My eleven-year-old son and ordination to the LDS male-only priesthood

April Young Bennett and eleven-year-old son

Shortly after my son’s eleventh birthday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) announced changes to the procedure for ordaining LDS boys to the priesthood. Instead of inviting male children to be ordained individually after their twelfth birthdays, they will ordain eleven-year-old boys en masse each January, starting this month.

I had always intended to be supportive of my son’s option to be ordained to the male-only LDS priesthood. I don’t want boys to miss out on opportunities for spiritual growth. I want this for my son. Wanting the same opportunities for girls and women has never made me wish for men and boys not to have access to these opportunities, but I thought I had another year to prepare my son to take on priesthood responsibilities and prepare myself for my child to exceed my rank in the church.

As a priesthood holder, my child will be ranked above me, his mother, in the official church hierarchy. That said, ever since 1908, when the LDS church started ordaining male children at age 12, the church has deviated from the scriptural priesthood assignments that were written at a time when priesthood holders were generally adults and instead given ordained boys more age-appropriate responsibilities. Since children and teenagers cannot reasonably be expected to “see that there is no iniquity in the church” or “see that all the members do their duty” (D&C 20:53-56), boys have been assigned distantly related activities such as preparing and passing the sacrament, although these activities are not listed as priesthood responsibilities in the scriptures. Meanwhile, adult women have been delegated many of the duties described as priesthood roles in scripture without being honored with priesthood titles.

This creates an unhealthy situation in which women have low status but much responsibility, while male children are given the impression that they are more special and important than the women who raised them. Women and girls have been banned from tasks that were originally gender neutral like passing the sacrament, reinforcing status for young boys while denying women and girls opportunities for spiritually enriching participation in ordinances. When boys reach adulthood, not only their titles but also their power in the church exceeds that of their mothers.

I want my son to appreciate the privilege of ordination, while also understanding the pain the inequity causes others who are not granted the same opportunity because of gendered rules. This is what I am saying to him:

I want this for you, but it’s your choice. The priesthood is a wonderful way to grow closer to God and serve others. I think you would be a good priesthood holder but the priesthood is a commitment and only you can decide if you should take on this responsibility. We were expecting you to have another year to prepare before ordination became an option for you. Although they have changed the rules so you can already be ordained at age eleven, you can still wait another year, or longer, if you are not ready.

The inequality matters. As a priesthood holder, you will have sacred opportunities that your sister and I are not allowed to have. At church, people will tell you that it doesn’t matter that girls are excluded. It’s not true. The ban on women in the priesthood in our church is unfair and makes many girls and women like me sad. I hope girls will have the priesthood someday, too. Please have empathy for those who don’t have the same privileges you do.

Don’t make it worse. When I was twelve, the deacons in my ward were bullies. At church they made fun of me and the other girls, threw spit wads at us and knocked over our chairs. In the neighborhood, they threw dirt clods at my house and teased my little brother. Their behavior made it even harder for me to watch them pass the sacrament while even the most Christ-like girls could not. In our family, we don’t believe in the excuse, “boys will be boys.” Regardless of whether you hold the priesthood, we will expect you to treat everyone with kindness and respect.

April Young Bennett

April Young Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series and host of the Religious Feminism Podcast. Learn more about April at aprilyoungb.com.

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128 Responses

  1. Violadiva says:

    I love the way you contextualize this ordination to him.

    You’re right; the job description for these ordinations is not age appropriate for children, so the actual function of what they DO with this priesthood have been altered. That’s …. a bummer.

  2. Andrew R. says:

    “prepare myself for my child to exceed my rank in the church.”

    Please could you explain the doctrine that you use to make this leap?

    I fail to see how “mother in Zion” is out ranked by the office of Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood.

    • Risa says:

      Can a mother pass the sacrament to the congregation?

      And what about women who are not mothers? They’re just nothing then?

      • Andrew R. says:

        Can a Deacon come into Relief Society and use his priesthood to usurp the priesthod authority given to the RSP when she was set apart? No!

    • Navy says:

      Andrew, the church is not Zion, therefore we should stop referring to it as such. In Zion all are equal. So if the church ranks some above another, then it’s not Zion, nor is it from God. God is no respector of persons. So God does not esteem a bishop above a primary teacher. Nor does He esteem Nelson above you. If you think he does, then you must be mistaking God for Satan. To God all are equal, loved, precious and worth whatever He has to do to work out your immortality and eternal life. But you must awaken from this slumber of submitting your will to church authorities. God is the only authority we must submit to. Period. Repent and turn back to God and stop worshipping/idolizing Nelson.

      • Jedi-Hy says:

        Navy, your statement “In Zion all are equal” – is only accurate to how far you take it. What is “equal” anyway? If we are to all be equal should we all become a one sex clone, with the same exact looks, exact talents, exact personalities, exact duties, etc.? The main definition of Zion in the church means that you are “pure in heart”. Therefore, if you are pure in heart, you would know and feel in your heart that Women are not more important than Men, or vice versa. We are all “equal” in importance and worth, but not equal in looks, personality, talents, duties, etc. You are absolutely correct that God is no respecter of persons, and “God does not esteem a bishop above a primary teacher”, in fact, as members of the church, we also believe this. Does not matter if you are a nursery leader or a Bishop, God does loves us the same. And we even believe if you are a non-member, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, or whatever, you are still “equal in worth”. Most members of the Church believe that women are equal to men, if they don’t, well then, they can’t call themselves truly belonging to Zion, and need to do all they can to become closer to being pure in heart to understand this principle. (By the way, me personally having the priesthood does not make me better than a woman. Personally, I even think women are better than men in more ways than I can describe.)

  3. DB says:

    “As a priesthood holder, my child will be ranked above me, his mother, in the official church hierarchy.” Seriously? Do you actually believe this? Do you teach this to your children?

    Priesthood office is not a “rank” in any sense of the word, whatsoever. Leadership callings would be equivalent to a “rank” but not priesthood office. I have the office of Elder but I have absolutely no “rank” or authority above anyone else by virtue of that office.

    “This creates an unhealthy situation in which women have low status but much responsibility, while male children are given the impression that they are more special and important than the women who raised them.” If this is true in wards that you’ve been in (and this has never been the case in any ward I’ve ever been in), that’s the fault of the leaders and parents who are teaching untruths.

    • Rukie says:

      Nope. This happened to me as well. You are just blind and contrucontri to an unhealthy system.

    • Risa says:

      Lol, no priesthood ranks. Like hierarchy and obedience isn’t the crux of the church.

    • Someone who holds office within an organization–any organization, not just the LDS church–outranks a member of that same organization who does not hold office.

      That said, as I explained in my OP, in practice, ordained children and boys in the LDS church, in spite of their office (rank), do not have as much responsibility as most female church members with callings.

      Perhaps you have not noticed, but there are many ways that ordained boys are taught that they are more special and important than unordained people as a matter of course at our church meetings. I mentioned a few in the OP. Here is another recent post that discusses this. https://www.the-exponent.com/hearldswomen-the-priesthood-and-my-teenage-life/ I would encourage you to peruse the archives of this blog to see many more examples.

      • DB says:

        April – here are some things that I believe you and I probably agree on:

        – Most members of the church (including most men) do not correctly understand what the priesthood is, what priesthood keys are, the differences between priesthood authority and priesthood responsibility, the differences between priesthood offices and priesthood callings, or the purpose of the priesthood.

        – Because most members (including most men) do not understand the priesthood, false teachings about the priesthood are perpetuated throughout the church. Sometimes innocently, sometimes abusively.

        – If an idea that is false is taught as being true, that doesn’t make it true. It’s still false even if people believe it’s true.

        – There is a lot of abuse in the church because of the priesthood and the warnings in D&C 121 about the abuse of authority are as persistent today as they’ve ever been.

        I also agree with you that young men with the Aaronic Priesthood do not have as much responsibility as most female members with callings. However, I must disagree with you on the issue of “ranking” and the idea that having some office provides some measure of rank. Now, I would not disagree that there are members of the church, including many priesthood leaders, who would consider priesthood office to be some sort of rank, but I would disagree with all of them as well.

        The idea of rank is present in a hierarchical system in which those at a higher level, or rank, have some measure of authority over those at a lower level, or rank. Military ranking is a classic example – a sergeant outranks a private and a captain outranks a lieutenant. Those at a higher rank have the authority to command, order, or instruct those at a lower rank. However, that is not how it works in the priesthood. A Deacon has no authority whatsoever over anyone in the church who does not have the priesthood. He does not have the authority to instruct anyone, assign anything to anyone, reprimand anyone, or counsel anyone. No one is expected seek out a Deacon’s guidance on anything or to give any deference to his opinion. Likewise, those in a higher priesthood office have no authority like that over someone with a lower priesthood office. A High Priest has no authority to instruct, assign, reprimand, or counsel an Elder. An Elder is not expected to seek out a High Priest for guidance on anything or to give any deference to a High Priest’s opinion. Therefore, Deacons do not outrank everyone or anyone in the church without the priesthood, especially their mothers who they are expected to submit to for instruction, assignment, reprimand, and counsel.

        Ranking is only relevant to callings. The Bishop outranks everyone in the ward. The Relief Society President outranks all the women in the ward Relief Society. The Sunday School President outranks the Sunday School teachers. The Elders Quorum President who holds the office of Elder outranks all the High Priests in the quorum. The Primary President outranks all the Melchizedek Priesthood holders who are called as primary teachers.

        I must also disagree with your statement that someone who holds office within an organization outranks a member of the same organization who does not hold office. That may be true in certain organizations but that is dependent on the structure and nature of the organization. In the church, the difference between an office and a calling is duration. An office is permanent, until the office changes, and a calling is temporary. Offices and callings both have authority and responsibility but only within the scope of that office or that calling. A Deacon has authority and responsibility that the Relief Society President does not have and likewise the Relief Society President has authority and responsibility that the Deacon does not have. The Deacon has no authority or responsibility over the Relief Society President and the Relief Society President has no authority over the Deacon (unless she’s also his mother) but may have some responsibility over him since she part of the ward welfare committee.

        Lastly, I will agree with you that “there are many ways that ordained boys are taught that they are more special and important than unordained people as a matter of course at our church meetings”. However, this is more or less true depending on your local ward or stake and the leaders of those wards and stakes. But, like I stated earlier, just because something that is false is taught as true, that doesn’t make it true. Having authority that someone else doesn’t have doesn’t make you more special or important, it just means that you have responsibilities that other person doesn’t have. We should all take it upon ourselves to do what we can to correct false teachings in the church and by so doing make the church better for everyone.

  4. anon says:

    The office of deacon has absolutely zero authority. You can read all about it in the D&C. They have duties, but no authority. It really begs the question of what the priesthood office even is. When ordained it is true that they are given the rights, powers, and authorities of that office – but again, no authority is ever named. They have no special power. Viewing priesthood as some rank or hierarchy is just wrong. I empathize with any woman who desires the priesthood and who feels slighted that an 11-year old boy receives it. But we must put in context what this priesthood actually is. All the deacons get to do is pass the sacrament, stack chairs, and take out the trash. I am not invalidating any woman’s desire to have the priesthood; just recognize the hollowness of the office of deacon.

    • Rukie says:

      Interesting. All they get to do is pass the sacrament. You know, participate in something sacred. Not a big deal, but women can’t do it.

    • nobodyputsbabyinacorner says:

      It’s maybe easy to underrate the value of visibly performing sacred tasks and publicly receiving titles and blessings in your community, I guess, when you aren’t the one barred from them.

    • DB says:

      We should all recognize that Deacons, and all young men who have the Aaronic Priesthood, have authority. But we should all also recognize that a Deacon does not outrank his mother or anyone else.

    • Risa says:

      I love all the men coming here pretending like there isn’t iniquity in the church due to the priesthood. It is that tough to admit you happily participate in a sexist institution that causes pain to several women in your life?

      • anon says:

        Iniquity or inequity? Maybe you mean both. Oh, I recognize all too well how some of the practices cause pain. I do not deny that. I just reject the whole ranking argument.

      • Risa says:

        My iPhone corrected inequity to iniquity.

        You can reject the rank argument all you want. But try experiencing church as a woman just one Sunday and then come back and tell us we’re all wrong. It’s not gaslighting at all to tell women that they’re just imagining their own experiences.

      • anon says:

        Not all women see it or feel it the same either, nor do all men. I am not trying to deny or minimize the pain, and that pain might come from inequities. I am not saying you are wrong about that. My point is that we shouldn’t promulgate the ranking argument when there are no ranks. That some people might perceive ranks is true, yes some people do perceive ranks. I am merely trying to shed light on the fact that there are no official ranks. That is not gaslighting. Any person within the church who teaches that deacons have rank are teaching falsely. I am on your side here; I want all leaders and teachers and instructors within the church to clearly teach all members that deacons do not out rank anybody. We should not teach members that deacons have any rank or authority over any other person.

  5. Sara says:

    I promise all of you that April Young Bennett has studied priesthood more closely and understands it more fully than any of you. Deacons are ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood and able to participate in ordinances. They are taught that they carry the power and authority of God because they have been ordained to the priesthood in God’s own church. There is absolutely an issue of rank involved here when an institution grants authority to a male child that a female child (or adult) is barred from experiencing.

    • anon says:

      This blog has numerous inaccuracies:

      First, the articulated notion of “rank” is incorrect (which is why the article includes no scriptural citation to support it). In fact, the word “rank” is never found in the Doctrine & Covenants. Further, the entire notion that a son “ranks” above his mother is ludicrous and completely contradicts scripture; e.g. Proverbs 1:8.

      Second, similarly, the blog completely misunderstands “authority.” A deacon’s “authority” is not relative to others but a stamp of the Lord’s authenticity in the administration of ordinances. What that means is that the ordinance is efficacious in the eyes of the Lord–and that’s all that matters. To the extent that a deacon’s quorum president has “authority,” it is the same held by a Beehive president over her respective class. Neither one of them have anything over the other.

      Consequently, the conclusion of some “unhealthy situation” is simply not supported.

      Third, the citation to the duties of a deacon is not correct, as D&C 20:53-56 explicitly refers to teachers. The deacon’s duties are outlined in D&C 20:59, “to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ.” And guess what? That’s exactly what the young women do as well as every baptized member of the Church. Everyone in the church is to stand as witnesses of Christ and to be ready to give anyone that asks “a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15. And how do you do that? By warning, expounding, exhorting, teaching, and inviting. And to the extent that the young men are called to see that there is “no iniquity in the Church,” I see the meaning pretty obvious–the young men need to start with themselves, be peacemakers, and stop being troublemakers!

      Fourth, the ordination of 11 year old boys in the year they turn 12 is completely open as to readiness and worthiness. In fact, when you look at the Greek word “unaxios” (unworthily), the term carries the idea of carelessness or in an improper manner (as opposed to being sinful). So the author gets this spot on to make sure that her son is “worthy” in the Greek sense of taking it seriously. In any event, if parents do not believe their boy is ready, or if they want more time to seriously prepare him, the guidelines are very clear that the ordination can wait. Thus, ordinations are not en masse, as opposed to the opportunity. This concern is both illusive and elusive.

      Fifth, a Bishop should absolutely be “inviting male children to be ordained individually.” I’m curious if that is not how it works in this case.

      Sixth, for the serious students of the priesthood on this site, I hope for a careful analysis of Numbers 12 and 16.

      • Adam says:

        I think there’s a disconnect here between doctrine and practice. While arguably there is no scripturally supported “rank” among priesthood offices, practically speaking, and using the common sense of the word, an Apostle in the Church clearly outranks a Seventy who outranks a Stake President who outranks a Bishop, etc. Following that logic, a deacon outranks an unordained member which is the issue at hand here. Pointing out that the scriptures say this or the doctrine is that does not change the day to day reality of the Church system. Intentionally or not, the message is heard loud and clear by many women that ordained young men have more authority than they do.

      • anon says:

        Adam, I think that is a common misconception. The problem with the logic is, within the Church, things are not always as linear as they seem. Further, we tend to conflate things that should not be conflated.

        For example, does a High Priest “outrank” an Elder? The obvious answer is, no. In fact, an Elder in the Elders Quorum Presidency presides over the High Priests of the Elders Quorum. And a High Priest and Elder both called to teach a Sunday School class do not “outrank” one or the other. Similarly, when does an apostle “outrank” someone? Well, for starters, only when they are called as a member of the First Presidency or Q12. Other apostles (which have and do exist) do not. And, what of The Seventy? They are a “general authority” because their roles are generally held throughout the church. And, while they may preside at conferences, they do not (because they cannot) tell a Stake President or Bishop “what to do.” They do not have keys. They are delegated authorities for specific purposes and cannot act outside of those purposes.

        Consequently, there is no “logic” to follow regarding deacons. The simply, absolutely, do not “out rank” anyone. If you were correct, then how do we explain how a 20 year-old Second Counselor in the Primary Presidency–a sister–“outranks” a High Priest (perhaps a former Stake President) called as a primary teacher?

        The problem here is in thinking that priesthood office equates to rank. It’s simply not correct. It’s like saying that someone is 5 foot 10 skinny, or 190 lbs tall. It’s mixing terms. Priesthood office is not necessarily the same as one’s calling. In the case of Bishop, Patriarch, and Apostle, it is. But that’s about it (I think). The better analogy is that Priesthood office is like the gauge of a wire. Whether someone is 12 AWG or 14 AWG is really not relevant if they are both only carrying 15 amps. Even better is to think of Priesthood office as a prerequisite of sorts for certain callings. The hope is that every High Priest understands each of the duties of their former offices, they have taken them seriously, they have magnified those duties, inculcated those principles into their lives, and can now work in any of the associated callings. But their “rank” stems from their callings–not the prerequisites.

        So, if sisters “hear the message” that a deacon “outranks” them, then I am very interested in how this message is being transmitted. It is false. It is illogical (because it compares conflated terms). It is contrary the doctrine of the Church. And it is contrary the practice of the Church. And sisters do themselves a grand disservice by perpetuating such a falsity.

      • Andrew R. says:

        “I think there’s a disconnect here between doctrine and practice. While arguably there is no scripturally supported “rank” among priesthood offices, practically speaking, and using the common sense of the word, an Apostle in the Church clearly outranks a Seventy who outranks a Stake President who outranks a Bishop, etc. Following that logic, a deacon outranks an unordained member”

        No it doesn’t follow. And it doesn’t follow because of Priesthood Keys

        Apostles hold priesthood keys, and the president of their quorum (with his members) directs the work seventies and of stakes. General Authority Seventies hold priesthood keys, but they do not out rank stake presidents because their keys are in relation to the work of salvation, not church government. Stake presidents hold keys, and Bishops hold keys. Deacons (other than the president) do not hold keys. And the president’s keys relate to presiding over only his quorum members (not any other member).

        So your path does not follow, because it is incorrect.

      • Wow, Anon! So many rebuttals in one comment. You might consider writing your own blog so you have your own place to air your views. In response to this list:

        1. Please see my comment above: https://www.the-exponent.com/my-eleven-year-old-son-and-ordination-to-the-lds-male-only-priesthood/#comment-1570024

        2. Authority is not discussed in this OP. If you would like to read a different post in which you can rebut statements about priesthood authority that I actually made, I recommend this one: https://www.the-exponent.com/shouldnt-it-be-obvious-how-mormon-women-hold-and-exercise-the-priesthood-today/ or this one: https://www.the-exponent.com/daughters-in-my-kingdom-blessings-of-the-priesthood-for-all-an-inseparable-connection-with-the-priesthood/

        3. Please read the full sentence. I know those scriptures refer to teachers (13 and 14-year-old ordained boys). I was talking about “children and teenagers” who are ordained, not just deacons.

        4. I agree.

        5. You’re just picking at words with this comment.

        6. Here is some good commentary to accompany that reading: https://www.the-exponent.com/women-in-the-scriptures-why-does-god-hate-miriam/

    • anon says:

      How can you promise that if you don’t know what I have studied or what I understand?

    • DB says:

      “I promise all of you that April Young Bennett has studied priesthood more closely and understands it more fully than any of you.”

      That’s a rather bold statement and quite the pedestal you’ve but April on.

      • Navy says:

        I bet April didn’t know that Melchizedek Priesthood can only come from Gods own mouth. Not by laying on of hands, but from God alone. Aaronic can be transferred from one to another by laying on of hands. But with either priesthood, compulsion, coercion, or any unrighteousness dominion immediately removes the existent priesthood from that man.

  6. Thanks for this, April. I’m sorry that you didn’t get an extra year or at least some additional months to figure this out before your son was ordained. At this point, I wish that we didn’t ordain children. I’m glad that you are making him aware of some of the issues.

    • Yes, I have mixed feelings about that. I like youth having preparatory responsibilities (although i would not limit such opportunities to male youth). On the other hand, giving priesthood to children has many problems.

  7. Anna says:

    For those claiming that there is no “rank” to priesthood, then why is it called “advancing” in the priesthood. The priesthood is built up for the men and boys as some great and important thing, then as soon as women want it, suddenly the tune changes to “priesthood is no great thing, all it is is passing sacrament, stacking chairs, and taking out the trash.” Either it is something great and women should want it, or we are teaching it to the guys all wrong. If men are righteous to want it, then why are women told they should not want it?

    • anon says:

      How do you explain a Beehive “advancing” to Mia Maids?

      • ErinAnn says:

        Beehives and Mia Maids are not offices in the priesthood. There is no “advancement in the young womanhood”. They are class names.

      • rebeccadalmas says:

        Sure, there is a chronological progression in the Young Women’s program, yet outside of their own classes and activities, what roles to Beehives, Miamaids, and Laurels have in Sacrament meeting, priesthood blessings, and other ordinances or functions in the ward?

    • Andrew R. says:

      “For those claiming that there is no “rank” to priesthood, then why is it called “advancing” in the priesthood.”

      It isn’t. There are people with a lack of understanding who say this, but that does not make it right. Men have the priesthood conferred upon them, and are ordained to specific offices within the priesthood.

      I will say that we use this sort of terminology for many things however that are not ranked. We advance from elementary school. Is a middle school child “higher” than an elementary school child and less than a high school child?

      Kids advance from Primary. But are Primary children less in the eyes of God?

      If you see yourself as inferior you will be inferior. If you see yourself as equal you will be equal.

    • anon says:

      Sorry, but a Beehive absolutely advances to Mia Maids: “As a young woman advances to a new age-group, her new Young Women leaders and class presidency welcome her.” Handbook 2 10.1.5.

  8. Andrew R. says:

    “I promise all of you that April Young Bennett has studied priesthood more closely and understands it more fully than any of you.”

    I am sure that April is very well educated in this matter. However, whether that is more than me or not is something you have no knowledge of at all. However, having held the priesthood for 31 years. Having served as an EQP (twice), Bishopric member, High Councillor, together with Institute teacher for 6 years. I think I understand a large amount about the priesthood. And no amount of priesthood office discounts the commandment to “Honour thy mother and father” – no matter what their church status is. Parents are paramount.

    It is simply nonsense to say a Deacon is “higher” then a woman, let alone his mother. RSP’s, and indeed any sister holding a calling in the church, acts with priesthood authority.

    • Captain says:

      Well that proves it, then. Only someone with Andrew’s priesthood resume could authoratitively state that the priesthood is no big deal and women should just simmer down and stop overthinking it.

      Not to be contentious or obnoxious, Andrew. You are obviously a good hearted guy. It just boggles my mind a little that you seem unaware of the irony of your position when you (like so many other well intentioned men I have heard) counsel those denied your authority that it is totally no big deal, which you would obviously know by virtue of holding said authority. It’s quite the orobourus of an argument.

      • Andrew R. says:

        My point was that April is well educated, and someone whose writing I always enjoy reading for that reason. But I was responding to Sara saying April knew more than all of the priesthood holders. I suspect that may not be correct – not that she may well be equal in knowledge.

        I found Sara’s comment belittling and offensive. I have quite a large amount of knowledge, and my PB (received age 15) says that I would be influential in the priesthood, and as a result I have sought to have that knowledge.

  9. ErinAnn says:

    Like clockwork, the menfolk show up to tell the women that “really these offices aren’t offices, per se, but just hollow titles that mean we are obligated to stack chairs.” I bet that’s all they talk about in priesthood preview — nothing about accessing the power of God on earth, the mantle of the priesthood, administering on behalf of God, leading the church, or having the authority to act in God’s name. None of that. Being a deacon is just a hollow, chair-stacking job.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

    • anon says:

      Ok, then please explain to me for the office of a deacon, how the deacon accesses the power of God separate from how any other person might do it, how the deacon administers on behalf of God, how a deacon leads the church, or how a deacon has any authority to act in God’s name? If you are talking about Priest or Elder then you are 100% valid.

      • They get to assist in the administration of the sacrament, which women and girls are not allowed to do. This is a very public exercise, and women and girls are often very aware of the ways that they are shut out of participating in the same way.

      • anon says:

        True that deacons assist in the administration of the sacrament, which women and girls currently are not allowed to do. But this is not related to priesthood authority. (only the blessing of the sacrament requires priesthood authority). Passing the sacrament is simply an assignment which has been institutionalized and it could change, and hopefully it will change. I would love to see women and young women preparing the sacrament table and passing the sacrament. It should not be equated with the power of god, or leadership, rank, authority.

      • Ziff says:

        Okay, so let me get this straight, anon. *You* would rather that the sacrament-passing not be limited to priesthood holders, so because you wish it would change, then anyone else who finds the current state of affairs sexist and offensive and sexist is wrong? Because your wish is supposed to comfort us? The reality is that the difference exists, and it shouts over and over every week in every sacrament meeting in the church that deacons are more important than women. I think it’s great that you’d like it to change. I would too. But the fact that you wish it would change and that you can’t find the word “rank” in the D&C does not mean that there aren’t hundreds of ways big and small that the church shows women that they are less than even teenage boys.

      • anon says:

        Ziff, maybe this argument has run its course, maybe not, and I recognize all the nuances and the challenges in precisely communicating in this format, especially when so many emotions are involved. Yes, I do wish that the assignment or privilege of passing the sacrament was not limited only to priesthood holders. I never said anybody else is wrong to find the current state of affairs as sexist. There are gender based roles in the church, obviously, and many people find that offensive, myself included. I was never arguing against that point. My point was just because a current policy or practice might be sexist and offensive does not equate to an 11-year old deacon outranking his mother or any other member. Rank carries the connotation of superiority, a position of leadership or authority, more importance or value over another. I understand how people might see the public act of passing the sacrament that way, but that perception doesn’t make it a reality. I encourage all of us to teach our children and other members that being a deacon is not a label of superiority or rank over anyone. I really do empathize with April’s feelings and I am not trying to negate or invalidate those feelings. She might truly feel like the church puts her son in a position over her, and that hurts. My point all along was that when we use language such that a deacon out ranks a woman we are only perpetuating the attitudes that we are advocating against.

  10. anon says:

    It is not wrong to want something good, and I never claimed to the contrary. I empathize with any woman or man who desires to receive the priesthood but cannot. And yes, I believe the church for too long has mistaught what the priesthood actually is, and properly distinguishing between office, authority, power, keys, etc. I do not deny that April has studied the priesthood in depth; but so have many of us. We have studied the scriptures in depth, as well as other prophetic proclamations from the time of Joseph Smith until the present, and we have studied church policies, the handbooks, and other declarations. I do not deny any knowledge or understanding that April has, but I encourage all to consider other voices too. It is unhealthy emotionally and spiritually to view the priesthood as a mark of status or achievement. Unfortunately too many members and leaders have perpetuated falsehoods, intentionally or not. I wish all members had the opportunity to pass the sacrament, I truly do. For some reason the leaders have given that assignment to the deacons. But again, it is only an assignment, it is not doctrinal. I applaud all who advocate to change the false culture and narrative, teach our children and leaders that priesthood is not status.

  11. DB says:

    The concept of “rank”, as commonly understood in terms of hierarchy and authority, is completely irrelevant to the priesthood. Nobody in the church has any authority over any other person by virtue of his priesthood office. No one. Priesthood provides the authority to perform certain actions and activities, namely ordinances and specified duties, but provides no authority over any other person. A higher priesthood office provides more authority, and therefore more responsibility, but does not give any authority over anyone of a lower priesthood office or over anyone without a priesthood office.

    “Rank” is only relevant in respect to callings. At the ward level, the only priesthood holders with any “rank” over any women are the three members of the bishopric. That’s it. And that’s only because of their leadership position, not their priesthood office. Even at the apostolic level, it’s not the priesthood office of Apostle that gives those men any authority over the church but their membership in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles or the Quorum of the First Presidency, the governing bodies of the church, that gives them authority over the church. The distinction between priesthood office and priesthood calling must be recognized.

    “Rank” and authority are not synonymous and the fact that person A has authority that person B does not have does not give person A any “rank” over person B. The Beehive president in your ward has authority, leadership authority no less, but she doesn’t outrank you unless you are one of the Beehives in her class. The Primary Secretary has authority but doesn’t outrank anyone. The Choir Director has authority over the ward choir but doesn’t outrank anyone. Authority and “rank” are not the same. Priesthood offices give authority but do not give any “rank”. When your son is ordained to the office of Deacon, he will have authority that you do not have, but he will not outrank you or anyone else. Please teach him that.

  12. Joni says:

    My son is 13, turning 14 in the spring. When we told him about this change, he thought about it for a while, and then told us that he still wants to wait until he is 14 to be ordained a teacher. He is a smart kid who thinks about things deeply, and I respect his right to make this decision. (The same thing happened when he turned eight – it took a few months before he felt ready to be baptized.) If these milestones are really of eternal importance, the last thing I want to do is make him feel like he doesn’t have a say.

    Anyway, a week or so ago the ward executive secretary called me to set up his appointment with the bishop, and I explained the situation (the executive secretary was gracious about it and didn’t push). But I realized afterwards that it was a good thing he called me and not my husband. My husband would have gone ahead and scheduled the interview and pushed the ordination through.

  13. Emma says:

    So when a single mother has a son who turns 12 and is given the Priesthood, is that son not told he is now the Priesthood authority in the house? Implying that the mother does not have certain authority?

    Also I found this quote in the CFM SS manual interesting:

    These words from President Henry B. Eyring might add to this discussion: “When an Aaronic Priesthood holder speaks, … I always expect that I will hear the word of God. I am seldom disappointed and often amazed” (“That He May Become Strong Also,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 77).

    No mention of “when a young woman speaks.”

    • DB says:

      Sure, if that son is the only one in the household with the priesthood then he is the only one in the house with priesthood authority. But that doesn’t make him the head of the household, or give him any authority over his mother.

      That quote also doesn’t mention Melchizedek Priesthood holders, women, children, or when anyone else speaks and President Eyring did not say that it’s only when an Aaronic Priesthood holder speaks that he expects to hear the word of God so I’m not sure how that quote can add anything to the discussion.

  14. Ziff says:

    April, I love what you’re teaching your son about his ordination. Also, your reference to “the male-only LDS priesthood” strikes me as a great label. It seems like something an anthropologist might use, calling attention to its unusual features.

    But my, the mansplaining on this thread, yikes! I think ErinAnn nails it. The priesthood is wonderful and important and the power by which worlds are created and mountains are moved . . . until women mention that they don’t have it, and then the defensive mansplainers come out of the woodwork and fall all over themselves to mansplain that *of course* the priesthood really doesn’t mean much at all, and why would anyone perceive any “rank” to it? I can’t find the word “rank” in the D&C, so that must mean the Church is completely egalitarian! What an argument! It’s not as though priesthood holders get access to any special authority or get to serve as a stand-in for Christ even as teenagers or anything. The willful blindness is just extraordinary!

    • anon says:

      Mansplaining? If the Exponent blog does not want men to participate in the discussions then please make it a policy that men are not to post or respond. Otherwise your attack on men is just sexist, as if being a man invalidates a comment. I don’t think any of the men here have claimed that inequities don’t exist, but rather that a deacon does not have any authority or outrank his mother. The fact that some people feel that deacons outrank anyone is just evidence that the church has failed to teach what the office of deacon is. (That is my opinion and should have nothing to do with me being a man or a woman or anything else). Deacons don’t have any authority to pass the sacrament, perhaps privilege is the better word, and so yes they do have that privilege which females do not have, and that is an inequity.

    • Risa says:

      Ziff is a man. If he thinks you’re mansplaining, well actually

      • anon says:

        I don’t evaluate comments on this board by the gender of the poster but rather by the content of the comment. I find the term ‘mansplaining’ to be sexist in that it is an automatic rejection of what a person says based solely on the fact that it was said by a man. It is an ad hominem attack.

      • Ziff says:

        anon, not all explaining by men qualifies as mansplaining. It’s only a particularly type of explaining. Like when you and other commenters barge onto this thread to assure April and everyone else that *of course* we’re wrong in our perception that there’s *any* type of priesthood-based ranking in the Church, and that *your* perception is the correct one.

        The Exponent is fine with male commenters. I’ve been commenting here for years. But condescending and patronizing explanations where you assume that when views conflict, you, as the “objective” man have the more correct one, are mansplainy, and are less welcome.

        It sounds like you’re new here. You might do well to just read the posts and comments for a while before you jump in to try to arrogantly correct everyone else with your own views.

      • anon says:

        Ziff, I did not ‘barge’ onto this, but read it like others and decided to share my opinion, like others. I am not claiming to assure April anything. She has her views and I have mine. I respect her views; mine are just different and that is fine. I am not trying to force my views on anyone. I don’t think my tone was patronizing or condescending. If anyone perceives that then I apologize. But other people should not be offended just because my views are different. Being a man or woman has nothing to do with it.

      • DB says:

        It would seem that The Exponent is fine with male commenters as long as they are in agreement with everyone else. Anon is correct, when you accuse a male commenter of “mansplaining” because he posts an opinion that is contrary to your own, that is an ad hominem attack. Also, all the sarcastic comments by Risa, ErinAnn, and Molly are nothing more than ad hominem attacks. Rather than resorting to these silly logical fallicies, why not comment with a logical counter argument or at the very least a logical explanation of your opinion?

      • Ziff says:

        anon and DB, I apologize for reacting with such hostility to your comments. Obviously we disagree on some things. But I was out of line in being so rude to you. I’m sorry.

        anon, you said above that maybe the discussion has run its course. I think it’s best for me to stop commenting on this post, but of course you’re welcome to continue.

      • Risa says:

        DB, see this is the thing. I don’t care if you think I’m “attacking” you with ad hominem arguments. I stopped caring what LDS men think of me long time ago. I know you’re used to women who are deferential and sweet and never question your superior hold on logic. I don’t owe you a “logical” explanation of my opinion. You’re not owed anything by the women here. If you really cared what the women of the church thought, you’d shut up, listen, and stop demanding that you’re right.

        Instead of empathizing with April and her obvious pain, you swooped in like the Kool Aid man to tell her she is wrong.

        The call for civility in the face of your gaslighting is really precious.

      • DB says:

        Risa – It’s clear to me that you care a lot about the other women here and in the church but your comments do neither you nor them any good. An ad hominem argument reflects poorly on the commentor, not on the target of the comment and all the condescending sarcasm gives the impression that you’re just commenting with a lot of emotion and very little thought. You’re right that you don’t owe me or anyone else here anything and I certainly don’t expect anything from you or anyone else here but I think that many here will agree that discussing these issues and sharing our different opinions and experiences will lead to a better mutual understanding of our differences in opinion, whereas lambasting opinions we don’t agree with or telling others to just shut up and listen will only lead to greater contempt and misunderstanding. I’m sure that the readers on here would love to read your true, articulated thoughts on this topic even though we all recognize that you don’t owe anyone anything.

      • Trixie says:

        DB, Sorry, friend, but Risa’s comments have done and will continue to do good for us, and I expect, for herself. Please do not come here and attempt to belittle her comments by referring to them as “emotional”. Emotional isn’t bad, it gets things done sometimes, because we have been driven to the limit and our anger and “emotion” give us the strength and courage to do what needs to be done. Stopping and listening for a moment doesn’t actually lead to greater contempt and misunderstanding. If you are actually listening and trying to understand thy whys and wherefores of certain reactions, rather than waiting for a pause for you to stick in your two cents, you might actually come to a BETTER understanding of why many women and men feel and think what they do. Also, perhaps you might like to go back on some other posts and read Risa’s comments with an open mind. You might learn a bit about the good she has done.

  15. Risa says:

    It’s so cute how you’re pretending that the priesthood is only used as the “power of God” in the church and not as a hierarchical institution. [pats on head]

  16. Risa says:

    Oh you adorable men. It must be so hard to admit you happily participate in a sexist institution that denies things to women you enjoy based on perceived gender. Your cognitive dissonance would be so charming if it wasn’t hurting so many women.

    • Andrew R. says:

      Risa (you adorable women),

      I participate in a God led institution. If it is sexist, in a person’s view, that is their perception. Since I do not know the mind and will of the Lord in terms of what Men and Women need to learn, and why, during their mortal existence I can’t do more than point out what I have been taught, and understand. That may well be different from the views of others, which is why each person can state what they believe.

      Since there are no women (and I am sealed to about 25 living women) in my life that seem to believe they have been denied anything that I have. So I find it interesting that you, and others here do.

      April seems to believe that she will be “outranked” by her son when he is ordained a Deacon. It is an interesting belief to me because it is not what I believe. There is a sister in our ward whose husband is a non-member. She had four sons. Each we ordained to at least the office of Teacher in the Aaronic priesthood. Three have since stopped attending church. One is my Bishop. In the house of his parents, Bishop or not, it is his non-member father’s and his member mother’s home – and they outrank him. At church he will ask his mother if she is a full tithe payer, and extend callings to her. She is not endowed, by her own choice, so she doesn’t have TR interviews.

      That an 11 to 13 year old boy can pass the sacrament is hardly relevant to whether this boy outranks his mother at church, at home, or anywhere else. Both are on a journey to received Eternal Life. Both have to follow their path. All men are do not become Bishops, does that make those that have not been called as such any less than those that have been?

      What is hurting women, in my humble opinion, based on my beliefs, is that they are spending their time seeking for something they believe that have been denied. But the reality is that they did not need it for their path. Why? I haven’t a clue, as I said above I do not know the mind and will of God.

      However, any time you want to come to my ward and be the EQP and Stake Sunday School president at the same time (I have two presidency meetings this evening) I would be more than happy to let you. The very idea that I cling to my beliefs to stop the help of the sisters is just not true.

  17. Risa says:

    This comment is supposed to be under anons because he is so, so mad at April for pointing out he participates in a sexist institution. That’s not nice! Let him live his happy life of denial.

    • anon says:

      There are a few anons posting here. But this anon is not mad at April at all, nope, not at all. I agree there are definitely sexist elements within the church. But that was not part of my argument either. I am only giving my opinion on the structures of authority and rank, which evidently have different meanings for different people.

  18. Molly says:

    Men in the church: Priesthood callings are not authority. We don’t rule over anyone. No one tells anyone what to do.

    Also men in the church: What??? You planned a night of crafts and didn’t ask us for approval????

    Men in the church: My wife and I are totally equal and women make up that gendered nonsense.

    Also men in the church: My wife wants me to take a turn picking up the kids because of her job?

    Men in the church: You don’t have to obey.

    Also men in the church: Did you just critique a point in my talk? If you even start holding me accountable who the talk that I winged and didn’t write, it’s the same as apostasy.

    Men in the church: We think the priesthood isn’t any different than the rest of the church.

    *A woman sits in priesthood meeting* *All men shit bricks*

    To quote a prominent man in the church (who has no more authority than anyone else): You can’t talk your way out of situations you acted yourself into.

    • Andrew R. says:

      Molly,

      I am so sorry that these have been your experience. They have certainly not been mine.

      Our RS have meetings all the time. No one approves them – though sometimes I think my wife wished they had.

      My wife doesn’t drive – picking up the kids, taking her shopping, etc. are always my job.

      I don’t understand your talk comment.

      And women do not scare men in any meeting I have attended. They have brought a lot of sense, the Spirit, and much more to the meeting.

      Maybe you should move to a better part of the vineyard.

  19. DB says:

    Ziff, Risa, Molly, nancyross3535, ErinAnn, anyone else – do you agree with the statement that an eleven year old Deacon outranks his mother in the church? If so, what exactly does it mean to you that he outranks his mother and exactly why do you believe that? I would appreciate sincere answers.

    • Anna says:

      I think a deacon outranks his mother IN. THE. CHURCH. But not in that mother’s home, and I think many here are so upset about the outranking at church that they forget that this child is still a child and has zero authority or rank in his home. And I think it is obvious that anyone with any priesthood out ranks anyone without priesthood in the church. But that rank is only in the church and has no carryover to the rest of life. Anyone denying that there is ranking among priesthood in the church is just in denial. Period.

      But then, I have come to view church as a fantasy world where certain people attain the rank of wizard, while others attain the rank of king. But their fantasy world means nothing in real life. See, the obvious ranking, at the same time as denying there is any ranking just makes me crazy.

      But them I am apostate because I refuse to put the president of the church in ranking as “over” me in any way shape or form. So, you believers, just try telling your bishop next temple recommend interview that you do not believe the president of the church has any authority over you and see if your bishop doesn’t think the president doesn’t out rank you.

      • DB says:

        I have two questions for you Anna. What does it mean to you when you say that someone with priesthood outranks someone without priesthood? You say it’s obvious to you that someone with the priesthood outranks someone without the priesthood so would you explain to me what I’m obviously missing?

      • Anna says:

        Rank, look it up in the dictionary. Yeah, that’s exactly what I mean.

        Now, I think one area where people are not communicating is that there are *two* or more hierarchies in the church, depending on whether or not you include families.

        The most visible is “calling” and that shifts with every release from your particular calling. The calling hierarchy shows up on the chart with the president of the church, followed by first presidency, followed by apostles, on down to stake presidents, bishops, and all the rest of us.

        The second hierarchy is priesthood hierarchy and is one of the priesthood you are ordained to. In this one the hierarchy goes High Priests, elders, on down to deacons, then On the bottom, everyone without priesthood.

        So, while in one hierarchy, the prophet and my husband with no calling are on the same level because they have both been ordained as high priests, in the other hierarchy, the prophet has several layers between himself and my husband with no calling. In the hierarchy about calling, there are women who are “over” men, for example a primary president is “over” the male primary teachers. But in the ordination hierarchy the 12 year old boy is over his mother.

        Now if we do include families, that is still another hierarchy which will look sort of like your genealogy record, and on this one husbands and wives are equal with their children under them, and their children under them. This is the patriarchy hierarchy.

        So, just how on earth do you view the church and claim nobody has any rank? To me, I cannot see how you even think the church functions without rank.

      • DB says:

        A dictionary has several definitions for rank, so telling me to look it up in the dictionary doesn’t answer my question. I asked what it means to you.

        I agree with your assessment of the calling hierarchy in the church. That involves leadership positions and does involve rank. I have stated that several times in other comments.

        However, I disagree with your priesthood hierarchy assessment. If we do assume a separate priesthood hierarchy within the church, then it would only include those with the priesthood and those without would not be in the hierarchy at all, not even at the bottom. To me, that would be like saying that I rank below all privates in the army because I’m not in the army and have no rank, or that I rank below everyone in some social club that I don’t belong to. It strikes me as very odd that someone would see themselves at the bottom of a hierarchy which they don’t even belong to. I am glad though that we both recognize the distinction between priesthood office and priesthood calling.

        Perhaps this is all a matter of perception. The church has certainly never come out and said that someone with the priesthood outranks everyone without the priesthood or anything like that. But there is certainly a difference of perception on this issue and it’s hardly men’s perception verses women’s perception. I know there are many men who would agree that someone with the priesthood outranks someone with out it and I would be the first to disagree and call them out on it. To me, the idea that you’re more special than or outrank someone else solely by virtue of your priesthood is the very definition of beginning to exercise unrighteous dominion as explained in D&C 121.

    • Risa says:

      Yes, in the church, deacons outrank their mothers. Why do I believe this? 40 years of anecdotal evidence and actually being conscious and aware of my surroundings. I’m sorry that it hurts your big boy feelings that you’re involved in a sexist institution, but your obsession with being right on a feminist blog is laughable. I’m just so glad my sons will never be ordained to an institution that teaches them they have more authority than their mother by virtue of their gender. And I’m so hoping that I didn’t raise them to be gaslighting mansplainers who try to lecture women that their lived experiences aren’t real or they just don’t understand.

      You’re the one who’s blind, DB. Not the women here.

  20. Julia says:

    What a hard, but necessary conversation to have with your son! I think you’ve really set the stage for some in-depth conversations about the inequalities between men and women that are so ingrained in our church.

  21. JM says:

    All the men here loudly protesting that holding the priesthood means nothing and claiming that women are JUST AS IMPORTANT even if they don’t get the priesthood are conveniently ignoring the fact that you can’t even form a ward or branch without a minimum number of priesthood holders. Women literally don’t count in the organization of the church. You can have a thousand righteous, obedient women but if they don’t have enough men with the priesthood to be in authority over them, they don’t even get to have a ward to attend. (Maybe because there won’t be anyone to put away the chairs and take out the garbage? I’m sure that’s it…)

    • DB says:

      Would you kindly point out a single comment on here by a man claiming the priesthood means nothing? Or perhaps you could just point out an example of a man commenting “loudly”?

      • anon says:

        Technically I did comment that “the office of deacon has absolutely zero authority.” This is nuanced so I will try to explain further. Per Handbook 2 Section 20.7 the wording of the ordination is given: “Ordains the person to an office in the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood and bestows the rights, powers, and authority of that office.” So even when a deacon is ordained, what is bestowed upon him are the authorities of that office. But, what are the authorities of the office of deacon? No authorities are to be found in any written document. I have not found any mentioned authorities for the office of deacon in any of the scriptures or handbooks. This leads to the second comment I made which was, “just recognize the hollowness of the office of deacon.” That was not an attempt to denigrate the office of deacon, and perhaps my word choice was poor. If it came across as claiming that the priesthood means nothing then I apologize. The point I was trying to make was that the office of deacon holds no authority in the sense of 1.) authority to administer priesthood ordinances; or 2.) authority to act in the name of God; 3.) authority to call upon any special powers of heaven or spiritual gifts; or 4.) authority over any other individual. To JM’s point about forming a ward or branch, that is based on Melchizedek priesthood holders, which do have authority to administer the ordinances of the church. All along I have been responding to the initial post regarding the office of deacon.

  22. grace says:

    Imagine for a moment that you are in a sacrament meeting where the bishop is absent for some reason. Who will preside over the meeting? The first counselor in the bishopric, of course. Absent him, the second counselor.

    In the absence of the entire bishopric, I suppose the Elders Quorum president would preside in the meeting. Then his counselors.

    I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. There is a hierarchy, or one might say rank, to who presides over a meeting when one of a higher rank is not present. I do realize it is absurd to think that there could somewhere out there be a meeting in which there is no other member of the priesthood available to preside, or be the authority, over a meeting except a deacon. But the fact remains that there is never, ever a possibility that a woman would be the presiding authority.

    The same holds true of men who don’t hold any priesthood office. If there was a meeting with men who didn’t hold the priesthood, the deacon (or any ordained man) would be the presiding authority, absent anyone else. In the eyes of the church, holding the priesthood is holding authority. And there is a defined hierarchy to the order.

    • DB says:

      Yes, I agree that there is a hierarchy, or rank, within the church but that is based on calling, not priesthood office. Consider your own statement that in the absence of the entire bishopric, the Elders Quorum president would preside, not some other High Priest in the ward, but the Elders Quorum president. That is based on calling. Actually the Stake President designates who presides in the absence of the bishopric and it usually would be the EQ president but again that is all based on calling. However, a Deacon or a Teacher would never preside at any meetings outside of their own quorum meetings. Those offices simply don’t have the authority to do that.

    • anon says:

      The only time a deacon would ever preside over a meeting is a deacon quorum president presiding over a deacon quorum meeting. General practice if the bishopric is absent then a member of the stake presidency would attend to preside, or the stake presidency might delegate to the Elders quorum president. But the Elders quorum president could only serve in that function under delegated authority. Yes, there is hierarchy in the structure for administration purposes, like almost any organization. But that does not work its way down to the Aaronic priesthood quorums. If a bishop walks into the RS meeting in his ward then he becomes the presiding authority. If that same bishop walks into a RS meeting for a different ward he has no authority there. If a deacon walks into a RS meeting in his ward he has no authority. A deacon has no authority and can’t preside over any meeting except his own quorum. Merely holding the priesthood does not automatically equate to authority or rank.

      • Anna says:

        Oh, good grief. You are arguing with me and proving my point. There are two hierarchies within the church. Structure, and priesthood office. Women are clear off the bottom of the priesthood hierarchy, or are you trying to tell me that women have priesthood that falls somewhere between a deacon and a high priest? When pray tell does a woman preside over sacrament meeting?

        There IS hierarchy from the “highest” priesthood office down to the lowest priesthood office of deacon. If you understood that sentence, then you are admitting that the priesthood offices themselves are ranked. The very fact that a deacon’s rank is too low to ever preside is exactly my point.

      • Anna says:

        OK, I just talked to my husband and he says the men are TAUGHT that there is no rank in priesthood. Who’ed a thunk. One more case where the church tries to teach that the obvious isn’t true.(wink)

        OK, I understand why men are taught to ignore the obvious fact that priesthood is ranked. To ovoid the arrogance that many don’t manage to avoid. But obviously melchezidic priesthood is higher than aronic priesthood. Those are ranked, and a boy starts as deacon, at the lowest priesthood level. In the early days of the church you HAD to be a deacon before you could be ordained as a teacher. The offices of priesthood were ranked. They still are ranked, but I guess they try to teach the high priests that they are no better than the elders. And they are not, they just hold a higher priesthood office.

      • DB says:

        Anna – you and many other commentors keep stating that it’s obvious that there is rank in the priesthood or that’s it’s obvious that having the priesthood means you outrank someone who doesn’t have it. Just saying that something is obvious doesn’t explain anything and it adds no strength to any statement or opinion to say that something is obvious. If it is obvious to you that someone with the priesthood outranks someone without the priesthood, please explain what that means to you. It should be easy.

        The fact that a deacon cannot preside has nothing to do with rank, it has to do with authority. A deacon does not have that authority. In fact, if you show up for sacrament meeting one Sunday and no one from the bishopric or stake presidency is there, and the Stake Presidency hasn’t designated someone to preside, none of the High Priests or Elders in attendance have the authority to preside over the meeting. The sacrament meeting just won’t happen. The authority to preside comes from those called to leadership positions, not from their priesthood office.

      • So many questions says:

        Any woman who sat through 6 years of Young Women lessons and Relief Society lessons could very well have come away with an understanding that any man or boy ordained to the priesthood ‘ranked’ higher than any woman or girl in the church. The emphasis put on honoring and sustaining the priesthood (a.k.a. men and boys) was/is ever present. Men with the priesthood operate with the power of God, women and girls do not. It’s only been within the last 5 years or so where there have been hints that maybe women do, in fact, operate with priesthood authority (always delegated by men, of course) in the temple and other callings. So where does this delegated authority come from, if not from the ranking priesthood office over you?

      • So many questions says:

        Another issue contributing to the perception of ranking below boys/men in the church is the decades of rhetoric/discourse/concern about homes headed by single women or women married to non-members and their lack of priesthood holder.

      • DB says:

        I will be the first to agree that how things are taught in the church should change and I’ll readily admit that I don’t know what or how things have been taught in YM or RS. I also believe that a lot of issues we deal with, such as this current discussion, are due to things not being taught well in the church. As for your question, authority delegated to women in the church comes through priesthood leadership positions and not through priesthood offices. The distinction between the two is important. Yes, men must hold a certain priesthood office in order to occupy certain leadership positions but the authority to direct others in the church, to extend callings, or to delegate authority, resides only with the leadership calling. The Bishop can delegate authority within the ward and the Stake President can delegate authority within the stake but that is only because of their calling and not because of their priesthood office. A High Priest without a leadership calling has no authority to delegate, direct, or counsel anyone. His priesthood office gives him zero authority over anyone.

        So again the question, what do you mean by someone with the priesthood outranking someone without the priesthood? If I did not have the priesthood, would someone who has the priesthood (who is not in a leadership position) have the authority to delegate authority to me, give me a calling, counsel me, direct me, reprimand me, or anything of that sort? The answer, of course, is no. It is true that someone with the priesthood has authority that someone without the priesthood does not have, but that’s true of any calling in the church. If you have a calling that I do not have then you have authority that I do not have. So when someone says that someone with the priesthood outranks someone without the priesthood, what exactly does that mean?

      • So many questions says:

        From a 2012 training broadcast…not so long ago.

        “I have been very careful, and am very careful, to treat my wife with that respect and reverence that is due her in performing that thing that is of most worth for a woman in this life to live the gospel, to be the wife and the mother of the children of a worthy holder of the priesthood.”

        https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/worldwide-leadership-training/2012/01/priesthood-power-in-the-home?lang=eng

      • So many questions says:

        DB,

        “So when someone says that someone with the priesthood outranks someone without the priesthood, what exactly does that mean?”

        Any Melchizedek priesthood bearing man (regardless of calling) could give a healing blessing and administer to me or my spouse or child, something that I, as a woman, am prohibited from doing. You might reply that I can offer my own prayer, but why does the church insist that it’s better to have a priesthood blessing? Why is my faith and authority in my own family less than any priesthood bearer’s?

      • Anna says:

        DB, it means he has a priesthood with more keys? Actually, Hell if I know, I am female and all we get taught is honor the priesthood, honor the priesthood, honor the priesthood.

        When my husband was called into the bishopric, he had to be ordained a high priest. Being just an elder was not good enough. He didn’t have all the right keys, whatever keys really are??? When he was released, he didn’t go back to being an elder because once you get a level of priesthood, what ever that means, you don’t get demoted. If he is ever made bishop, uh, not with an inactive wife he won’t be, but pretend I repent and go back and he gets made bishop. He does not have to be ordained to anything else because he was already made a high priest. Now, all the men attend the same meeting, but he is still a high priest.

        Now, does that make him worth more to God? I certainly hope not but the way the church acts, I would have to say it at least makes him worth more to the church. But it should not mean that he is worth more to God or is a better person in anyway than the deacon next door or his wife or the Catholic priest.

        Now, if you are asking me personally what it means to me, nothing! because I no longer believe in priesthood because it has been used too many times as a sludge hammer to pound me back into “my place” as a woman. So, no I don’t believe in priesthood or the ranks of priesthood or that I lack anything you think you have.

        Oh, and by the way, my husband agrees with me, priesthood is obviously ranked.

      • DB says:

        So many questions – your comment about priesthood blessings involves a couple of different issues. One issue concerns priesthood blessing verses the gift of healing and the whole history in the church of the evolution of blessings from actual healing blessings to, in my opinion, a somewhat meaningless priesthood ordinance. That is a whole other topic that I won’t get into except to say that you’d probably find my opinions on that matter agreeable and that because of that evolution, priesthood blessings are now viewed as an ordinance just like any other except that they don’t require any approval from a bishop. Since blessings are now considered an ordinance and require priesthood authority, they are, as you stated, limited to those with the Melchizedek priesthood. However, this is no different than the performance of any other ordinance in that it is limited to those with the priesthood which is simply an issue of having that specific authority or not. My argument about this type of authority and ranking is that just because person A has the authority to do something that person B does not, doesn’t place person A above person B. It just means they are allowed to do different things and have different responsibilities which is true of any two people in the church with different callings. The concern with priesthood blessings is also limited to the Melchizedek priesthood and excluded from the Aaronic priesthood and so has no bearing on the original question of how does an eleven year old Deacon outrank his mother.

      • DB says:

        Anna – I have no idea how your husband is worth more to the church as a High Priest than he was as an Elder. Being an Elder had no bearing on whether or not he could serve in the bishopric. If the church wants an Elder to be in a bishopric, they just ordain him a High Priest, as they did with your husband. Now let’s compare your husband to me. He is a High Priest and has served in a bishopric while I’m an Elder and have not served in a leadership position like that and probably never will. Your husband is worth no more to the church because of his priesthood office than I am but your husband may have more leadership ability or interpersonal skills than I have which would make him worth more to the church. In the church, a man’s priesthood office does not determine what callings or assignments he can be given because the church will ordain a man to whatever priesthood office is needed for whatever calling or assignment they want to give him, but rather a man’s calling or assignment is what determines which priesthood office he has. When your husband was in the bishopric, he had rank but that was because of his calling, not his priesthood office. When he was released, that rank went to someone else. Now your husband is a High Priest and I am an Elder and neither of us is in a leadership position. We have the same priesthood but different offices so practically speaking, what does that mean? It means absolutely nothing. Being a High Priest gives your husband no more authority than I have as an Elder and he has no more priesthood keys than I have (yes, that is correct, a High Priest does not have more priesthood keys than an Elder). If he were called to be a bishop he would have more priesthood keys but that would be because of his calling and not his priesthood office.

      • Anna says:

        BD, you are repeating exactly what I said as proof of your point, when I STILL see it as proof of mine. My husband had to be ordained to high priest BEFORE he could be a counselor to the bishop. Elder was not good enough. He had to be “moved up” by being ordained. Exactly what I said. It demonstrates a hierarchy of priesthood office, a difference in keys available.

        And priesthood holders are who they count when dividing wards and stakes. My stake was just split and you should see the funny way they drew the lines to get enough priesthood in each ward. I don’t count, only priesthood holders, so yes they are more valuable to the church.

        It is about potential. I cannot be made a bishop, no matter how righteous. But any man can, all they have to do is ordain him. So, we get lots of unrighteousness bishops because, gee, they have a priesthood antenna.

        I am finished arguing with you because you are not listening and thinking about what the women are saying. You are SO sure you are right, and sorry, but I just see you in denial. You don’t WANT to understand why your precious priesthood hurts women, so you are plugging your ears and screaming, rather than listening. Grow up.

        As far as I am concerned, we are arguing about something that exists only in men’s imagination, and my attempts to make idiot Mormon understand how they personally hurt women ends when they point blank prove they don’t listen. And you don’t listen.

      • DB says:

        Anna – I have never said that the priesthood doesn’t hurt women and have never disagreed with anyone who said it did. I recognize that a lot of women in the church are hurt because of the priesthood and how it is administered and organized. I’m not blind to that. But that was never the issue I was discussing. The only issue I have been discussing is whether or not an eleven year old Deacon outranks his mother in the church. You and many other commentors here disagree with my opinion and have responded with ad hominem attacks and straw man arguments by claiming that I don’t care about or are blind the pains of women in the church (even though nobody here knows anything about me). Clearly, I’m not the one who is not listening.

  23. Mike says:

    Ugh…all of these circular arguments are making me dizzy!

    My perspective:

    1) Keys, authority, and power are all terms applied to the priesthood in a fairly fast and loose manor in our instruction. Yes, there are distinctions, but–as DB points out–many people get confused about them often. Indeed, there are frequent discussions about the distinctions between these in priesthood meetings to help clarify the concepts (where most attending are either sleeping or looking at their phones).

    2) I agree with Anna’s point about there being two distinct hierarchies in the way priesthood is used in the church and we confuse these often. And yes, women don’t enter into the priesthood hierarchy, and yes, Aaronic priesthood holders are frequently taught they have more power than everyone else who doesn’t hold the priesthood (how many times have I heard the comparison between a 12-year-old Deacon and the pope?!). On that basis, the OP’s point is entirely warranted and valid in my view.

    3) We also conflate church and family A LOT (to a point where it’s unhealthy, in my view). We are often taught that the family is the most basic unit in the church and the line of family/priesthood authority therefore is often overlaid and intertwined with the church/calling hierarchy.

    4) And most importantly–the commonality in all of these points above is confusion about what the priesthood is and does. To me, this confusion is a symptom of the fact that, over time, the church has been inconsistent in how it has invoked and utilized the priesthood to performs church functions (and encourage things in homes). The “doctrine of the priesthood” evolved during the days of Joseph Smith, changing between Kirtland and Nauvoo, and it’s continued to change as Brigham Young took over and since (the age changes simply being the most recent, visible evolution).

    What the priesthood is and how it operates, in my view, is a target that evolves slowly over time. It started in the D&C sections, but the most current church view is actually the Handbook of Instructions (and there are discrepancies between them). Add of top of this the game of telephone that happens in the thousands of stakes and wards across the globe (where, let’s be honest, the Handbook of Instructions is generally used as an occasional reference, not as actual instructions) and you get the situation where many people have their own “correct” interpretations of what the priesthood is and does.

  24. Tera47 says:

    For all those commenting that there is not “rank” in the church and it is all based on the individual callings, may I remind you of the former way of doing Solemn Assemblies. According to David B. Haight “There is a pattern to solemn assemblies that distinguishes them from other general Church meetings where we sustain officers of the Church. That pattern, which was established by the Prophet Joseph Smith, is that the priesthood quorums, commencing with the First Presidency, stand and manifest by the uplifted right hand their willingness to sustain the President of the Church as a prophet, seer, and revelator, and uphold him by their confidence, faith, and prayers. The priesthood quorums of the Church so manifest by their vote. Then the general body of all the Saints stand and signify their willingness to do the same. The other leaders of the Church are similarly sustained in their offices and callings.” The way this was done was, as stated, they started with the First Presidency then worked their way all the way down to Deacons. Each individual level or “rank” of the priesthood was asked to stand as a unit and raise their hands. After that, if I recall the words correctly, it was “the rest of the church as now constituted.” Yes, the General Relief Society and Primary presidencies, and every other woman and child, came after each level of the priesthood all the way down to the deacons, stood as a group and voted.” If that doesn’t show what “rank” the church thinks women hold, I don’t know what does.

    • Jennifer says:

      I remember watching this once at conference. Watching and hearing every male being asked to participate until finally the boys got to raise their hands. Then, after the boys were done, it was my turn as a boy’s mother. I felt absolutely sick. I knew more obviously than I ever did before where I ranked in importance in the Church. I had no priesthood. And priesthood trumps everything and every woman in the Church. Not the family, but the Church.

      • Navy says:

        Jennifer, you should know that anyone in the church who has ever used priesthood as a trump card, or to hold anything over your head doesn’t actually hold any priesthood at all. D&C 121 spells that out. Priesthood is an association, not a power or authority that men hold over women. Nelson holds no more priesthood than you do. They may talk a big game, but for any abuse of power, D&C 121 pronounces an amen to their priesthood.

      • ElleK says:

        Navy, according to the scriptures you’re right, and perhaps in the eyes of God, what you say is true. But practically speaking, there is no “amen squad” that goes around undoing the damage of unrighteous dominion. If a woman is the victim of an abuse of power, she has very little recourse. She can appeal to her stake president, or perhaps even her area 70, but these men are very likely to side with their friend, the man in power. Often, women are punished for going up the chain by being quietly blackballed from callings and losing social capital in their wards. So maybe she has the satisfaction of knowing that God took away a man’s priesthood power when he was abusive, but the man still keeps all of his authority, privilege, and position, so it’s small comfort.

  25. Em says:

    I for one am so grateful for all the service-minded men who have thoughtfully come here to explain to me why a lifetime of experience in the church is wrong and if I only UNDERSTOOD and also if all men understood which they currently don’t then really everything is fine. So boys get to participate in a sacred ordinance that symbolizes the blood and body of Christ, an ordinance that Christ himself enjoined us to participate in. Big deal! It’s just like taking out the trash! So boys are publicly thanked every single Sunday by the Bishop for the “reverent manner in which they blessed and passed the sacrament” — public recognition and gratitude by an authority figure is entirely meaningless. The fact that women and girls are denied the opportunity to serve, participate or be thanked in this way does not matter because it has never bothered these male commenters, and therefore the problem must be imaginary and based on female mistaken understanding of truth.

    I for one am deeply relieved to realize that my feelings are wrong. As a missionary I was always told to bear my testimony, because nobody can argue with your testimony. It has been a delightful surprise to realize that, in fact, people can and will argue with a description of my feelings and experience. Thank you! I now feel fully at peace about my exclusion!

  26. Andrew R. says:

    “I for one am so grateful for all the service-minded men who have thoughtfully come here to explain to me why a lifetime of experience in the church is wrong and if I only UNDERSTOOD and also if all men understood which they currently don’t then really everything is fine.”

    I am not saying that your understanding of what you experienced was wrong. I am saying that the experiences you had should not have been that way. People erred in their teaching, example, etc.

    “So boys are publicly thanked every single Sunday by the Bishop for the “reverent manner in which they blessed and passed the sacrament””

    In your ward. In mine everyone is thanked for their reverence during the administration of the sacrament. No call for thanks is required, it is a custom observed in some units.

    “The fact that women and girls are denied the opportunity to serve, participate or be thanked in this way ”

    Seriously? You have never heard the Young Women, or members of Relief Society thanked for things that they have done? Service they have rendered?

    For years, in one ward, the sisters rotated bringing a flower display for the stand each week. Everyone in Relief Society did it. Not one single man was every asked if he wanted to do it. Each week the flowers were noted, and thanked for.

    Choosing, arranging, and placing flowers for the Sacrament meeting I would say took more consideration, thought and effort than passing the sacrament every did. Now it could have been argued that the husbands could help their wife, and sometimes I did – if only in driving her to the shop, or picking flowers from the garden. However, the poor single men were completely left out. And maybe one of them was single because of gender issues, and would have loved to be included in the flower arranging.

    It goes both ways. You don’t see it because your perspective is yours. Being told from a very young age you will hold the priesthood and much will be expected of you it not easy. Especially when the girls are not being told the same. The expectation to go on a mission is likewise a burden. I didn’t. I married at 19. I am now 53 and still hold a small amount of guilt, and what if, about the choice – one which was not made because of any unworthiness to serve.

    We all do our part, according to what we have been asked to do. We all have our pain because of stuff we see and unjust. I simply have to believe that God has reasons for this which I do not understand. I believe there is a God, I believe He has a plan, I HOPE that the plan is the one found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  27. anon says:

    Em, I never said (and I don’t think anyone else here did either) that passing the sacrament was no big deal, that it doesn’t matter, or that there are no problems. Only that passing the sacrament is not a question of priesthood authority or rank. The church for whatever reason made that assignment exclusive. But there is no doctrinal basis for it. I think the exclusive policy is wrong. That policy could easily change like so many other policies have changed. My hope is that they do change the policy. But again, that has no bearing on priesthood authority or rank.

  28. Anna says:

    Guys, all except Ziff, I suspect you are trying to comfort us by saying that a 12 year old boy really does not have authority ver his own mother. We KNOW that. Reality is that is just stupid and silly. But the church teaches it in such a way, and operates in such a way, that it turns into lies everything you are trying to say here. Read that over again until you comprehend.

    The church teaches that husband and wife are equal, then it turns around and TREATS women as second class in their own homes. That turns what they say into a big fat lie.

    You have been told that there is no rank between priesthood quorums, then the church turns around and does the sustaining as has been described showing a definite hierarchy. That turns what they tell you into a big fat lie.

    So, you come here and think you are correcting the poor misguided women’s misunderstanding of how the church really works. We can see how the church operates. We believe our experience in the church more than we are going to believe when you just keep repeating the same old lie.

    There is a hierarchy to priesthood. It goes from bottom to top deacon, teacher, priest, elder, high priest. When the sustain leadership, they go down the hierarchy. You have seen this. Deacons are able to do certain things. Teachers can do all the deacon does plus the duties of a teacher. Priests can do everything a teacher can do, and the duties assigned to priests. Elders can do everything a priest does plus the duties of an elder. High priests can do everything an elder does, plus whatever else. So, for example, an elder can still pass the sacrament, and he can bless the sick. A priest can baptise, but he can’t do the duties of a high priest. This people, is what we call a hierarchy. There, I have womansplained to all you men about something you should know better than I do.

    • Jennifer says:

      Oh my gosh! Thank you! I am so tired of men AND women telling me that what I’m experiencing can’t be true.

    • DB says:

      Anna, thank you for your womansplanation. If you would be so kind, would you also explain the offices you left out, you know, Bishop, Seventy, Patriarch, and Apostle. I’m a little confused on how those fit into the hierarchy since Bishop is an Aaronic Priesthood office but an Elder doesn’t have the authority to do what a Bishop does. Neither does a Seventy. Only a High Priest can do that. What about a Patriarch? They don’t have any more authority that an Elder except to do their own special thing and no other office has the authority to do what a Patriarch does. Not sure where they fit in. And what Seventies, Apostles, and High Priests? The calling of Seventy has moved around over the years and is currently right below the calling of Apostle but what about the office? And an Apostle would appear to be above a High Priest but the calling of President of the Church technically is occupied by a High Priest, though ever since Brigham Young it’s been occupied by an Apostle. Please explain to all of us how and where all nine offices fit into the priesthood hierarchy. Again, thank you.

      • Anna says:

        Those are not priesthood’s, but callings. They are part of the structure hierarchy, not priesthood hierarchy. Like I have been saying there are two different hierarchies in the church. Priesthood and calling.

        Now, to show you how you are confusing the two, let’s imagine a ward where they need a new bishop. They release the old bishop, and he gives up the keys of his calling. Say the man called to be the new bishop is currently an elder. First thing they ordain him a high priest. Second thing, they set him apart as bishop. With the ordination, they confer the necessary priesthood. With the setting apart, they confir the necessary keys of the calling. Two separate steps to making this elder a bishop. Then, yes, he is president of the deacons, but he is not himself a deacon. He is a high priest. As bishop he is also over the RS, but just like he is not a deacon, neither does he have to be a woman to be over RS.

        The same goes for seventy and apostle. They are not ordained to those positions as priesthood, but they are called and set apart and given the keys of the calling. So, the priesthood they belong to is still high priest, and we call them elder, and yes, it is rather confusing, especially as we no longer do it as instructed in D&C.

      • DB says:

        Sorry Anna, but those are priesthood offices. The four offices of the Aaronic Priesthood are Deacon, Teacher, Priest, and Bishop. The five offices of the Melchizedek Priesthood are Elder, High Priest, Seventy, Patriarch, and Apostle. Bishop, Seventy, Patriarch, and Apostle are also callings. I could explain all of this in great detail but that would take a long time so here are a few short points. Bishop is both an Aaronic Priesthood office and an Aaronic Priesthood calling. Yes, your bishop who is a High Priest has an Aaronic Priesthood calling. He is also the president of the Priest quorum, not the Deacon quorum. However, nobody actually holds the office of Bishop because you have to be a direct descendant of Aaron to hold that office so when a man is called to be a bishop he is ordained to the office of High Priest because no other MP office is authorized to serve in place of the office of Bishop. A High Priest does not have more priesthood or more keys than an Elder, but a High Priest is authorized to do more than an Elder. Patriarch and Apostle are callings that require special keys which only come with those offices. Those offices are not higher or lower than the other offices, they just have different authorities. Please take some time to study the organization of the priesthood. There is a lot to learn.

      • Anna says:

        As I have said before, women are not taught this stuff, so, OK, I left off some levels of the priesthood hierarchy. That does not prove it is not in hierarchy, just that I am unfamiliar with the higher levels as priesthood levels, rather than callings.

        I can still arrange the hierarchy. And, you can not convince me that there is no hierarchy because I can see by how the church treats things that there is.

        And really, it makes no difference because I have already left the church over the way it treats women as second class. No amount of your sticking to your dumb point is going to convince me that I see things wrong.

        What you are doing is called gas lighting, when someone tries to convince someone else that what they see plain as day is wrong. I am not wrong, and I trust my eyes so much more than I trust your opinion that I see things wrong.

      • Trixie says:

        DB, you can talk about the “official” line all you want and what the priesthood “really” means and your belief that it isn’t hierarchical. That doesn’t change the reality of how it is lived, taught, presented, whatever in actual lived Mormonism. We absolutely have a cultural hierarchy, whether it is doctrinal is up to interpretation. But the hierarchy exists whether you wish to admit it or not. We LIVE at the bottom of it. Believe is when we say so, we know the view from down here VERY WELL. If it shouldn’t be that way, great, maybe something ought to be done about that. But the hierarchy absolutely exists.

      • DB says:

        Trixie – Thank you for bring up the distinction between doctrinal truths and how the doctrine is actually perceived and practiced. I would like to point out that I have not been writing about perceptions and practices though I have acknowledged that many members’ perceptions are inaccurate. I have not been writing about how the gospel is lived, taught, presented, or whatever. This is absolutely critical to recognize because the cultural practices and prejudices within the church are often a result of misunderstanding the correct doctrinal truths. If women in the church are treated as being less than their Deacon sons, it’s probably because the doctrinal perception is that priesthood office is a rank that makes that person better than or more important than everyone below them. That cultural practice, and all other harmful cultural practices, will never change as long as the incorrect doctrinal perception persists. And if the women of the church refuse to accept the correct doctrines of the priesthood, specifically that priesthood office does not give someone rank above someone else, how could we possibly expect the men of the church to accept those true doctrines? If the women of the church insist on believing that their Deacon sons outrank them, as most everyone commenting here believes, how can they possibly expect to ever be treated any better?

      • TB says:

        DB, My remarks are in response to your comment to Trixie, (re. 1/16; 6:25). As I have followed this thread, I have genuinely appreciated your insistence that the doctrine or truth is that adult women are not inherently subordinate or less than their young sons who are ordained to the office of deacon. I have a 12 year old son, and I recognize that if he were called as president of the deacon’s quorum, his only authority (and responsibility) would be over other deacons. I also recognize that his being a deacon at all gives him no authority or rank over me. i do not think my recognition of this negates what many have shared about their experiences.

        I do think you are too quick to assume that commenters’ pointing to their lived experience of being subordinated reinforces falsehoods. FULLY recognizing what is actually happening on the ground, day-to-day, in policy and practice is a crucial step to fully remedying the problem. Stating true doctrine is essential, as you noted, but stating the ideal without acknowledging what people actually experience is missing the other half of the equation. A woman may know true doctrine, but church structures and policies may reinforce false norms and cultural practices. A mother certainly has power within her home to correct false notions, but institutionally, her power is limited.

      • DB says:

        TB – I agree with everything you just wrote. Forgive me if my comments are too focused on a single issue but my general failure to acknowledge the lived experiences of women was not intended to deny or dismiss their experiences but rather to not distract from the singular point I was attempting to make. However, I do feel that commentors pointing to their lived experiences as proof of their inferior position does reinforce falsehoods. Saying, “I am treated as less than because everyone with the priesthood outranks me” is very different than saying, “I am treated as less than because of the false perception that everyone with the priesthood outranks me.” Recognizing what is happening is crucial, but understanding why it is happening is just as crucial.

        I agree that a single mother is not going to change the institution but if change is to happen, it must start in the home with every mother and every father teaching their children true doctrine.

      • Trixie says:

        DB, when a woman says she is treated as less because everyone with the priesthood outranks her, IT IS TRUE. It doesn’t matter whether it is doctrine or culture, it is the truth. And, your attempt to “not distract from the truth” really just looks like gaslighting. Perhaps you didn’t mean it to be so, but after a number of women tell you that it is, you may want to pause and reconsider your approach. Boys in the church with the priesthood outrank women. Callings and priesthood advancement have a rank. It is immaterial in this instance whether that rank is doctrinal or not. The point of the OP and of ALL of the female commenters here is that this happens and it needs to change. If it is such a widespread misinterpretation (it is widespread) then it likely needs to be fixed from the top down. Because, as I said before, it is real, it happens, we experience it on the daily. Quit with your beating a dead horse about what the priesthood “really” means. The interpretation of what it means is what is real. We all KNOW what it said, but we live what is done.

      • Trixie says:

        Also, DB, don’t blame us for the shit way we are treated. It isn’t our job to make sure the “priesthood” doesn’t treat us badly. Despite it not being our job, we DO say something about it. And when we do, guess what happens? Men show up and say “oh, but that’s not how it really is!” Or, you know, we get put on notice by our leaders…

  29. TB says:

    Building on Anna’s point which responded to the suggestion that rank and authority come not through the priesthood but by virtue of a particular calling: Being called to a certain priesthood office is a prerequisite for the callings of highest rank and authority. These high-ranking callings (bishop, SP, etc.) are only available to a man with a certain priesthood office and thereby, of course, these callings are off-limits to those who can’t be called to priesthood office (ie. women). This sounds like a hierarchy based on priesthood office to me.

    • DB says:

      Yes, that is true, there is a hierarchy of callings only available to those with the priesthood, so it excludes women, but the hierarchy exists within the callings, not the priesthood. A man can be called to any position in the church regardless of his priesthood office. The calling will come first and then the man will be ordained to priesthood office that corresponds to that calling. The actual point of discussion, however, is whether an eleven year old Deacon outranks his mother in the church.

      • TB says:

        DB, I recognize now (and recognized when I wrote my comment) that I was not directly responding to the OP. I WAS responding to an actual point of discussion, including many of your own comments, that had taken place in the thread. While tangential to the OP, I don’t think the comments were irrelevant to it; however, if April Bennett, the OP writer, thinks so then I will refrain from this line of discussion moving forward.

        I also appreciate the correction that the call to a position of high rank and authority precedes the ordination to the priesthood office that corresponds to that calling. However, ordination to the corresponding priesthood office is presupposed, and, I am fairly certain, must precede any actual fulfillment of the calling.

        Thank you for recognizing that a hierarchy of callings within the church excludes women. Please also recognize that even if the hierarchy is within the callings and not the priesthood, because the callings cannot be fulfilled without ordination to the priesthood, priesthood ordination is a part of the inequality.

  30. TB says:

    DB,

    Thank you for acknowledging much common ground.

    I would add a third phrasing, in line with Trixie’s comments, as an improvement to the comment you indicated women ought to use for expressing the truth of their lived experiences: “I know my worth, but I am treated as less than because, due to the practices in and policies of the church, everyone with the priesthood effectively outranks me.” As Trixie noted, most of the women commenting read in my additions as implied from the start (and would likely thereby find them unnecessary). Their worth is a given that shouldn’t need to be spelled out; their treatment in the system is real, and it needs to be called out.

    I’m probably going to duck out of this conversation now . . . lots of work to do. Thank you.

    • DB says:

      Thank you, too, for finding and acknowledging so much common ground. Also, thank you for your comments and for actually reading what I’ve written. So many others on here have instead accused me of writing things that I haven’t written, doing things that I haven’t done, believing things that I don’t believe and after all that accused me of not listening to them. Again, thank you for actually listening to what I’ve written.

      • Anna says:

        You know, I find how this thread wrapped up slightly humorous. Turns out, the women are saying, this is our lived reality and it is wrong that we are treated that way. And the men were insisting, but that is wrong. When we get to the bottom of what the men were saying, they are saying that it is doctrinally wrong to treat women this way. So, come to find out, we are saying exactly the same thing. It is wrong in the eyes of God and doctrinally for women to be treated the way the church currently treats women.

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