Guest Post: The Priesthood Authority in My Home

by Rebecca

I picture myself someday sitting in a Sunday School lesson wherein priesthood authority is discussed. It would have to be Sunday School, because that’s the only LDS church meeting wherein adult men and women can discuss gospel principles on equal footing. If priesthood authority is discussed, the topic of men being priesthood holders will come up. And I can hardly wait until I can raise my hand in that class and share testimony of gratitude that women can be the presiding priesthood authority in their homes.

The June 2017 visiting teaching message discusses “Priesthood Power through Keeping Covenants.” In this lesson, the women of the church are instructed that women (and men) are endowed with power—priesthood power—when going through the temple. Personal worthiness increases this power, regardless of the situation in our homes. Isn’t this a lovely message chosen to be shared with every woman in the church across the entire world?

Some of us lack husbands that fit the mold of the ever-faithful, very active, returned-missionary, church-attending, calling-fulfilling, priesthood-holding, temple-attending, tithing-paying, tie-wearing men we were always taught to marry. (I for one, am glad to know that my 6 years in the young women’s program and 12 years in the singles’ ward were wrong with the warnings of woe and misery promised from marrying outside the temple.)

Many on this forum are faithful, active, returned sister missionaries, who are church-attending, calling-fulfilling, temple-attending (for those who feel right about it), tithing-paying, pants-wearing women. So if the women of the church, are keeping our covenants, then according to the visiting teaching message, our priesthood power is ever-increasing. If we are keeping our covenants, and the husbands we love (or lack) are not, then technically, our priesthood outweighs theirs. Right? Now, it’s certainly not a competition, but the VT message does remind us that we should all desire the priesthood in our homes, and that we (women) should be a primary force for inviting that power into our lives.

If the LDS church continues to express teachings of gender equality, then my testimony of worthy women as presiding priesthood authorities would be welcomed with a hearty “Amen” by all present in the imagined Sunday School discussion. Far more likely, however, is that I’d sit quietly by, dreaming up comments like this that I’m not actually brave enough to make.

Rebecca loves naps, Diet Coke, and crafting. She served in the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Mission from 2006-2007, and holds a Master of Professional Communication degree from Southern Utah University. Rebecca and her dreamy husband have been happily married for two years.

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15 Responses

  1. Wendy says:

    This VT Message is so empowering! Thank you for highlighting it and putting it in context so beautifully. Well done!

    • Rebecca says:

      Thanks, Wendy. I enjoyed this visiting teaching message much more than most and felt it needed to be shared here!

  2. Libby says:

    During a dreadful Sunday School lesson on the priesthood this week, my husband raised his hand and pointed out that when he was a nursery worker, the (female) nursery leader was his presiding priesthood authority. The teacher was a bit taken aback but couldn’t refute it.l

    • Rebecca says:

      That’s great! Sometimes I think it’s good to shock people a bit like that to really get them thinking outside the box. Too often we assume that women have basically nothing to do with the priesthood when in actuality, which is absolutely not true.

  3. Andrew R. says:

    Nothing in the VT message that I can see indicates anything to do with Priesthood Authority. It talks about bringing Priesthood Power into the home.

    It says nothing about negating the priesthood authority to preside if you husband isn’t; worthy, interested, etc.

    Priesthood Power comes through the ordinances of the temple. Priesthood Authority comes through ordination and setting apart.

    • Rebecca says:

      I suppose that’s a fair point. So if there’s priesthood power but no priesthood authority in a household, then what function does the priesthood serve there?

  4. linjan says:

    Waiting for a reply to Andrew’s comment.

  5. Sophia says:

    But…isn’t this simpy en expanded understanding of what priesthood power entails? My interpretation of, for instance, an endowed single sister having priesthood power in her home is simply the power of her temple covenants.

    • Rebecca says:

      Yes. The VT message (and this blog post) don’t really teach any new doctrine. It’s just super helpful to be reminded that women–if endowed–do hold priesthood power. The unfortunate part is that authority is only given to men, so there’s still a lot of confusion about gender and the priesthood. It’s a bit of a gray area (what good is power without authority?), but the message is still an encouraging reminder.

  6. Sophia says:

    This question doesn’t entirely belong here, but it seemed like a good forum to ask. I live in Sweden and am wondering whether sisters ever give the closing talk in sacrament meeting in the US, as far as you know. My guess would be this is not the case.

    • Andrew R. says:

      What happens in Sweden? I can’t say for the US as I love in England. Here sisters are often the final speaker.

    • Moss says:

      It depends on your ward/stake/area leadership. If anyone in that chain doesn’t think it is a good idea it isn’t going to happen. There is nothing in the handbook to prevent it but old traditions die hard. My ward currently has a woman speak last every month or every other month- this started about three years ago.

  7. Sophia says:

    Thankyou for taking the time to respond! It seems to be the case that it differs from stake to stake. I have friends in stakes where it’s a common occurrence and no big deal, but in my stake it just isn’t done–which I rather think is a pity. I was curious to hear what the case was in the US since I thought for sure church culture was more “conservative” there. I guess not. Also, I’ll admit it was probably an unfair assumption as culture can differ between states in such a vast country as yours. As you say, Moss, it depends on the stake.

    • Andrew R. says:

      My own personal rule is that if the person speaking is a member of the ward council they should be the final speaker. If no member of the ward council, or a stake officer, is speaking then I would choose to ask the person I most wanted to hear to speak last.

      However, since ward councils are now supposed to look over, and counsel on, sacrament meeting schedules there is always scope to seek opinion now.

  1. October 23, 2018

    […] offer solutions, the questions she poses for the commenters are very thought-provoking. “The Priesthood Authority in My Home” (The Exponent – Rebecca) “The June 2017 visiting teaching message discusses “Priesthood Power through Keeping […]

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