Dreaming About Women Exercising the Priesthood

Dreamcatchers

by Kelly Ann

 

I am a dreamer . My mind imagines many things. Flying. Achieving Goals. Sci Fi Characters. Family Drama. Being an animal. Science experiments. Time Travel. Church-related themes.

 

Triggered perhaps by recently participating in the Catholic Eucharist at a family funeral, as described in my post last month,

 

Being asked minutes before the start of the Mass, I did not have time to think about the honor of carrying the bread and wine forward for Communion. As my brother and I walked to the front of the chapel with the bread and wine in hand, I welled with emotion to offer this sacrifice to the Priest. And yet, the irony struck me that I would never have had such an opportunity to do this in my own church.

 

or by reading blog entries about how a feminist feels about baby blessings , questioning authority, mormon feminist activism , and blessings administered by women , I have had several odd dreams that I still vividly recall wide awake.

 

The first: After tripping while passing the sacrament, I see myself passionately conducting the sacrament meeting (imagine fire and brimstone) with a mix of men and women sitting on the stand.

 

The second: I have a bird’s eye view of a circle of people in the chapel. I can’t see any faces but it becomes evident they are half way through giving a blessing to a baby. No one seems phased that the tight circle alternates men and women and that the mother and father are kneeled in the middle together jointly giving the blessing.

 

The third: I am called to be a special representative of the high council assigned to be a female voice in a disciplinary council for a woman that I know. In the bird’s eye view of the sea of short male haircuts, while I appreciate the possibility of a woman’s voice in the decision, something not part of the current structure, it pains me that an even number of men and women aren’t counciling together or that better yet, there is no all women’s council for such a sensitive trial of a woman.

 

Apparently, my subconscious, and elements of my conscious, envisions a completely different Mormon world then the one I am re-immersing myself into. I don’t claim that my dreams are inspired (and would rather state that they are not), but I do wonder how what the church would be like if there was more gender equality in various church affairs.

 

Even as a little kid, I had much tamer dreams about passing the sacrament or being a minister but knowing that those ideas were preposterous for a good Mormon and still are, I’ve always dismissed them. As my mind has become alerted to a number of other issues, I now consciously imagine more balance and even some of the luxuries that early sisters in the church had blessing others.

 

My subconscious goes for the extreme but even minor changes would make me really happy.

 

Although the recent guest post regarding how women still participate in blessings , helped me remember some of my own experience’s that I treasure.

 

On my mission, as a way to find families, the mission president encouraged us to offer a “bendicion de hogar” on the house with the whole family present before we invited them to listen to the first discussion. This way the introduction to the church included everyone in a non-threatening manner. A lot of people wanted a blessing on their home even if they didn’t want to learn about the Book of Mormon. He emphasized that it was more than a prayer, that the elders should use their priesthood to pronounce the blessing. This begged the question from the sisters (a quarter of my mission) as to what they should do. He told us that as missionaries we had the power to bless the house and families just the same. And not to worry about that we couldn’t say “by the authority of the priesthood which we hold.” I am not sure how effective these “bendiciones de hogar” were in terms of finding families to teach but the sisters were blessing many in so doing. Thinking about it now, I am grateful for the experience. I felt like I could offer them something on the principle of faith that could bless their lives and give them a good impression of the church.

 

That is probably my most pronounced experience I have had (other than also loving the initiatory and temple as described by G ).

 

So I just try to cling to my simple testimony , the peace I have found returning to church, and not get so fed up between the difference between my expectations and reality that I leave .

 

So I’ll continue to dream.

What do you dream? Or how do you think we can achieve balance in the church now?

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11 Responses

  1. Stella says:

    I want your dreams to come true.

  2. EmilyCC says:

    This is just beautiful, Kelly Ann, and with so many great links!

    As I think about my dreams though, I worry. I haven’t had dreams like this for a long time. I’m not sure if it means that I’ve given up trying to figure out what such hopes would look like or if I’ve just given up 🙂

  3. laurenlou says:

    Wow, your dreams sound beautiful, Kelly Ann.

    I actually had a similar dream last week. I was some sort of priestess (this is what I get for reading The Red Tent before bed) and a few boys from my singles’ ward were assigned to be my bodyguards.

    I kind of brushed the dream off, but thinking about it now, I wonder why I would need bodyguards and why these very orthodox guys were assigned to do it. There was definitely a sense of danger, but also acceptance and respect from them. I’ve got to think about that some more…

  4. Debra says:

    Kelly Ann and all of us:

    May we keep dreaming and feeling the dream of full equality and partnership between women and men in the institution of the Church.

    May we all keep feeling and dreaming of the time when women’s authority as given in the Temple, will be fully recognized, celebrated even, and sanctioned by the institution to be used to bless humankind whereever our daily walk takes us as we seek to valiantly fulfill our life purposes as we follow after Christ.

  5. Sterling Fluharty says:

    I dream of the day when women in the church are considered just as strong as men (1 Ne. 17:2); when women can be mothers, prophetesses, neither, or both (2 Ne. 18:3); when both prophets and prophetesses meet face-to-face with God (Luke 2:26-38); when there will be no more restrictions on women lifting up their voices in church (Mosiah 24:22); when women receive from God the same power as men (Mosiah 27:25, D&C 11:30b); when men and women are equally honored (Acts 17:12); when both women and men will serve as judges in Israel (Judg. 4:4); and when both women and men are tutored by angels and commanded to share their revelations (Alma 32:23).

  6. michale says:

    What do you dream? Or how do you think we can achieve balance in the church now?

    Great, very courageous woman….As a high priest/veil worker, I will only say that we are not responsible for balance in the church. At best we are to find balance within ourselves. And that can only happen when we are able to HONESTLY discern and follow the dictates of own heart at all costs….

  7. Kelly Ann says:

    I am glad this post has been received well. I am glad that there is a community of people here who don’t feel threatened by these images of equality and love and support. As Stella states, it would be amazing if they could come true. However, just being able to share these dreams, which I would not even dare do in my liberal Relief Society, is liberating and has awakened me to the power of believing in something better.

    Debra, I agree that I hope others will keep dreaming and feeling the full potential of equality within the institution of the church. I don’t claim that my mind’s ideas are right but I love the idea of people trying to figure it out and voicing their perspectives (hence the reason I shared all the links, which I am glad to see appreciated).

    Laurenlou, I am also reading the Red Tent for a book group which might have also influenced my dreams (although I don’t really like the book). I hope you enjoy thinking and interpreting your own. I don’t try to assign too much meaning to mine. Because then I might have to assign meaning to flying or the other random dreams I have.

    EmilyCC, I wasn’t trying to dream. I just did. And now I hunger for more. Will that continue? I don’t know. I hope so. However, I believe it is only natural that it ebbs and flows as we have to first deal with our actual reality.

    Sterling, I agree that the scriptures give us glimpses of potential and I really think it would be wonderful to have the full measure of equality. I wish we could have it now.

    Michale, I like your emphasis on first finding balance within ourselves. But I would like to believe that balance can spread to the entire church. Or better yet, and increased understanding of why things are the way they are.

  8. Angie says:

    Your dreams will probably come true someday! The description of your dreams reminded me of dreams that African men had before 1978. Who knows? Maybe you are being prepared for revelation/s that will come in the near/far future?

  9. justwaiting says:

    Last week my husband told me he wished he could ask me for a blessing. He didn’t feel comfortable asking a man, he wanted the blessing through me because we are the only two who could share information about a problem. I told him that I didn’t think God would care if I gave him a blessing. He said, that’s just it, “I don’t think He would care.” In one sentence I felt such hope that God would honor my words and my faith. That He would not care that a daughter called on HIm to bless my husband, that He would give me the right words of comfort. Then I felt the despair of my doubt that He would not care because I am a daughter unordained to exercise the priesthood.

  10. Kristine says:

    Wives blessing husbands is quite well documented in church history, including in a church president’s journal. Apparently, they didn’t think ordination to priesthood office was necessary.

  11. Kelly Ann says:

    Angie, That would be nice but who knows what the future will bring. Although part of me is more scared of things happening than things being maintained the way that they are.

    Justwaiting and Kristine, I’d really like to believe wives can bless their husbands, even if in a slightly different form or with a protocol. I have seen reference to this on other sites (although I don’t remember where now). I guess part of the inherent problem is that given the personal nature, not wanting to go to someone else, it is not something that I think most people would be comfortable blogging about. I’d love to hear more stories though.

    Thank you again everybody for sharing your experience.

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