What Are the “Blessings of the Priesthood”?

June 28, 2014 | 111 comments
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Today the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles issued an official statement with relation to the recent excommunication of Kate Kelly (though not mentioned by name), priesthood, and apostasy. The first sentence begins is this:

In God’s plan for the happiness and eternal progression of His children, the blessings of His priesthood are equally available to men and women.

What Are the "Blessings of the Priesthood"?In the past I have written about Virginia, the 14-year-old girl who asked President Hinckley if women could go to the celestial kingdom. His answer:

Of course they may. They are as eligible to enter the celestial kingdom as are men, worthiness being the determining factor for both.

But the “of course” at the beginning isn’t as obvious to many as he seems to have thought. We don’t have much clarification about when “mankind” includes women and when it doesn’t. And when women are sometimes excluded — without any known decree or specific reasoning — it’s reasonable to be unsure where women stand.

Numerous times since that 1991 talk — just as today — I have heard reference to women having “access” to the “blessings of the priesthood.” So, to me, this new statement didn’t seem new at all. But the implication was that the repetition of this idea somehow addressed the question at hand. I don’t think it does.

Given all the emphasis on “access to the blessings of the priesthood” over the past two decades, there seems to be equivocation in the discussion that relates specifically to the word “blessings.”

In references to “access to the blessings of the priesthood,” the general authorities seem to be using the term “blessings” to mean something akin to “the ordinances all need to return to God.” It is good to reiterate that women do already have that access in the gospel structure.

It’s clear, however, that Ordain Women isn’t asking to have “access to the the ordinances all need to return to God” — something both women and men clearly already have. Rather, they are asking to be ordained to the priesthood and to be allowed to administer those ordinances as men do.

In the words of our official teachings, being ordained with and administering the ordinances of the priesthood provide some other “blessings of the priesthood” that are not available otherwise. And those are the “blessings of the priesthood” women do not have access to.

This may be by divine design, but I think we should clearly acknowledge that women do not have “access” to the particular set of “blessings of the priesthood” that come from being ordained with and administering it.

In the cases where women might/do have access to the same blessing, why the distinction? It seems that in a desire to motivate men to perform their priesthood duties, often artificial distinctions are made that could give false impressions.

Below are examples from official church sources citing blessings given to priesthood holders for worthily magnifying their priesthood offices.


The Lord has promised great blessings to righteous priesthood holders who use the priesthood to bless others:

“Then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever (D&C 121:45–46).

President David O. McKay promised every man who uses the priesthood in righteousness that he “will find his life sweetened, his discernment sharpened to decide quickly between right and wrong, his feelings tender and compassionate, yet his spirit strong and valiant in defense of right; he will find the priesthood a never failing source of happiness—a well of living water springing up unto eternal life.”

source


The Lord promises that if we keep our part of the [priesthood] covenant, we will be “sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of [our] bodies” (D&C 84:33). We can expect to be strengthened in body and spirit as we fulfill our callings.

We may also “become the sons of Moses and of Aaron” (D&C 84:34). The sons of Moses and Aaron administered the ordinances of salvation to the children of Israel. We have the same privilege of administering these sacred ordinances through the priesthood today.

The Lord promises that we will become “the seed of Abraham” (D&C 84:34). In other words, we may receive the blessings promised to Abraham and his seed.

The Lord also promises that faithful priesthood holders will “become … the elect of God” (D&C 84:34). This means that we priesthood bearers who magnify our callings and enter into all of the sacred saving ordinances of the priesthood will be given the fulness of the Father’s kingdom.

Then the Lord says, “All that my Father hath shall be given unto [them]” (D&C 84:38).

President Spencer W. Kimball explained: “Have you ever stopped to [count] the blessings, the powers that the Lord has? All power, all influence, all strength will be yours, and this is according to the oath and covenant of the holy priesthood which you bear.”

source


Spencer W. Kimball

I remember when I was a deacon.…I thought it was a great honor to be a deacon…It was a very great honor to do this service for my Heavenly Father; and…it is still a great honor to perform this service.

I am a deacon. I am always proud that I am a deacon. When I see the apostles march up to the stand in a solemn assembly to bless the sacrament, and others of the General Authorities step up to the sacrament tables to get the bread and the water and humbly pass it to all the people in the assembly and then return their emptied receptacles, I am proud that I am a deacon, and a teacher, and a priest.

source


Bruce R. McConkie

I shall speak of these blessings—the ten priesthood blessings—which are available to all of us who hold the holy Melchizedek Priesthood.

Blessing one: We are members of the only true and living Church upon the face of the whole earth, and we have received the fulness of the everlasting gospel.

Blessing two: We have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and we are entitled to receive the gifts of the Spirit—those wondrous spiritual endowments which set us apart from the world and raise us above carnal things.

Blessing three: We can be sanctified by the Spirit, have dross and evil burned out of us as though by fire, become clean and spotless, and be fit to dwell with gods and angels.

Blessing four: We can stand in the place and stead of the Lord Jesus Christ in administering salvation to the children of men.

Blessing five: We have power to become the sons of God, to be adopted into the family of the Lord Jesus Christ, to have him as our Father, to be one with him as he is one with his Father.

Blessing six: We can enter into the patriarchal order, the order of eternal marriage, the order which enables the family unit to continue everlastingly in celestial glory.

Blessing seven: We have power to govern all things, both temporal and spiritual kingdoms of the world, and the elements and storms and powers of the earth.

Blessing eight: We have power, through the priesthood, to gain eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God.

Blessing nine: We have power to make our calling and election sure, so that while we yet dwell in mortality, having overcome the world and been true and faithful in all things, we shall be sealed up unto eternal life and have the unconditional promise of eternal life in the presence of Him whose we are.

Blessing ten: We have the power—and it is our privilege—so to live, that becoming pure in heart, we shall see the face of God while we yet dwell as mortals in a world of sin and sorrow.

source


The priesthood is God’s eternal power and authority. God accomplishes His work by the priesthood.

God and Jesus Christ have given worthy male members of the Church the power of the priesthood so that they can help “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

The priesthood is the authority of God given to men to act in all things for the salvation of mankind.

Those who hold the priesthood have the authority to act in God’s name.

As our family members see us use the priesthood, they will know that we are servants of the Lord and will come to us when they need help.

A home is transformed because a man holds and honors the priesthood

We should all realize that there is nothing in the world more powerful than the priesthood of God

source


Elder Oaks stated that only men have the priesthood because of a “divinely decreed pattern” and President Hinckley said it is “because the Lord has put it that way,” but I’m unaware of where this doctrine is written.

111 Responses to What Are the “Blessings of the Priesthood”?

  1. DeepintheHeart on June 28, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    There’s a lot of overlap here as I understand it, and very little that is exclusive to men. Only one of Elder McConkie’s list of 10 applies to men only — number four. All the other blessings are given regardless of gender to worth men and women. Being proud to be a deacon or priesthood holder (Pres.Kimball) could apply to mothers as easily as a priesthood office does to a young man. As I read it. D&C 121 applies to all righteous saints, not just men. There’s no reason a righteous woman who honors whatever calling she has, and who seeks spiritual attainment, should be denied any of the blessings Pres. McKay listed. I think we need to read these scripture inclusively, not as has been suggested in your post.

  2. Jack on June 28, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Boy, we sure like to parse the meaning right out of things, don’t we?. We all have access to all the blessings. In short, we all — men and women alike — will inherit the universe if we’re faithful. Isn’t that something to be glad about?

  3. Sue Spencer Cannon on June 28, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    I have taken to reading the sciptures as when it says “he” it means males. I am off the hook for a lot.

  4. DeepintheHeart on June 28, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Sue, because you choose to read “he” as applying to men only doesn’t necessarily get you off anything. Just sayin’.

  5. Nate on June 28, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    I think Elder Oaks put it best by saying “divinely decreed pattern.” When you say that you don’t see where it is written, it seems you are focusing on “decreed” and not “pattern.” In the scriptures, priests, prophets, apostles were always men. Specifically in Old Testament times, where only those that were called were able to receive the priesthood. Amongst the Israelites only the sons of Levi received the priesthood and then only the Aaronic. High Priests that held Melchizedek were always chosen. That is the pattern.

    I second what DeepintheHeart said that I don’t really see any of the blessings listed, except the one, that are exclusive to men. The priesthood is about service. It does nothing for ourselves. I can’t bless myself, I can only give blessings to others. But the priesthood is an oath and a covenant. Priesthood holders are supposed to serve others. I think the leadership may stress the blessings of priesthood service, which many are just the blessings that come from service, because it is often to better to prod the men to serve with kindness than to chasten them for not serving.

    Just my thoughts anyway.

  6. mpb on June 28, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I get it. I’ve read the blogs for a long time. I’ve been there with doubts and questions and barely hanging on. Years ago this post would’ve resonated with me. Now it just fatigues me. I think it’s unfortunate that the 1st Presidency can release a statement and within minutes the blogosphere is deconstructing it, looking for any possible contradiction. How can one allow time or space for the Spirit to answer, for the heart to soften and find its answers? And if not, isn’t it fair to at least allow the statement to stand for even just one day to allow others that space? There are any number of possible reconciliations to these statements. You are a smart writer. Can you really not find any path, however tenuous you think it might be, to reason these through? If not, wouldn’t it be fair to allow a little more time, study, and consideration before declaring that the previous statements are false and misleading and you see no way to reconcile them? I know I’m going to catch flack for this comment but both sides of this discussion could stand to show some deference and goodwill to the other.

  7. mpb on June 29, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Sorry, change “find” to “acknowledge any path to reason these through”. I’m not saying you have to believe it, but if you are going to suggest that either the 1st Presidency statement is wrong or the prior statements are wrong, I think you have a duty to acknowledge where you might be wrong. I’m not sure I see you doing that.

  8. theoldadam on June 29, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Don’t know much about LDS (just what I have been learning here)…but in orthodox Christianity, all believers are priests. All believers are equal…men and women. “We are neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.”

    Thanks.

  9. nate on June 29, 2014 at 12:27 am

    There is so much out there in the universe that defies our mortal comprehension, where we just have to accept what we have and take it on faith that further light and knowledge will be granted when God deems it necessary and when we are ready to understand it.

    With that principle.in mind, I don’t see how we are showing God that we are ready for further light and knowledge by pedantic parsing of words spoken by prophets and apostles to priesthood holders. How is a thinly veiled (a.k.a. blatant) criticism of a First Presidency statement going to endear any OW supporter to.God, much less entice Him to grant further “blessings” to those who acrimoniously covet them?

    I echo mpb’s distaste for where this whole OW thing has dragged the public discourse and gospel inquiry.
    I’d say that I can’t wait for this chapter of dissent to go away, but I’m afraid of what will come behind it to take its place.

  10. nl on June 29, 2014 at 12:57 am

    When you hear them say again, again, again, male and female are different, try to consider how that could be. Different as a master and a servant? That does not resonate with the rest of the teachings. Different as a mountain and a valley, different as an oak and an elm, different as blue and green or G-sharp and B-flat. You discount the blessings of motherhood as if it were a mere consolation prize, but there is much, much more, secrets passed through daughters and granddaughters since Eve, and revealed again by the Spirit when lost. You will not find them by becoming men. You will not find them by asking men. The power of womanhood is not like the flash of the sword in the battle, it is not the flag on the mountaintop, it is like the growth of the vine or the flow of the water. Nothing is softer than water, but water can cut everything.

  11. jill on June 29, 2014 at 1:24 am

    I’ve been a female convert to our church for over 35 years now and I am married to a Jewish man who happens to be a Levite so I’ve learned a few things about God and His Priesthood from the Levite view and from being a woman with access to the priesthood for blessings and ordinances even though no Priesthood Holder is in my home. It used to be only the Levites,not all of tribes of Israel who had temple duties–you had to be born a Levite. Now that’s much more exclusive than the problem OW sees but that was how it was. The PH goes to a select group and the Lord determines who gets it and gets it next. When I ask to have the Sacrament blessed in my home by my home teacher who has been both a bishop and stake president, he has to ask our bishop for permission to do it for me because that ordinance falls under the bishop’s duties. Whenever men who hold the PH act with it, they do so under a set of strict rules of how the specific ordinance is to be done. Two priesthood holders, not one, is the normal way a blessing is administered to the sick–and with consecrated oil. Just because men are priesthood holders doesn’t mean they get to use it at their will and the way they might like to do so. So even if women held the priesthood, they would still be under the same constrictions the men are. I understand that some OW sisters think they would be fine with that–they just want to be able to do an ordinance themselves. My point is simply that even men cannot use it for themselves or by themselves.
    There are restrictions for everyone and the test is do we follow them. The PH is the authority to act as God on this earth. That is one major responsibility so it only follows that there should be rules guiding its use. People shouldn’t be able to make the sacred, an all too common thing. And OW sisters who want to be a bishop, etc. and have PH callings, well, not all men ever become a bishop or stake president or any other calling they may really desire. The Gospel is about submission, faith and obedience. Christ submitted, had faith, and obeyed even when the Atonement was hard to bear. And the priesthood holders have to comply as the rest of us. Pres. Monson has to get his temple recommend from his own ward bishop. He has to answer the same questions we do. Just because one man holds the priesthood, doesn’t mean he gets to always use it and whenever he wants.
    And it doesn’t mean he’s going to advance to higher leadership positions.

  12. John C. on June 29, 2014 at 2:06 am

    Nate,
    Deborah and Hulda are both named prophetesses in the Old Testament. There is a woman named an apostle (little a) in the New Testament, as well as a deaconess. The pattern described in scripture and history is much more complicated and gender-inclusive than you give it credit for.

    Everyone else who has responded thusfar, if you are arguing that men are not blessed for worthily fulfilling priesthood duties or performing priesthood ordinances, you are either: a. big fat liars; b. incredibly confused and possessing awful reading and listening comprehension skills; or c. lying about being faithful members of the church who actually pay attention to what the prophets have to say and have said. You’re also misreading AMS, but that’s less a matter of hypocrisy and more a matter of being a troll.

    nl,
    There are any number of New Testament verses that would argue that a master and servant relationship is not condemned. And verses in the New Testament that tell women to shut up in church. So, I’m going to say it resonates with scripture (depending on which scriptures you intend). Also, stop arguing against strawmen. If you find a feminist (Mormon or otherwise) who argues that women ought to become men, I will give you a dollar. That’s just stupid.

  13. nl on June 29, 2014 at 3:32 am

    You can find many feminists who argue that women ought to be ordained to the Priesthood. The Priesthood is as integral to maleness as any biological organ. You bring up Paul the way an atheist arguing against Christianity brings up Leviticus. “You wear mingled garments,” they say. “You do not hold slaves, so you are hypocrites.” Such it is with those other verses in the age the prophets brought us the Proclamation.

    The powers of heaven are far more complicated and gender-inclusive than most give them credit for. Men will never receive the blessings promised to righteous mothers. If those blessings are not enumerated as much in the scripture given to guide the restoration of the priesthood, I would assume they can be found elsewhere. The priesthood and fatherhood have always been administered from the top down. Motherhood and the mysteries of the women have always been administered from the bottom up. Look at the histories given of Deborah and Huldah, of Mary at the tomb. Do we see their ordination? Do we hear their call? Of course they had mighty power and authority, but it was the power of the yin. I’m sure the Lord has much to reveal to His prophetesses, should they arise. Do not look to the mountain to call them, for the mountain does not have that kind of authority.

  14. Alison Moore Smith on June 29, 2014 at 3:36 am

    DeepintheHeart:

    think we need to read these scripture inclusively, not as has been suggested in your post.

    I agree there is overlap, but I was reading them as presented in the church material, as being part of the “oath and covenant of the priesthood,” for example.

    Jack:

    We all have access to all the blessings…

    No, we don’t all have access to the blessings, in particular not those of being ordained to and administering the priesthood. It is a blessing to the priesthood holder himself who is allowed to bless and pass the sacrament, give a child a name and a blessing, baptize one converted to the gospel, give a healing blessing.

    As I said, perhaps women are never intended to have “access” to those blessings, but we should acknowledge that they are real blessings of the priesthood. (And, obviously, blessings we teach our boys to (specifically) DESIRE and to be worthy of.) President Kimball said it was an “honor” to hold the priesthood. Is that not a blessing?

    With regard to how the recent statement addressed the actual desires of OW (which I’m not a member of, btw), it’s like this:

    Woman: I would love to serve the Lord by going on a mission!

    Leader: You don’t need to serve a mission because you already have access to the ordinances you need for salvation.

    Woman: Yes, true, but that wasn’t really the issue…

    Woman: I would love to sing in the ward choir!

    Leader: You don’t need to sing in the ward choir because you already have access to the ordinances you need for salvation.

    Woman: Yes, true, but that wasn’t really the issue…

    Woman: I would love pray in sacrament meeting!

    Leader: You don’t need to pray in sacrament meeting because you already have access to the ordinances you need for salvation.

    Woman: Yes, true, but that wasn’t really the issue…

    Nate:

    When you say that you don’t see where it is written, it seems you are focusing on “decreed” and not “pattern.”

    I’m focusing on the entire phrase as given.

    There are myriad patterns in the OT church that we don’t follow. Additional ones in the NT church we don’t follow. Not to mention patterns in the early restored church (such as women giving blessings by laying on of hands, polygyny, migrating to Utah, male only missionary forces, the priesthood being withheld from black men) that we no longer follow.

    So, yes, I’m not only looking for patterns, I’m looking for those that are divinely decreed to be doctrinal.

    The priesthood is about service. It does nothing for ourselves.

    In my experience the benefits to the one offering service are at least as great as that of the recipient. Don’t you find that as well?

    mpb:

    f not, wouldn’t it be fair to allow a little more time, study, and consideration before declaring that the previous statements are false and misleading and you see no way to reconcile them?

    mpb, the only flack you are going to get from me is on reading comprehension.

    Not only did I not call the statement false, I explicitly stated that it’s a reconfirmation of multiple similar statements (a few of which I linked to in the OP) over the past two decades. I did say it wasn’t new. Do you disagree with that?

    nl:

    You discount the blessings of motherhood as if it were a mere consolation prize…

    I can’t recall that motherhood was mentioned in any way. Can you point me to that part of the discussion?

    Men will never receive the blessings promised to righteous mothers.

    And women will never receive the blessings promised to righteous fathers. But that’s not the topic of this post.

    John C., I thank you for actually reading the content rather than presuming based on the topic! Much appreciated!

  15. nl on June 29, 2014 at 4:20 am

    Please don’t think I’m trying to set up “motherhood” alone as a counterweight to priesthood. Fatherhood is to priesthood as motherhood is to… something else, something we don’t have a name for yet. It has many blessings that many women enjoy and no man ever will. Being able to create a child is only one part of it in the same way that being able to father a child is only one part of divine masculinity.

  16. Chris Kimball on June 29, 2014 at 5:40 am

    For any men in this conversation (I am one), have you ever given a blessing and felt the words move beyond your knowledge or ability. Felt like a conduit for power and knowledge beyond your ken? Did you like that? Have you ever confirmed a young man, spoken the command “receive the Holy Ghost”, and had a flash of “wow! That’s a big deal!” Have you ever blessed the sacrament and reflected on the fact that you are standing in Christ’s place for just that moment? Did it give you a thrill?
    I have. But my mother and my wife and my sister, and now it appears my daughter and granddaughter too, never have and never will.

  17. Eliza on June 29, 2014 at 6:54 am

    What about the blessing of making every decision in the Church? The blessing of being heard and taken seriously because you hold the priesthood? The blessing of millions of dollars (millions upon millions upon millions) invested in a secular program designed to help you learn and grow as a priesthood holder? The blessing of covenanting directly with God, rather than covenanting to “hearken” to your spouse? The blessing of actively acting in God’s name? I could go on and on and on. The point is no matter how many times someone says everyone has “equal access” to the blessings of the priesthood, it is still a lie. A well intentioned lie, perhaps, but a lie nonetheless. What I truly don’t understand is why we keep perpetuating the lie? Why not just call a spade a spade? It would be painful to hear, but refreshingly honest if our leadership just acknowledged the inherant inequity of our current policies.Why can’t they just say, “Yes, holding the priesthood imparts unique blessings and opportunities that only men can experience. We don’t know why God organized his church this way.” As long as leadership continues to insist there isnt a problem, we won’t be able to implement solutions to the myriad structural inequiites that cause real harm.

  18. Aaron T. on June 29, 2014 at 7:39 am

    My father died at age 10. My mother would have loved to pronounce child’s blessings on her children before the start of each school year. She had special insight and knowledge of each of us that would have made blessings from her so special. But, since she only had motherhood, she had to petition our male home teacher who really didn’t know us or bother to come around a lot to lay his hands on her children’s heads and pronounce a father’s blessing. But yeah, she had all the “blessings” of priesthood.

  19. Tad on June 29, 2014 at 8:28 am

    How about these tiny branches with a few faithful women who only get the blessings of the sacrament
    if they are lucky enough to have priesthood holders in the branch and in attendance.

  20. Lisa B on June 29, 2014 at 8:30 am

    What Chris & Eliza said. Amen.

  21. Hedgehog on June 29, 2014 at 8:30 am

    nl: “Look at the histories given of Deborah and Huldah, of Mary at the tomb. Do we see their ordination? Do we hear their call? Of course they had mighty power and authority, but it was the power of the yin. I’m sure the Lord has much to reveal to His prophetesses, should they arise. Do not look to the mountain to call them, for the mountain does not have that kind of authority.”

    So, I’m just wondering, given our current ecclesiastical arrangements, how this wouldn’t look like apostasy?

  22. Skyler on June 29, 2014 at 8:44 am

    But it’s not just the blessings. It’s also decision making. The Priesthood is not just about blessing the sick or passing the sacrament. It’s about deciding who does what in the ward, about deciding where funds will be allocated, it’s about what curriculum will be taught to the young women, who will be the youth leaders, it’s about deciding who is worthy and who is not, it’s about deciding how and when the meetinghouse can be used, it’s about what activities can be done, who will speak in sacrament and about what, when meetings must take place…and this is at the local level.

    At the higher levels: what missions will be created or changed, whether and where to build temples, what land should be purchased, what advertising should be done, what stipend leaders should get, which public figures to contact, what policy for reporting abuse should be, what legal actions should be taken, what articles should be printed, etc etc.

    Yes women may be involved (maybe), but in no case is there a women that can act without the approval of a man, and in no case is there a man that must get the approval of a woman.

    And who decides who, when, and how everyone gets the priesthood blessings? Men. Who decides the rules of changing the policy of administering them? Men. Who decides who and how they should be revoked? Men.

    It would be less of an issue if everything were administered perfectly. But the reality is that it’s not.

  23. Cameron N. on June 29, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Chris (16) I take issue with your comparison, because that doesn’t happen only during priesthood blessings. It happens all the time through the Holy Ghost through both genders.

    Has anyone considered the importance of gender representation and vicarious ordinances and how it applies in priesthood blessings? Perhaps just as a woman should be baptized for a woman, a man must represent the Lord in administering the sacrament, or the laying on of hands.

  24. jader3rd on June 29, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Personally I think that McCorkle’s #4 is the reason why women don’t hold offices in the Priesthood. If officiators of an ordinance are standing in proxy for Jesus Christ, only those of the same gender can stand in for Him. Just like with ordinances for the dead, only those of the same gender can stand in for them.
    With many of these blessings, it was my understanding that women have access to the same blessings, but it’s dependent upon their worthiness; whereas men need both the worthiness as well as the Priesthood.
    As for women making more decisions… yeah, the church needs to work on that.

  25. Alison Moore Smith on June 29, 2014 at 10:15 am

    nl:

    Fatherhood is to priesthood as motherhood is to… something else, something we don’t have a name for yet.

    Priestesshood comes to mind. (That temple thing.)

    Chris Kimball, thank you. Sincerely. One of the biggest points of cognitive dissonance is how we speak in reverence about the priesthood — as we should, it is the power and authority of God! — and how we promote it to our sons when compared to what we dismissively say to women when we speak of the exclusivity. Suddenly it’s a nothing more than a burden to be endured.

    As a friend posted on Facebook yesterday:

    “You don’t need to be ordained to the priesthood to receive all of its blessings,” said no one to a Mormon male ever.

    Eliza:

    What about the blessing of making every decision in the Church?

    While that’s not a blessing that is authoritatively promoted, I think this is a blessing as well. Sure, rights come along with responsibilities, but in my 32 years of being an adult there are very few days when I ever longed to go back to having my parents make the decisions for me. (Those days would be those when I was deathly ill and incapable of function.)

    As for scouts. Sigh. My two youngest are boys and are now scouts. They love it (most of the time) and I’m glad they do. (We have great leaders, sincerely.) But I’m not a fan due to the lack of parity. Ever since I was very young I envied all the cool things my brothers did and had, I read Boy’s Life more than either of them. Things haven’t changed that much in all these decades. And there sure isn’t a divine decree keeping that from happening. :/

    Eliza, I honestly don’t think it’s a lie, I think it’s an unintentional equivocation. They are using “blessings” to mean something different than OW or others with similar concerns are using it. I suspect it’s a curse of knowledge variation, where they can’t see what others don’t have access to, because they’ve had the access for so long it seems part and parcel of regular life.

    Yes, yes, yes to this:

    Why can’t they just say, “Yes, holding the priesthood imparts unique blessings and opportunities that only men can experience. We don’t know why God organized his church this way.” As long as leadership continues to insist there isnt a problem, we won’t be able to implement solutions to the myriad structural inequiites that cause real harm.

  26. hpm on June 29, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Cameron, I’m not so sure that “it happens all the time through the Holy Ghost through both genders” the way Chris is describing it. Perhaps I am misreading your tone, but I would not be so offhand or casual in dismissing the particular experience of administering ordinances in the Priesthood. Since I am in the same camp as Chris’s mother, wife, daughter and granddaughter I can’t speak from personal experience in administering priesthood blessings, but I do know that when I receive them, I sense a gravity and a consciousness far beyond that of the man with his hands on my head. I don’t imagine that it’s small potatoes to inhabit the conduit role for that kind of intense divine communication. True, I feel personal inspiration in a number of ways, and there are probably some moments in my public gospel teaching where (I hope!) I am given the brief, fleeting ability to convey some topic in a way that divinely enlightens, helps, etc. But the experiences Chris is describing strike me as something particular, unique and not currently accessible to women in the Church, notwithstanding the saving ordinances that are available to all. I’m inclined to call a spade a spade here and allow both things be true–that these experiences can be distinctive and special, and that women do not have access to them.

  27. Alison Moore Smith on June 29, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Cameron N.:

    I take issue with your comparison, because that doesn’t happen only during priesthood blessings.

    I’ve never “blessed the sacrament and reflected on the fact that you are standing in Christ’s place” because I’ve never blessed the sacrament. You can conflate the experiences of participant and observer, but that’s kind of the point of the whole post. They are DIFFERENT experiences.

    Perhaps just as a woman should be baptized for a woman, a man must represent the Lord in administering the sacrament, or the laying on of hands.

    Cameron N., this is a valid point. If this is so, if only men can represent our Heavenly Father because he is a man, wouldn’t it be great for women to be able to represent their Heavenly Mother (doing whatever it is she does…) as only women can?

    One of the reasons I’ve not shared OW’s position that women “must be ordained in order for our faith to reflect the equity and expansiveness of these teachings,” is because I believe the inequity could be resolved by developing the current LDS doctrines of priestesshood and female deity.

  28. Jax on June 29, 2014 at 11:03 am

    We had Stake Conference last night and during our priesthood session he had a talk by one of our Deacon’s Quorum Presidents. He mentioned that one of the things he has learned about his duties is that as a Deacon he is to look after the widows and elderly and see that they are taken care of. Having been a part of these blogs I thought to myself, “yeah, but the YW could do that just as well as the YM can.” But then instantly understood at the same time, “Yes, they could do it, but it is the duty of the YM. That means if it doesn’t happen it is the YM held accountable to God for the failure, not the YW. The YW have access to the blessings if they do the work, but the YM face the punishment if it doesn’t.”

    Going back to the temple, I notice every time that the Women are pronounced clean with no strings attached, but the Men are told that we can become clean through our faithfulness, and if we don’t we are held accountable for the blood and sins of this generation. For the first few years of my temple attendence this seemed terribly unfair to me; that they were handed a supremely great blessing that I had to work a lifetime for. The women can spread the gospel and uplift and generally ARE outstanding. But it is a priesthood duty to do those things for men. (see Missionary Work).

    In asking for the priesthood, women are asking, “Don’t just pronounce us clean, make us responsible for the blood and sins of this generation as well.” They aren’t just asking for the blessings, they are asking to take on the cursing as well. They are asking for that blessing to be taken away, in hopes of getting some other blessing that they view as more valuable. In doing so are they refusing one of God’s greatest gifts? Utter foolishness IMO.

  29. SteveF on June 29, 2014 at 11:11 am

    What Are the “Blessings of the Priesthood”?

    I think a few scriptures can help answer that:

    D&C 107:18 “The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church”

    D&C 84:19 “And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.”

    D&C 128:14 “…the keys of the kingdom… consist in the key of knowledge”

    Simply put, the blessings of the Priesthood, all the spiritual blessings of the church, all consist in spiritual knowledge. This spiritual knowledge is what determines our degree of salvation, for we will abide in the glory for which principles and laws we are prepared to live by according to the degree of spiritual knowledge and understanding we have obtained.

    “A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge” – discourse given by Joseph Smith on Apr. 10, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff

    D&C 131:6 “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.”

    Therefore I believe it is entirely accurate to say that “the blessings of His priesthood are equally available to men and women.” For not one wit of spiritual knowledge is out of the reach of women in the Church that is available to men in the Church, and vice versa.

    What might be a more suitable argument, aligning with your examples and others pointed out in the comments, is that opportunities to obtain some of these blessings may be more limited due to structural policies, etc.

    However, just because opportunities may or may not be more limited, I think it is important to recognize that all blessings are blessings because they tend to the edification and progression that comes from spiritual knowledge; and even if specific opportunities or avenues to obtain those blessings may be barred to one gender, there are other avenues currently available to obtain those very same blessings.

    If policy changes are proper according to the Lord’s will, and they open up more avenues/options for women to obtain these blessings than is currently available, then I’m all for it. But I do not believe any policy changes concerning the priesthood in the Church, will enable women to obtain a greater degree of salvation in the hereafter than is available to them now, which is to say that the spiritual knowledge , happiness, and glory available to women now (the blessings of the priesthood) will not become any greater through a future policy change, although avenues to obtain those blessings may. As it stands now, as it has been since the founding of the Kingdom in these latter days, the blessings of the priesthood are truly available to all who would seek, find, and partake.

  30. Alison Moore Smith on June 29, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Jax, I’m glad you’ve had yet another epiphany about the burden posed by the power and authority of God. You poor dear. In a few hours my oldest son will be ordained a teacher. I’ll be sure to let him know just how horrid it’s going to be for him.

    If only he were born a girl! Better yet, if only he were born a girl into a country where no one had ever heard of Christ at all and he had no opportunity to hear the gospel message. Or, best of all, if only he’d been born incredibly mentally impaired so as to never be accountable for anything at all! Perfect!

    SteveF, you’re using the same equivocation mentioned in the OP.

  31. ji on June 29, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I have found happiness and peace in the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have found acceptance and opportunities to serve. I have found kindness and love. I have found respect for the priesthood, and power and peace in sustaining. I find it easy to accept the authority of the priesthood because I look at the mantle and the calling instead of looking at the man, and I want to sustain and receive the Lord through sustaining and receiving the servants He has sent.

    I regret that some others have not found happiness and peace in the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    In God’s plan for the happiness and eternal progression of His children, the blessings of His priesthood are equally available to men and women.

    I believe this statement. In the meantime, different members have different gifts and opportunities. Not every member has every gift and every opportunity But we can all become sons and daughters of God. It’s an invitation to all.

    Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor. 6-17-18

    I offer this thought in light of the T&S comments policy–

    1. Comments are expected to reflect different points of view….

    2. As a general matter, Times and Seasons is a forum for believing members or for others who are willing to respect members’ beliefs….

  32. SteveF on June 29, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Alison #30

    “SteveF, you’re using the same equivocation mentioned in the OP”

    No equivocation here, maybe you can ask clarifying questions if you do not understand the distinctions I’m making. In my mind they are clear and specific, and I gave scriptural and prophetic quotes as sources.

    I wrote this in an effort to help, because these principles feel bright and clear in me, I would request that you be not so quick to dismiss and rather give what I have said a fairer and more thorough consideration.

  33. Alison Moore Smith on June 29, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I don’t feel comfortable speaking too specifically about the endowment ceremony. Personally, I think that there are actually only a very few things that we aren’t supposed to talk about, but since many don’t feel that way, I don’t want to cause a problem. That said:

    Jax:

    I notice every time that the Women are pronounced clean with no strings attached, but the Men are told that we can become clean through our faithfulness, and if we don’t we are held accountable for the blood and sins of this generation.

    You’ve noticed that every time? I’ve only noticed that the men are pronounced clean (based on faithfulness) and the women not at all.

    For the sake of argument, let’s go with your memory: do you really believe that women are clean without being faithful?

    Really, though, the temple ceremonies don’t make much of a case for equality. But I do like Holland’s ideas in the comments on Julie’s post. It offers some possibilities.

    I’m off to church now (yes, I actually do attend every week) so I won’t be able to comment for a while.

  34. Jax on June 29, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Alison, your mockery is beneath you (#30). I wasn’t saying I it would be better to be someone else or have someone elses blessings instead of my own. But that IS the case being made by those clamoring for female ordination. They are unsatisfied with the blessings given and would reject them in order to get others. I’m not complaining about being overburdened or that it would be better to not know the gospel at all. Rather, that we should all except the responsibilities and blessings we are given, instead of longing after those given to others.

    The temple/gospel/doctines don’t make much of a case for equality precisely because equality isn’t a divine objective. You are familiar with the parable of the talents, yes? “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” Even a simple reading makes it clear not everyone gets equal blessings/talents/gifts. Demanding that it be otherwise is demanding for a change of what “the kingdom of heaven is…”

    How narrow sighted to demand of God that everyone be given 3 gifts/talents/blessings and they must all be the same 3 (because otherwise we’ll have foolish blog posts about how different isn’t equal) instead of trusting Him to give 5 to those who need 5, 2 to those who need 2, and 1 to those who need 1. How foolish and perverse to think that our understanding of fair/equal/right is superior to Gods.

    (I used the word need above, but really it could be “deserve” or “can be trusted with” or something else entirely. I don’t know how He chooses to distribute blessings/gifts/talents all the time, but I’ll trust God to make those determinations)

  35. SteveF on June 29, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I think the main issue I see here is conflating ”the blessings of the priesthood” with specific modes of service. Using that logic, only the 16 men who have been authorized to exercise all priesthood keys in this dispensation are truly the only ones who have had *all* the blessings of the priesthood available to them out of the millions of members in these last days. I believe that that is a misguided and inaccurate way to look at it.

    I propose rather that while specific modes of service are indeed blessings to those who serve in those capacities, that those same blessings are available to all through a variety of ways to serve and fulfill the covenants we make in saving ordinances.

  36. IDIAT on June 29, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    I believe, when church leaders refer to the blessings of the priesthood, they are referring to the outward ordinances, particularly the saving ones. All the other stuff referenced in the post refers to power that might come with the righteous exercise of the priesthood. Of course, spiritual gifts are available to all, priesthood or no priesthood.

  37. Amira on June 29, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I agree that the “blessings of the priesthood” refers to the saving ordinances. And I agree that the saving ordinances are available to men and women equally. There are things that can keep people from going to the temple, but those things usually affect both men and women (although I do think women are more likely to run into financial or family obstacles regarding temple attendance). The sacrament is not available to men and women equally, but it isn’t a saving ordinances (but that’s another comment entirely).

    But I think it’s reasonable for some women to hope for the blessings that come from the righteous exercise of the priesthood. Most of my ancestors’ temple work was completed decades before I was born. I have done temple work for two ancestors despite being very interested in family history since I was a teenager. While I am grateful that my ancestors’ saving ordinances been completed, and I know that’s all that really matters, I still wish I could have participated in that work because I care about those people. I can not receive the blessings of going to the temple for my ancestors and I keenly feel the loss of that opportunity.

    So it’s easy for me to understand that many women are disappointed that they cannot participate in priesthood service, especially since we have no comparable way to serve in the church.

  38. DQ on June 29, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Ultimately as you say the blessing we all desire is eternal life and to become like God. That being the case, I’m ok with the fact that we arrive at that destination through different learning experiences. So men are ordained to the priesthood along that path and women receive the priesthood through ordinance, and counsel, and service.

    Asking for equal learning experiences seems to reflect a poor understanding of the history of the world, where we’ve all had a vastly different experiences even though we’re hopefully destined for the same gift, the most precious blessing of all.

  39. Alison Moore Smith on June 29, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Jax, I thank you for calling me to repentance. I needed that.

    Rather, that we should all except [sic] the responsibilities and blessings we are given, instead of longing after those given to others.

    You know there are actually scriptures to count that idea, right?

    The temple/gospel/doctines don’t make much of a case for equality precisely because equality isn’t a divine objective.

    Jax, here’s the problem. The OW women weren’t asking for or about the ordinances necessary for salvation. Yet, the “answer” to their questions/petitions/positions/protests/demands/whatever-you-want-to-call-them WERE about those ordinances.

    For some reason (#28) you decided to use the endowment to show that women have this awesome deal where they are pronounced clean without all that bother of being faithful. It is SUCH a great deal, in fact, that any who would want the priesthood are showing “utter foolishness.”

    In reality, however, the temple doesn’t happen to include this amazing bonus thing you say you “notice every time.” The portion you inject in the conversation is much more likely to demonstrate the opposite of what you are claiming.

    Of course, when that’s pointed out, you ignore it and just move on to the next obfuscation.

  40. Alison Moore Smith on June 29, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    SteveF:

    Iwould request that you be not so quick to dismiss and rather give what I have said a fairer and more thorough consideration.

    SteveF, I’m sorry you felt dismissed. My point was to stay on topic, rather than to re-address the things I posted in the OP.

    Therefore I believe it is entirely accurate to say that “the blessings of His priesthood are equally available to men and women.” For not one wit of spiritual knowledge is out of the reach of women in the Church that is available to men in the Church, and vice versa.

    Yes, women and men have access to “the ordinances all need to return to God.” Yes, I agree. I’ve not said this is inaccurate (and I don’t think OW has either). That is wonderful information to any who don’t understand. But that’s not what OW was asking for, so on this issue it’s beside the point.

  41. Jack on June 29, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    “No, we don’t all have access to the blessings, in particular not those of being ordained to and administering the priesthood.”

    You’re out there in the ether, Alison — this is pure abstraction. Anyone can be “blessed” taking part in anything good. But the blessings of the priesthood are those things that must be administered *to* us by virtue of the priesthood. And the ultimate blessing of the priesthood will be to inherit everything. Surely that should be enough.

  42. SteveF on June 29, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Alison #40.

    For a post entitled “What Are the “Blessings of the Priesthood”?”, I thought attempting to answer that very question using scripture was quite on topic, no?

    I’m not sure why you requote yourself: “the ordinances all need to return to God”, as if I stated that or offered that as an answer – I didn’t.

    While I also agree women and men have equal access to the ordinances, and while I believe this is integral in obtaining the “blessings of the priesthood”, I never said access to ordinances was equivalent to the blessings of the Priesthood. Rather I proposed the “blessings of the priesthood” are spiritual knowledge and that which tends thereto.

    I wrote #35 as a more succinct statement of where I think you and some of the other commenters may be going wrong here as far as the scriptural definition is concerned. You seem to be conflating the blessings with specific avenues/modes of obtaining those blessings.

  43. Jax on June 29, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Alison, it is there. Men are told they’ve been washed and that through their faithfulness they can be clean from the blood and sins of this generation. Women are merely washed and done. No mention of needing to be cleaned from the blood and sins of the generation.

  44. Adam G. on June 29, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Some people won’t take yes for an answer. There’s the ruddy snake. Look and live.

  45. Nate W. on June 29, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I find it disconcerting that upon being confronted with a statement by the Brethren that is appears to be untrue if the key term in it is given its usual definition, so many would not only state that the unusual definition is obviously what the Brethren meant, but would go so far as to deny that the unusual definition is (or ever was) unusual.

  46. Cameron N. on June 29, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Allison (40) “But that’s not what OW was asking for, so on this issue it’s beside the point.”

    Maybe that’s what the apostles are trying to tell us. OW’s requests were beside the point–looking beyond the mark perhaps?

  47. Ziff on June 30, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Alison, this is outstanding. Thanks for responding to this misleading statement so thoroughly. I’m sorry to see you’re getting so much ridiculous pushback.

  48. Maggie on June 30, 2014 at 12:14 am

    So Jax, maybe I’m crazy, but I really value my agency, even with the burden of knowing I will sometimes fail. I’m not sure why you bring up that section of the temple, and I am unable to comment knowledgeably on its presence or absence in the ceremony, but there is this: Being told that I am pronounced clean without any responsibility is like being told I agreed to Satan’s plan. It sounds like a curse rather than a blessing. It means I can never be a grown up – that I will never take responsibility for the good and evil I do because I am always only following orders. I appreciate the growth that the responsibility to “do many good things of my own free will” brings, even if in my weaker moments I’d rather give it up. Are you not the same way? Your visceral reaction to Allison in #34 suggests you value it as much as I do. Given the understanding Mormons have of agency, how could you view its absence as anything but a curse? (Or, at best, an indication of inability to decide for oneself, as with young children? )

  49. Ben on June 30, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Alison,
    You indicated in the comments the topic of your post was not to discuss the absence of blessings particular to women that men live without.

    I believe it would be helpful to the discussion if you would write a post with equal vigor and logic about the blessings particular to women that men do not have access to.

    Perhaps this question could be addressed for both this topic and that which I have suggested: do both genders have ultimate access to all the blessings of God, namely, eternal lives?

    Could perhaps the purposeful difference in blessings and challenges associated with each gender in the short term ultimately open a way for this greatest blessing?

    I am sad to see how many people right now are attacking the Brethren with so much open vitriol. I am sad also to see so many women who have wounds that have thus far been unable to be healed with any words or prayers or numerous efforts on the part of the leaders of the Church, as well as caring people of both genders who pray there may be relief.

    The priesthood is in part a power to quench contention and replace it with peace. Contention seems to be ruling right now, quenching attempts to create order, peace, and healing.

    This… environment (?) seems now to be so much more about the attitude of the questioners than the question itself. Questions can be asked in a manner that facilitates revelation, peace – and even discomfort, such as when the Savior cried from the cross and was temporarily “forsaken.” Sometimes we find the answers difficult to receive – but they are answers nonetheless.

    What we do with those answers – including the lack of answers, which we know is an answer in itself (though admittedly a difficult one) – speaks greatly to our character and our influence on others.

    The difference in the genders should not create a divide so wide as this. The contention is being fueled by tactics that have over time proven to be dangerous to the faith of men and women alike. I pray, literally, we all may support our leaders and reach out in compassion in a peaceful way to those who ache, for those aches are real. Unfortunately, additional aches are being created right now. This issue will be for many the single greatest experience to shine light upon their innermost character. To which spirit will we cleave at this time of hurt and division – and attempts to heal and unite?

    Will we hurt and divide?

    Or will we try, imperfectly, to heal and unite?

    God bless us all in this trying time, and God bless us as we sustain President Monson, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who lead and guide The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. May we have mercy on those whose attempts to heal us fall short, and may we have mercy on those who hurt in different ways than ourselves.

  50. tradewarrior on June 30, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Appears that you would excommunicate Deborah

  51. Lisa B on June 30, 2014 at 12:48 am

    I went to church with a lot of hurt today. I tried to listen openly and without heartache as the First Presidency Letter was read. It still ached. After several youth testimonies, we had one of the most beautiful talks I have ever heard by our main speaker, a woman. We talked about David and Jonathan and the value of supportive friendships through adversity in Sunday School, taught by a woman. Our bishop shared messages from Elder Ballard’s recent Northern Virginia leadership training meetings which focused on helping women and men obtaining greater access to spiritual power in their lives, and the Spirit strongly witnessed to the truth of his words, just as it had when Elder Ballard addressed our stake when he was visiting. Both times I took notes through tear-blurred eyes.

    I don’t think the monumental disparity I feel between the equality I feel as I read the scriptures about Christ’s interactions with women, and how I feel entering the Celestial room on equal footing with everyone else, joint heirs, and the realities we face in the world (including in church) will fade, ever, during this lifetime. But I can’t walk away from the spiritual home which has nurtured me so long and so well, and taught me lessons I need to overcome the ungodly aspects of my “natural” self.

  52. tradewarrior on June 30, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Gods two most important commandments focus on love not priesthood. Priesthood is a means to an end not an end unto itself, unrighteous dominion. Like a golf handicap given to men because need to be more like Eve.

  53. John C. on June 30, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Jax,
    If you really believe that that offhand phrase in the temple endowment means that women get off scot-free in this life or the next, then you believe God is a respecter of persons and that women aren’t real human beings, capable of sinning and falling. So, you are either an incredible chauvinist or an incredible idiot, only one of which is worthy of taking upon himself the name of Christ (note: it isn’t the first).

  54. Ben on June 30, 2014 at 2:08 am

    #52: John C —
    Is this the forum or the manner in which our Savior would attack His brethren and sisters? Why must we be so mean to each other?

    It is not necessary. It is a choice. Who do we become when we attack others – even those who deserve it? We are as a unified people better than this.

    Satan is giddy right now. Not because he instilled within certain women certain feelings, but because he encouraged the creation of an environment in which “Saints” would attack each other and even cast pearls before the entire world with Internet access.

    This is becoming dangerous territory, poisonous. It needn’t be.

    I beg all of us to step back, to let the Spirit of God work upon us, and then work together, men and women of varying degrees of perfections and imperfections, to learn the doctrines of the gospel and serve each other with every spiritual gift we may have bestowed upon us, especially gifts such as temperance, peace, wisdom, compassion, discernment, long-suffering — and LOVE.

    For those who are leaving, please stay. For those who feel without nurturing fellowship in your own wards, know your trial is a hard one – and one that you will use one day to ease the pain of another. For those who mock God and His servants, please stop, turn around, and let us embrace you as best we can. And for those men who speak here of things they ought not, and who disparage women with sincere wounds or needs, and who have condescension matches with whoever makes the easiest targets, please stop. Please stand up, rise up – and be men.

    Our genders are different. Our roles and capacities are different. Perhaps this speaks poorly of me, but if I could hold a woman in my arms and comfort her through her tears with my love or the priesthood, how grateful I would be.

    Can we seek out understanding together, counsel with each other in reserved sanity, and become of one heart and one mind with God and each other?

    We can. The question is: will we? Will I? Will you?

    We must.

  55. John C. on June 30, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Ben,
    First question: Are you currently in prison?

  56. ji on June 30, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Ben, I appreciate your comments and your plea…

  57. AM on June 30, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I think there are a couple of issues in the OP that are being ignored by those critical of it. The priesthood involves both ministering and administering. Priesthood holders minister through the ordinances of the gospel. While both men and women can receive the ordinances of the gospel, only men can have the blessings associated with performing those ordinances. Those who claim that there are no blessings associated with the performance of those ordinances are very unaware. If anyone had tried to take away my opportunity to baptize my children, I would have objected strenuously. The first time I went with my children to do baptisms for the dead, I asked if it was appropriate to request the opportunity to perform the baptisms. I was told that everyone would wonder what was wrong if I did not. On my mission, the opportunity to baptize someone was valued. These examples are all about baptisms, but there are similar blessings from performing other ordinances, as any priesthood holder would tell you. There are wonderful feelings that come from performing those ordinances. Those blessings are not available to women.

    Secondly, the way the Church is organized, administration of the work of the Church is accomplished largely through the priesthood. Bishops get to say “yes” or “no”, ultimately, on any ward project. There are female leaders in the ward, but their choices are subject to the scrutiny of the bishopric. I believe most bishops handle that authority with care, but not all. I have yet to hear of a man or woman being denied a temple recommend because he or she disagreed with the actions of a Relief Society president.

    I am grateful for the gospel and the saving ordinances it provides. I would be a liar if I did not also acknowledge that I am grateful for the opportunity to perform those ordinances. I have never had the opportunity to be in a presiding position, but that is still a chance that is theoretically open to me. It is a chance that is denied to women.

  58. Eliza on June 30, 2014 at 8:38 am

    AM- I appreciate your thoughts so much, especially your last paragraph. We don’t diminish the gospel or the priesthood when we frankly acknowledge the reality of our current policies and structure. We do, however, cause great harm when we (as an institution and individually) insist that all is well in Zion. All is not well. All will not be well, we won’t be Zion, until we resolve the deep contradictions between our doctrine and our practices. If, as a community, we really believe that men and women are equal then every day that goes by when we fail to actually treat men and women equally is another day we fall short of our commission as Saints and Christians. The hypocrisy is staggering. Perhaps universal ordination is not the solution. I don’t know, but something must be done and until real solutions are part of the discussion rather than PR statements and letters that reiterate the status quo, the Church will continue to push people away when we should and could be building Zion.

  59. SilverRain on June 30, 2014 at 10:03 am

    “There are wonderful feelings that come from performing those ordinances. Those blessings are not available to women.”

    I’ve been thinking about this concept, and have come to wonder if this is not true. I think that there are similar things to be learned both as the bishop with veto power and as one of the members with none. Both involve righteously submitting to and exerting priesthood power, just in different ways.

    I think women, especially, could be empowered by redefining what it means to wield priesthood power. I know that when I taught people who were eventually baptized, my joy was no less than the joy of the elders who actually performed the baptism. I know when I have pled in faith for my daughter to be healed, I felt no less the power of God than men I have heard explain priesthood blessings.

    I do not doubt that women are the heirs of a richer heritage than we currently understand when it comes to wielding the power of God. I do not doubt that we have sold ourselves short. But I begin to doubt that ordination to priesthood office is the answer, however easy of an answer it may seem.

    I think there is likely something divine to be gained by the checks and balances provided by male ordination. I don’t think we, as a people, have even begun to understand even the tip of the iceberg. But we don’t have to wait for a change in doctrine to be taught more by the Spirit.

  60. Jax on June 30, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Maggie (47 and John (52)… not that women can’t fail and can’t sin and they are always clean, simply that they aren’t responsible for the “blood and sins of this generation.” They are responsible for their own short-comings and faults, but men are held responsible for EVERYONE else’s sins/faults if we fail in out priesthood duties to share the gospel (explaining why missionary work is a priesthood duty for men, but not for women) and preach repentence. It’s not that you aren’t humen ( really?? ), or aren’t held capable of falling/sinning, but that you aren’t held accountable for everyone the same way that men are.

  61. Dave K on June 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

    (#58) “… I know that when I taught people who were eventually baptized, my joy was no less than the joy of the elders who actually performed the baptism. I know when I have pled in faith for my daughter to be healed, I felt no less the power of God than men I have heard explain priesthood blessings.”

    SR, respectfully, where is your basis to make this assertion? It strikes me that someone needs to go through both experiences in order to make a valid comparison between them. Imagine if I were to say: “I’ve never orbited the earth in a space shuttle, but I have flown in a plane, and I so a know that the joy of space flight is no greater than the joy of terrestrial flight.” I can’t really make that statement with any credibility. Only someone who has experienced both can.

    Moreover, if your assertion is correct, then why all the pressure on men (and young men) to engage in ordinances. What should I answer if my deacon-age son asks “Why should I want the priesthood? I can have as much joy (and presumably development to godhood) with or without it.” The simply truth is this: whatever it is that men and boys gain from performing ordinances, rather than just receiving them, that something is what women and girls are currently denied.

    As a priesthood holder, I do have experience is both receiving and performing ordinances. So I can tell you the two experiences are not identical. As just one example, I find much more joy (and unity and purpose) when my hands are on my children’s head for their confirmations than I do if I am merely an observer. I therefore expect that my joy (and unity and purpose) will be magnified when my wife’s hands and words can be present for the same ordinance.

    As a comparison, my wife and I could choose to structure our family prayer and scripture reading experience so that only males are allowed to read and pray. In that structure, there would still be a lot of good. But the better structure comes from fully including my wife and daughters – including them as participants, not just recipients. Salvation comes by doing. After all, we are to be actors, not just acted upon. And priesthood is action.

  62. Dave K on June 30, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Jax (#59) – thank you for showing another problem with the inequality in the church. Your logic sounds simliar to Professor Bott who characterized the denial of priesthood to blacks as a blessing. The scriptures say that to whom much is given much is required. The inverse is equally true. Especially in situations such as OW where our good sisters are asking for more. There is no kindness in denying them and then saying, “but really, this is for your own good, if you only knew.”

  63. Nate W. on June 30, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Jax,

    What you are saying is total nonsense. If it is significant that only men are told that they can “become clean of the blood and sins of this generation,” during the endowment, then it is equally significant that women are never pronounced “clean” at that time. However, the language of the initiatory is the same for both men and women, and there is no reason to believe that the wording of that particular portion of the endowment is describing differences in the blessings and responsibilities of men and women.

  64. SteveF on June 30, 2014 at 11:19 am

    “However, the language of the initiatory is the same for both men and women”

    No it isn’t (unless the just recently changed it). The washing portion is quite different actually. I surprised Jax seems to be the only one here aware of that, I thought this was pretty common knowledge among endowed members.

  65. SteveF on June 30, 2014 at 11:27 am

    *unless they, *I’m surprised

    Dave K, AM, etc.,

    I want to respond more fully, but am short on time at the moment. Can you expound on what you believe the blessings are from administering in ordinances of salvation? I don’t think anyone here is denying that it is most definitely a blessing to do so, but I want you to try and articulate what specifically you think those blessings are to see if those same blessings are not also available to women through other means. (The most obvious rejoinder going to be that women do administer/officiate in ordinances of salvation, among them – the initiatory and endowment; but when getting down to the details I think we can find there are other means as well.)

  66. Dave K on June 30, 2014 at 11:28 am

    SteveF, why would you think it common knowledge among endowed members that the initiatory portions differ for men and women? Most members I know are very circumspect in discussing the wording of temple ordinances. And to my knowledge the church does not publish the wording for members to read.

    To that end, can you provide me (us) with a good source to explain this fact to members? Right now the best sources I have are all anti-mormon sites such as the tanners. Same request for the historic changes to the temple ceremony. It would be nice to use a faithful source to show how the wording of the oaths and covenants has changed. I find that in my (youngish) generation, that fact is also not well-known.

  67. SteveF on June 30, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Dave K #65,

    I’ve just heard it discussed in other places, and thought most endowed members are married and probably have discussed it between themselves in the temple. But it looks like your train of thought is probably correct, and I probably made a false assumption.

    Let me see if I can get a proper source.

  68. AM on June 30, 2014 at 11:36 am

    SilverRain (#58), I may agree with you if you said that we should not feel like performing an ordinance is a great blessing, although my experience makes that difficult. It does not change the fact that most priesthood holders feel that it is. Also, there is some degree of approval for that feeling. That approval is expressed, for men, on missions for baptisms. I have heard it taught in priesthood meetings. I am pretty sure that I once heard a current member of the Quorum of the 12 talk about how important it was to his father to perform all his ordinations (his father was able to ordain him an apostle).

    I do not know that ordaining women will solve all or even most of the inequity problems that have been mentioned here and elsewhere. I am certainly not qualified to receive revelation regarding who should be ordained. That belongs to those who hold all the keys of the priesthood. I do feel that we need to acknowledge problems and circumstances as honestly as we can. Maybe priesthood holders need to be trained not to feel blessed when performing an ordinance. However, that seems to be as successful as training people not to enjoy food. However you train them, their feelings will be what they are.

  69. Wahoo Fleer on June 30, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Our Sacred Priesthood Trust, Thomas S. Monson, April 2006:

    Sunday finally arrived, and I visited President Child’s home. I was greeted warmly, and then the interview began. He said, “Brother Monson, you hold the Aaronic Priesthood.” Of course, I knew that. He continued, “Have you ever had an angel minister to you?”

    My reply, “I’m not sure.”

    “Do you know,” said he, “that you are entitled to such?”

    Came my response: “No.”

    Then he instructed, “Brother Monson, repeat from memory the 13th section of the Doctrine and Covenants.”

    I began, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels …”

    “Stop,” President Child directed. Then in a calm, kindly tone, he counseled, “Brother Monson, never forget that as a holder of the Aaronic Priesthood you are entitled to the ministering of angels. Now continue the passage.”

  70. John C. on June 30, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Jax and SteveF,
    I’m aware of the difference; I just don’t find it significant or remarkable, because believing it to be either of those things makes God someone who discriminates based on gender. Not in the sense of offering some serving opportunities to some folks and others to others, but in the sense of making men, their behavior, and their salvation matter more than women’s. That logic allows us to infantilize women, encourages it even, which is why it is pernicious. It reduces women to objects, not subjects in their own right, and makes believers in the doctrine self-righteous to boot (I work hard spiritually so that the women folk don’t have to/can’t). It is an actively misogynist set of beliefs, so rather than believing that God is actively misogynist, I prefer to believe that the alteration in temple language is either traditional or irrelevant in significance.

  71. jader3rd on June 30, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Given that many of us don’t have photographic memory and we’re instructed to not converse with one another unless absolutely necessary while in the temple, where and when in the temple would we be able to discuss such things?

  72. Dave K on June 30, 2014 at 11:42 am

    SteveF

    “Therefore, in the ordinances thereof [of the priesthood], the power of godliness is manifest” (D&C 84:19–20). Priesthood ordiances are not the only way in which the power of godliness comes into us, but it is a very very prominent one. I see the effect in my own life and in the lives of the boys and men I serve with. It is real. As a man (righteously) performs an ordinance he becomes more godly. It’s that simple.

    Women currently have access to many ways in the which the power of God can come into them. Prayer, scriptures, and yes – as you aptly point out – performing some ordinances in the temple. It stands to reason that ordaining women would provide substantial additional means for the power of God to enter their lives. Let’s not be content!

    A secondary benefit would come to those who would perform ordinances alongside women. Ordiances not only unite us with God, they unite us with one another as we perform them. So when I adminster the sacrament with my boys, we have a stronger bond because of the godly experience. I yearn to have those sacred experiences with my wife and daughters. So while the primary benefit of their ordination would be for them personally, a significant secondary benefit would inur to me as we together act, instead of the current situation where I can act and they sit passively by.

    Priesthood ordinances are a great good in the church as we now use them. But they could be so much better. I believe we are living beneath our privileges. And I’m grateful for KK for seeking greater privileges for us all, especially since its costing her so dearly for the moment.

  73. SteveF on June 30, 2014 at 11:59 am

    I found quotations from faithful sites that you would probably still want to verify with a temple president or worker, but after considering it I just can’t bring myself to point people to those, especially publicly. If you or anyone endowed want those quotations, you can send me an email at steve.f.smith9 at gmail dot com, and I’ll provide you with the quotes and you can verify them independently.

  74. Jax on June 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Jader3rd, in the halls of the temple would be a great place. They have all those chairs and seats that never get used. I wish I would see people more often discussing the temple while in the temple. Ifyou are near a small temple there might not be the chairs in hallways like the larger ones, but if you asked in the office where you could converse they would show you a place that was appropriate. I don’t think we’re told not to converse, simply that if you need to, to keep it reverent/quiet. Talking about the temple in the temple might avoid the confusion that DaveK and SteveF have going in #65 and #66.

    John C, “makes God someone who discriminates based on gender” is a rather odd phrase since God authorizes men to have the priesthood and not women. So isn’t it a given that he distinquishes (discriminates isn’t the right word there) between them? I thought that was why we were having these discussions in the first place. And He isn’t mysogynist, He’s omnicient.

  75. SteveF on June 30, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Sorry, I’m out of time for now, but just briefly, John C. #69, I’m not making any claim to significance behind the difference, I only meant to verify that there was one because some here appeared not to be aware of that. In my opinion, I believe in the future the wording will reflect more parity, but I really don’t have authority or anything else to back such an assertion.

  76. SilverRain on June 30, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Dave K (#60)—”where is your basis to make this assertion?”

    This is not an easily answered question because it is complex. But I will try. First, I have spent a significant portion of my life listening to people. Part of my basis to make this assertion is from listening to men describe their experiences, and my own experiences with Deity. When I hear some men describe what it is like to give a blessing (and I have asked that question frequently to many men,) I hear a variety of experience. Nervousness, humility, apathy, joy, are all part of those descriptions. All those descriptions resonated with my own experiences acting with the power of God.

    The authority itself has been shown to me to bring no particular kind of feeling. Rather, feeling comes when the power of the Spirit of God is accessed. That comes with its own brand of authority, as it is unmistakable to those who share in it. My basis for this assertion is as strong as any, because even someone with the authority of God (who “experiences both” as you say) cannot possibly know whether or not the authority is the cause or not. At least, not any more than I can.

    Which brings me to a second point. I have found that, when I am experiencing the Spirit, joy is indescribably vast. The kind of synergistic emotions that run when in the presence of the Spirit and when helping someone come to God flows freely. It is communal, not individual.

    Respectfully, you are unable to discount my lived experience. It’s not up for debate. You can ask questions of me, try to clarify, share your own experience, but you have no way to discount what I have experienced. I am not comparing terrestrial flight to space flight. I am comparing what it is like to be one member of the crew or the other. It doesn’t matter what my role is on the space flight in light of the amazing experience itself. I’d be a space janitor for the chance, and never complain.

    As far as the pressure on men to live up to the priesthood, it is simple. They have been called. It isn’t about having the priesthood ordination, it is about living up to what God asks us to do. I have found great power in yearning towards what God HAS called me to do. If he asked me to be ordained to the priesthood, I’d engage in that with the same fervency that I am trying to engage in the work He has called me to so far. I’ll do whatever He wants, just to be a part of His work. What exactly I do is mere unimportant details…when I’m truly being honest with myself.

    Again, I am not comparing giving/receiving ordinances. I’m comparing one calling of God with another. Receiving ordinances is entirely separate from my point.

  77. SilverRain on June 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    AM (#67)—My comment above applies partially to my response to you, too. Of course, performing an ordinance is a great blessing—when we have been asked by God to do it. I am not the sort of person who cares what other people think about it, other than insofar as I might feel compelled to learn from it or correct it. If other people feel that way about the priesthood ordinations as compared to any other task required by the Savior, they are wrong. The point isn’t the priesthood, it’s discovering and following the will of God and becoming instruments in His hands: whether that instrument is a hammer, a saw, or a mere tape measure.

  78. Josh Smith on June 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Alison, you’re right. As I read your initial post, my first thought was that you’re exactly right. My second thought–after reading a couple of the early comments to your post–was that being right can often be a very frustrating life.

    A helpful post for many of us in the Church would be a post on coping strategies. Here’s the dilemma: The Church is wonderful in a thousand ways. It is fundamentally good and it is a wonderful place to raise a family. The Church is also a product of the 19th century and some of our cultural baggage–like beliefs about race and gender–can do real damage. What are some ways that thoughtful people receive the good the Church has to offer while mitigating some of the bad?

    I see a lot of people, myself included, spending time doing battle with words. That’s going to be frustrating, no? Don’t get me wrong, I think history is on your side. But, good heavens! history takes too damn long to happen. What are some coping strategies while the wheels of history turn?

  79. Dave K on June 30, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    SR (#75), we must be talking past one another because “comparing giving/receiving ordinances” is precisely what I thought you were doing. At the risk of making the motherhood:priesthood analogy, I’m pretty sure I would find disagreement in my ward if I made the following statement: “I know that when I watched my wife give birth to our children that my joy was no less than hers. I know that when my children were born my bond with them was no less than the bond my wife obtained through nine months of pregnancy.” The disagreement would not be with the conclusion itself so much as with my ability to make the conclusion. Some woman (likely my wife :) ) would say “how can you ever know that, Napoleon?” And she’d be right. I cannot know what I have not experienced. That’s all I was trying to say. I wasn’t trying to discount your experiences. I was just pointing out that you lacked the experience necessary to say you “knew” that two things were the same.

  80. Dave K on June 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Josh (#77), one “coping strategy” is to focus on what you can control and make improvements there. So, for instance, I can’t add “Come Thou Font” to the LDS hymnal, but I can counsel with my spouse and children at FHE and decide to add it to our family hymnal. I can’t revise the PotF itself, but my wife and I can prayerfully receive revelation for our family under which we add an addendem to the PotF that is hung in our home to reflect the truth that she has a sacred responsibility to provide, preside, and protect, and that I have a sacred responsibility to nurture. We can then present the addendem at FHE to our children and with their sustaining vote those truths become the official doctrine for our family. As to priesthood ordinances, because of church doctrine/policy I can’t bring my wife’s hands into the circle when our children are confirmed, but I can ask her to write down a few lines of what the spirit tells her regarding our child, memorize those words in advance of the confirmation, and include them in what I say as the spirit directs.

  81. SilverRain on June 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Dave K (#78)—I think that claiming that a father’s joy was “no less than” the mother’s at the birth of their child is exactly as it should be. If a father mourns with his wife, comforts her in her difficulties, his joy at the success of her labor should be no less. Is that not what it means to be “one flesh”? Is that not what our goal should be as a Zion community?

    The Holy Spirit can knit our hearts together in precisely that way. You can know that because you have labored together in harmony.

    You can’t “point out that [I] lack the experience” because, according to your logic, you cannot know what I have experienced.

    According to my logic, you could only know if you were unified with me in my experiences: if you were there, and participated in the experience.

    Therefore, according to our respective paradigms, we can both agree that you have far less basis to make that assertion than I do mine. I am claiming to have experienced such unity, which is a claim on my lived experience. You are claiming that I have not, which is a claim on my lived experience. I certainly hope that you can see how my statement is far more legitimate.

  82. AM on June 30, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    SilverRain (#76), I would never presume to tell you what you should desire or should not desire. I am giving examples of blessings received when by the one performing the ordinances. There are women who desire those blessings. I am simply not in a position to tell them they are wrong or right. I am also not in any position to tell you that you would be happier in some other situation. I cannot know anything of the sort. If you have worked it out to your satisfaction, then I must be satisfied as far as you are concerned. If other women are not satisfied, I believe I can appropriately express some measure of understanding for why they are dissatisfied.

    SteveF (#64), Describing exactly what the blessings are for performing an ordinance is hard. I know that fathers want to baptize their children and ordain their sons. If there were no special feeling upon performing those acts, we would not care who did the ordinances. It’s like spiritually tasting salt, if you like.

    Beyond that, the desire to perform an ordinance can be an impetus for repentance. Even giving a blessing or performing an ordination can bring a priesthood holder back to the fold. Read the stories told by President Packer in “The Power of the Priesthood” from the May 2010 general conference. The importance of performing ordinances is, in my opinion, well-established. It seems to me that the importance of performing ordinances is based on blessings received when doing so.

    I do not know if there is a comparable opportunity for women. You mention ordinances performed by women in the temple. I do not see how that can compare. Virtually every man who has been ordained a priest has performed an ordinance. Most active women in the Church will not be ordinance workers in the temple. I do not know what fraction of female ordinance workers get the chance to be the voice for an ordinance. In any case, it is a very different situation. I don’t think it is a good use of time to try to find comparable opportunities for women. Some women will find those opportunities fulfilling. Others will not. I think accepting that some will be hurt by what is denied them is more honest. I hope that those who hold the keys are aware of the hurt.

    As a final thought, I know that none of the things I have mentioned affect salvation. It is possible, though just barely, for a man to go through life without ever performing an ordinance and still receive exaltation. I have no doubt that righteous women will receive every blessing that righteous men do in the eternities. That is not always a total comfort for the difficulties of this life, though.

  83. SilverRain on June 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    AM—I understand. My assertion is that those blessings are received only because one has been asked by God to perform that particular task, and that those blessings are just as available no matter what task one has been asked to perform. The blessings and value are not in the priesthood ordination, but in fulfilling the tasks set to us by God.

    I am not telling women they are wrong to desire to serve in that way. I have felt that same desire. However, I have also been blessed by focusing less on the work I have not yet been called to and more on the work which I have been asked to do.

    I do, however, emphatically disagree that the reason we care who performs the ordinances is because of some special feeling.

    I am telling you right now that there are rich opportunities for women to experience the same blessings men receive when they fulfill their divinely-requested tasks. Some men find those opportunities to bless fulfilling, some do not. Some wield their priesthood in deep respect and humility, others approach it with apathy as a chore. Consecrating ourselves to God is not dependent on outside circumstances, nor on what tasks we are given. And I can attest that those who hold the keys are generally very aware of the hurt (especially now,) though some do not understand it. I spend much of my offline time exhorting those who hold keys and testifying in the Spirit (as much as I am able) to develop greater empathy.

  84. Owen on June 30, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Scouting is also a blessing of the priesthood cut off from women.

  85. Dave K on June 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Owen (#83), boy scouting is the official activity arm of the YM program in some parts of the world. It has no direct tie to the priesthood. To wit, 100% of church units have AP holders, but many of those units have no scouting program.

    Also, young women are not cut off from boy scouting per se. Venturing programs invite young women to participate, just not in LDS units. If an LDS young woman wants to join a venturing crew she is welcome to join an non-LDS one and thereby participate in scouting (to say nothing of girl scouts). In fact, though unusual, it is quite possible for a YW to join a non-LDS venture crew and become a merit badge instructor at a scout camp to which LDS troops attend. In other words, you could have a Laurel teaching the archery merit badge to the teacher’s quorum president at camp hackaloogie.

  86. Alison Moore Smith on June 30, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Jack quoted me:

    “No, we don’t all have access to the blessings, in particular not those of being ordained to and administering the priesthood.”

    Jack:

    You’re out there in the ether, Alison — this is pure abstraction.

    Or pure reading comprehension

    Per the quotes given at the end of the OP (you know, David O. McKay, Spencer W. Kimball, et. al.) I guess the ether and I are in pretty good company.

    But the blessings of the priesthood are those things that must be administered *to* us by virtue of the priesthood.

    And thus we see that you agree with me. OW wasn’t asking for “the blessings of the priesthood” by this definition.

  87. Alison Moore Smith on June 30, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Jax #43:

    Alison, it is there. Men are told they’ve been washed and that through their faithfulness they can be clean from the blood and sins of this generation. Women are merely washed and done. No mention of needing to be cleaned from the blood and sins of the generation.

    Jax, let’s review. You said:

    Going back to the temple, I notice every time that the Women are pronounced clean with no strings attached, but the Men are told that we can become clean through our faithfulness, and if we don’t we are held accountable for the blood and sins of this generation.

    No. Women are not pronounced clean. Again, no, they are not pronounced clean. You haven’t noticed it every time, nor any time at all. Unless you were fantasizing or hallucinating or otherwise distracted, because it’s not there.

    No, they aren’t washed and done. As David Holland said in the other thread, the next part “calls women priestesses to their husbands.” Which (as has been noted) isn’t the same as when the men are promised.

    No. Men are not held accountable for the blood and sins of their generation. They are told they are cleansed from it through faithfulness.

    Enough about the specifics of the temple. You were wrong. Move on.

  88. Cugeno on June 30, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    I have wondered why the Swiss Pfadfinder (Scouting) program is not affiliated with the church here. It has been integrated for both male and female youth for decades. No idea if that is a reason, or not, but as the Daddy of an interested 9-year-old girl, I have wondered.

  89. Alison Moore Smith on June 30, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Thanks for the great comments and input everyone.

    Lisa B., thank you for your comment.

    Josh Smith, great insight. :) I’m working on it. (Dave K, I loved your “coping strategy” ideas. I’m kind of a fan of yours today.)

    AM:

    Those who claim that there are no blessings associated with the performance of those ordinances are very unaware…I am grateful for the gospel and the saving ordinances it provides. I would be a liar if I did not also acknowledge that I am grateful for the opportunity to perform those ordinances.

    Thank you and hallelujah!

    Dave K:

    The simply truth is this: whatever it is that men and boys gain from performing ordinances, rather than just receiving them, that something is what women and girls are currently denied.

    Yes. And please read the authoritative quotes above. The priesthood is promoted to the boys in this way. Otherwise, we could just have a new calling: “ordinance administrator” and nothing would be lost to the men.

    A secondary benefit would come to those who would perform ordinances alongside women.

    So well said. To be honest, I’ve never had a desire to perform a public ordinance, although I’d be willing to do so if it were allowed. The only two things I have longed for were:

    (1) To hold my babies when they were blessed (which isn’t blessing them anyway, so I’ve never understood the format)

    (2) Help bless my sick children, as in put my hands on their heads while my husband actually says the blessing. Yes, I can pray (and do) in such situations. Usually I even hold my kids hands or something, depending on the situation. But obviously there is something about putting hands on the head with priesthood power that is meaningful, given that we do it, and I would love to be able to contribute in that way because when my children are in need of a blessing, I would do anything to help them.

    I love your childbirth analogy, Dave K. I am adopted as is my brother. My sister is no (what’s up with that?). Adoption never seemed odd to me, so I never really thought infertility was a big deal, as long as you could get your children SOMEHOW.

    Then I gave birth to my first daughter. Holy cow. Not fun, but incredible, mind blowing. Ever since then — and through the five miscarriages I had to have my six kids — I’ve been so grateful that my mom got the opportunity to experience that at least once, just to see what it was really like. And, honestly, I wish the men who wanted to could experience it as well.

    Neal Maxwell once gave a talk (one of those I used to listen to on cassette in my little walkman while running (yes, I’m that old)) where he discussed WHY Christ had to be crucified when he already UNDERSTOOD the atonement intellectually. He said it’s because intellectual understanding is NOT enough. We must understand EXPERIENTIALLY to fully understand.

    Now that would seem obvious to us in most life circumstances. Watching a great singer is wonderful, but singing is entirely different. Every act has such an example. But I’d not heard it presented as a spiritual requirement before. Perhaps it applies to this situation and the feelings of some women.

  90. Mary Ann on June 30, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    In regards to Blessing #4 from McConkie not applying to women (“We can stand in the place and stead of the Lord Jesus Christ in administering salvation to the children of men.”), I would argue that women can be “saviors on Mount Zion” and administer salvation to the children of men by standing in proxy for their deceased female ancestors. In that sense, women work cooperatively with Christ as messiah (anointed) figures for the benefit of their mothers and sisters who are unable to perform these ordinances for themselves (women act as both ordinance workers and proxy). I know it’s not what OW is asking for, but I still feel it should be noted.

  91. Jack on June 30, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Alison, c’mon, those GA quotes make OW’s requests (as you put them) completely moot. There’s nothing mentioned in them that women can’t have — one way or another. As I’ve said a thousand times before, isn’t inheriting the universe enough?

  92. Cameron N. on July 1, 2014 at 12:29 am

    ‘What are the Blessings of the Priesthood’?

    They are all blessings anywhere bestowed by God the Eternal Father, through the intermediary Atonement of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.

    So, in short, every good thing ever received by anyone who ever lived or ever will live is a blessing of the Priesthood, the power of love and creation held by the Son of Righteousness, who authority and power he mercifully shares with all men and women, each according to their own personal need for growth, family role, strengths, and weaknesses.

    A little girl sees a dandelion and is happy – blessing of the Priesthood
    A child of God enters mortality, born through His gifted power of creation – blessing of the Priesthood
    The Light of Christ enlightens every soul who comes into the world – blessing of the Priesthood

    @Allison, the more flexible guidelines physical contact and blessing others is by far the status quo in the scriptures. Grasping hands, lifting up, touching cheeks, handkerchiefs, etc.

  93. John C. on July 1, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Jax,
    What is it about omniscience that leads you to believe that it makes God behave like a misogynist?

  94. Alison Moore Smith on July 1, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Jack, so what you’re saying is that it’s all smoke and mirrors. The priesthood is really no big deal — at least with regard to being ordained and administering ordinances. All those quotes and lessons and talks are just sales pitches to get the guys to do some slave labor.

    I mean, yea, we need the work done, but we could easily have just a couple of special ordinance workers in every stake. You know, a baptism guy, a sacrament dude, a baby blessing fellow. Kind of like a patriarch, but to cover all the ordinance bases.

    I get it now. Wow. SO glad to be relieved of the onerous burden. Excuse me, I need to get back to my appropriately proportioned role in domesticity.

  95. Peter LLC on July 1, 2014 at 11:06 am

    As I’ve said a thousand times before, isn’t inheriting the universe enough?

    Maybe this insight into human perception will keep you from having to repeat yourself a thousand and one times: the significance of diffuse future benefits pales tremendously in the face of immediate and tangible costs.

    So to answer your question, no, the promise of inheriting the universe is not enough when no one has the faintest idea what that’s even supposed to mean.

  96. Corrina on July 1, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Alison, thank you for this post. It definitely resonated with me.

  97. Josh Smith on July 1, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Cugeno (#88): Too bad about the World Cup. Here’s a begrudging congratulations to all Argentinians and Belgians.

    My nine-year-old daughter is also very interested in all things outdoorsy. This summer we’ve been out quite a bit in camping hammocks. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been a scout master (and assistant) (and assistant to the assistant) for many years. I don’t think it would be too difficult to allow both boys and girls to participate in the program, but I’m not holding my breath. Nor am I instigating in any way. Right now I’m just having fun doing things as a family without any formal organization.

    Our ward allowed all of the young women (14+) and all young men (14+) to go on the “high adventure” this year. It seems all participants had a wonderful time.

    Also, in South East Idaho we have a wonderful girl’s camp that the Church maintains. It’s in an absolutely gorgeous part of the state. The young women really have some wonderful opportunities in Idaho.

    I may do some research in the coming years into a formal scouting program for young women if my daughter continues to be interested–and if I’m willing to get involved in another youth activity. I’m told there’s a venture scouting program for girls. We’ll see.

    Anyway, I’m glad there’s another father out there with a daughter who loves the outdoors.

  98. Alison Moore Smith on July 1, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you, Peter LLC.

    It’s funny that Jack thinks it outrageous to discuss inequities in church structure (because, you know inheriting the universe), but he’s not content to let other people BLOG without complaining about it.

  99. Clean Cut on July 5, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Allison, I forgot to comment and thank you for this outstanding post. When I came back to revisit it and began reading the comments I was surprised at the pushback. Your comments/responses are also spot on.

    I’m glad I have a stake president who listens and loves and who isn’t turned off by questions.

    I shared the link to this post with him via email the day it posted (after we had an hour long talk in his office where I felt like he viewed me as an asset rather than a liability.
    This was his reply, after addressing me by name:

    “Thanks for the post…

    “Interesting things to ponder. I can somewhat agree that there are blessings that come from my service in the priesthood that sisters do not directly have access to, but I also believe there are blessings given to our sisters for their faithful service that I do not have direct access to. I am comfortable being a vicarious recipient of her blessings just as she is blessed through mine. I do not believe we live in separate lives where we do not benefit from the faithful work of others. That is not how his kingdom is set up.

    “I appreciate the conversation and the inspiration that come from these discussions. Know that I love you very much. Hope to see you soon!”

    And then he signed off with his first name.

    I have a lot of love and respect for him. He’s everything a good leader should be. He listens. He wants to understand and make things better if he can.

  100. Alison Moore Smith on July 6, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Clean Cut, thank you for the kinds words. It is nice to feel understood and good to hear your stake president has made such an effort.

  101. Michelle on July 14, 2014 at 3:07 am

    “My assertion is that those blessings are received only because one has been asked by God to perform that particular task, and that those blessings are just as available no matter what task one has been asked to perform. The blessings and value are not in the priesthood ordination, but in fulfilling the tasks set to us by God.”

    I really love this thought. I think it’s consistent with the Savior’s example. His whole focus was to fulfill the tasks He was given by God. If and as we do that, we open ourselves up to blessings that cannot be found in any other way. To me, it is this — the opportunity to submit to God and to be blessed by the Atonement — that makes us all equal. I don’t think God ever intended to have us each experience every experience that could bring all the blessings that God has to offer. It’s an impossibility. But we *can* experience the joy of taking whatever we have been given and allowing God to multiply it.

  102. Josh Smith on July 14, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Michelle (#101) and SilverRain (#83): This strikes me as a happy way to live one’s life:

    “My assertion is that those blessings are received only because one has been asked by God to perform that particular task, and that those blessings are just as available no matter what task one has been asked to perform. The blessings and value are not in the priesthood ordination, but in fulfilling the tasks set to us by God.”

    I could never fault someone for approaching life and church membership in this manner. Surely such a person is filled with purpose and gratitude.

    That being said, some of us (the grumpy agitators) can never resign ourselves to such a life. It’s simply not part of our constitution. One of my many troubles with the above approach is that very, very rarely in my life have I felt that there have been “tasks set to me by God.” As I see it, God has left me entirely to myself in deciding what tasks I want to undertake. As I see it, God has left the Church very much in capable hands of people to determine its outcome.

    Do you see my predicament? When history is our own hands, rather than directed by God, one almost instantly becomes dissatisfied with the status quo. I honestly wish I could see the world otherwise. I really do.

  103. SilverRain on July 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    *LOL* Josh Smith, no one has ever accused me of being happy. It isn’t a natural thing for me, I’ve fought long and hard for it, and I continue to fight.

    I do not accept that I am at the mercy of my environment. I don’t sit back and wish to see the world differently than I do. Knowing that all perception is subjective, I choose to see the world as the Lord teaches me to see it. I do not simply sit back and be dissatisfied. I figure that if I’m not willing to fight, I have no right to dissatisfaction.

    Where God leaves you to yourself, you are called by whatever you choose until He tells you otherwise. But I guarantee that God has not “left the Church” in any sense. He is very much present and active. It’s just that His goals are not what many people think they are.

  104. Josh Smith on July 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    :-) Okay.

    “I choose to see the world as the Lord teaches me to see it.”

    That seems like a wonderful perspective. Thank you.

  105. Alison Moore Smith on July 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    SilverRain:

    Knowing that all perception is subjective, I choose to see the world as the Lord teaches me to see it.

    That’s not subjective. :)

    I suggest that for some, dissatisfaction is, in fact, what God puts to them. It is because of that dissatisfaction that many wrongs are righted, many innocents protected, many advancements made, and much good is brought to pass.

    Martin Luther King, Jr., and his companions were not successful in changing the face of our country because they joyfully went to the back of the bus.

  106. SilverRain on July 16, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    That is pretty much what I said, Allison .

  107. Alison Moore Smith on July 16, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Let me clarify. Perhaps all those — including those who are taking a different approach — are, in fact, seeing the world as the Lord teaches them to.

    So when you say, “I know that when I taught people who were eventually baptized, my joy was no less than the joy of the elders who actually performed the baptism. I know when I have pled in faith for my daughter to be healed, I felt no less the power of God than men I have heard explain priesthood blessings.” others may say their disagreement is God given. And the authoritative statements in the OP seem to indicate as much: that acting with the power of God is a blessing beyond observing that action.

    When you say, “But we don’t have to wait for a change in doctrine to be taught more by the Spirit.” perhaps some have already been taught by the Spirit to ask/wait/hope/pray for a doctrinal change.

    When you say, “However, I have also been blessed by focusing less on the work I have not yet been called to and more on the work which I have been asked to do.” I would say that perhaps others have been called to focus on seeking those blessings that are not yet available.

    When you say, “I am telling you right now that there are rich opportunities for women to experience the same blessings men receive when they fulfill their divinely-requested tasks.” I might respond that while their might be rich opportunities for some through fulfilling the currently divinely-requested tasks, others might find rich opportunities in expanding those tasks. Per scripture.

    [As an aside, I’m still looking for the “divinely decreed” part of the priesthood pattern. I’ve been looking since I was four and Ally Isom (finally) suggests that part doesn’t exist. So just as Elder Holland says he hoped for blacks to receive blessings beyond the current “divinely-requested tasks,” I I hope the same for women.]

  108. SilverRain on July 17, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Still, pretty much what I said. If it is the Spirit of God which directs their actions, they will feel the very peace, charity, patience, and power as they act which comes from performing ordinances.

    If, instead, they feel impatient, antagonistic, powerless, or apart from others, it is some other spirit which is actually influencing them.

  109. Alison Moore Smith on July 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I agree with some of what you said, if you remove “…as they act which comes from performing ordinances.” (If you aren’t talking about ordination vs. non-ordination, then I’m not sure why that was included in your descriptions.)

    Although one might feel peace, per your example, when performing an ordinance, feeling peace in some other context isn’t synonymous with receiving the blessings of administering an ordinance. That’s much like saying (pre-1978), “Non-blacks can’t feel the peace of being sealed in the temple, but you can feel peace when you do yoga. So it’s all good.”

    It seems like the conversation has turned to simply describing some basic, positive emotions and claiming that as long as we can feel those emotions in some context, the rest doesn’t matter, because we’re all getting all the blessing we need. Or something.

    That said, the emotions you listed are not inherently positive (or God-given) or negative (Satan-given). Powerlessness is also submission. As long as the submission is to God, that’s probably a good thing. Antagonism toward Satan? Probably good. Patience with evil or laziness? Not so helpful.

  110. SilverRain on July 17, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    The peace, etc. that comes from performing ordinances == the peace, etc. that comes from following the Spirit.

    It’s is not emotions, it is the best phrasing I could find to describe the blessings of performing ordinances. Any of the other “blessings” I’ve heard (such as “being the one” to perform ordinances for children, etc.) are pride-based or simply delayed (such as your example of being sealed.)

    Powerlessness =/= submission. Not when you submit to God. Submission to God IS power. Being submissive to the Spirit, following Church leadership even in error, is part of what we are asked to do here. There are righteous ways of following leadership even when they err.

    I have found it very helpful to be patient with evil and laziness. There is no point being impatient with laziness, as it changes nothing. And patience with evil irritates it far more than anything else I’ve tried.

  111. Alison Moore Smith on July 17, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    The most common black/priesthood narrative before the revelation was that blacks could not be sealed but would be ministering angels, NOT in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. In other words, NOT delayed, but eternal.

    Submission may be a powerful concept, but it’s subordination to God, not power over God. By definition it is yielding to a superior power. Let’s just take the words at face value, eh?

    I find enormous power in being impatient with my own laziness, it actually changes things a lot. As for patience “irritating” evil, again, I think it’s contextual. If someone tries to physically harm your kids, how patient are you going to be about it? I actually know some kids really, really well whose parents were very patient with their children being abused by others, and the kids’ lives were ruined.

    Per my point, I don’t think these emotions/qualities are inherently right or wrong, inherently God-given or Satan-given, but are context dependent. In other words, I think you can feel peace, charity (in any sense EXCEPT the “pure love of Christ”), patience, and power in a very ungodly way a nd that you can feel impatient, antagonistic, powerless, or apart from others with God’s full sanction.

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