William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Women And The Priesthood

The question was put:

"Over in "Introductions", Saint Sinner posted some interesting quotes on women and the priesthood. I have to say that I see exactly the same relationship with the priesthood there as we, the women of the Church, have now.

Part of my perspective may come from something my very wise SP said to me as he set me apart for my mission. It's too long ago now to report verbatim, but in essence, what he said was, "There are two callings in the Church that women can hold that are priesthood callings. One is as a full-time missionary, and the other is as a temple ordinance worker."

Saint Sinner, on Jun 5 2009, 02:56 PM, said:

I think that it should revert back to allowing women the priesthood and admitting its mistake in consolidating power to white male authoritarianism. I don't want polygamy to ever come back. When it comes to the equality issues, I feel that Joseph was right. On some other issues...not so much.

Referencing Female Priesthood:

Joseph Smith recorded a promise which he gave to the Relief Society regarding the priesthood in his instructions to the Relief Society on 28 Apr 1842:
gave a lecture on the priesthood shewing how the Sisters would come in possession of the privileges & blessings & gifts of the priesthood & that these signs should follow them, such as healing the sick, casting out devils &c. & that they might attain unto these blessings
(Book of the Law of the Lord, (Joseph Smithâ??s journal) 28 April 1842; also in Dean Jesse, ed â??The Papers of Joseph Smith, Vol 2, 378-79.)

Dean Jessee's footnote to this says, "A summary of Joseph Smith's discourse on this date is in the Relief Society minutes kept by Eliza R. Snow, the diary of Wilford Woodruff at the end of the year 1842, and History of the Church, 4:602-7." I found that online. (Scroll way down to chapter XXXV or search for "President Smith arose and called the attention of the meeting to the")

He addresses the issue of complaints being made against women who had been laying on their hand to heal the sick, saying, basically, "leave them alone."

"President Smith continued the subject, by quoting the commission
given to the ancient Apostles in Mark, 16th chapter, 15th, 16th, 17th 18th
verses, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every
creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
believed not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that
believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new
tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing,
it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall

No matter who believeth, these signs, such as healing the sick,
casting out devils, &c., should follow all that believe, whether male or
female. He asked the Society if they could not see by this sweeping
promise, that wherein they are ordained, it is the privilege of those set
apart to administer in that authority, which is conferred on them; and if
the sisters should have faith to heal the sick, let all hold their
tongues, and let everything roll on."

He further says:

"He spoke of delivering the keys of the Priesthood to the Church, and
said that the faithful members of the Relief Society should receive them
in connection with their husbands, that the Saints whose integrity has
been tried and proved faithful, might know how to ask the Lord and receive
an answer; for according to his prayers, God had appointed him elsewhere."

Saint Sinner said:

Sidney Rigdon, First Counselor in the First Presidency, testified that Emma Smith was the one to whom the female priesthood was first given,
Sidney Rigdon to Stephen Post, June 1868, LDS archives

Was she not the first female ordinance worker?

Saint Sinner said:

When Brigham Youngâ??s own wife received the endowment on 1 Nov 1843, he wrote, Mary A Young admitted to the hiest order of the Priesthood [sic]
Brigham Young Diary 29 Oct, 1 Nov 1843, copies in Donald R Moorman papers, ARchives, Weber State University

Isn't the highest order of the Priesthood received only by husband and wife together?

Saint Sinner said:

Now Brethren, the man that honors his priesthood, the woman that honors her priesthood, will receive an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of God.
Brigham Young ;JoD17:119

I'd take that as honoring the "priesthood" that we receive through temple ordinances."

To which I responded:

For what it's worth (probably nothing), my opinion is as follows:

Assuming that the "Priesthood" as we understand it is the real deal, i.e., the authentic power of God exercised with authority, then it is my belief that women should have held it as men do a long time ago, and that women eventually will (not just through the marriage or sealing, but through a standard individualized, non-husband-dependant, laying on of hands). I do not dictate to God; I only state my opinion about what I think his will would be.

Of course, if God does not exist, or if "priesthood" is not conveyed through callings per se or laying on of hands, or if priesthood power can be utilized or obtained by those who are not LDS, or if priesthood is simply a farce and does not enable a person to exercise any greater power than they could without it, then it doesn't matter.

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