Thursday, August 29, 2013

Women and The Priesthood in the LDS Church

Dear Friends, 

I have hesitated in sharing my thoughts on this sensitive issue because I decided, if you'll remember, to write about things that were not so significant. But also because it is so sacred to me and because it is not my intent to create ill will or cause argument on a topic which is difficult to many. I hope that my words may comfort any who sorrow.

Recently we went to see Fiddler on the Roof at the Centerpoint Theater. I think it might be my favorite musical ever. Even more favorite than Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat if that's possible. The actor who played Tevye was the finest I have seen. Remember the part where he is looking up to God, talking to him and he says, "I know, I know. We are your chosen people. But, once in a while... can't you choose someone else?"

That brings me to how I feel about holding the priesthood. You've heard the joke: "I hold the priesthood... every night when I go to bed." Ha ha. Very funny. And yet, hardly a Sunday goes by when I don't think, "Whew! I will never be called to be bishop (or stake president or... president of the church, hallelujah)!" It is true, however, that women do serve in the church in many callings that are both challenging and infinitely rewarding. If we needed to hold the priesthood to fulfill these callings, we would be given the priesthood. I'm also not promising that women won't be ordained to the priesthood in the future. I don't know because I'm not in charge, thank goodness.

I have also heard it said that the reason men hold the priesthood is because they need it in order to develop characteristics that women have naturally, such as compassion. That may or may not be true. It is an explanation some have used to explain the doctrine. Well, here is another idea along that vein: perhaps the reason women do not "hold" the priesthood is because there are traits that we need to develop which both men and women are entreated to have, such as meekness and humility.

The priesthood is defined as "The authority to act in the name of God." When I was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, through the priesthood of God, I took upon myself the name of Christ. Likewise, all actions I take or words I say or write are done, said and written in the name of Jesus, the Son of the Living God--my Savior and my Redeemer. I may not have been given the assignment to lay my hands on heads and give "blessings" but I am able to bless and serve in the Kingdom of God in numberless ways. When I do, write or say things that he would not have me do, write or say, I have "taken his name in vain."

But if I accept the assignments I am invited to take and serve in the ways I am asked to serve, I will be blessed beyond my ability to comprehend. 

Perhaps we feel we need a particular blessing of the priesthood. Sometimes, as I'm sure you've learned, priesthood leaders cannot read our minds and we must ask for that blessing. 

God is not trying to withhold blessings from his daughters. He loves us--beyond measure.  

When the Savior(who is about his father's business) lived on the Earth, he sought to comfort and serve women. He was often surrounded by women. The women who loved him took great pains to provide for his temporal needs so that he could do his work. It was a great honor for them to serve him. It was the way they could show their love for him. 

The last thing Jesus did in his mortal life was to ask his friend to care for his Mother. 

Likewise, God has given the priesthood to his worthy and willing sons on this Earth specifically so that they would have additional ability to bless his daughters. And if those men are not worthy and willing, or if they do not do his will, they no longer have any power from him unless they repent and come unto him.

I do not write these words because they have been taught me by priesthood leaders in my church. I write these words because were given me through the Holy Spirit of God and I know in my heart and in my mind that they are true. I hope that you will ask for the spirit to help you be at peace with what is. That's what he does for his children. You are his child and he will give you this blessing.


Melissa Price said...

I just love you! Well written, and I concur. :)

Chris and Heather Miller said...

Have you read Sheri Dew's book? I haven't yet, but she spoke on this subject last year at Time Out for Women, and I just loved what she had to say, it made so much sense to me. I was excited to see she had written a book on the subject, and I hope to read it and find many of the same things she said last year.

Pat Beadle said...

I also loved your comments and insight - I have felt the same way and just because I don't "hold the Priesthood" like my husband does it doesn't stop me from praying for those I love and care for - knowing my prayers are just as powerful as his in the sight of the Lord.