Last week we looked at some of the cool profiles on mormon.org that are part of a new effort to make members real and accessible for potential investigators. And we talked about the difficulties of giving members an open mic on some of the tough questions. This week let’s look at another tough topic: Women and the priesthood.
First of all, here is the phrasing of the question: Why don’t women hold the priesthood in the Mormon Church? How do women lead in the Mormon Church?
The first “answer” was just a quote by Gordon B. Hinckley, and frankly it was the one I liked best, although I worried a smidge about how outsiders might perceive part of it:
“Women do not hold the priesthood because the Lord has put it that way. (Here we run the risk of sounding like we are saying “because the Lord, who is a man, told the leaders, who are all men . . .” You get the point). It is part of His program. Women have a very prominent place in this Church. Men hold the priesthood offices of the Church. But women have a tremendous place in this Church. They have their own organization. It was started in 1842 by the Prophet Joseph Smith (need I say “a man”), called the Relief Society, because its initial purpose was to administer help to those in need. It has grown to be, I think, the largest women’s organization in the world… They have their own offices, their own presidency, their own board. That reaches down to the smallest unit of the Church everywhere in the world…
“The men hold the priesthood, yes. But my wife is my companion. In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.” (This is my favorite part of his quote).
Common member answers that I thought would be generally acceptable to outsiders:
- God sets the rules.
- “Well, the quick answer is God’s priesthood, God’s rules. In reading the Holy Bible you can see that the priesthood of God has always been exclusive. I’ve heard lots of speculation on this over the course of my years in the Church, but I still think that the quick answer is only one we know for sure right now.”
- “I have a pretty simple understanding of this question. It’s God’s priesthood. He can give it to, or withhold it from anybody He chooses. If I thought the church was led by men, instead of by God himself, then I might think that they were selfish, or old fashioned, or just wrong. But knowing that the head of the Church is God, I let Him govern His Church any way He so chooses. But from the outside looking in, I know that you might not know that God really is in charge. You might still be suspicious. I can understand that. Still, the true answer is to ask God. If this is truly His church, then we have less objections to Him choosing to run it His way.”
- Priesthood is always restricted.
- “The Lord has throughout the scriptures given different responsibilities to different people, based on all sorts of things.”
- “In the days of Moses, for example, not every man had the priesthood. It is only in our day that every worthy male may be ordained into the priesthood of God.”
- It’s only a matter of time. (This seemed a bit progressive, but the censors didn’t object.)
- “My faith is placed in God, and should He choose to extend priesthood to the women of the church, I’m okay with that idea. It’s His church, His priesthood, and I will follow Him any way He leads.”
- “As to why women do not hold the Priesthood, my answer is it is a matter of the Lord’s timing.”
- Priesthood blessings are for all, and it’s only used for service.
- “The priesthood is used to serve others and perform ordinances of the gospel, the blessings of which are enjoyed by both men and women.”
- “The priesthood power is not a gift or a right but an oath and covenant that a worthy man makes with the Lord. It is not a power for man’s own gain and a man is not better off than a woman because he holds this power. Women and men are entitled to the same blessings and promises when they live righteously.”
- “I have no doubt that I, woman, am as significant to my Heavenly parent as any man. If you understand that the priesthood is all about service, then perhaps you’ll see how this is a vehicle for men to serve God and their fellowman.”
- “The priesthood however, is not to be used to benefit yourself, but to benefit others, such as the sick, or anyone else (family or otherwise) who is in need of a blessing from God.”
- Women hold key leadership positions in the church. Sample comments:
- “There are certain positions that are held by men, and certain others that are only held by women.”
- “There are innumerable opportunities for women to serve and bless the lives of others through their church service. In the church I have always felt important and cherished. I feel that my contributions are appreciated and needed.”
- “Women do lead in the church in many callings, and do a spot on job of it.”
- “The five women in my life are leaders. They know what they want and what they don’t want. When they speak, I know I had better listen. While they do not currently have the Priesthood, they do certainly influence me. So do women who lead the children (the Primary organization) and the women’s organization (the Relief Society) and those who speak or pray or serve in the Lord’s house, the Temple.”
Common members answers that made me nervous:
- Priesthood? No, thanks! I’ve got my hands full with these dishes and dirty diapers, thank you very much!
- “When I read or hear similar questions such as these I want to laugh. To me a question like this is akin to asking for more responsiblity, more accountablity, more work, more angish (sic) etc. . . . I guess my question would be, why would a woman want to hold the priesthood?”
- “Honey, we women have enough to do! Why worry about holding the priesthood too? Just lovingly hold that dear husband of yours and support him as he honors the priesthood.” I think I threw up in my mouth a little on that one.
- “Personally, I would rather lead at home as a mother, than anywhere else.” I have been rendered incapable of speech by that one.
- Men and women are inherently different. Mommies have babies, and daddies do (insert awesome entitled stuff). All right, that’s a very loose paraphrase. But the old “boys and girls are different” routine often strays into sexist stereotypes easily sniffed out by investigators (unless they too are sexist).
- “Just as men have not been appointed to bear children in this life, so women have not been appointed to bear the priesthood.”
- “Men and woman have different responsibilites. The man has the responsibility of holding the priesthood and using those keys given to them (sic) in righteousness. Woman (sic) have another kind of responsibility that of bareing (sic) and rearing children.” Seriously, what is up with the grammar and spell check on mormon.org?? There is clearly no basic editing. (same comment) “Each of us, man and woman have a sacred roll (like the shewbread of the temple?) like our Heavenly Parents that is not talked of much, but is essential just the same.” I’m unclear what it is that is not talked of much. The roles of parents seem talked about a lot. Heavenly Father is talked about a lot. So does this mean that Heavenly Mother is not talked about? If so, there’s subject-verb disagreement in that sentence.
- Women have access through men. This is really close to saying women still get the blessings, but it has the twist of sounding like men take care of women and women are dependent on men.
- “As a woman I have total access to the blessings of the priesthood through my father, husband, bishop, and home teachers. Our home teachers visit my family in our home monthly and look after our well-being.”
- Women lead by example (aka being modest). This one kills me with its irrelevance. How do we go from a question about women and the priesthood to talking about how women should dress? Yet, here we go.
- “Many women in the Mormon Church also lead by setting an example of virtue, and do not follow the tight/low cut/body revealing fashions of this day but instead understand their true beauty is enhanced by their choice to be modest in dress.”
- “Young girls need righteous examples of Christlike women to whom they can look as they try to make good decisions in today’s world. Women who are modest, caring, honest and virtuous lead these girls to Christ.”
- Men need the priesthood because women are better than they are (aka Male Guilt Syndrome).
- “My wife is a remarkable woman, and does all of this without the priesthood. I, however, need the priesthood because I’m not a woman, and would fail miserably without it.”
- “Because men are rather selfish and self-centered by nature, they need extra guidance and teaching to acquire compassion and selflessness. Serving in the priesthood is that schooling process for them. Women, on the other hand, are much more natural in their abilities to love and serve and teach. Priesthood is not required for them to emulate the Savior’s commandment to love one another.”
Here are some things I could possibly say if I were answering this question:
- I don’t know why women don’t. Perhaps that will change at some point in the future. Women do use priesthood power within temples (but it’s not suitable for mormon.org which is primarily focused on a non-LDS audience).
- We have no paid clergy at the ward level, so priesthood is not a career in our church.
- Women hold at least as many leadership positions as men at the ward level, and are probably more influential in these roles. Women speak in church to the congregation every Sunday and teach lessons to adults.
- Our scriptures specifically state that anyone who uses “unrighteous dominion” loses his priesthood power.
What were your reactions to these answers? Did you like some I didn’t like or dislike ones I liked? What would your answer be to that question? Are you motivated to create your own profile yet? Discuss.
From a legal perspective I can’t help but think back to segregation. The Civil War made African Americans “equal” to whites, but racism continued long after. The doctrine of “separate but equal” was used to justify keeping blacks in different schools, different rail cars, different public pools, etc.
The all-white Supreme Court justified this mentality that separate/different didn’t mean less-than-equal. But as we became more enlightened, we realized that treating a class of people different necessarily made them un-equal and inherrently less than the white majority. It has only been since Brown v. Board of Education that this doctrine has disappeared and, over time, systemic racism has diminished. Now, we’d consider separate drinking fountains horribly racist (just as we likely would consider denying women the right to vote to be horribly mysognistic).
There may be perfectly good arguments against women being allowed to share equally – God says so may be perfectly acceptable to believers – but when I hear “separate but equal” it reminds me of a horrible time in America’s past, where we falsley convinced ourselves we were only treating people differently, when in reality, we were treating them horribly and setting up a system of racism that has yet to completely subside.
it must be feminist day at mm. I have a feminist post later in the day.
since I know there are a few rlds commenters, I am curious how priesthood and relief society meetings are conducted. I assume priesthood is now co-ed. is relief society still in existence since women hold the priesthood?
There is no relief society. Not since even before WIP as far as I’m aware.
Women exercise the priesthood in the temple so they must have the priesthood, but how? I don’t buy the arguments that they “work under the authority of the priesthood” ect. It doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know if it’s just a hole in our theology or what. But saying you can exercise the priesthood without having it doesn’t make any sense, that’s like saying I can have a 10 year old boy perform Melchizedek (sp) priesthood functions w/o the priesthood but under the authority of another. What’s the point of all of us having it if that were the case? I’ve always been curious about this, if anyone can enlighten me that would be great.
HG, I like the “I don’t know” response. The end result is similar to the “God can do things the way He wants” answer, but allows that He may not have shared all He knows with us yet.
“Priesthood is not a career in our church” — men will hold the priesthood their whole lives, but will not always serve in leadership positions. I think separating those two ideas in this discussion are valuable.
I am afraid that anything a man would say defending the male priesthood would open a can of worms and get shot down. There is such a thing as Roles and Responsibilities. They are everywhere in our lives.
But here are some things that one cannot argue (but some always seem to). Men and Women are physically different, appear to have a different emotional make up and also seem to be wired differently in many areas. Not 100% always, iron clad true, but it seems that way.
To me, it all about who has the perceived power and who wants it.
michael quinn makes the argument that endowed women hold the priesthood by virtue of the endowment. only female temple workers utilize the priesthood. (this is subject to dispute.) quinn says women don’t hold an office like men. essentially it is a dormant form of priesthood.
having observed (from a distance), I think it would be pretty cool to have a female bishop, ga, or prophet. I do wonder what would happen to relief society if women hold the priesthood.
RLDS(CofC) gave women the priesthood back in the 80’s. Question to them. How do you give what you do not have?
This is a valid question because all priesthood holders trace their line of authority at some point. If the RLDS broke off, wasn’t the true authority withdrawn?
henry, why do you assume the rlds doesn’t have priesthood? that’s a bit arrogant, don’t you think?
Henry–the Community of Christ (formerly the RLDS) trace their authority back to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, just like we do in the Brighamite church.
I love the quote from someone above that essentially said that he needed the priesthood because he would fail miserably if he didn’t. Um, fail miserably at what? ‘Cuz I think we all know loads of non Priesthood men who are amazing people, Christlike, generous, kind people. They aren’t failing miserably at…???? And the whole “women lead by being modest”. Men don’t need to be modest, too? And women being modest shows…? And is modest defined as not showing a shoulder or, as in Muslim cultures in some parts of the world, not showing any body part (think burka). Not sure what not showing a shoulder has to do with being Christlike. I associate that quality more with kindness, honesty, generosity, etc., not with arbitrary guidelines of modesty. And the whole Priesthood is equal to baring babies is absurd. I adopted my kids so because I didn’t bare kids, that makes me what on the scale of worthlessness? And, by the way, my dear husband (who is also non Mormon) is far more nurturing than I am. When the kids are sick or injured, they want dad.
In the CofChrist/RLDS tradition, we are supposed to ordain individuals according to INDIVIDUAL calls and giftedness. You do see that show up in the priesthood specialties of men and women to some extent, I suppose, just as you do in professions.
But in our system, individual gifts trump gender, race, and age. We’re still working on some other things related to God giving priesthood where He wills.
“To me, it all about who has the perceived power and who wants it.”
I’m sorry, but claiming that women who want the Priesthood are “Power hungry” is kind of like telling women who wanted the right to vote before it was allowed that they were “Power hungry”… Ya, I have to say, I do want power…. to have a say in what happens and to be, not just allowed, but able to really make a difference for good in the lives of my ward.
I would like to be able to be ward clerk, because I’m good at those kinds of things, I would like to be able to bless a sick child instead of being told that I should have to wake up a “Priesthood Holder” at 3 am in the morning…
I personally believe that any endowed woman has the Priesthood… she just isn’t allowed to use it in the Church because the male leadership for some reason see that as a threat. Sigh.
Don’t they understand that it is the Power Of God, and that it really isn’t up to them to say who can and cannot have it? That, my friends is completely in God’s court, He would let his power run through any source available if it is truly needed… because really, the only “Authority” needed is Gods. No man can dictate that.
Apparently many seem to think that God IS a “respector of persons”…
Funny how it’s all up to The Lord. Perhaps The Lady is too busy washing up in the kitchen to voice her opinion on the matter?
I don’t, in fact, think it’s at all accurate to say that women want “power.” We have to stop using the word “power” incorrectly when talking about the priesthood. It is called the “power to act in the name of God” and is considered to be the “power to move mountains” or the “power to heal the sick,” but when we say it’s all about power, who has it, and who wants it, we are suddenly talking about a totally different kind of “power”: the power to control and dictate other people’s actions (leadership power). Those are two entirely different concepts.
The first kind of power is incapable of being abused. You can’t use the priesthood to curse, only to heal. But power over other people (leadership), making decisions that are binding on them, is a type of power capable of being abused, and the tendency to do so is so prevalent that it’s specifically prohibited in the D&C. The problem is that leadership in the church is restricted to men (even the general RS president has a term limit) and that female leadership is subordinate to male leadership, and that is frankly unrelated to priesthood power. It’s a byproduct of the tradition of patriarchy, not a function of priesthood (an office, yes, a function, no).
Yes, we expect leaders to be servants of all, but we all know that’s aspirational. Some leaders are great at that, while others push their own agendas and opinions and interpretations because they are only human. Women want to have their needs understood and to not be dismissed. They want to be represented and heard, not protected and sheltered.
I do agree that what a man says on this subject is always at risk of sounding off key.
Just had to add a few more thoughts on these two comments that are coming from a White Male Guilt standpoint:
“My wife is a remarkable woman, and does all of this without the priesthood. I, however, need the priesthood because I’m not a woman, and would fail miserably without it” I think he’s saying he would fail to be a decent human being, not go to church, would hang out in bars drinking instead of home teaching, and would demand a sammich upon entering the house rather than instantly pitching in to help with the dishes.
“Because men are rather selfish and self-centered by nature (let’s put them in charge??), they need extra guidance and teaching to acquire compassion and selflessness. Serving in the priesthood is that schooling process for them. Women, on the other hand, are much more natural in their abilities to love and serve and teach (and they are going to need it because we just put the selfish & self-centered men in charge). Priesthood is not required for them to emulate the Savior’s commandment to love one another. (right, just putting up with the selfish and self-centered men who are now their leaders)” There are a few logical errors there I thought would be worth pointing out.
Women (some women) throughout the ages when left to their own devices have turned to witchcraft, goddess worship and other things. What you will see in modern churches such as the Unitarian Universalist women heavily favor things that are usually deemed anti Christian such as abortion and gay rights.
Men, on the other hand, are responsible for much of the sexual and violent crimes in society.
Yet if you examine guard dogs and wolves in society men are usually the guard dogs (policemen etc).
Are men much more equipped and capable of leading the Lord’s church? One of the mysteries of life.
“I don’t, in fact, think it’s at all accurate to say that women want “power.” We have to stop using the word “power” incorrectly when talking about the priesthood”
Sorry, you are right. it’s not power, it’s control. Then it becomes a matter of perception. On one hand, we all have agency, so we are in control of ourselves. But, when it comes to Church leadership, most of us are not in control, male or female.
Now, some women might say that every male has the potential of being in an ultimate leadership position while all women cannot be. But that is really a fallacious argument. Out of the entire church male population, only a small fraction ever get into real leadership positions. And the ones that do, generally get all the leadership positions.
I would rather not hear all the excuse arguments as to why men have the Priesthood and women do not. Kind of sounds like the Blacks and the Priesthood arguments to me. I’d rather use the “God ordains it and the Scriptures support” that men hold the Priesthood only. Women avail themselves of the Priesthood but do not get it conferred upon them.
“But, when it comes to Church leadership, most of us are not in control, male or female.” That’s an absolutely valid point, and your nepotism posts of days gone by add to that point nicely. 🙂
I also like the allusion you are making to the idea that the restored church holds the priesthood, and all the members have access to it and are blessed through it. That coupled with the notion that priesthood is not a paid career is helpful, IMO.
Even when I was RLDS, with a sister-in-law called as a priest, the discussions about women in the priesthood reminded me of 1st Corinthians 12:15 ….the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body…..many seem to imply that if the women couldn’t be called as priesthood, they couldn’t serve.
I believe that if the RLDS had continued the Womens Relief Society Program into their organization, the issue of women’s ordination might not have surfaced.
What do male priesthood holders do that women in the church cannot? The answer is perform the ordinances/sacraments and serve in the Bishopric (LDS). That leaves a LOT of serving available that women are better suited for than men.
This is going to irritate some, but I gotta ask it. If a CofChrist pastor felt the need to silence a female priesthood member for some transgression, would there be a cry of “sexism”? How many women priesthood holders have had their cards taken from them since 1984?
Ask a feminist, and there’s no good reason why women don’t have the priesthood, period. Even if men and women demonstrate statistical differences, they’d argue there are no real essential differences, and if the church were a meritocracy, women with the “right stuff” ought to be able to lead and men without it shouldn’t be.
Problem is, the church isn’t a meritocracy and the doctrine according to the Proc. on the Family states that men and women are essentially and eternally different. Pretty hard to prove empirically, but the church also teaches that we’re divine offspring of God, have spirits, and can be “perfected”, none of which have any empirical support either. The only justification I can see for men having the priesthood is for their development, and the only reason I can justify women not having it is for theirs. Maybe this will all change in time.
What I can’t stand is the feminist insistence I have to clamor for their emancipation from priesthood subjugation in order to absolve myself of male guilt and be a good person.
20. HG — I like your synthesis of Jeff’s comment, and Jeff’s comment itself. Our scriptures (D&C 84) teach that the real blessing of the priesthood itself is in the ordinances, and no one can perform ordinances on himself. And further, that section teaches that when we receive the doers of those ordinances, the holders of the priesthood, with faith, it is as if we receive the Savior Himself, and all that the Father has is available to us.
Wanting to sit in the front of the bus was not because the front was a more powerful spot, or because they weren’t on the bus when they were in the back. Wanting to drink from the same drinking fountain is not about power or because water doesn’t flow from both.
When the powerful designate the roles and responsibilities and required the weak to follow them, then that is the injustice. It doesn’t matter what the roles are.
24 – if we were talking about an institution of humankind, then I’d be right there with you — and so, it would seem would have been Brother Brigham and the saints of his era who granted women the right to vote faster than anyone.
But if we assume, as Jeff alludes to in his comment (#19) that this is a God-run enterprise, then we are left to His direction as revealed in scripture and through the living prophets.
I can only say that I take calls to the priesthood VERY seriously. I know of my own call because the Spirit spoke to me so powerfully that I almost drove off a freeway in shock. It was easy to say yes when the pastor called sometime later because the formal call confirmed the testimony.
I had occasion as a pastor to consider several priesthood calls. I worked very hard to evaluate those calls as individuals — not as men or women. Sometimes the testimony came “yes”, sometimes it came “no”.
We don’t keep statistics on silencing by gender, but I am personally aware of both men and women who have been silenced — for the same offense.
26 FireTag, I’m interested in your comment and experience. I’m not familiar with the Communinity of Christ practices regarding the priesthood. Is the calling of which you spoke for a period of time or is it a life-long calling? What is the “silencing” of which you write? (Happy to have you refer me somewhere else for those answers if you prefer.)
“But if we assume, as Jeff alludes to in his comment (#19) that this is a God-run enterprise, then we are left to His direction as revealed in scripture and through the living prophets.” Of course, there’s no revealed prohibition on female priesthood, and in fact, there is documented evidence that women performed some basic priesthood functions (whether they were ordained or not). So, the process as we have it is always to stick with whatever status quo exists, even absent an originating revelation (as was the case when blacks were denied the priesthood). Only a new revelation can change that, and there’s nothing objectionable about that. The only issue is that the current practice was done without an originating revelation. So, how is that God-run?
I’m willing to concede (as was the case with blacks & the PH) that perhaps it is God’s will so long as we have a leader (like we did with David O. McKay) who feels it is wrong and is pleading for it to be overturned despite vocal opposition within the 12.
I really am not lobbying for this. But these points can’t be ignored; they are valid. I would actually be more comfortable if there was a documented originating revelation to deal with (given the track record with blacks & the priesthood), or if it was made clear that it was prayed about but a “no” answer was received.
Most of the Q15 are from my dad’s era, and he couldn’t even accept a female captain on Star Trek, calling it completely unbelievable that men would ever follow a woman captain. Personally, I think most of the Q15 are more enlightened than that (and the GBH quote is), but there’s still an open question there.
RE#16: “You can’t use the priesthood to curse, only to heal.”
Actually,priesthood cursings have a long, illustriuos history, from Cain and Laman’s skin to Elijah and Nephi creating a drought. Jesus cursed the fig tree, and missionaries in this dispensation dusted off their feet. It’s true, perhaps, that it’s uncommon or even non-existant in recent decades, but as a blanket statement, needs clarification.
I was talking about this with my friend this morning, She was a former Relief Society President for my Branch. The problem that we have is the duality of the church and within our families. Boys/ men are told they can be and do anything within the church and can aspire to be and do anything in society and that is okay.
Girls/ Women are told that they can do anything and be anything they wish to be outside the church/ society. Within the church however, there is a limit as to what women can or should want to do. If they do want the kind of power and position that men have they are negatively labeled as trouble makers and power hungry when all we want is a equal voice, especially since we (young girls, teen age girls, women; both single and married) contribute to the the success of the church just the same as men. To be labeled less than even subconsciously based on our gender is wrong
#24 — Well put.
After you exercise faith that “this is a God-run enterprise,” you then have to turn to the next question: To what extent is it an expressly God-run exercise, vs. the application of correct principles, according to their best understanding, by good men? Does it matter?
I follow this rule: The more a purportedly revealed commandment appears to conflict with a general moral rule (such as fairness and non-domination), the greater evidence a person is justified in seeking before conceding it a revelation.
I’ll add the link to our online Administrator’s Handbook a bit later, but I’ll try to give some highlights here, knowing that there will be oversimplifications.
“Calls” are terms most often used in regard to ordination to priesthood offices. We may “set apart” persons to specific roles, such as the presiding officer of a congregation (ward), mission center (stake) or membership in world church quorums, but the latter is a more recent innovation more akin to a special blessing. However, both are performed through the laying on of hands, so the difference is rapidly losing distinction to the casual observer.
It is NOT normal for a pastor (bishop) to fill congregational leadership roles through “callings”. Such roles will be filled by some combination of pastoral request, personal volunteering, or election by the membership. There is no expectation of personal revelation involved. Such roles are for one year only, as is the role of pastor itself, although we would prefer to have greater stability in that position.
So let me get back to calls to priesthood office.
A call will be to one of five basic offices: Deacon, Teacher, or Priest in the Aaronic Order, and Elder or High Priest in the Mel. Order. Calls may be made only within a clearly established administrative line (I couldn’t call someone whose membership was in another congregation, for example, though I could show up at that congregation and share my testimony with the pastor there privately.) The call will be approved (and supposedly confirmed) by at least one administrative officer above the pastor, and some calls may be originated only at higher levels in the church and must receive approval of the First Presidency.
A call is for life, unless a call to another office is made manifest as a person grows in personal experience or begins to blossem in different areas. There is no automatic progression with age, nor is there an expectation that all worthy members, male or female, will be given priesthood. Some people just have other God-given missions, and, most critically, we don’t restrict the notion that God grants people priesthood only to our denomination.
This is possible in our theology because we don’t connect gender or priesthood roles to status in the afterlife. Our notion of living with our loved ones there is about as vague as in the bulk of non-Mormon Christianity.
Priesthood members who commit grievious acts will be “silenced”, which means that they may no longer speak as priesthood for the church. (We rarely excommunicate anyone, priesthood or not, for less than criminal offences.) They keep their membership, but are lay members only.
“Women (some women) throughout the ages when left to their own devices have turned to witchcraft, goddess worship and other things.”
Okay I know this was said a while back, but I thought I would make something clear. It’s not just women that turn to a “Mother” it was men too. For centuries it was “Mother Earth” et al. So don’t go villianizing when when these same societies were generally more peaceful than the Patriarchal ones we have today. All most women who are unhappy with the current set up want is equal voice… and to not be able to be brushed off quite so easily.
The Lord gave the Priesthood to men in the same manner that he had Elijah water down the sacrificial altar (and if gasoline had been available, Elijah would have taunted the Priests of Baal to douse their altar with it)..ergo, He can work even with a signficant handicap!
32 Firetag: Thanks! Very helpful to my understanding.
#30 Diane — I hope we’re not teaching our young men to aspire to callings. We shouldn’t be. In fact, as Jeff pointed out in #19, men also have significant limits on what they may become within the church.
I don’t “aspire” to callings, but I do remember when I was a little boy reading stories of prophets. Perhaps I was strange, but I wondered what it would be like if I one day found myself as one of the 2 prophets in Jerusalem in the last days. My heros weren’t sports player or such, but were apostles and prophets. In the back of my head, I always wondered if that was my fate.
Two comments on that:
1) I now realize that pretty much any office above bishop in the current Church is so far removed from the reality of people’s actual lives that they are more administrators than anything else. It sounds completely tedious to have to wear a white shirt every day, travel all the time, and get stuck in some administrative role. I couldn’t imagine anything worse.
2) I also realize that while for me it was extremely unlikely, it was still a possibility. For a young girl in my same situation, it is an impossibility.
But that’s just it, for men there really aren’t limits per se as they will always have the right to presume authority in their respective callings, in their homes etc. I was reading something earlier about a sister asking why she had to wake up a priesthood member of the church to give her own daughter a blessing. Psychologically women are told that a mothers’ blessing isn’t good enough. It has to be a priesthood blessing in order for it to have any kind of validity. That is what is wrong with priesthood. Women need to “ask for permission for things that men just take for granted because they are able to do these things for themselves. They don’t need to ask or explain to anyone why they need something: and when they do have to explain why they aren’t made to feel as if the things are insignificant and as long as men don’t understand this there will be a disconnect.
“men also have significant limits on what they may become within the church.”
I’m curious as to what limitations you think men inherently have within the church?
diane: Historically in the church women can give these blessings, at least from what i understand. it’s just if a priesthood holder is available they should be used.
I heard a comment once that women have the ‘power’ to mediate between man and God through birth, while men have nothing of the sort. That is why men hold the priesthood, so that they hove something to mediate between man and God. I like that one.
But from teh temple we know and understand that we as men and women if we are worthy enough will be kings and queens, priests and PRIESTESSES in the eternities. So women will ultimately hold the priesthood. (NOTE: this will be after the resurrection when no more babies will be born to this earth so the women will stop having their role I described above. Maybe this is why they will receive the office of a priestess then.) Whether that will start in this life in the near future or will be left until after the resurrection I do not know.
To go along with #40/Jon, I have also heard that women in the early days of the church were allowed to assist their husbands in giving blessings on necessity as she is a joint holder of the priesthood through him. Does anyone else know anything about this?
38 — Diane — we’ve discussed this before. My wife’s authority in our home is not different from mine if we are equal partners. As for a mother’s blessing, it’s true the church does not promote such a thing. But as Elder Oaks made clear in his recent conference talk, the key elements in healing are faith and the Lord’s will. A sincere prayer can accomplish that thing. One who does not hold the priesthood may not carry out a priesthood ordinance, it is true.
39 — April, even men who serve as bishops do not do so under their own authority. They are bound by the norms and guidelines of the church, so they are limited in what they can do. And most men will not serve as bishops (or “above”). Most bishops (all, I would hope) serve as if they are called by the Lord to serve, and they seek to do His will, not their own.
What about women who forever reason can’t give birth, then we still have nothing and ALL MEN still have priesthood
Yes, we have discussed this before, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. The discussion point will always be there.(I dislike using the word argument, has a negative connotation, we are not arguing we are discussing. that’s just the former English Major in me though)
Paul – I agree, to the extent the justification is that “God says so” then I cannot quarrel with it, as we are all free to believe how we believe. I was responding to those who tried to justify it with things like: different but equal, roles and responsibilities, power seeking, etc.
From a logical, ethical, moral perspective, I think discrimination in most forms is unjust. If we want to play the “Lord works in mysterious ways” card, then I suppose the discussion is at an end.
I will note that the card always seems to be played by the discriminator and not the discriminated.
“Women need to “ask for permission for things that men just take for granted because they are able to do these things for themselves” Well, technically, though, men also have to ask for things that benefit themselves. No matter how high someone’s priesthood office, no matter how flexible, he can’t lay his own hands on his own head to heal himself through the healing ordinance. So, recipients of blessings always rely on others to perform actions.
“Women need to “ask for permission for things that men just take for granted because they are able to do these things for themselves”
let’s see, what can I do in the church that I do not need permission for? I can give a blessing of healing and give blessings to my family. That’s it.
I cannot teach a class, baptize my son, ordain anyone else to the Priesthood, issue a calling to anyone, substitute in Primary by myself. I cannot assign myself as a HT, cannot become the bishop, the Stake President or an Apostle. The only person who doesn’t have to ask permission or get authorized is the Prophet himself and maybe he talks to Jesus about it, I don’t know. So I wonder where all this notion of freedom that men have come from. Everyone else works under the direction of someone. in some cases, they hold keys of authority, but this too, has it’s limits.
The link I promised earlier is:
It’s a 37 page pdf file, but the info on priesthood status is in the first 7 pages.
#46 Jeff — Your “no matter what, we’re all small and powerless” approach artificially minimizes what is a stark, sexist authority structure. There’s virtually nothing you will do in the Church that will require permission or calling from a woman. By contrast, everything that a woman does in an official capcity in the Church will ultimately require permission or calling from a man. A woman will never act as intermediary, judging your worthiness to perform ordinances, disfellowshipping you, or taking away your Church membership. By contrast, a woman will never enter the temple without the signatures of two men. There’s no way that these realities do not strongly inform the self-identities of men and women in the Church, and I think the burden of persuasion is on the defenders of this sexism as to why the impacts are not likely negative.
“Your “no matter what, we’re all small and powerless” approach artificially minimizes what is a stark, sexist authority structure.”
It is a structure which puts men in that position, but it does not make it a “sexist” structure. It is not inherently negative as you allude to. And, as I have been saying, the same things apply to the men. my first calling in the Church was primary so my leader was a woman. I have no problem with that. I have had women as managers at work, I have no problem with that.
“There’s no way that these realities do not strongly inform the self-identities of men and women in the Church.”
That is a typical world view of the situation where everything has to be perceived as completely equal and accessible to all, regardless of the situation. It is just not a true representation of how things work. Realities are only “informed.” as you say negatively, if somehow it is perceived that way. Not if it just is.
If we stick to the premise, that in a God-adminstered world, men hold the Priesthood and are given those specific roles, it isn’t negative, only not what some people want to have happen.
DrPepper — you’ve never served in the Primary organization.
Adding a single word to #49:
“If we stick to the premise, that in a God-adminstered world, WHITE men hold the Priesthood and are given those specific roles, it isn’t negative, only not what some people want to have happen”
This was the Church’s official practice for well over 100 years. Scriptures were used to support it. Prophets and apostles spoke in support of it. And guess what, it changed. Maybe it was just coincidently around the time the church was getting outside pressure on the issue. Maybe that’s when it would have changed anyway. But at the end of the day, something that was “fundamental” and set up from “before the foundation of the world” was changed.
Who knows, maybe the same will happen with women and the priesthood?
There is no blessing which a woman cannot receive. A man must have the priesthood to enter the temple and to be sealed.
45 and 46
The point I was trying to make is this, that even though men might have to ask for permission, they still get to perform the task for themselves or someone else. Women don’t get to do this at all
You are correct there is no blessing that a woman cannot receive, but the fact is she needs to receive it from a man in order to ascertain them.
I think the key problem areas are essentially all hierarchy related: budgetary control (all male distribution of funds), disciplinary courts (no female representation), and interpreting doctrine / receiving revelation for the church (all through a male lens).
Theoretically you could say that the doctrine that’s being sent to the church is also through a male lens, assuming Heavenly Mother is not in direct communication with church leaders. While God the Father and Jesus were sighted 9 times in the Kirtland area, no one mentioned seeing Heavenly Mother. It seems that there is a divine role reversal when compared to PoF. Perhaps HM has the career, and HF is a SAHD. Just a provocative thought.
Sure, so what?
A woman also needs a man to be born, or to give birth.
A man also needs a woman to have an eternal family.
I really don’t get what everyone’s beef is (no pun intended, don’t even go there).
Really a poor discussion point. Not every woman, nor every man can for what ever reason contribute to a child being born. And whether or not one is able to give birth has nothing to do with the issue of priesthood.
Perhaps I misunderstand you, but the whole point of several of the comments is that a man CANNOT claim the blessings of the priesthood for himself. He cannot perform and ordinance for himself. He cannot call himself to a position of responsibility. He cannot give himself a blessing.
#54 Hawkgrrrl, I’d quibble about the budget only because if the ward council functions the way Elder Ballard says it should, then women and men will participate in those decisions for dividing up the ward pie, and organization heads generally have control of their budgets. But that’s a minor issue, I think. On your other two points, it’s hard to argue. As for your provocative thought: yes, it’s provocative.
Jeff: The power structure is sexist by any reasonable definition. The American Heritage dictionary gives this definition for sexism:
1.Discrimination based on gender, especially discrimination against women.
2. Attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender
You have to be careful with “separate but equal” arguments. Just because things are separate but equal does not mean they are automatically on the same level as segregation laws. (Which, despite the way they look today, still played an important role in transitioning mindsets from slave/master to equally free. You shouldn’t just toss out the baby steps because they don’t get you all the way to where you want to go.) They could also lead into forcing unisex bathrooms or insisting that specializing in OB/GYN be illegal. No thank you.
Sorry — hit submit by accident.
The primary is perhaps the only example of where women have opportunities to direct men. But the fact that women can direct men in the Church only in the care and upbringing of children probably reinforces stereotypes more than it expands men’s perception of women’s power and roles.
You answer to women in workplace and other areas of society (Babylon), but in Zion you are conditioned to view women’s authority as much more limited. Which do you think is more influential on your mind and attitudes — what the world perceives as women’s abiltiies/roles or what the Church does? And I don’t buy the “it’s negative only if we view it that way” approach, which could be used to justify just about anything. I don’t believe that we look back at history and applaud any similar form of segregation or discrimination. In retrospect, it is always something that we view as negative. But I understand the difficulty that comes with trying to makes sense of what seems like an immutable present reality.
“You are correct there is no blessing that a woman cannot receive, but the fact is she needs to receive it from a man in order to ascertain them.”
Nope, not true. She received the initiatory and the endowment from women.
“Jeff: The power structure is sexist by any reasonable definition. The American Heritage dictionary gives this definition for sexism:
1.Discrimination based on gender, especially discrimination against women.
2. Attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender”
A dictionary definition is totally not relevant to the discussion. So we just disagree on this point. I do not see it as sexist, but divided by god-inspired roles.
Jeff — it’s God-inspired roles based on sex. The only factor is sex. That is sexism. Now we can disagree as to whether that sexism is negative, but it’s still sexism. I think the God element opens the door for you to say that the sexism is ok. But the God element does not take away the fact that it is textbook sexism.
“But the God element does not take away the fact that it is textbook sexism.”
If we base this on the definition you used, it is connoted as negative (discrimination, stereotyping). It is not, in my view, negative, so in that regard, it cannot be sexism.
In considering whether something is sexism or not, how can we disregard what the definition of sexism is? Isn’t that the necessary crux of the debate?
Is it not negative because you believe it is inspired by God and God doesn’t inspire negative things or because you think that it’s positive on its own merits? If you made a ledger of pros and cons with this structure, what would it look like?
I don’t think it is positive or negative. I think that it just is. Just because you cannot do something, doesn’t it make it a negative. I cannot conceive and bare a child. it I do not consider that a negative.
“Here are some things I could possibly say if I were answering this question:
•I don’t know why women don’t.”
To me, this sums it all up, now and in the past. I, personally, don’t know why…
.the Levites were the only tribe anciently to receive the priesthood
.the Israelites – cantankerous bunch that they were – were the only people anciently who had the priesthood
.Jesus restored the priesthood through the Jews – cantankerous bunch that they were – as opposed to a more tranquil lineage like the Buddhists, which then could have spread to the “gentiles”
.the priesthood was taken from the earth for for 1,700 years.
.and I surely don’t know why, during the restoration of all things, that it took until 1978 for blacks to receive the priesthood.
so, women and the priesthood just makes up the latest “I don’t know”.
Can I disagree with the dictionary on this one? Because I think sexism is anytime we relate things (divide them, group them, or whatever) that are not related to sex based on sex. That’s a complex sentence. For example, stating that dresses are for girls and not boys (the dude at our local Target wears what we call a utili-kilt, basically a man-skirt with a tool belt, and despite being a little ambiguous when viewed from behind, he’s very manly). But at times I have extended that definition (in my own head) even to include relating things that are related to sex based on sex. For example (maybe), girls pee sitting down, but boys pee standing up (clearly this is based on sex, but here again, there are exceptions, so nevermind).
The trickiest part of this is that we have different definitions of what constitutes one’s sex. It’s not clearcut. The way I navigate the church’s insistence that it is clearcut is because the PoF includes enough caveats to justify anything anyone wants to do. 😉
The other thing I was thinking about is the difference between blacks & the priesthood and women & the priesthood as regards the necessity of extending PH to another group. PH was extended to blacks at the same time it became impractical due to so many Brazilian and African converts who remained in their countries of origin. Even in the US, mixed race marriages are less common than mixed sex marriages (despite SSM being legal in a few states and Canada). Therefore, the need for female PH would be hastened if the Amazons existed and were converted, but because of the already mixed sexes in society (most marriages include both a man and a woman), it is not as imperative as it became for blacks and the PH. I’m not justifying it based on that, just observing that change in this area may be an even longer time coming because it will never become “necessary”.
To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature; contumely to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance; and finally, it is the subversion of good order, of all equity and justice.
I affirm the empire of a woman to be a thing repugnant to nature, I mean not only that God, by the order of his creation, has spoiled woman of authority and dominion, but also that man has seen, proved, and pronounced just causes why it should be. Man, I say, in many other cases, does in this behalf see very clearly. For the causes are so manifest, that they cannot be hid. For who can deny but it is repugnant to nature, that the blind shall be appointed to lead and conduct such as do see? That the weak, the sick, and impotent persons shall nourish and keep the whole and strong? And finally, that the foolish, mad, and frenetic shall govern the discreet, and give counsel to such as be sober of mind? And such be all women, compared unto man in bearing of authority. For their sight in civil regiment is but blindness; their strength, weakness; their counsel, foolishness; and judgment, frenzy, if it be rightly considered.
I except such as God, by singular privilege, and for certain causes known only to himself, has exempted from the common rank of women, and do speak of women as nature and experience do this day declare them. Nature, I say, does paint them forth to be weak, frail, impatient, feeble, and foolish; and experience has declared them to be inconstant, variable, cruel, lacking the spirit of counsel and regiment.
It has been said (jocularly) that a woman HOLDS the priesthood through her husband…I guess it depends by WHAT or HOW she’s ‘holding’ him (LOL!).
Seriously, it’s a blessing but it doesn’t make men superior to women at all…if anything, we do the work but get no credit (we’re not in it for that anyway), and no one puts US on the proverbial pedestal! However, we’re also held to a higher standard in our personal conduct. Methinks this is all because if there was not the lay priesthood then too many of we brethren would be downright useless.
In short, men apprently NEED to hold and exercise the Priesthood, and women to be blessed by it. Methinks they got the better of the bargain.
“Can I disagree with the dictionary on this one? Because I think sexism is anytime we relate things (divide them, group them, or whatever) that are not related to sex based on sex. ‘
Yes, that I can agree with that. The Sexism word like the racism word (and gay, for that manner) have been co-oped to mean something it doesn’t inherently mean. They are not positive nor negative, only based on how they are used.
I have nothing to say but that is really a sad convoluted statement. Really sad.
I think your definition is fantastic. And I don’t believe that there is anything inherent about men and women that justifies the disparity in power and authority in the Church — there’s nothing intrinsically natural about it. To the extent that it seems natural to Jeff or anyone else is a reflection of socialization (which includes learned and absorbed faith and beliefs).
“To the extent that it seems natural to Jeff or anyone else is a reflection of socialization (which includes learned and absorbed faith and beliefs).”
It seems odd to that that you can’t or won’t recognize an inherent difference between men and women. Physically, emotional, are just two areas. And while men and women can do many, many things equally, that perhaps there is a reason why God made it different. It’s not socialization because, for me, the business world is not the same as the church and the church structure. And I operate in the business world different than at Church.
So stop withthe socialization and learned behavior. We’re people not animals and we can choose.
Why do I get the feeling Thomas’s quote is going to end up being BY?
DrPepper – thanks!
If one believes that the reason for the segregation of men and women in this fashion is of God and not of man, then I don’t think its sexism by any definition. By all definitions presented here, sexism is discrimination based on sex/gender. Believers would submit the discrimination is by divine decree. It’s not that anyone “wants” women to be denied priesthood, it’s just what God wants.
If it were purely secular, arguments like Jeff’s that there is some rational basis for the segregation would be, and have often been, laughably disregarded and any court in the free world would call this sexism.
Like the BoM – many Mormon (and other religious) policies cannot stand on their own, but require belief that they are God-given in order for them to have credibility. This is not inherrently bad.
“If it were purely secular, arguments like Jeff’s that there is some rational basis for the segregation would be, and have often been, laughably disregarded and any court in the free world would call this sexism. ‘
I would agree with this as well.
Jeff — you said that “It seems odd to that that you can’t or won’t recognize an inherent difference between men and women.”
I recognize inherent differences between men and women. Really, I do. What differences between men and women do you see that help you makes sense as to why men have the authority and women do not?
“This is not inherently bad.” I suppose it’s inherently good religion but inherently bad logic. It does bug a bit, though, because as Mormons we like to see ourselves as eminently logical.
No religion is logical. We believe in an all-powerful being we can’t see. We think he helps us when we find our keys or get a good grade on a test, but would never think of walking into traffic without looking both ways.
We laugh if someone says they’ve seen a ghost or a unicorn, but when a 20-year old treasure hunter tells us he’s been given a book by an angel and that after magically translating it the angel took it away, we fall in line and ask where we pay our 10%.
Faith, almost by definition, is illogical.
“What differences between men and women do you see that help you makes sense as to why men have the authority and women do not?’
Men have bigger hands which fit over the head better when giving a blessing…..
“because as Mormons we like to see ourselves as eminently logical.”
A lot of the logic stems from “Because God said so….” Nothing more than that. It is no more satisfying when your parents told you “because I said so….”
“Faith, almost by definition, is illogical.”
Not so. Faith, properly understood, is belief in things that are by definition outside the reach of reason. When you have detected all that empirical observation can ever be capable of detecting, and have reasoned your way to the far limits of what you can rationally infer from what you’ve observed — then what? Logic doesn’t necessarily command that you conclude that that’s all there is — although of course it doesn’t give evidence of Something More, either.
If you hypothesize a God who exists outside the reach of ordinary empirical observation, then by definition, empirical observation can’t confirm or disprove his existence. It’s basically a choice to consider that there might be “more things in heaven and earth…than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” For reasons that can wait, I’ve concluded that the only God worth bothering with hypothesizing, is a being with the central attributes of the Abrahamic God. Once you entertain that hypothesis, you can reason out some of his likely attributes.
None of this is “illogical,” although the initial premise may be a-logical.
#76 — Give poor Brigham a break! He was actually pretty liberal in some respects concerning the role of women (possibly because he had so much first-hand experience of so many of them). He was well ahead of his time in preaching that women ought to work — specifically, as doctors, merchants, and lawyers, to free up the men to do manly things like chop down trees in the canyons. I quoted the Journal of Discourses passage where he said that in a letter once to the BYU Daily Universe,, responding to letter taking a rather harder line about traditional sex roles.
The quote’s from John Knox, the founder of Presbyterianism, in his “First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.” He intended it to discredit the Catholic Queen Mary — but then had some ‘splainin’ to do when she was succeeded by the Protestant Queen Elizabeth. The bad taste Knox’s “blast’ left in Elizabeth’s mouth (since she didn’t find her “regiment,” or reign, all that monstrous) may well be the reason Knox’s more evangelical religion never took hold in England, which stated (according to the Puritans) quasi-Papist, which is why the English nonconformists all got on boats, sailed to the colonies, and eventually set up their own country. So there’s a direct link between one religious misogynist’s rant, and the United States of America.
Just goes to show you how religions can evolve. The Presbyterians (at least, the pinko PCUSA ones) now ordain women.
There is always a question as to how much of any religion’s policy — even in a church that believes it’s led by continuing revelation — is actually set by revelation, as opposed to received wisdom.
And HG, when Knox said “I except such as God, by singular privilege, and for certain causes known only to himself, has exempted from the common rank of women,” I think he may have had you in mind. 🙂
(Not endorsing, of course, Knox’s opinions regarding “the common rank of women.”)
Thomas – flatterer!
Peter believed gentiles had to be circumcised to be Christians. He went right on believing that until God showed him it was not so. Peter thought that God had made the unclean clean — that God had changed His mind, perhaps.
Paul saw THAT differently at once, because his conversion answered that question as a side effect.
When we in the Community of Christ started experiencing the priesthood power of women, we realized we’d been like Peter, and lacked the insight that had easily come to Paul.
I’m glad you haven’t canonized the PoF; you may eventiually need a second draft. 😀
#41: “To go along with #40/Jon, I have also heard that women in the early days of the church were allowed to assist their husbands in giving blessings on necessity as she is a joint holder of the priesthood through him. Does anyone else know anything about this?”
A great book that discusses the history of women and priesthood is “Power from on High” by Gregory Prince.
According to Prince, Joseph Smith never explicitly confirmed or denied the possibility of women assuming a role equal to men in matters of church ministry and administration, but over the course of his ministry women gradually began to do things that are generally associated with priesthood. In partriarchal blessings some women were promised that they would have the power to heal the sick which they used effectively; though, it was more a faith healing than done by the authority of the priesthood. The laying on of hands was often performed as part of these healings. Women did not perform other priesthood ordinances such as baptisms or ordaining others. Prince did mention a couple references which hinted at women getting ‘keys’ and other priesthood like responsibilities, but Smith was killed shortly thereafter so it is difficult to ascertain exactly what he meant by those statements.
“Peter believed gentiles had to be circumcised to be Christians. He went right on believing that until God showed him it was not so. Peter thought that God had made the unclean clean — that God had changed His mind, perhaps.”
Ooh, don’t get me started on the law of circumcision. since it is part of the Lord’s Covenant with Abraham, which is still considered in force today, not the law of Moses, which was fulfilled by Christ…..
Who knows, the Priesthood thing may change some day in our Church.
BTW, the reason the PoF is not canonized is because I think it already contains the doctrine of the Church and thus, is not necessary.
BTC: “Faith, almost by definition, is illogical.”
Thomas: Not so. Faith, properly understood, is belief in things that are by definition outside the reach of reason.
Aaaaah – got it. 😉
I would find the “Women have babies and Men have the priesthood argument” to have a lot more grounds if there was more scriptural basis for giving birth as a spiritual experience. We have Mary, the mother of the Savior, but there is really no passages that talk about mediating between worlds and the blessing that it is. I feel as though general authorities are just constantly placating us by talking about how special mothering is. It’s like getting a condescending pat on the head.
Men and women have babies. Women have pregnancy and labor.
Please feel free to get started on the Abrahamic covenant, since we (CofChrist) do not emphasize it much as Christians (since it applies to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) and I’d like to hear more about the LDS view. Perhaps a future post?
good idea. perhaps next week.
LovelyLauren – “It’s like getting a condescending pat on the head.” Or as I recall the experience, like a condescending kick in the crotch.
Yeah, HG, when that happens to me, my first thought is always “How condescending!” 🙂
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If Jesus himself were to speak directly to us, I do not think he would say, ‘No, woman, you may not hold the priesthood. Only men are to hold it.’ He was a ‘feminist’ of his time! One thing was for certain, he held men, women, rich, poor, black, white (hispanic, asian.. etc) as equals. ‘By their works will they be judged.’ If a woman is worthy to hold the priesthood and wants to, God himself would not reject her! Let’s get this ball rolling, and let’s get with the times, here. We need to spread God’s army to its fullest, especially now. We need all the help we can get. Would God not agree to that? With much love, may God bless. Let’s make it happen.