Elder Busche on Women and Priesthood

July 10, 2007 | 63 comments
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When F. Enzio Busche was a temple president, he was once asked by a priesthood leader “when [he] thought the Church would receive revelation giving the priesthood to women.” This was his answer:

The priesthood is neither male nor female, although is has a male part and a female part. Through the eternal bond of marriage, built on the divine gift of love, the priesthood becomes complete. The roles of the two parts are, of course, vastly different. . . . The best way to gain an understanding of the male and female part of the priesthood is to be reminded of a tree. As we look at a tree, it appears to be complete with its trunk, branches, leaves, and blossoms; but we know that another, equally important part of the tree is invisible. The roots–which, quite unseen, lie deeply embedded in the soil–are constantly nourishing and strengthening the visible parts of the tree. The roots do not argue with the trunk. They both enjoy oneness. The temple is the Lord’s essential instrument used to reestablish a true understanding of the male and female parts of the priesthood. In the temple, both men and women wear the robe of the priesthood and are given the garments of the priesthood. Righteous men and women learn that although women are not physically involved in conducting the affairs of the priesthood, no man can excel in his priesthood callings for long without the blessing and care and guidance of a righteous woman. When we listen very carefully in the temple and learn to understand and accept our male and female roles, we will soon see ourselves in our own limitations. Those who concentrate their efforts in developing the purposes and virtues of their own gender will build tender, bonding bridges between men and women on the basis of mutual respect and admiration, inspired by the divine, miraculous power of love. (Source: here.)

Discuss.

63 Responses to Elder Busche on Women and Priesthood

  1. Ardis Parshall on July 10, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    Are there ways that a married man more fully exercises priesthood, or has a more complete role in or understanding of or access to priesthood authority or power, than a single man? If there is anything to this analogy, a man’s priesthood is incomplete and cannot stand without Elder Busche’s undefined “female part of the priesthood.” I need a definition and examples to understand what women bring, or what men lack, where the priesthood is concerned.

  2. Rand on July 10, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    Ardis, if I may, think of the priesthood as an eternal power, a power not only of governance in the eternities, but the power that comes with the right to create eternally, not as a right to preside in the church, and I think you will have your answer. From the eternal standpoint the single man does not hold the full priesthood, he only hold the opportunity to hold the fullness of the priesthood.

  3. Rusch on July 10, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Though I never would say it at Church, I think that part of the restoration may mean Priesthood for women. I have been reading the Old Testament and have noticed some things that have made me wonder if the Priesthood will someday be available universally for everyone, regardless of sex, as it is now among men of all races. Just something that I kicked around while reading the OT.

  4. Mark IV on July 11, 2007 at 12:04 am

    …no man can excel in his priesthood callings for long without the blessing and care and guidance of a righteous woman.

    That would certainly be news to elder Scott.

    I don’t see much here that is helpful, Julie. Can you (or anybody else) help me understand what he means with “the purposes and virtues” of the genders? I would love to know. For as much as we talk about them, I would expect to see some explication, rather than just vague hints.

    I have a lot of respect for elder Busche, but the passage you cite just doesn’t give me much.

  5. Ardis Parshall on July 11, 2007 at 12:30 am

    Then the analogy fails, Rand. There is no hint that the oneness of the trunk and root concerns increase, but mere existence only — the trunk cannot live in any sense without the nourishment of the root. That’s why I’m asking if there is any aspect to the priesthood that cannot exist without the “female part,” or whether this is only another of those ultimately meaningless attempts to make women feel good.

    Despite how that sounds, I’m exceedingly conservative, do not feel slighted by a male priesthood, and have no particular desire for any change in women’s roles in connection with the priesthood. I do, however, feel more or less nausea when I’m fed gospel Twinkies (frothy, sweet, and unsatisfyingly empty gospel calories).

  6. Rand on July 11, 2007 at 12:38 am

    Ardis, you are obviously thinking far above me, but if you would humor me, I may gain from your further critique. A tree begins as a nut, which has not roots, yet all the potential for roots, it is only in it’s unfolding in to its potential, as an eternal union that the priesthood holds those two aspects, the roots and the trunk. Yet they only serve themselves until they begin to disperse the seeds …

  7. Mark IV on July 11, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Rand,

    Don’t you think that elder Busche here means something else besides ongoing sexual reproduction? He states that “women are not physically involved” in what he has in mind, so unless he knows something I don’t about where babies come from, it is difficult for me to believe his remarks are meant to describe eternal increase.

    In addition, he says we should expend effort in the development of these virtues. That sounds to my ears as though he is describing character traits.

  8. Ardis Parshall on July 11, 2007 at 12:53 am

    Rand, I understood you the first time, and you express my own understanding of that aspect. However, your analogy is very different from Elder Busche’s — you speak of future potential and increase; he speaks of present existence without any reference to increase.

    Aside from increase, which he does not address, is there any aspect of the priesthood in the here and now, to which he limits his analogy, where the priesthood of a man is incomplete without the nourishment of the woman? In what way does a man “without the blessing and care and guidance of a righteous woman” fall short in his access to the priesthood? What are man’s “own limitations” that are supplied by the woman in the mortal existence for which Elder Busche is offering counsel?

    I didn’t mean to monopolize Julie’s thread, so I’ll pipe down now. Thanks for engaging me in discussion, Rand.

  9. Tatiana on July 11, 2007 at 1:18 am

    “the purposes and virtues of their own gender” is what I find problematic. What are those and who gets to define them? My purposes and virtues include designing nuclear plants and building infrastructure to help develop the third world. I’m female. Does that mean these are the purposes and virtues of my own gender? Or do those exclude almost everything except looking pretty, child care, food service, and janitorial work?

  10. m&m on July 11, 2007 at 2:57 am

    Ardis,

    I would say that a man cannot fully enjoy the blessings of the priesthood if not married. But I hear this as different than parsing out whether his exercising of the priesthood per se is limited (although it will by nature be because he has fewer people close in his life to serve and bless through the priesthood), but in the fact that priesthood and its blessings are so much more than the mere exercising of it.

    The more I study and think about priesthood, the more I am get the sense that priesthood is a lot larger and more pervasive in all of our lives, rather than limited only to administrative responsibilities that men currently have (“exercising the priesthood”). The fulness of priesthood blessings come to men and women — particularly as they work together in the Church and especially in the family. Eternally this will definitely be the case. In short, I see the priesthood as an overarching (or undergirding, like roots) power that blesses us all and reaches its full potential impact when the sexes are united in their work — be it in the Church or in the family. The key to me is the tender building of bridges and working together in the roles we have been given to create a whole, a oneness, and a capacity that cannot be reached by either gender alone.

    That’s my take on it, anyway, at this point in my thinking.

  11. Ray on July 11, 2007 at 3:44 am

    FWIW, In one of my Divinity School classes, an older gentleman (Catholic, ironically) made the comment that nobody can understand God fully in this life without being married and raising children. That caused a furor in the class, particularly among the women who had no plans to marry and bear children – or adopt and raise children within marriage. There actually were some very nasty things said to this man, but what he said in response has stayed with me through the years.

    My remembrance of what he said is: “I’m not saying that someone who marries and has children is any better than someone who does not; I’m just saying that not being a parent limits how well you can understand God. Part of being God is being a parent.” What impressed me most is that he explicitly did NOT point his remark to the men; he pointed it to both the men and the women. By and large, the men seemed to get the idea that they needed a woman to be whole; the students who didn’t and expressed disdain for it were all women who chose to reject a traditional view of themselves as needing a man for fulfillment. I believe there are varied and interesting psychological and sociological implications, but I found the different reactions fascinating, nonetheless.

  12. Ray on July 11, 2007 at 4:00 am

    Also, while the Family: A Proclamation to the World mentions “primary roles”, it follows that immediately by stating, “In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

    I read that to say that married men may “hold” the Priesthood, but that they have an obligation to “exercise” it ONLY as equal partners with their wives – in their shared responsibilities as parents. I see this as saying, essentially, “OK, mortality generally will push men toward providing and protecting, while women will get pushed toward nurturing. That is the “natural” delineation. My higher law is to recognize the natural pressures, and perhaps even live in a structure that without my guidance might lead to formalization of gender-based roles, but then to create a united partnership that is not bound by these natural roles – that is based on working together across natural divisions to function truly as one.”

    In that sense, women really can exercise the priesthood. I know she lifts and moves and directs me often – which is a pretty good definition of exercise.

  13. manaen on July 11, 2007 at 4:35 am

    Re: no man can excel in his priesthood callings for long without the blessing and care and guidance of a righteous woman.

    Just this morning, I re-read this in “Eve and the Choice Make in Eden” (pp 151-4) by Beverly Campbell:

    # # # # #

    Just as Eve sought further light and knowledge, so have righteous women throughout the ages. That is the pattern of faithful women, who search for the fullest and most Christlike ways their service can be used. They have a strong sense of mission and yearn for that mission to be honorable and substantive.

    I searching for their own individual missions, women ask themselves and others, am I needed? Where am I needed? How do men and women fit together in this grand work? Where is the clarion call? Similar questions have often been asked of me as I speak to women. Mine also was a search for words that I might respond to these queries in useful and correct ways.

    The response came to me with startling clarity on a glorious day that I shall never forget. Some days are like that. Each action and thought is etched into the memory: the day you discovered you were in love, the day you knew for sure that God existed, your wedding day, the day your child was born.

    This particular day was filled with promise and possibilities. I looked out my bedroom window to see the sun reflecting off the waters of the Potomac River. It was my birthday. My husband brought me a breakfast tray with one red rose and a note saying, “The day is yours. We will do everything you wish — or nothing.” (One of life’s grand luxuries — an entire day to do one’s choosing.) On the tray was a fax sent by a dear friend in response to a question I’d asked. The fax was President Howard W. Hunter’s talk entitled, “To the Women of the Church” I had heard him deliver it at the general women’s meeting in 1992. It had touched my heart, although I had not at that time recognized its greatness.

    Now, as I read President Hunter’s words, I was mesmerized. Here was my answer! In clear and unambiguous terns, he invited women to stand together. “It seems to me that there is a great need to rally the women of the Church to stand with and for the Brethren in stemming the tide of evil that surrounds us and in moving forward the work of our Savior…. Obedient to Him, we are a majority. But only together can we accomplish the work He has given us to do and be prepared when we shall see Him.” In loving outreach, he observed: “As our Lord and Savior needed the women of His time for a comforting hand, a listening ear, a believing heart, a kind look, an encouraging word, loyalty — even in His hour of humiliation, agony, and death — so we, His servants all across the Church need you, the women of the Church.”

    My heart burst with gratitude, love, and thanksgiving. I now knew how I wanted to use the day. I wanted to find words to respond to this gentle apostolic plea. With tear-filled eyes, I penned the following response:

    WE WILL STAND

    A hand reaches out.
    A voice is heard.
    A prophet’s invitation-plea:
    “Come stand with us.”
    Type and shadow of another voice:
    “Come follow me.”
    Woman answers: “I will stand with you!”
    “Woman has always stood,”
    Echoes from corridors of time.

    I am woman in the Garden — Mother of all living who
    courageously partook that man might be.
    I am woman at the stable — Who gently acquiesced that a
    God-child might also be.
    Will I stand?
    Without question I will stand!

    I am woman at the well — first to whom Jesus revealed
    Himself as Messiah, anxious to alert others of identity
    divine.
    I am woman-friend of Jesus — in whose home of faith the
    dead was raised, disciples taught saving truths sublime.
    Will I stand?
    Could I do other than stand?

    I am woman with the alabaster box — anointing the Savior
    unto His burial; lone in recognition that crucifixion is
    near.
    I am woman at the tomb — asked to deliver the glorious
    message that a risen Christ did appear
    Will I stand?
    Indeed, I will stand.

    In the Garden
    At the Cradle
    By the Cross
    Woman has always stood!

    As a woman-disciple I will utilize my love, intellect, and
    energy to strengthen my family and then the families of
    our society.
    As a daughter-disciple I will see selflessness, sacrifice, and
    compassion as traits of the Savior; I will focus on
    righteousness, service, and wholeness.
    As a sister-disciple, I will stand with and I will stand for
    His beloved prophets and apostles, and with His
    servants all across the Church, just as did my sisters
    stand with the Savior, even in the hour of His
    humiliation, agony, and death.

    Out of my strength I will offer —
    A comforting hand
    A listening ear
    A believing heart
    An encouraging word
    An unstinting loyalty
    A partnership of trust

    Will women stand?
    To the last breath.
    We will stand!

    # # # # #

    A few years ago, I interviewed the Director of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center’s drug-treatment program for unwed, drug-addicted mothers. One of my questions was, “How do you keep your staff from burning out?” The answer *she* gave has been a key management lesson for me since: “Staff takes care of the patients and management takes care of the staff.” By this she meant that their patients dumped their loads on the staff but the staff did not dump their own loads on the patients. Management, who was less involved in the high-pressure encounters with patients, would receive the staffs’ loads. This set up a system that could take the patents’ loads from them without putting unbearable strain on the helpers in the system and it worked specifically because the second-line people did not do the work of the first-line people. All were needed, each in their place, for the system to continue to succeed. The support (literally) staff isn’t less-significant any more than army surgeons are less significant than the soldiers they heal. And surgeons are kept off the front lines for the same reasons: so they will have the strength to heal the first-line soldiers.

    This new light helped me see and understand the basic pattern, which we have copied shamelessly in our hair salon: we even tell the stylists that their job is to listen to guests’ stories, gripes, dreams, etc. but not to unload theirs on the guests — we (management) are available for that and they do unload on us all the time. We do not dump our loads on them, but on each other and on trusted people outside this system.

    Understanding this pattern, I now look upon PPI’s, yearly performance reviews, and other stewardship assessments as not just a time for measuring results, but a time to restore, lift, encourage the person with whom I’m talking. I now see the wisdom in having the assessors being close enough to the work to understand what’s happening, but not directly involved so as not to pile up their own loads to dump about it. Without this kind of informed, but removed person to dump on, people typically turn to professional counselors or their less-educated substitutes: bartenders, hair stylists, or “less-prestigious professionals.”

    We hear this echoed in the gospel in the admonitions to lift the hands that hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. But that requires us to maintain our own reservoirs of strength to share when needed. (And I’m learning that God, mercifully, frequently limits our awareness of when our strength’s needed according to the strength we have available to share). “When thou art converted…”

    Bringing this back to the quote at the beginning of this peroration, there is a need for first-line priesthood servers to have second-line help with them. Elder Busche and President Hunter call upon women to fill this need. Sister Campbell shows that women did the same for the living Christ.

  14. Slushy on July 11, 2007 at 5:33 am

    Short answer: never.

  15. Naismith on July 11, 2007 at 6:47 am

    “That would certainly be news to elder Scott.”

    Care to share with the rest of us what you mean by this?

  16. Geoff B on July 11, 2007 at 7:26 am

    Julie, I for one found this description of the priesthood very interesting and faith-promoting. I think the analogy is quite appropriate. Thanks for sharing it.

  17. Paul S on July 11, 2007 at 8:49 am

    RE: #15

    I assume he is alluding to the fact that Elder Scott is a widower.

  18. Ugly Mahana on July 11, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Ardis, I hope you won’t disappear completely. I found your points and perspective to shed important light on the subject and the quote.

    I wonder if the important part of the quote is not the analogy, but the statement that the priesthood contains both male and female parts. I wonder if the right question is not so much ‘can a man exercise his priesthood without a woman’ as ‘what should we understand the priesthood role of women to be’. Clearly presiding and administering, for example, are assigned to the male priesthood. Men can exercise fully these assignments with or without marriage, but, according to Elder Busche, the fulness of the priesthood is only expressed when women and men join together in the work of the priesthood, or, if you will, of God. Temple sealing is used as an example to prove this point. However, it may also be shown to be true in a broader sense, I believe.

    While sealings bring potential priests and priestesses together for eternity, marriage and family is not the only situation in which men and women work together in the Kingdom of God. Just as temple ordinances are not necessary to create a bishopric or stake presidency, so they are not necessary for Relief Society Presidents, and other women leaders, to work with Bishops and other male leaders. Could we say that female leaders are exercising a female priesthood, which is expressed differently than male priesthood, when they direct the affairs of their organizations and provide counsel to the presiding authority just as male leaders exercise priesthood authority when they preside? I would not wish to be in a ward where the Bishop discounted the counsel of the Relief Society President. I would contend that “no man could excel [as Bishop] for long without the blessing and care and guidance of a righteous [Relief Society President]” whether such a Bishop is married or not.

    If we accept the principle that women exercise priesthood while leading the Relief Society, could we also accept serving as a primary or sunday school teacher as priesthood service for both men and women?

  19. Ardis Parshall on July 11, 2007 at 10:34 am

    There have been several very good comments directed to my questions, very well worded, and I much appreciate them. You give me ideas to think about.

    I suppose I’m always looking for my place in this world (it is alien to the gospel to put this life on hold and look only for a place in the next world). Without a family, without ever having had (and probably never going to have; it doesn’t appear to be among my gifts) any auxiliary leadership role at any level, without any direct involvement or contact with priesthood bearers or organization except as a congregational observer of visible priesthood performances, I often feel very separated from priesthood. A single man without a family or leadership roles can still have an obvious, if incomplete, involvement. I’m looking for my equivalent, if there is one.

  20. Mark IV on July 11, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Paul S. # 17,

    You’re correct, and thank you for responding.

    Sister Scott passed away 12 years ago. In my opinion, elder Scott excels in his priesthood callings and is therefore an argument against the idea expressed in the quotation Julie cited.

  21. Kevin Barney on July 11, 2007 at 10:47 am

    I see it as a nice effort to defend the status quo in a way that may be appealing to some women. Ultimately, I think it fails. I am very liberal on this issue, and I think we should give women the priesthood.

  22. Marjorie Conder on July 11, 2007 at 10:49 am

    Long before I read this post it has seemed to me that roots and branches were a good analogy for the priesthoods of men and women (and which is roots and which branches may not be constants). The trunk is covenants which are shared and tie roots and branches together as they mutually nourish each other (neither can survive without the other–to pharaphrase Paul) .

    The comments of manaen and Ugly Mahana are stunning–the kinds of things that I come to these threads to hear and then ponder–thank you.

    Who is to say that Elder Scott is without the influence of his wife? If we take our “eternal rhetoric” seriously she may still be very much in the picture.

    I have a dear friend who is one of the “world experts” on the Joseph Smith New York period. He has expressed to me as his opinion in private conversations that it was necessary for Joseph to be married to continue the work of the Restoration and that Emma’s role (perhaps even as the “great high priestess” of the Restoration, meeting Joseph’s role as the “great high priest”) is neither understood nor acknowledged at the present.

    Which leads to another observation. Today the Relief Soceity is seen only as an auxillary among auxillaries. It certainly was not seen as such among our 19th century sisters. The earliest RS presidents were called for life and “ordained”. They also oversaw all female temple work, kind of a super temple matron. A very interesting historical sidelight is that although to all intents and purposes ERS served as general RS pres from 1868 on, she was not ordained (or set apart if you prefer–which I don’t) until after Emma’s death in 1879. Apparently even BY for all his bad-mouthing of Emma realized that she had done nothing to set aside her calling and ordaination as the “elect lady” of the Restoration, and that no one else, not even Eliza, was formally entitled to that position while Emma lived.

    I do think that Primary, Sunday School, etc. are only and always auxillaries with no eteranl implications and that setting apart is all that has ever happened to folk filling those callings.

    As a final personal note. I am not at all interested in claiming the power given to men, but I am very interested in exploring the limits of righteous female power. Our female power may be like Dorothy’s red slippers, ever with us, but only we can figure out what to do with it. I’m glad there is no “program.”

  23. bbell on July 11, 2007 at 10:52 am

    MarkIV

    Scott was married for what 40 years? I think that cuts against your argument.

  24. bbell on July 11, 2007 at 11:05 am

    I think that there is a lot of dodging and weaving that goes on when GA’s and others are asked about this topic in the last few years. I think that Busche is dodging and weaving. Its seems very PC to me. I am a big cards on the table kind of guy.

    The real answer to this issue in my view is the following.

    1. The scriptures do not point to female ordination. Multiple examples from the NT and even the BOM (Alma 13) and the D&C Section 84 “He”

    2. Christian tradition

    3. LDS tradition

    4. Family Proc “Preside”

    5. Multiple statements over and over again from GA’s on the topic

    6. Hearken

    7. There is no real measurable movement amongst the TR holders to ordain women

    There are even practical demographic reasons not to follow the mainline Protestants on this topic.

  25. Mark IV on July 11, 2007 at 11:12 am

    bbell, sure, but don’t you think 12 years years is a long time?

    And of course the best argument against this line of thinking is our missionary program. For men, missionary work has been defined as a priesthood duty. We call upon unmarried 19 y.o. males to do the bulk of that work. None of them has the “blessing and care and guidance” of a wife. In what sense, then, is elder Busche’s statement true?

  26. bbell on July 11, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Mark,

    I am not sure what to make of his statements. They seem squishy to me. There may be something to his thoughts as relates to married couples but its not the reasons that women are not ordained.

    To me the best missionaries would be married couples between 30-50. Old enough to have some world exp and young enought to still be vigerous. I suspect that they would be better at baptizing and retaining complete families then the kids out doing it now. Economics makes this a present impossibility

  27. Nick Literski on July 11, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Ultimately, LDS priesthood is not complete without marriage. The highest ordinances in Mormonism (and no, I’m not talking about marriage sealings) can only be conferred on a couple. The fulness of the priesthood, as taught by Joseph Smith, requires both a “King and Priest unto the Most High” and a “Queen and Priestess.”

  28. Mark IV on July 11, 2007 at 11:46 am

    No argument from me on that score, Nick. The question is, do you think that is what Busche meant?

  29. Matt on July 11, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Nick, you hit the nail on the head with your comment post #27. That\’s exactly it.

  30. bbell on July 11, 2007 at 11:52 am

    Mark,

    I also have no argument with Nicks comment. Its factual.

    My contention is that Busche brought that doctrinal reality up to distract from the reasons that women are not currently ordained and no avoid speculating on the really limited to be honest chance that new revelation would prompt such ordinations.

    “Well my product cannot do that but look at this feature!!!”

  31. Steve Evans on July 11, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    I’m with Kevin. This strikes me as a new agey sop to women, trying to help people feel better in a vague way about a situation without actually changing anything.

  32. Sonny on July 11, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    I don’t know about you, but I am taken back a bit by the tone expressed by a few on this thread. In my mind it smacks way too close to faultfinding and not of ‘constructive criticism’. After all, Elder Bushe is one of the Lord’s annointed. (See “Criticism”, by Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, Feb 1987).

    While the analogy may not be perfect, I certainly understand the spirit of it. By reading the comments, I see many others do as well.

  33. TMD on July 11, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    I would merely note that it is factual to say that endowed women are priesthood holders (in the sense that they have priesthood conferred upon them), just not ordained to priesthood offices. The two are not the same. The lines are unclear, are uncertain, but there seem to be differences. So in this sense, it is very much the case that there are female and male parts to the priesthood–a point further driven home by NL.

  34. Sally on July 11, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    I would merely note that it is factual to say that endowed women are priesthood holders (in the sense that they have priesthood conferred upon them), just not ordained to priesthood offices”
    If that were true, then women would be able to perform priesthood functions not related to a certain calling. For example, my husband can baptise, perform blessings and ordinations that have nothing to do with his office or calling, but I cannot.
    It seems that this would be a good solution for the women/ph thing. The men hold the callings as it is now, allowing women to focus on home and family, but let us perform ph functions to assist us in those responsibilities.

  35. Steve Evans on July 11, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    “endowed women are priesthood holders (in the sense that they have priesthood conferred upon them”

    Sally, I don’t think that’s quite right.

  36. manaen on July 11, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    13. RE: “RE:no man can excel in his priesthood callings for long without the blessing and care and guidance of a righteous woman.”

    My comments, and most of the others in this thread, have been focused on how man needs woman’s care and *guidance* to excel in his priesthood callings. I noted in #13 how supporters, as in the drug-treatment program and with army surgeons, can be most effective in healing the front-line people by not loading themselves with the same issues.

    The other side of the coin is given in the Proclamation on families: “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” In this work, woman can benefit from man’s support and healing much as man can benefit from woman’s in his priesthood work. There were evenings that I returned home to be informed that the children were mine that night: my wife needed a break. Even though I had a load of my own from work, I was able to take this for her because it was a different load. (“A change is as good as a rest” — BY). She was able to help me shoulder through issues at work and I was able to help her in her work because we were close enough to each other’s issues to offer informed help and because we cared enough to do it, but our lack of direct involvement with the other’s load left us able to give each other the supplemental strength needed for us to get through both loads.

    We see this pattern of close-but-not-the-same assistance repeated in different arenas of life such as when friends offer comfort at a parents funeral — they are close and cared about the lost parent, but not devastated that day by their own parent’s loss — or when a co-worker offers a solution from similar experience, not being frozen by the immediate urgency of my problem.

    I believe this is part of what Christ sought in His intercessory prayer (John 17), when he prayed that all the believers would be one, as He and the Father are one. There is in us a need to know that we are significant. I suppose we seek penalty for injuries done to us more for the validation that we matter than for pain to be inflicted upon the offender. When we see someone mourn our loss or injury, we feel better because we see we’re significant/loved by that person — and in a celestial society, that person can go to another for solace in the pain they accepted for me, and so on until it is dissipated throughout the society. But now, in the global economy of human suffering, my original pain exceeds the total of my remaining pain after my friend mourns with me *plus* my friend’s new pain *minus* the comfort I now feel *minus* my friend’s joy in seeing he has comforted me. I sometimes wonder whether this may somehow open understanding of how Christ is able to take our pains and still have joy.

    BTW, I just read a paragraph in “Rough Stone Rolling” (about p. 145-150) that speaks of Joseph’s need for Emma’s support, that theirs was a marriage in which they discussed and shared everything, including Joseph’s trials in leading the Church. I’ll put up the exact reference when I have both book and computer at hand.

  37. Mark IV on July 11, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    manaen,

    I agree mostly with what you are saying, but elder Busche appears to be saying something else.

    In the examples you give, is there any action or virtue that is necessarily bound up with gender? You speak of coworkers supporting one another, friends mourning with one another in bereavement, marriage partners mutually supporting one another, etc. Those are all Christ-like qualities, open to all, and not foreclosed to anyone based on sex, not to mention priesthood. I remain in the dark as to precisely what elder Busche might have meant.

  38. manaen on July 11, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    37. Mark IV, the only actions bound up in gender that I discussed are uses of Priesthood and mothers’ primarily responsible for nurturing children. I was taking those as given and exploring how these divisions, and others not bound up in gender, could benefit us by creating what I called first-line and second-line positions of direct and support roles.

    I don’t know what Elder Busche meant, but suppose he was talking in these lines and as Joseph’s and Emma’s symbiotic marriage that I noted in the last paragraph of # 36.

  39. Ryan on July 11, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    I think we should give women the priesthood.

    You know, the definition of “hubris” has always been fuzzy for me.

    That statement crystallized it for me.

  40. Steve Evans on July 11, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Ryan, why is that statement indicative of hubris? It’s just an opinion. There’s no indication of overbearing pride in what Kevin said.

  41. Jack on July 11, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Ryan,

    When folks are as nice as Kevin they can say something like, “you look like a cow in that get-up,” and somehow you want to give them a big hug.

  42. Julie M. Smith on July 11, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    Ryan, please substitute substantive criticism for personal attack in any further comments you make here. I’ll even settle for you explaining why you think the statement shows hubris, but Kevin has worked too hard and is too kind to deserve that of anyone.

  43. Sally on July 11, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Steve, re my comment #35 – I didn’t get the quotation marks quite right and set it off. The first sentence was quoting #34 and I was commenting on why I didn’t think that was quite right either. Sorry for the confusion.

  44. Kevin Barney on July 11, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    As Steve said, it’s just an opinion. I’m not actively politicking for change or anything.

    To clarify, I think that not giving the priesthood to blacks was a culturally conditioned mistake.

    I also think that not giving the priesthood to women is similarly based on cultural conditioning. Of course, in this case the cultural basis is of much longer standing, going back to OT times, and we’re not on our own on this issue as we were WRT not giving blacks the priesthood. (I.e., we have Catholics and others who similarly do not ordain women; for Protestants who accept Luther’s priesthood of all believers, there is no ordination and the question doesn’t arise.)

    I realize mine is very much a minority opinion in the Church, so I’m not surprised that you had a strong reaction against it.

  45. TMD on July 12, 2007 at 12:44 am

    Sally: In my experience, the relevant priesthood is conferred, then people are ordained to specific offices, like deacon, elder, etc. Thus, teachers (for instance) do not have the aaronic priesthood reconfered upon them, they are merely ordained to a different office. The authority to do things like bless the sacrament, give blessings, etc., is associated with those offices, not callings.

    Steve: My argument comes from what might be described as the clothing moments in the endowment. I could be wrong, but it sure sounds like something very like priesthood is declared to be present. Also some of the roles performed by women temple workers support this contention.

  46. Ray on July 12, 2007 at 12:55 am

    TMD: I think that is exactly what Sally said – that she has no problem with the administrative callings being held by men, but she would like to have the opportunity to assist in the ordinances that are NOT related to callings. At least that’s what I took from her comment.

  47. Stephen M (Ethesis) on July 12, 2007 at 8:12 am

    a man’s priesthood is incomplete and cannot stand without Elder Busche’s undefined “female part of the priesthood.

    Neither is the man without the woman or the woman without the man in God …

    Some interesting N.T. material that fits in with that.

  48. TMD on July 12, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Ray: Regardless of what she thinks is desirable, I think she misunderstood–it is currently the case that the authority to do priesthood acts (bless, etc.) comes from the conjunction of holding priesthood authority AND specific offices like deacon, priest, elder, and high priest, not administrative callings. Assuming, as I argue, that endowed women hold the priesthood in some sense, they still do not hold priesthood offices, and so are not currently authorized to bless (etc.). Getting to the point that she wants, from where we are (as I understand it), would still require a change–the ordaining of women to specific offices.

  49. Sonny on July 12, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    I apologize if I am taking this thread off of its intended subject, but I am curious (and respectfully so) to hear Kevin’s rationale for concluding that women not holding the priesthood is a ‘culturally conditioned mistake’, especially one that goes back all the way to the back to the beginning of recorded scripture.

    As for Ryan’s comment in 39, I don’t know him or can’t speak for him, but I suspect what he means by hubris in his comment is the fact that Kevin said “I think we should give women the priesthood”, as if it is something ‘we’ have the right and authority to do, implying that God is left out of the decision.

  50. Kevin Barney on July 12, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Sonny, by “we” I meant the Church. I know that *I* have no right to do this. This is the kind of thing that would have to come by revelation to the Prophet.

    I think I’ll decline the invitation to discuss my views on this matter in further depth than I already have.

  51. Sonny on July 12, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Kevin,

    I figured that by the ‘we’ you meant the church as a whole, the Lord being the head. I was just speculating on why Ryan wrote what he wrote.

  52. manaen on July 12, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    36.
    Here’s the text of the passage I mentioned at the end of #36 that shows how Joseph and Emma fit Elder Busche’s comment, no man can excel in his priesthood callings for long without the blessing and care and guidance of a righteous woman. … Those who concentrate their efforts in developing the purposes and virtues of their own gender will build tender, bonding bridges between men and women on the basis of mutual respect and admiration, inspired by the divine, miraculous power of love. This passage discusses a letter Joseph wrote to Emma.

    Joseph concluded the letter with observations about friends in Kirtland. He was disappointed that the mercurial William McLellin had left his mission to marry. Joseph remembered his parents and his brother Hyrum and sister Sophronia. He missed his family. ‘I Should Like [to] See little Julia and once more take her on my knee.” And he wanted time with Emma, to ‘converse with you on all the subjects wich concerns us things…. [it] is not prudent for me to write.’ The letter suggests a marriage where everything was talked over — the family, the gossip, Church problems, and Joseph’s inward battles. The letter ended: ‘I subscribe myself your Husband the Lord bless you peace be with [you] so Farewell untill I return. — from “Rough Stone Rolling,” p. 186.

  53. Kristine on July 12, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    bbell (way back in #24)

    You said “There is no real measurable movement amongst the TR holders to ordain women.” I’m wondering why you phrased it in terms of TR holders, rather than just members? Do you think that there is agitation among non-TR-holding members?

  54. bbell on July 12, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    I guess I just use TR holder in the place of “faithful member”. Not much more thought put into it then that.

  55. Marcie on July 14, 2007 at 12:15 am

    I have been reading all the comments on this site with interest. My husband and I served a Senior Mission a couple of years ago. I am a nurse, and he is a retired real estate broker. We were on a medical/proselyting mission. Our call from the GA’s stated he was the Medical Specialist, and I was the Medical Care Giver. We had a good laugh about this at the time. We decided it had something to do with Patriarchial Order……..But, in serving on that mission in a remote area of the thirld world, our eyes were opened. Yes, I gave Medical Care to the missionaries, and he gave Priesthood Blessings. We were interdependent upon each other. Many times I mouthed in my mind the words of his blessings to sick missionaries as he spoke. We both know we saw some miraculous healings because of our unified intentions.

  56. queuno on July 14, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    This post is probably dead … but to follow-up on bbell’s last comment about “TR holders” and “faithful members”, there are a LOT of Church leaders who place more stock in the opinions of TR holders than non-TR holders. As in, the truly faithful members are those who hold a TR. Obviously, we could all list valid exceptions, but many leaders don’t. And while it may not be preferred, it at least serves to weed out certain viewpoints from the beginning.

  57. 10cowife on July 15, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Ummm…hello…let the men have the priesthood. If they were to give it to women in order to heal the sick, etc., we would end up doing all of the work in the kingdom (any wife has learned this lesson – once you start \”doing\” things for your husband pretty quickly it ends up your domain). We do our share of spiritual healing, anyway, as far as any man or woman can do — the priesthood power isn\’t ours, anyway, it\’s given to us to use (yes, men AND women) by Jesus Christ. Frankly, I\’m happy with what I have been given and truly would not ask for more. Being a mother is absolutely enough for me and some days too much at that!!! I say GO WOMEN, EMPOWER WOMEN with understanding, knowledge and charity and try to be better supporters of our dear husbands and brethren because usually we\’re just waiting for them to catch up, anyway. All spoken in good fun (taken with a grain of salt and not too seriously at that!).

  58. Kristine on July 15, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    queno, bbell,

    Granting that holding a temple recommend is a reasonable proxy for faithfulness, why do you assume, then, that TR holders are less likely than non-TR holders to be in favor of women’s ordination? Among those I know who favor or hope for women’s eventual ordination, there are plenty of current recommend holders. I think, actually that the belief is fairly evenly distributed between TR holders and non-TR holders in my acquaintance. I suspect that I probably talk to more people than you do about this subject, so I’d be interested to hear whether you have any empirical support for your position (anecdotal though it will necessarily be).

  59. shannon on July 16, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    I realize this comment is late. . . Maybe it will still be of some use. In her post, Julie (whether intentionally or not, I don’t know) left out a significant section of this quote from the book “Yearning for the Living God” – which I recommend everyone read in its entirety. Anyway, in place of those . . . we read:
    “Heavenly Father has given the female the role of brining new life to this world. She does so in a physical dimension – by nurturing, tutoring, training, and teaching – and in the wearing of the very eternal virtues of chastity, loyalty,and wholesomeness, which are essential for the very existence of humankind. Our Heavenly Fahter has given the male the role of providing, protecting, and admiring. Male and female are in many ways mysteriously different and, because of that, there is a natural desire to love one another in harmony with the divine laws as they have been reestablished by the restoration of the gospel.”

    Also, at the end of the quote, their should read the following:
    “A society that fails to accept the eternal concept of this godly design must pay an unbearable price of confusion of the individua, which can, potentially, lead to chaos, destruction, and the unhappiness of the soul.”

    Finally, it’s important to note the context in which this question and answer were given. Briefly, he and his wife were teaching a woman serving in the American military who had come for her own endowments about the temple (sorry about the misplaced modifiers). He sensed that she and the sisters who were with her (who were all officers in the military) had a “somewhat unsettled spirit.” This is whent he priesthood leader who was accompanying them asked the question. Elder Busche writes that he was at first shocked and “felt a strong desire to give a stern response and even question his worthiness to be in the temple.” !!!! It was after he calmed his thoughts and sought guidance from the Spirit, that the words of this answer came to him, which, he describes as “somewhat new to me.” Then after he gave his answer, he writes that a warm, comforting spirit came over everyone in the room. “Their hearts became enlightened and their attitudes became mild and receptive. As I continued my remarks, I observed that they had tears in their eyes. The priesthood leader was so embarrassed that he could not find enough words of regret and apology. Deeply touched and lightened by inner understanding, they were ready to participate in the additional experiences of their temple visit.”

    Okay, that should help clear up what Elder Busche meant, at least a little. I just want to point out what a difference the promptings and feelings that the presence of the Spirit can make in such instances. Too often, I think, we get caught up in the mere words of the discussions in this blog. There is another dimension of understanding that only the Spirit can bring. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if or how the Spirit works through the mysterious depths of the World Wide Web.

  60. Julie M. Smith on July 20, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    “In her post, Julie (whether intentionally or not, I don’t know) left out a significant section of this quote ”

    Well . . . it is hard to unintentionally use ellipses. I chose to use them because I felt most of our readers could deduce what he would have said in that section and I didn’t want to quote too lengthy of a chunk of material because I frankly have no idea how stringently copyright law is applied to blogs–but I do have some sense of (most) bloggers’ willingness to wade through lengthy quotations. :)

  61. Vickie on July 24, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    I am not sure what website..been looking things up for hours
    trying to help my daughter with some questions she has
    about the Church… I need help…I, too, am confused.

    Is there a way to print this out?? On the Priesthood/Women ..this would be most
    beneficial to be sent to my daughter [edited]
    Thank you,
    Vickie Duncan

  62. Julie M. Smith on July 24, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    Vickie–

    I removed the email address from your comment because you may be the victim of spam (or worse) if your email is easily available on the Internet.

    You should be able to print this out by going under “file” on your browser and then “print.”

    If you or your daughter has questions, you can email them to me at julie AT timesandseasons DOT org, but replace the word AT with the at symbol (@) and the word DOT with a period.

  63. bbell on July 24, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    Kristine,

    Its been my experience that the TR holders seem much more likely to accept the way things are in regards to this and other issues. They tend to toe the party line so to speak. In my adult life as an active engaged LDS male. (seminary teacher, Bishopric, EQP etc) I have rarely outside the bloggernaccle in my memory met anybody that would admit to desiring female ordination. Those that feel this way in favor of female ordination keep it quiet. The blogger M or Meg who I know fairly well personally might be an exception but even with her I am not sure what she thinks.

    I think based on this that we run in widely divergent LDS circles. I have never lived in the Corridor by the way.