Guest Post: Will Women Be Ordained to the Priesthood?

by Tom P

Will women be ordained to the priesthood? Although historically the Church has resisted change for a considerable period of time when pressured from the outside or even the inside (e.g. polygamy, ordination of individuals of African descent to the priesthood), I believe that women will eventually be ordained. The form this ordination will take, however, is unclear.

Why will women be ordained? Because part of our doctrine is that men and women can become priests and priestesses hereafter, although initially they are only anointed to become such. This suggests that the priesthood we now are familiar with will give way to a different form of priesthood (i.e. the men who currently hold the priesthood are anointed to become priests at some later point in time indicating that the priesthood they hold is not the final form they will hold in the eternities). This eternal priesthood includes both men (priests) and women (priestesses) and is consistent with our theology that neither is the man without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord.

As Pres. Uchtdorf mentioned in his talk during the priesthood session, the restoration is an ongoing process.

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Relief Society Lesson 9: Witnesses of the Book of Mormon

Relief Society Lesson 9: Witnesses of the Book of Mormon

The Law of Witnesses

There is a law definitely stated in the scriptures governing testimony and the appointment of witnesses. This law the Lord has always followed in granting new revelation to the people.
-Joseph Fielding Smith

If we had perfect records of all ages, we would find that whenever the Lord has established a dispensation, there has been more than one witness to testify for him.
-Joseph Fielding Smith

2 Corinthians 13:1
In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “we believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Articles of Faith 1:9). This is to say that while there is much we do not yet know, the truths and doctrine we have received have come and will continue to come by divine revelation…It is a process involving both reason and faith for obtaining the mind and will of the Lord.4 At the same time it should be remembered that not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. It is commonly understood in the Church that a statement made by one leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, not meant to be official or binding for the whole Church. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “a prophet [is] a prophet only when he [is] acting as such.”
-D. Todd Christofferson Reference A

Why is the law of witnesses important to the process of revelation?  How can we differentiate between well-considered opinions and doctrines?

Mary Whitmer

A Holy Messenger Shows Mary Whitmer the Gold Plates  Illustration by Michael Priddis, from the book, Dare to be True: A Prophet in Palmyra.

A Holy Messenger Shows Mary Whitmer the Gold Plates Illustration by Michael Priddis, from the book, Dare to be True: A Prophet in Palmyra.

When Joseph Smith first received the gold plates that contained the Book of Mormon, he was not authorized to share them with others. However, the Book of Mormon itself foretold that others would have the opportunity to view the book.

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I know you are, but what am I?

I have two young kids, and they’re of an age when potty language and name calling happen all the time.  ”Poop” is both the funniest word in their vocabulary and the worst insult.  My daughter laughs about making piles of pretend poop at home, but complains of being called a poo-poo-head at preschool.  It feels awful to be called something you’re not, and the immediate impulse when that happens is to correct it in the strongest possible terms.  The typical playground response when I was a kid was, “I know you are, but what am I?”

The reason name calling hurts is because it touches on the most core belief we have – who we are.  My daughter does not believe she is a poo-poo-head and is indignant at being called that, but when someone uses that term I wonder if there’s a flicker of a question about who she is, if not that.  The question is troubling, and terribly insistent.  For her, a soothing word from mom, dad, or a teacher is all that’s needed to answer it until the next insult comes along.

Gradually, I hope all those soothing assurances will accumulate to form a solid self esteem for her.  She’ll know she is an inherently and irrevocably worthy human soul with great potential, loved by Heavenly and earthly parents.  Of course, a healthy self image won’t protect her from ever being hurt by a word, and she’ll be exposed to views, ideas, and experiences that may challenge her beliefs about her identity.

For me, the greatest assurances and the greatest challenges to my identity have come from the Church.  From singing “I am a Child of God” as a toddler, repeating the Young Women theme about being a daughter of God, and my own study of the scriptures and sacred music, I’ve acquired a solid self image of a person who is inherently and irrevocably worthy, with great potential, and loved by Heavenly Parents.  But sometimes things I’m taught at Church also challenge that self image.  And sometimes it’s the things I don’t hear at Church that challenge me most.

For example, I heard about the roles, responsibilities, and power of the priesthood in the last General Conference, and I also heard I’m an appendage to it.  Arms and legs are important and valuable, but they’re not what give people their identity.  In the temple men covenant to God, but the covenant I made was to a man, to hearken to him.  I pray daily and sing weekly praises to Father in Heaven, but I’m at a loss as to how to worship my Mother in Heaven.  I see how men are heirs to Father in Heaven.  I know who they are, but who am I?

I believe I’m a child of God and that Jesus suffered and died for me as much as for anyone.  But the lack of acknowledgement of Mother in Heaven, the asymmetrical temple covenants, the possibility of eternal polygamy, and the withholding of ordination could lead a woman to believe she’s a lesser creation than men.  I know that’s not true.  But I still get that flicker of a terrible, insistent question: Who am I, if not that?  I have no answer, and I can’t be consoled by a soothing word.  So instead of letting the question trouble me, I snuff it out quickly.

Tell me, why should I have to, over and over?

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Woman, Why Do You Weep?

I weep because gross darkness covers the whole earth. I weep because daughters bear the burden of the sins of their fathers. I weep because women are often harmed at the hands of unrighteous men and everyone suffers for it. I weep for women.

And yet.

mary at the tombIt is no accident that a woman was first witness to the resurrected Lord. Like everything else he did, it was his choice. His first declaration of freedom, new life, and hope for a fallen world was made to a woman. And with his question, he answered the eternal why, when and how to end all our suffering.

Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed, so tired and hopeless, so utterly alone in grief, like Mary, it takes a while before I recognize that voice . . .

Dear woman, why do you weep? Whom do you seek?

He is risen indeed.

.

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Too old to hunt eggs?

Too old to hunt eggs?

When I was single and 21, I attended a memorable family Easter egg hunt. I am the oldest female cousin on that side of the family, and my sister (age 20) and next oldest female cousin (age 19) were already married. My older male cousin was a single returned missionary. No one invited any of them to hunt eggs, but everyone kept urging me to join the hunt with the kids. I finally explained that I was too old to hunt eggs, given that I was now of legal drinking age. They were confused. “You don’t drink.”

Not taking my word for it, they turned to my mother, who was known to be a key witness to my birth, to verify whether I had really aged out of the hunt.  ”April is too old,” she confirmed.  Then she added, “She was never any good at finding eggs anyway.”

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Young Women Lesson Plan: Increasing the Power of Personal Prayer

Guest Post by Jessica Finnigan

Jessica Finnigan is currently an Advanced Diploma student in the study of religion at the University of Cambridge.  Her research centers on the intersection of technology and religion.  She graduated from BYU in 2003 with a BS in Marriage, Family, and Human Development.  She and her husband Tom have four daughters ages 6-11 years old.  

How can I make my prayers more meaningful? (The lds.org outline is here.)

prayerOne of the most important aspects of my life has been the ability engage in prayer.  I feel that it is my window into Heaven.  Prayer has always come quite easy for me, even as a child I loved saying my prayers. I have had the privilege of having countless spiritual experiences while engaging in prayer. Moments of sacred connection where I knew God loved me and had a plan for my life. There are times when truth and answers have come to my mind and released me from my turmoil.  But as I have aged and served in various callings, parented, and talked with countless friends, I have come to see that God speaks to all of us in various and individual ways.  I have seen individuals feel guilty for not finding God in the traditional way we teach prayer.  I have seen them loose access to needed revelations and feelings of peace.

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The Shelf

448px-PreservedFood1 Friday, 1 July 2000

At dinner today we listened to the radio, and in particular to a story about homosexual marriage.  I have to say, I’m a little confused about what to think.  The LDS church is not in favor of homosexuality, but I feel that that’s only because they [gay people] have extra-marital sex.  But how can it be anything but extra-marital?! Marriage is not allowed in such cases.  Yet I’m fairly sure the church isn’t in favor of gay marriage either.  What a pickle.  Makes me glad I’m straigt!!!! [sic]

I wrote that journal entry when I was sixteen.  I was on vacation with my family and I remember thinking a lot about gay marriage and homosexuality more generally, trying to figure out how the pieces fit together with what I understood of the Gospel.  Reading the entry now, I am struck by several things.  First, I seem hopelessly naive and unclear about the church’s stance in a way I am sure the youth of today could not be.  Having firmly understood that I was not to have sex outside of marriage, I naively assumed that was the main objection that the church had to homosexuality.  Gay marriage would, in that understanding, be the perfect solution.  So why was the church against gay marriage? Or was it? Seemingly I was unsure even of that.

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