In a moment of weakness last month, I assented to our ward music chairman’s entreaties to do a special musical number of some sort. Today at Church she cornered me and asked me to shoot for the third week of February. So I just now dug around in an old file cabinet in the pantry to find the music I want to use. Sitting just under the music was an outline for an old EQ lesson I gave many years ago (before the Presidents of the Church series of lesson manuals), a lesson which in the manual must have had the captioned title. I have no recollection of this lesson whatsoever, but as I scanned my outline I had to chuckle at my obvious discomfort with the way the manual had framed the whole thing, and how I obviously felt it necessary to broach the issue of whether we shouldn’t just give women the priesthood directly (which in fact is my view). (I’m pretty sure this was before I had heard of the whole “women have had the priesthood since 1843” idea.) Note how I don’t even get to the point of what the lesson was supposed to be until the last third of the lesson. Anyway, I thought it might be fun to post this outline of my ancient lesson plan here:
Sharing Priesthood Blessings with Our Wives
1. Begs question, why not just share priesthood with our wives?
– difficult (I’m not big on patriarchy stuff)
– timely (Utah this summer)
2. We can’t resolve here, but ask for views on this issue.
3. Try to elicit the following:
a. Women never given priesthood in scrips. But no explicit revelation denying women priesthood. Is scriptural precedent a reflection of timeless doctrine or cultural assumption?
b. Scriptural reqs. must be flexible. I.e., we are not descended from Levi. (Aaron, Zadock —> Sadducees)
c. Situation with blacks a parallel. No specific revelation, just longstanding practice and doctrinal rationalizations. Wouldn’t be changing a core doctrine, just a practice.
d. Women did hold priesthood in a sense in 19th century. 1880 1st pres. statement. Man and wife one. Women spoke in tongues, anointed and blessed, would stand in circle. Changed at time of priesthood retrenchment under Joseph F. Smith. Also, women will hold “it” again – “priestesses.” Joseph Fielding Smith, BRM.
e. If it is an unalterable doctrine, what is the underlying reason?
– Roles? (Ok, but what about sister missionaries, relief society pres., temple workers. Priesthood not necessarily related to the role of breadwinning. If it’s man’s role to rule, then that doesn’t answer question–why?)
– More intelligent? (used to be justification, but I don’t believe)
– More worthy? (of course not)
– Don’t want it? (not all men want it either)
– Don’t need it? (insults intelligence–we don’t really treat it as a crutch for the spiritually incapacitated)
f. Is it likely to change?
– basic conservatism
– manifesto, blacks–unwillingness to appear to bow to pressure. Crticism can backfire (but here, it’s mostly internal–must pay attention)
– External focus not on Church (other churches have same prob., but we already have the doctrinal framework in place.)
– Church’s position is requires revelation. That requires prophet getting on his knees and asking. Hasn’t happened yet. Whole thing is built on an assumption.
4. In any event, we have to live with current Church policy–we’re not in a position to change it.
5. So how do we share priesthood blessings? Idea of “flowing through.” Partnership model (cf. tax treatment)
Worked in 19th century. But now, more of a tripartite covenant model:
(cf. tripartite covenants among Great King—>Vassal King—>People) Flow through husband himself.
6. How do we “flow blessings” through?
a. hold priesthood, magnify it so that that influence will be present in our homes.
b. marry in the temple. The highest ordinances of the Church–received equally by a man or woman, or not at all.
c. administer priesthood ordinances in our families
d. beware of unrighteous dominion (D&C 121) (SWK–not rule, but “preside.” Equal partnership).