Guest Post: Ask, Seek, and Knock — Standing in Support of the Ordain Women Movement

Posted by on March 22, 2013 in authority, women | 59 comments

knockingby Donna Kelly

In New Testament times it was shameful for women to speak in church (I Cor 14:34-35).

Today women speak in all church general meetings, from sacrament meetings to General Conference at the invitation of the Prophet.

In a few weeks women will say prayers in General Conference for the very first time in history. Some think this is a very minor change, but I do not agree with that assessment. A woman will be voicing a prayer on behalf of the Church and its members, both male and female alike. This is a huge step forward.

I am moved by this change, especially because of an event in my personal history in Oregon in the early 1980s. As I was walking in to a sacrament meeting, a counselor in the bishopric approached me and asked me to say the prayer. I stood in stunned silence. “Yes, it’s a change. The first of many more to come, I hope. We wanted you to be the first!” he hugged me as he spoke. I wept as I prayed that day and felt the privilege of being the first woman to say a prayer in my ward sacrament meeting. Since that day I have often wondered what precipitated that change. Was it a change made after the request of a righteous woman who asked to pray in her ward? I like to think so. But regardless of its precipitation, it was a step toward a brighter day.

I feel blessed to be living at a time when positive changes such as these confirming the intrinsic equality of women and men are being made in deed and not just in theory, not just in word, and not just with a “separate but equal” kind of equality.

Let me first declare that I believe that God’s house is a house of order and that things will be done in God’s time and according to His will. I have a firm testimony of the gospel and I honor and respect the leaders of the Church.

So why do I support the Ordain Women movement?

I need to go back a few years to fully answer that question.

I watched in horror in the early 1980’s when some women protested against the Church and did things like marching in public wearing nothing but temple garments and chaining themselves to the fence outside the Seattle temple. To me this was deeply disrespectful and made a mockery of women and women’s equality. I felt an overwhelming sadness for them, for my beloved church and for the message this gave to the world.

Yet, I have always known that women would someday have the priesthood. It is certain that they will have it in the next life (D & C 76: 95: “And He makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion”).  But I doubted that it would happen in my lifetime on the earth. Churches are organizations steeped in tradition as well as in doctrine, after all.

Then in 1997 when President Hinckley was asked why women do not hold the priesthood in the Church, he said there was no “agitation” for women to have the priesthood yet. When I heard that, I felt a glimmer of hope that the Church would ordain women in my lifetime.

I firmly believe that President Hinckley’s statement about “agitation” at the very least includes the “agitation” of dedicated, faithful members of the Church speaking out and declaring that they are ready for and support this change. Sadly too many of us have been like the people of Nazareth once were. Christ did not perform any miracles in Nazareth because of the “unbelief” of the people (Matthew 13:58). They were not in a state to receive blessings that the Lord was clearly ready and able to provide.

I do not profess to know all the many ways in which revelation can be received by church leaders, but I know for certain that one way is by request of the members. At least one event in church history confirms this fact.

Our first Relief Society President Emma Smith was the catalyst for the Word of Wisdom (D&C 89) being received. Emma was weary of scrubbing tobacco spit from the floors of Joseph’s Red Brick Store after the brethren held their School of the Prophets meetings. She asked the Prophet if a revelation could be received prohibiting the use of tobacco. She neither paraded nor publicly protested, but the important and lasting message is that she asked for the revelation nonetheless. The Prophet then approached the Lord and that very revelation was received – and then some! It is in fact a defining revelation for Latter-day Saints.

The pattern for revelation for humankind has always been very clear: it is men and women who take the first steps. “ASK and it shall be given you. SEEK and ye shall find. KNOCK and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). How joyful it is to know that the heavens are open to us!

Let us never forget the significance of this chronology: Joseph went in to the grove of trees to pray before the Church was restored to the earth.

And so we ask. And we seek. And we stand at the door and knock.

I add my voice to other voices supporting the Ordain Women movement because I believe it is a respectful declaration that we have shed our “unbelief” on this topic and that we are ready. We are not like the people of Nazareth. We are ready for this miracle. Women in the  Church are ready. And the world is ready and waiting. The influence of righteous women of the Church will be greatly magnified with ordination and we stand ready to increase our ability to be a powerful influence for good in the world.

Donna mug shot (2)(Donna Kelly is an active member of the Church and has served as a Relief Society President, Young Women’s President, Primary President and as an early morning seminary teacher for 12 years. She has been an attorney for 31 years, and has spent most of her career as a prosecutor specializing in the prosecution of violent crimes against women and children. She and her husband of 36 years raised four children as active members of the church. In her spare time she is a cookbook author, food blogger, quilter, mother of three daughters, and grandmother of three beautiful granddaughters.)

Related posts:

59 Comments

  1. KNOCK and it shall be opened unto you! Great post!!!

    • DonnaYou are most kind!

    • Have you earnestly prayed to your Heavenly Father to see if this is the direction you should take.

  2. Thanks for your wonderful post! I agree with your assessment that our Heavenly Parents generally bless us with the things we are seeking after. No use in giving the children blessings that they don’t want, or have no idea of the value of. And I think that more and more people are understanding the benefits such a progression would make in the the lives of church members; not only in the United States, but also in places were male priesthood holders are few. It only makes sense to try and make this life more celestial, as opposed to sitting idly by, waiting for the next life.

    • Couldn’t agree more! Let’s live as will be in the celestial kingdom- right now! Many thanks for your kind words, X2 Dora.

  3. What I want to know is if those supporting the ordination of women have asked God whether this is something that they should be pursuing? Have those supporting the ordination of women feel that God has told them that they should do so?

    • Answers: Yes! And Yes!

    • I can’t speak for everyone, but I know it’s something I am personally praying about. And, truthfully, sometimes it takes a while to be clear on the revelation we receive on questions like this. It can be tough to sort out our own traditions, cultural beliefs, desires, etc. from what comes by revelation. I think that’s why you still see a lot of variance and ambivalence among LDS women on the topic of ordination. I was initially hesitant even to pray about it. I’m still not certain whether or not I even want the priesthood. However, when I think about what I DO want for women in the church (a greater, more equal position in church leadership and administration, more of a voice, an expansion of opportunities for us to use our talents and wisdom to serve and help the kingdom to progress) ordination seems like a logical step. My feeling on my own hesitance, after a lot of prayer and thought, is that I have a lot more hang ups about women being ordained than God does, and my issues are based more on tradition than they are on doctrine. I would be willing to bet that most women who are trying to receive revelation on where we fit in the church and what actions we should be taking are definitely also praying about ordination.

  4. You are too kind, Kate!

  5. Amen. And Amen.

  6. Terrific post, Donna. I agree that it is crucial to express our readiness for an inclusive priesthood for God to ever authorize such a change.

    It’s also helpful for me to remember that priesthood has increasingly been extended to more and more people over time. In our Mormon history, it was first extended to boys — originally it was for adult men — and then of course black males finally received in in the 70s. I think the natural trajectory of the gospel is towards more and more inclusion. But as President Hinckley alluded, it’s not going to happen without people expressing desire and readiness. Bless you for your willingness to speak from your heart, your experience, and your Spirit inspired conviction.

    • Caroline – Wow. I had never thought of the inclusiveness being a natural progression over the course of history, but you are absolutely right. At various times during OT history, priesthood was only given to males with a particular genealogy. But now all worthy males can be ordained. Thanks for enlightening me.

  7. So beautiful, Donna.

    Your description of that first prayer you said in Sacrament as a step toward a “brighter day” made me pause (in the best possible way). I believe that is what we are seeing now, and that we will see increasingly brighter days.

    I also loved your framing of readiness for this miracle in terms of the city of Nazareth, and its inhabitants, who were not ready for Any miracles. I have also been pondering a lot on the “ask and ye shall receive” verses that show up in scripture again and again, as well as other passages about how sometimes human beings ask for bread and are given a stone, but God knows how to give good gifts–nourishing gifts. I think we will continue to see that too.

    • You are most kind – and so happy you had a good “pause.” I am thankful in my life for those good pauses!

    • Donna, what a powerful declaration of faith! I am still pondering my personal position on ordination and frankly, haven’t asked God yet, which is a crucial step, both personally and communally. I am excited about the new wave of Mormon feminism; we seem to have grown up in the last few decades and I hope you’re right that we’re ready for the next necessary Big Shift in the church. I personally feel power in the priesthood at work in my life but am increasingly dismayed at the institutional restrictions on women. The current structure seems to drastically stunt our growth toward Zion. There is clearly a core group of women and men prepared for even the big step of ordaining women (and what about girls? and who will ordain us?) but I am not convinced that we’ve reached critical mass yet. Which is what makes your voice, all our voices, all the more important. Thank you for your example of respectful agitation!

      • Lisa – With thoughtful and prayerful women like you among us, how can we go wrong? Just remember this one thing, tho: Joseph was a “critical mass” of ONE.

      • I work iun the temple all the time and see the wonderful wemon that come here and see howthey are treated by the priesthood some times give us the priesthood and watch the church grow by boyd k peckerhead

  8. The Spirit has touched my heart and enlightened my mind by reading this. I really feel the truth of this application of principles. I feel hope. Thank you, for helping me to have this experience today.

    • Alisa – You just made my day! My week! My year! Thank YOU.

  9. I’ll say here what I’ve said elsewhere because it has to do with knocking:

    What I am not seeing on the bloggernacle is an substantive discussion of the doctrinal implications of ordaining women to the priesthood. It is easy — and politically correct — to make the case for the equity-based rational of universal ordination. But, I think that there are a lot possible doctrinal ramifications that we should be discussing, including:

    1) If women are allowed to be ordained to the priesthood, would it be necessary from a doctrinal perspective for them to be ordained before they receive the higher temple ordinances? Why or why not?

    2) If ordination to the priesthood was made available, would it be considered essential for a women’s salvation for her to be ordained to the priesthood in this life or the next, like it is for men? Why or why not?

    3) What about the many women who have not been ordained to the priesthood that have already died? Would vicarious ordinances need to be performed for them? Would additional ordinances need to be performed for those that have already had vicarious work done for them? Why or why not?

    4) If women were to be ordained to the priesthood, would changes to the temple ordinances be required? Would women and men receive the same ordinances that they do now? Would women be able to choose to receive the ordinances that are now given to men and visa versa?

    5) Once ordained to the priesthood, would women be allowed to officiate in what are now male roles in the endowment ceremony? Would that not change the symbolism and meaning of the endowment ceremony if they were? And, would it not continue a gender division if they were not?

    5) Would priesthood be required before women could serve as auxillary presidents, like it now is for men?

    6) If ordination to the priesthood was to be considered optional (and not required for salvation) for women, like missionary service, would it then become optional for men too?

    7) Would women and men still enter in the the “patriarchal order” when they are sealed in the temple? Or would that be done away with?

    Perhaps, these are considered dumb by some as well, but I honestly don’t know the answers to them.

    I think that before the brethren and the majority of church members are going to feel like they can importune the Lord on this subject, they are going to need to “study it out” by doing their best to answer questions like these.

    Remember: Spencer W. Kimball didn’t just willy-nilly go to the temple one day and ask about blacks and the priesthood. His importuning came after much serious and scholarly work was done both by the brethren and outside scholars on the issue.

    Perhaps there are those out there that can help by answering these and similar questions.

    • One of the goals of Ordain Women is to make discussing the topic of women’s ordination more familiar and less taboo. At present, there is so much backlash in our communities when someone even mentions it at all that conversations rarely get far enough to discuss details, even important details. I am glad that you are willing to take that step.

      However, I do see a chicken/egg problem here. You point out that the brethren and membership may not be willing to support ordination until they know how this would affect issues like the temple ceremony and women’s church callings. I would point out that currently, only priesthood holders have the authority to make such decisions and so it may be preferable to to make these adjustments after ordained women can be at the table and included in the process as equals.

    • Just one though on this. When the church was organized on April 6, 1830, they had absolutely no clue on the “how-to’s” of many, many things. Some of the things that they did have now been changed, and seem odd to us now. For example, they used to baptize people over and over again – whenever the person felt the need for a spiritual lift, they’d get baptized, even if it were the 12th time for them. But the practicalities worked themselves out as time went along. I picture that is how ordination of women would progress. And, I agree with April – with women at the table!

      • The things I mentioned are not “practicalities,” but foundational doctrinal issues that must be accounted for. To suggest otherwise is to demonstrate a lack of appreciation for the major issues that ordaining women will implicate. I think that is why many people will dismiss this movement- because it is not answering the hard questions. Most church members will seek a doctrinal justification for the change – not one rooted in political correctness, feminist theory or sympathy engendering stories.

        Joseph was largely working from a clean slate when he revealed additional truths. We now have well established doctrines and ordinances that the church has taught are necessary for salvation for the last 150 years. It is a legitimate question as to how ordaining women will fit with them.

        African men were only given the priesthood after the Brethren had assured themselves that doing so was consistent with the established doctrine. Indeed, the scholarly work by those inside and outside the church was a prerequisite to the “asking” that everyone wants the brethren to do now.

        So rather than simply dismissing the doctrinal implications, by saying “we figure that out later,” it would be more productive to engage those issues and show how what is being sought will not do damage to the key doctrines and ordinances of the Church. That is, of course, unless you are advocating to change the ordinances too.

    • I agree wholeheartedly with this post, and my thanks to Donna for sharing the link to that movement – I hadn’t heard of it before.

      Unknown, I’m fascinated with those questions, I’m a very practical person and because I definitely believe that women will one day hold the priesthood, I’m very interested in what that will look like. Thanks for the insightful questions. (Though, not being endowed, there are some I don’t have the capacity to ponder on). Is there some place more stable than blog comments to discuss things of that nature? Any meaningful answer would be a blog post and a half by itself.

    • Unknown…. Excellent questions. I’d like to hear your answers.

      If women were ordained, from a doctrinal standpoint, all previous doctrines relating to priesthood being exclusively patriarchal, and all patriarchal offices and ordinances would have to be done away, and new doctrine put in their places. This happened in 1978. All previous church handbook policies and doctrine pertaining thereto were made null and void, and the new policies and reinterpreted doctrine were immediately made binding.

      Then the great back-work began. Black men were ordained and through family history they began going back to ordain, endow and seal couples and families.

      If/when women are ordained, all previous policies and supporting doctrinal interpretation will become null and void, and the Savior will institute new policies and supporting doctrine. He will not reveal His desire for women to be ordained without addressing how to proceed. He may strongly desire that say……the general auxiliary presidencies be immediately ordained High Priestesses, or be Presidents of say……an additional Quorum of the Seventy. No doubt He would not want women ordained without giving them Office and Authority to sit in the councils that determine the mechanics of procedure, and the establishment of doctrine. It is God’s church. Not men’s. Not women’s. It is His. And He, alone, perfectly knows how to bring about many great and important things yet to be revealed in His church. He will direct the changes to come, as He always has. And He, and He alone, will give the perfect answers to you excellent questions.

  10. Donna, thank you for sharing this powerful post. I cried as I read about the first time you prayed in Sacrament Meeting. It’s something I’ve taken for granted because I’ve always been able to do this. I won’t any longer.

    And, thank you for framing this as a desire for revelation. This is what I think we have covenanted to do as Latter-day Saints.

    President Uchtdorf gave a talk at a fireside recently. I love this quote, ” My dear young friends, we are a question-asking people because we know that inquiry leads to truth. That is the way the Church got its start—from a young man who had questions. In fact, I’m not sure how one can discover truth without asking questions. In the scriptures you will rarely discover a revelation that didn’t come in response to a question. Whenever a question arose and Joseph Smith wasn’t sure of the answer, he approached the Lord, and the results are the wonderful revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants. Often the knowledge Joseph received extended far beyond the original question. That is because not only can the Lord answer the questions we ask but, even more importantly, He can give us answers to questions we should have asked.”

    • Thank you Emily for sharing. This kind of response makes it worth while for those of us who are risking rejection! And I know it might not be a celestial thing to have a preference for specific church leaders. But. Prez Uchtdorf is one of my faves. He just radiates LOVE.

    • I cried at that same part. I was already one who sees the opportunity for women to pray in the upcoming Conference as a big change, but now so even more. It also strengthens my faith that things have gotten brighter and will continue to do so.

  11. Awesome. Beautiful. Moving. Insightful. I kinda have a girl crush on you!!!

    • So, so happy you loved this. And me!

  12. This is lovely, Donna, thank you!

    I have also wondered about the temple endowment and how that would be effected by having women obtain active priesthood keys. My answer is in two areas: one in the iniatory- if you have not been to a recent iniatory session for women, go and ponder. In consideration of this, I think the patriarchal order issue irrelevant at this time. I think there is potential for additional temple revelation, and I welcome it, but I do not see the issues as others do as a result of the promises and wording of women’s iniatory.

    My second answer has to do with my pereception of the endowment. For example, I see the bride and the bridegroom symbolism to mean the church and Christ. The bride is the church and the bridegroom is Christ. I take this to be correct and applicable in the temple as well– a bride, a feminine, is symbolic of the church, therefore, men and women in the church take on the role and convenants of the bride, even is some are in the symbolic role of playing the bridegroom (husbane/Christ). It is all symbolism, so it seems to me to have little to no matter if the bride or bridegroom roles, symbolic in their nature, is played by a male or a female.

    I looke forward to ordination. As a former member of a small branch (now moved) where we sometimes missed sacrament, or had (openly and self-declared) “unworthy” males bless the sacrament because no one else could, I look forward to the cleansing symbolism of having all members, not just male church members, bless and pass the sacrament.

    • I’m sorry but that is absolutely disgusting and seriously degrading that an unworthy male can bless the sacrament but a worthy woman can’t? Of course when I think of unworthy I am thinking of the worst kinds of sins (abuse, pornography, theft) and not a simple WoW violation (I really don’t care if the individuals who bless and pass the sacrament drink coffee but I’d prefer no smokers because it incites my asthma).

      I find that so incredibly demeaning and insulting. It would really hurt my testimony if that happened in my ward.

  13. Dear sister though your Your article was nicely written that you have studied it out the best you can .Seems you’re very passionate in your beliefs .
    I do not agree with all your saying . It would Have to be a revelation from God givrn into his prophet.Not because the membership of the church wants to change it.This is Heavenly fathers church. Heavenly Father will do what he wants to do and use his prophets to do so.

    Think of the story of Moses when Moses was coming down with the commandments The people were murmuring against there prophet . God Wants to destroy all the Israelite.God said. he was mad and would wipe out the israelites and create a generation out of the rocks. The prophet pleaded with God ,Those who did not repent were punished by God.
    Don’t you think what’s best is to leave it up to our prophet to take care of this and not press the issue ourselves.
    Personally I would not want to be changed into a rock nor make the Lord mad at me.

  14. Thank you for your post. I felt a surge of joy in my heart as I considered the significance of women praying in General Conference. A woman in sacrament meeting today spoke on her discomfort in the patriarchal order in the temple. As she shared her experiences of faithfully attending the temple and crying in her car after every visit, I looked around me and saw women and men nodding their heads. Men and women alike are strengthened when women’s voices are heard. Too often I see women in my faith community keep silent when they possess valuable information that would strengthen the church. I believe women possess priesthood, but I increasingly believe ordination is necessary for all women to feel the confidence/impetus to magnify their priesthood. Maybe ordination isn’t the answer, but the question must be asked.

    • What a brave woman. Good for her for being honest about something that caused her so much pain.

  15. Please watch this video of Shari Dew it is excellent What do LDS Women get?

    • Teri, thank you for posting that video. As the husband of a Relief Society sister it warms my heart to hear Sister McDonald reminds us of just how much trust and faith he has in his daughters just how they are. It also humbles me to know that he has this trust and faith in them to accomplish their mission on this Earth without needing to be prompted and prodded.

      • I got the name of the speaker wrong. That is Sister Dew.

  16. I heard that talk by Sheri Dew in person and it really was excellent. She wasn’t just trying to make a roomful of women feel good about themselves (this was given at Time Out for Women) but was telling the truth as she experiences it. I remember thinking, “She’s right. I would not have had the opportunities for leadership and personal growth that I have had if I had not become a Mormon.” And I was glad of all of it– our history, our female-affirming doctrine, my own personal experiences. And I wonder if all of it has been a grand set-up for the next Big Step in our growth as children of God and as a church. Our doctrine is clear: women are called and ordained to be priestesses and goddesses, right alongside our righteous men. The only question is when.

    • I think that’s an interesting viewpoint because from my understanding Sister Dew wasn’t saying “when”, she was talking about the present time- right now.

      I can appreciate the questions above from UNKNOWN because they get at the more specific doctrinal issues. I would love to see answers for those questions.

      I’m not saying it can’t or won’t happen, but my questions are- Is ordination for women a doctrinal necessity? And why now? It hasn’t been necessary up to this point.

  17. The Lord has given men the priesthood because that is an essential part of a their plan of growth. We don’t need to share or take part of that power away from them. The ERA movement has probably done more damage to this nation than any other movement. We have moved out of our rightful position as mothers in the home and have moved into the financial world in a way we were never designed to do. I say this as a working, career woman. The day I decided to help out with the income and leave my children at home was a fateful day. I can never take back all those years I spent away from my children. You need to brush up on the Proclamation to the Family. We are designed as separate and different people from men and we have a completely different role to perform. We do not need the priesthood to progress in our eternal exaltation. We can do just as many miracles in our role as mothers, daughters , visiting teachers and church members. I thought that I was doing my husband a favor by helping in his role as financial provider and little by little I started taking away his power to make decisions, how to deal with the family and home and spirituality in the home. I thought I was helping to take away his stress by assuming all of roles in the home. All I ended up doing was making my husband feel unneeded, worthless, dependent and weak. Don’t you see that by assuming the role of the priesthood, we would be doing the same thing to our men? It is hard enough to get men to properly perform their priesthood duties when they are the only ones with the authority to do it. You throw capable women in the mix, and then the men will just sit back and let the woman take over and do what they are supposed to be doing. We have our role as a mother and a support. We will be rewarded in heaven with the proper glory when we have proven that we can be humble and supportive and do what we have been designed to do. We are the only creation of God that are so arrogant that we do not want to perform the measure of our creation. Every other creation, even the elements do as they have been created and obey. We as women are already so motivated and powerful in our own right that we would overwhelm the men and take over their responsibilities. I don’t get why you power hungry women don’t understand that. I am a very self-assured person, yet I don’t need the priesthood to be fulfilled as a woman or to feel loved and of equal worth by God. You are doing men a huge disfavor by wanting their God ordained right for yourself. They can’t just petition God to make them conceive and bare children and to have that special relationship with that child. What right do you have to take away the one thing that men have that is special just to them and help them grow into the men they need to be? I know you aren’t denying their right to have it, but this is our husband’s and son’s training ground on how to be a God. We have our training ground in how to be a Goddess by being mothers. We have hopelessly upset the perfection of the family unit by going into the workforce and we would be doing the same by seeking after the priesthood. All the blessings of the priesthood already belong to a faithful woman. We do not need to seek after more glory to be added upon us. The priesthood for men is both a blessing and a heavy responsibility. If they do not live up to every facet of this awesome responsibility, they will be held accountable and extra judgment will be heaped upon them. We as church members already prove to be hopelessly incompetent with the small tasks we have been given. I for one do not wish to add one more task to be responsible and held accountable for. You women look at the priesthood as this power that you are not privy to. The priesthood is a training tool for men to teach them to serve and to look to God for the source of their power. We should feel honored that we do not need that outlet to train our souls for our eternal responsibilities.

  18. Great post, Donna!

  19. Boy I guess if you don’t agree with a post, even if you give rational, thoughtful comments, you are just deleted. This just gives me one more reason to believe that the radicals on this site don’t value the first amendment or are following Satan’s plan of mind control and coercion. I spent a lot of time writing that post and it was just taken down because they don’t want people to think that there are people who disagree with them and have good reasons for doing so. All I can say is that I have no respect for this newsletter as they can’t take the heat for posting controversial material and then delete any comments that don’t gush over what they have to say.

  20. Char- I’ve sent you an email.

    • Donna, The Lord has given men the priesthood because that is an essential part of a their plan of growth. We don’t need to share or take part of that power away from them. The ERA movement has probably done more damage to this nation than any other movement. We have moved out of our rightful position as mothers in the home and have moved into the financial world in a way we were never designed to do. I say this as a working, career woman. The day I decided to help out with the income and leave my children at home was a fateful day. I can never take back all those years I spent away from my children. You need to brush up on the Proclamation to the Family. We are designed as separate and different people from men and we have a completely different role to perform. We do not need the priesthood to progress in our eternal exaltation. We have our own kind of power in our role as mothers, daughters , visiting teachers and church members. I thought that I was doing my husband a favor by helping in his role as financial provider and little by little I started taking away his power to make decisions, how to deal with the family and home and spirituality in the home. I thought I was helping to take away his stress by assuming all of roles in the home. All I ended up doing was making my husband feel unneeded, worthless, dependent and weak. Don’t you see that by assuming the role of the priesthood, we would be doing the same thing to our men? It is hard enough to get men to properly perform their priesthood duties when they are the only ones with the authority to do it. You throw capable women in the mix, and then the men will just sit back and let the woman take over and do what they are supposed to be doing. We have our role as a mother and a support. We will be rewarded in heaven with the proper glory when we have proven that we can be humble and supportive and do what we have been designed to do. We are the only creation of God that are so arrogant that we do not want to perform the measure of our creation. Every other creation, even the elements do as they have been created and obey. We as women are already so motivated and powerful in our own right that we would overwhelm the men and take over their responsibilities. I am a very self-assured person, yet I don’t need the priesthood to be fulfilled as a woman or to feel loved and of equal worth by God. You are doing men a huge disfavor by wanting their God ordained right for yourself. They can’t just petition God to make them conceive and bare children and to have that special relationship with that child. What right do you have to take away the one thing that men have that is special just to them and help them grow into the men they need to be? I know you aren’t denying their right to have it, but this is our husband’s and son’s training ground on how to be a God. We have our training ground in how to be a Goddess by being mothers. We have hopelessly upset the perfection of the family unit by going into the workforce and we would be doing the same by seeking after the priesthood. All the blessings of the priesthood already belong to a faithful woman. We do not need to seek after more glory to be added upon us. The priesthood for men is both a blessing and a heavy responsibility. If they do not live up to every facet of this awesome responsibility, they will be held accountable and extra judgment will be heaped upon them. We as church members already prove to be hopelessly incompetent with the small tasks we have been given. I for one do not wish to add one more task to be responsible and held accountable for. You women look at the priesthood as this power that you are not privy to. The priesthood is a training tool for men to teach them to serve and to look to God for the source of their power. We should feel honored that we do not need that outlet to train our souls for our eternal responsibilities.

      • I’m going to try to respectfully disagree.

        Men do not need the Priesthood to learn how to be men. It has only been recently that every male over 12 has been given the Priesthood, and the increase in Priesthood did not automatically give us more good fathers and husbands. Not to make the connection of Preisthood euqating motherhood, but your analogy would mean that women who cannot have children cannot really learn how to be real women.

        Priesthood is not for ourselves. It is for using in the service of others. I personally believe it (or rather Priestesshood) will be given to women at some point in the future (hopefully not as far away as Millenial times), but even then, it will not be sought after to help make us more complete or to be used as rationale to have dominion over others.

        And your final declaration that women should count themselves lucky they don’t have the Peisthood so they don’t have as far to fall is insulting, just as it was when denying the Priesthood to blacks. It should not matter if we’ve “proved hopelessly incompetent with the small tasks we’ve bene given”, we have been and will continue to be given more, because more is expected of us in these days – not just of Priesthood holders, but of all men and women in the Church.

        To put it another way – “We’re not living up to what we have in the Bible, why should we want more scripture?”

      • Char,
        I am gobsmacked by your comment.

        Because of this, I am just going to keep my response simple by saying that I am really sorry that your marriage is in such a difficult position. I don’t envy the place you are in. Perhaps some counselling would benefit you and your husband? I don’t know, but I suspect he is dealing with depression if he is that apathetic to his family, his work, and his home environment. I am really sorry that you have been put in such an uncomfortable position with his apathy, and hope you find the help you need.

        Best of luck to you as you navigate such a difficult and lonely path.

      • I think that it’s important to distinguish between ordaining women, and having them do what you describe when you say: ” little by little I started taking away his power to make decisions, how to deal with the family and home and spirituality in the home. I thought I was helping to take away his stress by assuming all of roles in the home.”

        One does not necessarily lead to the other. I, for one, have noticed that my working has helped my husband to have more time and energy to engage with his children.

        I’m glad for that. It has been a blessing in our lives.

        Also, I think it’s unfortunate that any man or woman would internalize, through church culture, the idea that men are inherently less than women (and therefore need something like the priesthood to “make up the difference”). That bothers me every bit as much as the institutional training directed at shaping young women to fit a very specific mold.

  21. There are a number of statements by past general authorities regarding the future ordination of black African men to the priesthood. Are there similar statements regarding the ordination of women to the two priesthoods?

    • There are a number of statements by Joseph Smith that women receive the Melchizedek Priesthood through their own endowment (rather than through their husbands or sealing ordinance). Still, this does not answer the question of women’s ordination, though there are a number of statements by Joseph Smith there as well (including in the Nauvoo Minute Book, which are fully online thanks to the Joseph Smith Papers Project).

    • In the Relief Society minute book it states that the Prophet Joseph Smith, ” Said he was going to make of this Society a kingdom of priests as in Enoch’s day— as in Pauls day — that it is the privilege of each member to live long and enjoy health.”

      Also in the Doctrine and Covenants, Emma Smith is told, ” And thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit.” To me that role sounds on par with what the prophet and apostles do today. If Joseph Smith had lived longer, maybe it would have come true.

    • Bernard, I think that most of those statements were made by people who didn’t understand the ban and felt they needed to apologize for or explain it in some way.

      We have many examples of people trying to explain why women don’t have the priesthood—most obvious are the motherhood=priesthood equation and the assertion that we will be prophetesses to our husbands. I put them in the same category as your example: people feeling a need to “explain” something they don’t really understand. Neither case is prophecy.

  22. A lot of people were a catalyst for revelation in the D&C, and many of them received answers in contravention to their expectations. The Ordain Women group may be a catalyst for a new revelation on the subject, but how are you certain that it will be a revelation -in favor- of ordination? Those are two very separate questions and it seems presumptuous to me to assume the Mind and Will of the Lord is always in favor of the petitioning party. There are plenty of examples to the contrary.

    • It would be extremely gratifying if the question were just given serious consideration. And we don’t know what the answer would be. But I think what we’re asking is really “why not now?” and not “will women ever have priesthood ordination?” Because the doctrine of eternal progression and exaltation as married women and men must necessarily mean exalted women are priestesses possessing priesthood. If it’s true in the eternities, then why not sooner?

      If the prophetic answer was no, I would interpret that as “not now.” Not “not ever.”

      And seriously considering the question of ordination should have the side benefit of helping leaders look closely at the division of labor by gender everywhere in the church and asking, is ordination really needed for X? In many cases, the answer will be no.

      • If they’re going to say women will NEVER be priestesses, tell me now. However, I’ve been told differently through official channels of the church. I believe women are meant to be queens and priestesses.

  23. Sisters are set apart, ordainded and given keys to the priesthood when they are temple workers. And each of us by taking upon the name of Christ in Baptism you can call upon the priesthood and give blessings also, absent of a male. These are blessings we are given predicated on rightous endevours. Not titles. Be careful sisters of the Rameamtum tower you are climb. Read your scriptures know the blessings you already have and your birth right is there why do you need a title? Are you that insecure? envy that you cannot baptise it is not enough that you are a co creator with our Father in Heaven?

    • No need for debate, the Prophet and Apostles have spoken in this session of conference. You either sustain the living prophet and his apostles or you don’t.

  24. This is a minor point, but is there a source that says Emma “asked the Prophet for a revelation prohibiting the use of tobacco”? All I can find says that she simply complained to her husband about the mess on the floor. That, added to Joseph’s concern about teaching the gospel in a cloud of smoke, somehow prompted him to take it to the Lord. So I fail to see how this is a valid precedent. Am I missing something?

  25. Just a thought: Even if woman are to be ordained to the priesthood, it will be a different priesthood, it won’t be equal. I say this because it’s inherent in the titles of the offices of the priesthood: the female analog of a priest is a priestess, and I don’t even know what it would be for and Elder. Point is, a woman would never be ordained as a high priest, she would be a high priestess, and if that’s to happen, it would be an entirely new role and we don’t know what that looks like. So while we’re praying for a divinely inspired outcome in this question, we shouldn’t presuppose what it all will look like or what it all will mean.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ask, Seek, and Knock | Ordain Women - [...] Check out Donna’s new post about Ordain Women in the Exponent II. [...]
  2. Ordain Women on the Exponent II Blog | Ordain Women - [...] http://www.the-exponent.com/guest-post-ask-seek-and-knock-standing-in-support-of-the-ordain-women-mo... [...]
  3. Best of Exponent 2013 | The Exponent - […] 5. Guest Post: Ask, Seek, And Knock — Standing In Support Of The Ordain Women Movement by Donna Kelly […]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>