Saturday, March 29, 2014

Quick Takes on Women and the Priesthood

I haven't wanted to join the fray of LDS women blogging about the Ordain Women movement ... but here it goes. Seven quick takes of all my random thoughts regarding this internal battle.

1. I just wish women (and men) on all sides of the argument would stop judging each other. I especially wish they'd stop judging one another's testimonies. Faith and testimony are so personal, and they are NOT to be judged by others. Women who want the priesthood are not apostate. Women content with not having the priesthood are not servile. We are each individuals. Individuals with our own personal relationships with our Father in Heaven, the depth and commitment of that relationship is not to be judged by others.

2. My favorite blog post on the topic is titled Why I, A Feminist Who Wants the Priesthood, Won't be at the Ordain Women Demonstration. I loved this personal essay because it was vacant of all the finger pointing; it was simply one woman's reflection on her own dedication to Heavenly Father and His plan. I loved the introduction, about Abraham. Unlike her, I have not fallen in love with the story of Abraham (I don't hate it, but I don't love it), but like her my beef is with God. I totally believe God would command a prophet to prepare his son for sacrifice. I fully believe God would command a prophet to have more than one wife, and even to favor one over the other. And that drives me crazy!

I also fully believe that God loves me, and wants me to find happiness. I believe in His timing, and I believe His timing is divine. I believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and I believe He will reveal many great and marvelous things in future times.

I know many people of faith become frustrated when He doesn't reveal the answers we are seeking. This line from the essay really resonated with me: "Faith is to ask, but it is also to accept whether God says yes or no or even, 'I"m not telling and I'm not even going to tell you why I'm not telling.' Even if the result of that answer encourages, pain, strife, or disassociation."  I am almost certain my mortal brain will never understand polygamy of the Old Testament or polygamy of the Restoration, but I'm not going to let my lack of knowledge cause pain, strife, or disassociation. God will reveal that (and priesthood and race) to me when I am spiritually and intellectually ready, and I can patiently wait for that day.

3. For the record, I do not agree with the goal or the approach of the Ordain Women movement. But also, see #1.

4. Tonight, as I drove home from the Women's Broadcast, I wondered what the real end goal of Ordain Women is. I thought about how sad it would be if we didn't take time in our Church meetings to have gender divided classes. I am grateful Ben can attend trainings on fatherhood and spousal duties. Likewise, I enjoy nights out with my Relief Society sisters. I want my children to grow up in a world, and at the very least, a culture that honors their individual gender roles. Do other women (and men) really want to put an end to gender segregated classes/discussions/meetings/trainings within The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints? I'm not sure what the answer is, and I'd bet each member of the Ordain Movement would answer differently, but I'd be curious to hear some of their answers.

5.  I do think one area the Church could improve on, and this is a local/cultural problem not a gospel one, is to distinguish the difference between the Priesthood -- power and authority from God -- and the male body of the Church -- priesthood quorums. The male body of the Church is NOT the priesthood. The priesthood is God's power and authority. Though keys of the priesthood have not always been on the Earth (see apostasy), the priesthood has no end and no beginning. It is the power God used to create all things. He uses this power to govern the heavens and the Earth. He uses the priesthood and it's sacred ordinances to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. It just so happens that right now worthy male members of Christ's one true Church are the only ones who can administer those ordinances. Since the times in the Old Testament God has been selective in who He shares those priesthood keys with, and that is okay. It is God's way, and one day those of us who continually seek His light and knowledge will know why.

6. When I was young and first realizing my brothers had been (and would be) baptized and confirmed just like me, but that unlike me, they would also be ordained into the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods  -- my mother placed a simple and beautiful thought into my head. In order for a man to obtain exaltation he must be worthy of and ordained to the priesthood, a woman can receive exaltation without this ordination. It's that simple. I promise. Currently, God has given some of His priesthood powers to men, and not women, but our ability to enter His kingdom is equal.

7. I love that women can now serve LDS missions at 19 years of age, but I really hope they never extend it to 2 years. Eighteen months is plenty of time.

See, how is that for a random list of thoughts on women and the priesthood? Let me know your random thoughts in the comments. I love random thoughts!  


Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see what happens in the long run. My personal thoughts are that women will never be advanced to the priesthood. It is my opinion they already "receive the priesthood." BUT, I would never in a million years have believed the church would admit error in the blacks and the priesthood question -- admitting what they had taught for years had no foundation in scripture. There were prophetesses in the scriptures -- did they have the priesthood? I don't know -- I don't think it matters. Perhaps one day women will be "advanced" to the priesthood.

Tiff said...

I agree. I think because women don't have to have the priesthood they probably won't ever have it like men do. I do think there is lots of room for improvement in gender relations in the church and I'm excited to see all the improvements that are coming. I don't know about you, but when I decided to serve a mission no one was excited about except my grandparents. Everyone was so careful when talking about sisters serving missions, but now they talk about it all the time. A YW in our ward that was recently baptized and they mentioned her serving a mission in her confirmation. I think it's awesome and I wish it was like that when I was younger. Anyway, I don't mind the OW because it's shedding light on women's issues. I still can't believe the didn't let women pray in sacrament meeting until the '70s and in GC only last year!

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