natural man” and think we know better.
On the other hand, if the First Presidency and the Twelve are truly prophets, seers, and revelators as they claim to be and as most members of the church sustain them to be, then it’s up to us to understand God’s will, not try to change it or think we know better because we’re young and hip and all.
“My ways are not your ways…”
I’m sure that same rhetoric was repeated in the late 1970’s when black members were denied the blessing of the priesthood and the temple. Isn’t interesting that revelation was received in the 1800’s to end the practice of polygamy just in time to satisfy the requirements of statehood.
When you say “many of us look at those with the eyes of the natural man,” you don’t mean “us,” you mean me. That’s the complication, isn’t it? You’re sure that you know God’s ways while lecturing me about God’s ways not being our ways. Better to be direct about this.
So, to be direct, I do support the First Presidency and the Twelve as prophets. I see nothing in their own claims, though, to suggest that means they meet daily with the Savior for personal instruction or otherwise simply receive revelation without praying/seeking it. On the contrary, these things seem to take time and effort, even for prophets (as for us). Pres. Kimball’s revelation on race was a key example of this: It took him a period of concerted effort, and only after he chose to seek such a revelation. So it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they are both (a) prophets and (b) not yet receiving the revelation to come on this particular issue.
To close, how’s this for a verse: “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”
Pres Kimball prayed for over 3 years to know what to do about the priesthood ban, which I think is what you were alluding to with the statement about a “concerted effort.” He basically started praying as soon as he became the Prophet. That said, a survey conducted under the direction of David O McKay in 1952 (IIRC) concluded with 2 key findings: first, there was no doctrinal support for the Priesthood ban, and second, the members of the Church would have been unwilling to accept a removal of the ban at that time. To me, that last part is the key. As such, I would add (c) have not received the further light and knowledge because of the unwillingness of the members to accept new truth, i.e. to look upon the serpent.
So from my perspective (not directed at you Jason L, but to all), I don’t believe I know more than the prophets and apostle when I say I don’t believe something is right. I think issues such as LGBT rights and women’s ordination are things that will take time for members to accept, yet will still come to pass. That said, because each of us as members has an obligation to seek out our own witness in all things, don’t think for a moment that simply because you believe everything you hear from an apostle or prophet to be true that you will not be held accountable for your thoughts and actions. Bruce R McConkie had to issue a statement declaring his prior statements to be inaccurate in regards to race and the Priesthood, and that was a source of sore repentance for him. And any member who did not take the time to pray and receive their own witness of his words, but rather simply believed them because he said them, will fall under the same condemnation. What condemnation will you fall under today?
Jason, amen, amen, amen. I’ve thought the same thoughts about the Abraham passage more than once, but never put it all together so well. Thanks.
Thank you for reading and sharing!
I was an early morning seminary teacher when the first Ordain Women action happened. I used that exact same verse from Abraham to help my students – regardless of their position on the issue – to excercise compassion and understanding for those women and men seeking the ordination of women.
Even if it were wrong (as in contrary to God’s will), if the desire can be accorded as righteousness for Abraham we should be able to see their desire as coming from that same place. And then reflected on previous lessons regarding proactively seeking God’s revelation in other contexts. If we teach men it is a good, wonderful blessed thing to be a member of the priesthood, should it be a shock that some women desire it too, despite all our efforts to socialize that desire out of them.
In at least that regard, there is a deep connection with LGBTI issues, in particular marriage. We preach perpetually the blessings of marriage and that people should desire marriage. And teach emphatically that we should marry someone we love and want to make a lifelong – nay, eternal – commitment to. To share life’s joys and struggles with. Should we really be surprised when our LGBTI brothers and sisters, taught along side us, believe it too,and desire to get married to someone they want to share existence with?
A little charity would go a long way.
Amen and thanks Leonard for your comments. I believe God made me this way and loves just as I am. God is a loving God, not an angry, punishing God. I believe he wants us to show love to all mankind.
Thanks. That’s my thinking, too.
Shouldn’t we be thrilled that people want what we hold us as great? And shouldn’t we have immense compassion if those desires can’t be fulfilled immediately (or even in this life)? Shouldn’t we be actively seeking for ways in which they can contribute meaningfully in the meantime? Instead, in both cases, our de facto response has been increased ostracism, as though they were trying to take something away from us.
If we really value these institutions for what they are – and now just their exclusivity – we should want to share them widely. That’s the feeling I think Moses had and which I wish we’d better emulate.