Teaching lessons on the priesthood to young feminists

priesthood1Oh, no. This isn’t a how-to post. This is a how-in-the-world-to? post.

So last night my fifteen-year-old daughter had a very inconveniently timed existential crisis, prompted by the fact that in June the Sunday School and Young Women lessons are all going to be about the priesthood. That’s two hours straight of priesthood priesthood priesthood for four Sundays in a row. My daughter is a rather volatile young lady who is fixated on gender issues in the church. As she said to me last night, “I don’t necessarily want the priesthood, but I just want to understand why [it’s only given to men].” I don’t think it’s an unreasonable question, why. I just don’t expect her to get any satisfaction on that count. At least not any more than I’ve gotten in my forty-two years of being Mormon.

It is one thing to be 42 and decide that you can live without knowing why (not only when it comes to the priesthood, but when it comes to anything). But that sort of reconciliation comes only after years of disappointment. To get to this point, I had to endure many years of confusion and frustration. At some point I decided, “Well, I’m a Mormon, for better or worse, so [shrug].” It worked for me. In case you were wondering, this strategy has not translated well to explaining things to my fifteen-year-old, who is still in the process of figuring out what she believes. She expects some answers, dammit! (Only she doesn’t say “dammit,” because that would be rude.)

My daughter confided in me that her fear is that she will pray and ask God why and get an answer that she won’t like–that women really are less important and less valued than men in the grand scheme of things. I told her that God was unlikely to give her an answer like that. Between you and me and the internet, the main reason I think that is because my personal experience has been that God likes us to develop a tolerance for unanswered questions. (God has never told me where my keys were, either.) But I didn’t tell her that. What I did do is bear my testimony that God is not a jerk. I don’t testify of much to my children, so I hope she understood the significance of that statement. I have a very simplistic view of the universe. I think that goodness is ultimately rewarded with goodness, so if she asks sincerely and God does condescend to give her an answer, I don’t think He’s going to say, “Because I’m kind of a misogynist.” I don’t know what He (or She!) would say–if I did, she wouldn’t need to pray because I could just tell her–but I don’t think it’s an answer she needs to be afraid of.

I think we headed off that existential crisis for last night, but we are still on the hook for the month of June, when her teachers will be telling her about how important the priesthood is and how it blesses everyone, male and female, but not explaining the “why” that troubles her so deeply. I’ll be honest with you: I’m kind of a coward. Last year when we taught the Book of Mormon in Primary and I had to do the lesson on Nephi getting the sealing power, I pretty much skipped any commentary on the priesthood and went straight to the parking lot to pick blackberries. I do not know how to teach lessons on the priesthood without offending myself. (I’m sure the kids would have been just fine. They’re resilient and they don’t listen to me anyway.) I don’t know how I’m going to survive a month of my daughter reacting (and overreacting) to lessons that remind her that she belongs to a patriarchal church. Yeah, I know she has to suck it up and deal if she wants to stay Mormon, but she hasn’t decided yet if she’s going to stay Mormon, and I really need to get through the next four weeks without writing her letter of resignation for her.

If you had an angry young feminist in your Sunday School or Young Women class, what would you tell her about the priesthood? Bear in mind that a) my daughter is sincere in her beliefs and she’s only angry because she’s afraid to show her vulnerable side, and b) she doesn’t want to have children. Go!


  1. I do not know how to teach lessons on the priesthood without offending myself.

    Now that’s a money quote! Thanks for this thought-provoking post! Love it.

  2. To be fair, nothing seems fair at age 15.

    I have never found very satisfying explanations for any of this stuff, so I’ve just gone with the “I know the church is the best thing for me.” as my answer for all the hard stuff. We’ll see how well that goes when I have kids.

    Just keep testifying that God isn’t a jerk and really does love us mere mortals. I just hope one day it’ll make sense.

  3. (I don’t have any answers to your discussion questions, but I think this post is important.)

  4. No answers, just a wondering if this blitz of priesthood lessons combined with the simultaneous blitz of the Worldwide Leadership Training videos (which is all about the priesthood) being touted and watched in wards around the world will prompt many other members to ask the very same question(s). And maybe it will prompt important clarification on what the priesthood is and how it works and how it has historically worked, which would be a very good thing.

  5. Kevin Barney says:

    Here’s my answer to your daughter’s question. Spoiler alert: she’s not gonna like it.


  6. Ouch. Crunch time.

    Since there IS no satisfactory answer, would it help to prepare her for what people have invented as substitutes for really knowing? Because Eve tempted Adam, because motherhood equals priesthood, etc.? Or would that only prime her to call the teacher out?

    I read the most heartbreaking letter yesterday from a young woman who had been told by local church leaders whom she had always trusted, that women had no access to the Holy Ghost and could not know whether the Church was true. She was so disturbed that she wrote to Joseph F. Smith to ask for help. “Would God really create women and leave us without the means to know? I thought I knew, I still believe I do.” It’s hard enough when sincere young women like this one, and like your daughter, hurt enough to ask questions, without anyone making it harder with misinformation.

  7. Worried about teaching these lessons myself, though I highly doubt there are any young feminists in my crew. I was a girl with big questions and I asked so many of them (and so sincerely) in Sunday School that teachers routinely called my father to ask him how to handle me. Would it be empowering for her to feel like she is likely the kind of soul and of the generation that will work this out? Having someone turn it back to me, appeal to my intellect, and tell me where and how I might look might have been useful to me. Joanna Brooks recent posts on FMH might be one place to start, if you think she’s up for them. Also, there’s no shame in staying home a few weeks, if she’s not up for learning the party line with the others.

  8. Maybe start by making sure she can distinguish between when someone is giving an explanation on the one hand and when they’re making an excuse on the other. So far, in my life in the Church, all I’ve ever heard for this one is excuses.

  9. I think avoiding false doctrine about the priesthood is the biggest hurtle. I was writing letters to church leaders asking for women to have the priesthood when I was still in Primary, so maybe my perspective as a 27-year-old woman has been accelerated by the fact that I really have had a couple decades to come to terms with the issue. Because today I’m mostly fine with not being ordained… yet.

    So, here’s what would have been helpful for someone to teach me about the priesthood when I was younger:

    1 – Holding the priesthood is a responsibility to serve others. Not a personal power. To receive an ordinance or a blessing, a man who holds the priesthood still has to go to someone else who holds the priesthood, just like those of us who aren’t ordained.

    2 – The priesthood is the power of God. It should not be conflated with those who hold it. It is a perfect power, but those who hold it are imperfect people who sometimes make lousy mistakes.

    3 – We have every reason to believe that all worthy women will hold the priesthood at some point, if not in this life. Women even perform priesthood ordinances in some limited instances in the temple. I think a lot more members should know this fact, because there is nothing secret about it. Maybe we refrain from sharing this information because we think we can’t talk about the temple ever, but I think that’s a misconception. We don’t need to share sacred details in order to convey this basic and essential fact. A lot of men don’t even know that fact, and think how differently those men would view women and the priesthood if they knew?

    4. I think we need to admit that we simply don’t know all the answers. We don’t know why women don’t hold the priesthood, but we do know how revelation works: inspired leaders make decisions based on their knowledge and pray to the Lord for confirmation. Sometimes Heavenly Father approves one policy/decision even though several other potential policies/decisions could have been just as effective. It doesn’t mean future leaders won’t present a different decision to the Lord and receive a different answer. In the meantime, it’s really truly okay to shelve a question *after* sorting through it for awhile.

    If I were a teacher, teaching young feminists, I’d probably have them come up with a list of all the reasons they hear to explain women not having the priesthood and then tell them that the only official answer is that we don’t know. If they want to reject those speculative answers, they have every right to do so without worrying that they’re rejecting doctrine.

    Despite all this, there was a moment on Sunday in my ward that broke my heart and actually brought me to tears. A stake speaker was addressing my ward, and he chose to address most of his comments to the men in the ward and to focus on the priesthood. His main point was that, like the 5 wise virgins in the parable of the 10 virgins, priesthood holders should always be prepared with consecrated oil and spiritually ready to give a blessing if called upon to do so. Then he said that he felt compelled to share with the men in this particular ward that the power they held was a real power from God. That didn’t bother me, though it’s a pet peeve of mine when the priesthood is discussed entirely from the perspective of men, though women make up more than half the audience. What bothered me was what he then said to women about the priesthood – he told us that when we were choosing whom to date, we shouldn’t date someone who wasn’t prepared with their consecrated oil and that we should ask a man before dating him whether he was prepared with his consecrated oil.

    When I tried to express my frustration to a male friend later, he said, “But why are you upset? What the speaker said doesn’t rule out all those other messages about the priesthood that you want.” No, but what a speaker doesn’t say speaks volumes. I’m okay with not holding the priesthood BECAUSE I understand that my relationship with the priesthood is NOT defined by my dating life. And for someone to shrink my relationship with the power of God down to something so trivial and so focused on men and only men is pretty much a slap in the face of my divine potential. And it hurts me.

  10. malimormon says:

    I would encourage the hypothetical young woman (and your daughter) to go ahead and pray to God and ask, so she can get her own testimony that “God is not a jerk.” I had a similar crisis, though at an older age, and finally came to the same conclusion you have — “I don’t know, but I know that God loves his daughters as much as his sons and he is not a jerk.” Periodically the crisis re-emerges, and I’m able to go back to that “testimony” and feel comforted, even if still confused. I believe your daughter will grow stronger through her own struggle.

  11. Good advice malimormon (5:55 pm)

  12. Kevin – Thanks for the link. (Not for the spoiler, though. Jeez.) I have been trying to convince my daughter that there are a variety of Mormon perspectives on this.

    Ardis – Unfortunately, she is already well acquainted with the made-up reasons. Fortunately, she already knows that they are crap. (Unfortunately, she hasn’t learned the polite way of responding when someone tells her something that is crap.)

    deja – If staying home were an option, I would have started leaving her there when she was five.

    ecb – Good point about rejecting speculation =/= rejecting doctrine. Also, that story about the consecrated oil makes me feel stabby.

    malimormon – When in doubt, I always tell me daughter to go back to what she does know. She has a strong testimony of Jesus. That gives me hope.

  13. I don’t think that your daughter will be overreacting if she gets upset with all of those lessons on the priesthood. When we try selling the idea of separate but equal, we inevitably set up a hierarchy that does not include women at the top. She’s afraid of praying about it because of how she sees gender play out in the church. Her concerns are legitimate and she shares them with many others.

  14. Rebecca,

    Part of me wants to tell your daughter – Question away! Ask the hard questions and keep asking them. If you and every young woman ask these questions and won’t accept made up answers and then say “I don’t know” isn’t good enough for a revelatory church it may be then that we get serious about seeking a real answer. Things may actually change.

    But I understand your frustration as a parent. Is it really true that we need to lose a large portion of an entire generation of women before we get serious enough to acknowledge on a church-wide scale our ignorance and then get humble enough to receive real answers? Our children. Your daughter? My daughter? Losing a generation is already happening, of course. The thing is the church hasn’t yet REALLY seen the generation of women in at least the US and Europe that are finding they are given more true institutional and cultural respect outside of their church than in it. Our current answers will simply not be good enough for them. ncludng, “I don’t know”. As you say, they are deciding right now whether they are really going to be Mormon or not. And that “evil, awful” world out there where they are treated more and more equally is going to look better and better to so many of them. Already, I can’t blame them, especially those that rub up against the worst of gender culture. There has to be a better way.

    My advise for your daughter? Show her the Nauvoo Relief Society Papers. Tell her about women’s blessings. tell her about the promises in the temple of being queens and priestesses. Give her some hope that restoration was tilting toward enfranchising women. So many of us are living on the hope of what Mormonism could be. Seeing the possibilities. I think that, plus hopefully training a gender sensitive generation of male priesthood leaders may be enough to help girls in her generation hang on as long as they can. That is the best I’ve got.

  15. Teach your daughter that a man (or woman) must be called of God, by prophecy and by the laying on of hands, to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel — and that during this dispensation, God hasn’t yet called women. She shouldn’t condemn God, but she could make it a matter of humble prayer (only humble prayer will do any good).

  16. Kristine says:

    Maybe you can teach her to do what I sometimes do to make it possible to sit through dumb lessons without being (much of) a jerk. I try to approach the lesson as an ethnographer–“hmmm. The teacher seems to believe x, even though x contradicts y in reality/the scriptures/in my experience… Others believe the equally ridiculous explanations p,q, and z. What an interesting tribe.” It’s not perfect, but it sometimes works for me when Lamaze breathing fails…

  17. Dave K. says:

    God gives to us according to our righteous desires. Right now, as a collective, we do not desire female ordination. So God (He and She) cannot give it at this time. No different from ancient Israel receiving the lower law. Tell your daughter she is not alone. The church body is slowly moving forward. We sure would welcome her in my ward while we continue to stumble through the wilderness.

  18. This spring, I have written not one, not two, but three lesson plans on women and the priesthood over at Exponent. I volunteered for the first lesson to challenge myself, because even now, in my thirties, I still have a similar reaction to your teen daughter when it comes to lessons about the priesthood. (The prospect of a whole-month priesthood-athon would have just about killed me in my teen years.) I ended up writing the other two priesthood lessons through luck(?) of the draw. So lately, I have studied the relationship of women and priesthood more than I ever have before in my life, and here is the grand conclusion I have reached: The reason why all of the explanations for denying women the priesthood are so unsatisfying is because there is no good reason to deny women the priesthood. I hope and pray someday the ban will be lifted.

    This may not sound like a very satisfying answer, but if someone, anyone, had said this to me when I was in my teen years, it would have been such a relief to me. Instead, while boys were praised for their unselfish desire to serve, girls like me with similar desires to serve were accused of being selfish and power-hungry; offered nonsensical, nondoctrinal excuses; shamed into silence and warned that we risked eternal damnation.

    Even an unsatisfying answer beats that.

    If your daughter’s teachers are the types who might appreciate a heads-up from you, you can check out my bullets at the beginning of this priesthood lesson for young women that explains some ways to foster class discussion without resorting to shaming young women like your daughter: http://www.the-exponent.com/young-women-lesson-priesthood-and-priesthood-keys-how-do-i-honor-and-uphold-the-priesthood-plus-bonus-lesson-should-i-serve-a-mission/

    Here is my most thorough primer on priesthood and women, which might be useful for prep for a month of Sunday dinner chats with your daughter: http://www.the-exponent.com/daughters-in-my-kingdom-blessings-of-the-priesthood-for-all-an-inseparable-connection-with-the-priesthood/

  19. JohnnyS says:

    I like ecb’s thoughts on this. However, we must also consider the fact that there really is no answer. I don’t think the church leadership really knows as I’ve never heard any kind of definitive, satisfactory answer. Also, remember that we’re dealing with an institution that admitted it couldn’t find the origins of the priesthood ban for black members, so it’s clear that we’ve had, in the past, policies regarding the priesthood that were clearly not divinely inspired and were likely the result of racism, just as the limiting of the priesthood to one gender may very well be about sexism. The fact is that the church is still very much a white, heterosexual male church and it’s likely to only change, if it does, at a glacial pace. One thing that might help your daughter is teaching her (she likely already knows this; she sounds pretty sharp) that she can be the agent of change. The fact is that a lot of people, particularly young people, have been expressing their feelings about things they disagree with by simply no longer attending church. We’ve got, for example, a 90 percent dropout rate of young single adults. What that means, though, is that church leaders may be more accepting of/amenable to listening to other viewpoints. If your daughter stays strong and active in the church, she can help work for change from within. The fact that the church has so few temple recommend holding members (25 % of us, maybe?) might mean that the so-called deviant ones who stay may be listened to more attentively.

  20. Jessica says:

    I have thought about this topic all throughout my life and recently quite a lot. I was preparing a young women’s lesson one Sunday when an epiphany came to me. First, equally important doesn’t mean the same responsibilities, particularly in viewing the roles of men and women. Our purpose in coming to earth was to gain a body and gain experience and make choices. Our mothers give us the ability to gain a physical body and our fathers give us the ability to have the saving ordinances necessary to return to our Heavenly Father. Both are vitally important parts of the plan of salvation. Our roles in earth often reflect these heavenly callings, however, they are not exclusive to just mothers or just fathers–mothers and fathers share these responsibilities in raising their children. Second, these roles tie us together as a family. Over and over in the scriptures we are told to be unified and no where is that more important than in a family. Mothers usually have instant bonds to their children because of physical bond they share as a child develops in the womb, laboring and birthing a child, nursing a child. Babies know and love their mothers first. When a toddler falls down, she looks for her mother. When a teenager is sick, he wants his mother. Even a an adult, I find myself in situations wishing for my mother. But fathers need to have this bond with their children too and they need a way to do it. It is through the priesthood that men have a special and sacred power given to them that allows them to uniquely bless their family and bind themselves to their children. Think of how a father looks as he blesses his infant in church, or how special it is when fathers can give back to school blessings to his children, or a father ordaining his son to the priesthood. These experiences help us be bonded to our fathers and our fathers to us.
    In the scheme of things–and this is fully my opinion, the gospel is really about family units, and the priesthood is really about binding families together. It is not about men being over women, but it is about women and men making the plan of salvation possible together through their own unique abilities and callings. We often equate the priesthood with the church, but I think that is a secondary function–as in the church makes it possible for ordinances to happen and a vehicle for the kingdom of God on the earth. But it is in the family where I think the priesthood is most important and most powerful.
    I’ve been thinking about writing an article about this, but I guess I just did.

  21. Kristine says:

    Jessica–I imagine you are happily married and able to have children? Because for everybody else, that rationale doesn’t help all that much.

  22. D&C 121:39 – “We have learned by sad experience that it is the anature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little bauthority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” – My personal opinion is that the priesthood has been very over-inflated within the church. Sure – it’s important. But – do we need to spend an entire month talking about it? Nope. Should we spend MORE time talking about fatherhood, Christ, serving others, etc.? yes. I LOVE that your daughter asks these questions because they’re questions a lot of us want answered… and – I’d like to see “priesthood” brought back to what it REALLY is – service- instead of what we see it used as now – often unrighteous dominion. Do you need the priesthood to baptize someone? yes. Do you REALLY need the priesthood to be a witness, or to be in a Sunday school presidency (even the secretary now has to be a man), or to have the calling of setting up chairs? probably not. I wish we could take the priesthood “back to basics” of what it really is, then figure out why women don’t hold it and if they could, then keep it what it is meant to be… Not that this helps your daughter… But- I love the previous ideas of telling her about pioneer women giving blessings, about women performing ordinances in the temple, etc. with a BIG focus on “we don’t know why things are like they are, but little by little, they’re getting better.” Talk about women praying in conference :)

  23. Jessica says:

    Kristine, I am happily married and I do have children and I realize that my explanation does leave a lot of people feeling like they are left out in the cold. The majority of families in the world are not “traditional” and not everyone is married, happily married, or has children. To be honest, I do not yet have a good solid answer for women who are single or divorced or married to a non-member man. But, what I know is true is that this life is about sealing up and uniting the family of God. It is about learning and growing together in our understanding. We are all part of a family in one sense or another–whether we are daughters or sisters or wives or mothers or aunts–and we all have a significant role to play. Women are an amazing force for good and we can have incredible spiritual power. My husband has the right, through the priesthood, to lay his hands on my daughter’s head and give her a blessing to be healed. But I have the right to pray for revelation and inspiration to know how to heal my daughter.
    I am lucky enough right now to be in a place where I am very spiritually happy. But I was that 15 year old girl not terribly long ago. I knew then that God did not make me a second class citizen, but I knew I felt that way sometimes. I recognize that I am very blessed to be in a family situation, both because of my parents and my marriage, that have given me the chance to find the peace I have found in regards to my understanding of the priesthood and my own role in the scheme of things. i will add, a good young women’s leader also can make a world of difference.

  24. Jessica,

    As a priesthood holding man I just can’t get behind that explanation. I desire to be bonded with my family through priesthood service and nothing would bond me more to my family then giving a blessing with my wife to our children, to see my daughters and sons pass the sacrament etc. You would have to believe that sharing the priesthood with women would somehow devalue the experience of priesthood for men. Priesthood like love is something that only has value in the sharing. Hoarded priesthood does no one any good. I can see no reason to hoard it from one gender. To quote Eliza R. Snow, “it makes reason stare”.

    Also, what you call “a secondary function” of the priesthood – its control over the governance of the kingdom was never seen as a “secondary function” until we have had to apologetically defend it. In all of the JS era early writing the priesthood was about the Kingdom and its governance. To call it secondary is to dismiss pretty much of all the basic D&C foundations for our understanding of priesthood. Now do I think there has been huge overreach in excluding women from governance based on their lack of priesthood? Sure. But it really is a rejection of the Mormon historical and scriptural record to call church governance a secondary function of priesthood. JS told the Relief Society that he was “turning the key to them” and that he wished the sister to be “priests even as in Enoch’s day”. He didn’t live long enough to finish the work. It seems to me that the whole regression of women in the church is a prime case study for why “restorations” are needed. Look what was lost in just over a few generations when we had awesome tools like printing presses, widespread literacy etc.

  25. It seems entirely possible to me that exalted beings aren’t complete in and of themselves and require a complement. In fact, that seems to be the doctrine of the church right now. Should that be true, it also seems reasonable for that to be modeled in some way in our fallen world, as so many other things are, and those who reject “separate but equal” as simply being unjust are going to be bitterly disappointed. That doesn’t mean the status quo is necessarily an accurate model, but the idea that women and men must be equivalent for justice to prevail makes no sense for me.

    With regards to teaching the priesthood, why would it need to be taught as a male authority? Why couldn’t the possibility of female ordination be left open, without even being stated explicitly. It’s the power and authority to perform ordinances, primarily, and who says women could never get it (or a complementary version). The only difference in the way it would be taught is that for men it’s presented as a duty, because for them it currently is.

  26. rah and JohnnyS: Can you substantiate your “losing a generation” and “90% of YSAs” claims? I see this kind of thing thrown around, but am as yet unpersuaded. Kristine: Love the ethnography approach. When I’m feeling nasty in RS, I practice raising just one elegant, skeptical eyebrow–unsuccessfully, but it keeps me amused.

  27. Honestly, I’d take her for the 2nd and 3rd hours for the month of June and go somewhere. To pick blackberries, to Starbucks and write letters to servicemen and women, to read to folks in a nursing home. Anything. We can’t escape the patriarchy (and stay in the church), but she doesn’t need to wallow in it either.

  28. I’m your daughter, but 15 years in the future. I’ve struggled to understand gender issues in the church, but my greatest resource has always been a mother who is sympathetic to my concerns, who doesn’t easily dismiss my questions with canned answers and who loves me regardless of my choices with religion. I’m endowed and find great strength in knowing I wear the “Garment of the Holy Priesthood.”

  29. Dave K. says:

    Jessica, I second rah (8:03). My family is outwardly a very traditional LDS. Married young at BYU. Five kids. SAHM. Lots of church service. I love participating in priesthood ordinances, especially for my children. But, for me, the practice of excluding my wife from those ordinances lessens their value and weakens the bonds that come through the experience. It is because I know, first hand, of the great value of priesthood to bless my family that I desire my wife and daughters to be ordained.

  30. Andre7th says:

    “We believe that.. God will yet reveal many great and marvelous things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” The way the church is now is not the way it will always be. Thankfully, in this and many other matters, there is (or has the possibility of) continuing revelation.

  31. I remember when I was growing up how fervently my mother prayed that all men would receive the priesthood. After that change was announced I remember wondering how many people like my mother had been praying for the same thing. Maybe we need to teach our youth to really pray for change – not leave in frustration, not protest by wearing pants to sacrament – but work on the Lord for an answer to a very reasonable and important question. Perhaps if enough of us did, we’d get a real answer and I believe His answer would be satisfying.

  32. JohnnyS says:

    Hi sba,

    Well, that 90% figure is about what our stake is. I just saw some numbers that show we’ve got about 420 YSAs on the books and 37 of them come to church. One of my stake leaders says that this is in line with what the rest of the church’s numbers are and I’m assuming (perhaps wrongly?) he’s getting them from church headquarters. Also, there were some pretty reputable studies done in the late 90s about low activity rates generally. I read one in the Salt Lake Tribune and will try to dig it up and pass it along.

  33. First YW lesson in June–
    how I can participate effectively in councils in the Church

    Good luck!

  34. As someone who has to give one of those lessons next month, I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I can’t explain why women don’t have the priesthood…I don’t know is all i’ve got. When i asked, the Lord didn’t answer that question, but he did help me to understand my own role and responsibility in the priesthood. And it isn’t just to ask for blessings and send boys on missions. I honestly think the doctrine supports a much higher responsibility for women and the priesthood than is generally understood and taught in Sunday classes.

    If you read the oath and covenant of the priesthood it applies just as much to women as to men. We can receive the priesthood, (I don’t think it has to mean ordain), we receive the Father and his servants. We are responsible to be worthy and to have the faith to access the blessings of the priesthood. We may not be giving the blessing, but everything else is the same…we honor our callings, recieve revelation, have a personal relationship with our Savior, pray with faith, etc. Our relationship to the priesthood can and ought to be one of active participant instead of passive bystander. Maybe the way i explain the difference seems small, but to me, it helps.

    I know it isn’t the whole answer, but it is part of the answer. And it’s what I’ve got to go on so far.

  35. MDearest says:

    Regarding the idea that motherhood creates superior bonds with a child, I reject that bonding is the sole domain of women. To bond with a child requires an investment of time, energy, problem-solving and love, and such things are not gendered. I have seen many fathers make this investment and reap the rewards. There is nothing that prohibits men from this if they’re willing to pitch in and do it, and I believe we should encourage fathers in it. It doesn’t lessen the mother’s bond to have the father’s bond be strong.
    By this same logic, wouldn’t both an ordained father and mother increase the net amount of loving priesthood service benefitting a family? And imagine the benefit that women with non-member husbands could have…

    I hope Rebecca’s daughter has wise leaders who will speak of the problems presenting with the unanswered ‘why’ questions without dwelling unduly on them, but rather teach more about what we know of the restoration and governance — all of it, just the same as you might do with a thorough survey for young men, so that they understand and are prepared for the day when they will lead and administer, and sustain others who lead and administer.

  36. When I was asked to teach Sunday School last year, my Bishop told me that the teenagers had been taught in Primary how to read a flight manual and that they now need to learn how to become pilots of their own planes. I love that man.

    Given my calling, I am preparing lessons on this topic for next month. I will be focusing on the first one (participating in councils, which, contrary to Gaffer’s comment, can apply to women and men equally and has a lot of wonderful potential) and then leading a discussion about the difference between the Priesthood (acting in the name of God is a responsibility of all baptized members and a promise we renew every week), Priesthood power (the ability to act properly in the name of God, which, again, applies equally to men and women) and Priesthood authority (the right to do Priesthood-related things by assignment). Only the last one (authority) is given exclusively to men outside the temple, and it is given to women in the temple; all endowed members “hold / carry” the Priesthood in a very real and important way when they wear the garment of the Holy Priesthood; and, as has been said in another comment, we believe there yet will be many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

    I promised my students when I started teaching that I would answer any question they asked honestly and openly, telling them clearly when I was explaining my own view and sharing what others believe, and I will do that this month. “I don’t know, but the following are some of the reasons I have heard in my life,” will be part of a lesson at some point next month, I’m sure. (It was a large part of the last lesson I taught, because one of the students – a young man – asked why we don’t have much about Heavenly Mother in our scriptures.)

    I think there will be many same old, same old lessons taught next month, but I also believe it is an opportunity to teach lessons that are both grounded firmly in accepted Mormon doctrine and satisfying to this generation. I just think the first kind are easier to prepare – and far less filling for the students.

  37. Oh crap. I was JUST called as Laurels advisor and haven’t even peeked at the manual yet so I had no idea what was looming. I’m starting to sweat….please please please keep these comments coming!

  38. Rosalynde says:

    What I’m about to say is not a justification for a gendered priesthood, nor an explanation of its origin. Any reason-giving you might attempt is simply begging to be brought down, so if I were you I wouldn’t even try to give reasons, given her understandably frustrated and oppositional state.

    But it sounds like she might respond more favorably to a narrative of counter-cultural Mormonism. Frame Mormonism as an ongoing counter-cultural witness to the world — not that all of its experiments, from collectivism to polygamy to radical embodiment theology, have been successful or represented an eternal order of how things must always be. But the very existence of these weird experiments in social organization disrupts the received wisdom of the surrounding culture — not to destroy that culture, but to make it better by demonstrating the possibility of critical perspective. In an ironic twist of history, our male priesthood is now looking quite counter-cultural in the sense that it challenges and offends prevailing sensitivities. Whatever else we might feel about that, we can seize it as an opportunity to continue Mormonism’s counter-cultural witness to the world. (Of course, that would require us to radically re-work our internal discourse about priesthood. But stranger things have happened in the short, weird history of Mormonism!)

    Again, NOT a justification or explanation of male priesthood, but a way of stepping back and re-framing the issue.

  39. Today I listened to a podcast where Linda King Newell gives a presentation called “A Gift Given, A Gift Taken: Washing, Anointing, and Blessing the Sick Among Mormon Women.” This podcast is from a few years ago and therefore might be old news to many of you. The presentation may also bring up more problematic questions than it solves. However, we often talk about “The Priesthood” as if it it means one thing and always has. While I listened to her presentation, I was reminded that the concept of priesthood and what it means to hold it (for both women and men) has changed and been debated since the beginning of the church. At the very least, her talk brings new ideas to this conversation.
    [audio src="http://mormonstories.org/podcast/MormonStories-067-AGiftGiven.mp3" /]

  40. tophat8855 says:

    I’m subbing youth SS this next month. It’ll be interesting. Maybe I’ll share my Ordain Women profile (kidding!).

    There are 5 Sundays this month and with both SS and YW/YM lessons- that’s 10 lessons on priesthood. How you come up with 10 different lessons, I don’t know. But the teens are going to be bored by week 3.

    I also noticed that the 1 lesson in SS that addresses women leaves out non-priesthood-holding me. It’s called “How do women and priesthood holders work together to build the kingdom of God?” here: https://www.lds.org/youth/learn/ss/priesthood-keys/together?lang=eng) You know… because men can’t build the kingdom without the priesthood.

  41. Maybe a little history of the Priesthood could help, showing how offices and authority developed over time and were and are subject to change. Also that the power of/in the Priesthood is available to all members through ordinances of salvation regardless of gender. Personal power in the Priesthood is available to all those who are righteous. All blessings and power in the church that can and will exalt man or women are fully available to all who seek them. Any future changes in Priesthood policy will not enable individual men or women to gain a greater exaltation than is already available to them now. Currently authority in the Priesthood is granted to both women and men in varying capacities, and is subject to further development and change as we develop as a people progressing toward Zion–which is destined to become an entire nation of Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses.

  42. Sorry, EmJen (4:54 p.m.), you’re the best, but there’s no way that this blitz of priesthood lessons combined with the simultaneous blitz of the Worldwide Leadership Training videos (which is all about the priesthood) will spark a wave of genuine questioning. In my opinion, they are designed to–and will–serve to substantially reinforce the status quo.

    Rebecca: I think this situation calls for immediate intervention. You can’t stop the lessons, and you can’t change your daughter, but you can (lovingly) get in the teacher’s face ahead of time about the situation and remind the teacher that she had better not resort to teaching speculation as doctrine. I might even loop in the Young Women’s President and Bishop in that little meeting. Seriously.

  43. Of course your daughter’s questions have merit. I love your response, Rebecca, that God is not a jerk. I think that is kind of a bottom line truth that is essential before engaging in questions that relate to priesthood.

    I do think, though, that we ought not approach this topic with fear, but instead lean into it! I also think we can help youth think of different ways to engage this topic…questions that could open up more thought about the blessings and power available to them because priesthood is on the earth. I think too often we think in reductive ways about priesthood, in who-does-what ways instead of

    For example, I personally think there is great value in helping youth ponder WHY priesthood exists in the first place. Think of Moses 1:39 or D&C 107:18-20 or D&C 84:19 or D&C 65 or…. Asking them to consider, for example, what blessings flow in their lives because of priesthood, and what blessings can flow to all of God’s children because of its restoration in this dispensation of the fullness of times, and how it is that God invites us ALL to be involved in this work….

    Priesthood is the bottom line in the restoration, but it’s not just about keys and offices that men hold. The work of the restoration is SO expansive. I mean, we’re talking about a claim to have the authority within the functioning of our Church (which includes men and women) to fill the earth with a knowledge of Christ and to allow all of God’s children, living and dead, the opportunity to receive the ordinances of salvation. I like to think about how the different restored keys relate to the work that young women can do, now.

    My thoughts on that would have been too long (not that this isn’t already too long), so I’ve written a post. I’m leading the discussion on this on Sunday and so I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic over the past few months. It’s for young women like your daughter that I’ve been pondering this with such fierceness. I don’t intend to hand them all these thoughts, so my post is not meant to be a ‘lesson’ per se, but more a reflection on what I have been pondering as of late and how I think asking different questions of the young women can help them think less about who does what and more about what God is doing for us all through restored priesthood keys and authority. In my mind, that was meant to be the bottom line message of the latest WW leadership broadcast.

  44. sba,

    My normal response to the question to a source for tragically low numbers is to invite you to go to your stake leaders and ask to see the YSA and YW activity rates for your own stake (per John sharing his). That way you can verify it with data you trust and is local. It may also prompt you into trying to do something about the problem. Our stakes numbers look a lot like John’s. The gendered trend is that there has been a significant shift in the rates for women. Before women were inactive at lower rates than men in the YSA. However, now women’s inactivity rates are rising and nearing men while men’s simply remain high. The church almost never publically releases negative statistics about the church so finding public sources is simply hard. My source that this trend is true comes from a guy I absolutely trust who has worked directly with the stats department in the COB. I have also heard that general trend verified from two other sources that have contacts within the COB. It is among the most pressing issues facing the church and I think is recognized as such. Again, that makes it third hand for you. This is again why I recommend you see with your own eyes by going to your own stake. If you are lucky they might even be able to show you the trend. Probably not, but you never know.

    As a note, I am convinced that this rise in YSA women leaving the church was one of the major motivations in lowering the missionary age for women since it is those first couple of years after leaving the home that inactivity sky rocket. I think it is a positive and effective change in this regard. Using the missionary program to save the youth is admirable in my view. Go talk to your stake and prepare to be saddened.

  45. Gerald Smith says:

    For some things, there are no answers, and for others there are no good answers. In such things, I try and focus that God leaves some things unanswered just so we have to have faith and hope that all will work out for the best. I have no doubt but there is a priesthood for women in the heavens, though I know that doesn’t help her (or you) right now. But it is that hope we need to hold onto: God will make everything right when the Church is fully perfected and all truth is revealed.
    I think such things are given as a trial to test us, to see if we will humbly submit to God’s will. Whether we ask why there is death, why there is war, why there is hunger, why there is child slavery, why there are natural disasters, or why women do not have the priesthood, there is always the concept of “be still and know that I am God.”

  46. Naismith says:

    I endorse April’s ExII lessons–very thoughtful stuff there.

    To me, the real question is not why women have the priesthood or not, but rather why an all-powerful creator would make two genders to begin with. If we didn’t have these stupid differences, which disadvantage women in so many ways that priesthood is a triviality, then this would be a non-issue.

    So I would highly recommend that she read “The Left Hand of Darkness ” by Ursula K. Le Guin. It describes a society in which they don’t have two permanent genders and are thus spared most of what we humans go through.

  47. Cheryl Whyte says:

    Hi. Great question. I have a YW in the house and am a rampant feminist myself so the question came at a good time. The only way that begins to satisfy my requirement for an answer on the subject is the Atonement. I tell my daughter that the Gospel is eternal, Culture is temporary. There are things for which we do not currently have an answer. It is every persons responsibility – regardless of gender – to have a magnificent life, to learn, grow, stretch, develop, enjoy what has been given us, and not to be fenced in by the Culture aspect of our faith. If there are questions unanswered, keep searching but hold fast to the testimony she does have. Whatever we do not find answers to in this life, God will make up the difference. It will hopefully help us develop faith, trust and hope while never diminishing our sense of self.

  48. LaJean Carruth says:

    I would strongly recommend the long essay by Virginia Hinckley Pearce on priesthood and the temple in the recently released book, “The Beginning of Better Days: Divine Instruction to Women from the Prophet Joseph Smith” – his teachings to the Nauvoo RS. She ties D&C 84, receiving the priesthood, to the temple, and applies it to both men and women. Yes, she is at a different stage of life than our daughters, but her insights are excellent and worthwhile.

  49. I am delighted to hear that one of the lessons is on participating in Church councils. Too often the women in councils I’ve attended sit quietly, waiting (sometimes in vain) to be called upon. Instead, they need to be at least as active participants as the men. Hopefully training for how to participate actively in councils begins with service in the Beehive class presidency. But frankly, I haven’t seen much responsibility being given to YW class presidencies–not even from the YW adult presidency.

  50. I “supervise” the priests in my ward as they teach the quorum lessons. This month I assigned not just the AP lesson plans, but also the YM plans. There’s lots of overlap, but I want them to understand what the girls are being taught. Any ideas on what I can bring into a discussion with a group of 16-18 year old boys that will help them grow into adults that take the OP topic seriously? Maybe I should just bring them vials of olive oil and tell them that they can use them in college to get dates.

  51. If i didn’t know better, I would say that your daughter was in my Mia Maid class. I have one 15 year old in my class who frequently expresses her lack of desire to have children and balks at the gender inequalities and superficiality of YW activities and lessons at church. Just last night on the way home from our activity, she complained to me about how all of the other girls seem uninterested in doing anything that isn’t “fun” or requires deep thinking. (Her favorite activities have been our “career nights” where we have guest speakers tell us about various careers and the educational pathways to them. She especially liked the night we had an electrical engineer and an FBI agent.) As an advisor, I try to ask her about her goals and aspirations while encouraging her not to rule out any particular life experiences at the tender age of fifteen. And I advocate for activities that I know she will enjoy and find meaningful.

    As part of the pilot program for the new youth curriculum, I got to teach the combined YW lesson during the month about priesthood last June. Most of our lesson involved discussing the difference between priesthood power (accessible to all) and priesthood authority (held by a few), but while we had our discussion, I let the girls write any questions that they had about the priesthood on slips of paper so that I could read them aloud (and anonymously) during the last 10-15 minutes of the lesson. My husband had just been called to the bishopric and I invited him to attend our class and answer the questions with me (a suggestion from the lesson outline that was seconded by our YW president). Of the 20+ questions, only three were not some form of “Why don’t women have the priesthood?” Together, my husband and I explained that we simply don’t know. Some of the other leaders in the class jumped in with explanations like motherhood/priesthood, etc, but we continued to emphasize that some of these theories aren’t helpful for everyone and that there is no current doctrinal explanation. I bore a similar testimony that God is not a jerk and that our Heavenly Parents love all of their children of both genders. I think it is important to let the girls (and boys!) know that it is ok to ask these questions and to point out that any explanations that people give as to why the priesthood is only held by men are purely speculative. In later classes that month, we discussed women performing ordinances in the temple and the history of women giving blessings of healing in the church. As far as I know, no one has asked for me to be released yet.

  52. wreddyornot says:

    My recommendation: Ask and ye shall receive, seek to find, and knock and the door will be answered. Of course, ask with real intent, sincerity, and faith in the Lord.

    Where is my Mother in Heaven? Why can’t we all if we’re worthy have the priesthood?

    Does something like the first shall be the last and the last shall be the first perhaps apply? There are trends in the broader American culture that suggest women are moving up and even going on ahead. (e.g., I’ve been reading THE END OF MEN by Hanna Rosin. Don’t necessarily recommend it, but it’s interesting.)

    Incidentally, THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS protagonist, Genly Ai, said that truth is a matter of the imagination. So perhaps we should all imagine a world with equality and thus make it the truth.

  53. Kalinin says:

    “When everone is super, no one will be” -Syndome from Pixar’s The Incredibles
    While this certainly doesn’t answer any questions, it provides me with something to ponder. If everyone (men and women) had the Priesthood, how powerful would the Priesthood be? Throughout church history as who gets the priesthood and when has changed, the authority of the priesthood has grown greatly, but it doesn’t appear that the preisthood power has increased on the earth in like manner. At least that is what I get from the many General Conference talks about authority vs power of priesthood.

  54. As part of a lesson this month on Prophets and Revelation, I took the students through an abbreviated history lesson focusing on the difference in our scriptures and Christian theology between a Prophet and a prophet – using the LDS Bible Dictionary as the foundation source. (For example, Lehi was a prophet, but he wasn’t “The Prophet” for anyone except his own family.)

    I plan on drawing that distinction again this month – explaining the difference between “The Priesthood” (as an organizational, administrative hierarchy) and “the priesthood” (constituting all people who can receive revelation and speak legitimately in the name of God). I plan on talking again about the difference between the Catholic tradition of mortal intermediaries, the Reformation concept of a priesthood of believers and the Mormon mixture of those two structures.

    That will be the introductory lesson, followed by the lesson about the nature of councils and men and women participating together in councils.

  55. Leonard R says:

    I just spent the last year teaching seminary with a slightly older version of your daughter in my class. I told them throughout the year that all questions were welcomed and would be discussed with respect. And with many, many of them, we had to accept that there is no answer (which itself is was a tough thing at first for many of them). Of course, this meant that she asked questions on more than one occasion.

    I really like Kevin’s article as part of a reply. Because it helps make room for acknowledging the “goodness” or “acceptableness” of the question your daughter is asking. While you can’t give her an answer, you and her teachers can let her know that there is nothing wrong with her having the question. At the very least it gives her the notion that a) others are thinking about this, b) not everyone assumes it is how it should be, c) some of those people remain faithful even while thinking it is a cultural carry over, because they see both the goodness/truthfulness of the gospel and have the hope that the status quo could change.

    In any case, I also recommend giving her teachers a bit of a heads up and talk about it with them. Not so they can have an answer, but so they don’t “sacrifice the questioner” by being unprepared for the topic and responding to her in a way that is more worried about the effect her questions might have on the other students and not in a way that respects her as daughter of God.

    And I like what you told her re: prayer. I’d continue to encourage her to pray, recognizing that an answer may not be forthcoming, but that God won’t mind her asking. And that God is not a jerk… of course, I’m familiar with that sentiment… it’s the same reason my wife doesn’t want to ask God about polygamy….

  56. This post (and all the comments) were a little heart breaking to read. As a teenager I was always struck by the gender discrepancies but never felt like I could really verbalize them. Or I bent over backwards in other ways to compensate for feeling sadness or feeling left out from male-only rites and priveleges and duties. I just barely got released from teaching Mia Maids and I am so sad that I won’t have the opportunity to open up a discussion about Priesthood and all that that entails (I was always ticked as a teenager that while the YM got the lesson on the Oath and Covenant our equivalent lesson was about how to support the Priesthood. I would for sure be teaching a lesson about the Oath and Covenant in June if I was still teaching YW).
    I love that your daughter feels comfortable and supported by you to discuss these things with you. I hope she finds some of that from her teachers and leaders this month.

  57. ladyalyia says:

    The gender issues in church are not because of God but because of people being asses. How many caste systems are there in the church and how many people must feel better about themselves by being more important or having more than the other? In the gospels, Jesus made the point that the greatest of them all is the servant of all the people, not because they have priesthood or money or related to this apostle. So throw out the gender issues because the gender issues were created by evil.
    So instead, ask the question why God didn’t give Eve the priesthood. She was created by God. She obviously had vast intellect and the ability not only to see God but to pray to him and be answered. She was Adam’s equal in every way and without her actions, there would have been no fall and the thwarting of God’s plan. Adam “obtained it (the priesthood) in the Creation, before the world was formed, as in Gen. 1:26-28. He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the scriptures. (HC 3:385-86.)” so it had nothing to do with (evil sounding music) original sin.
    Third of all God answers when your daughter is prepared to receive the answer, which she probably will. I think it is a great question to research and talk about because it leads women into probably a more thorough understanding of the priesthood and priesthood power than most men have. The question is…should we be trying to answer these questions for people or should we be guiding them to study and prayer so that they can get the answer and retain the intelligence they have gained? Our intelligence and understanding comes with us when we die.

  58. ladyalyia says:

    Oh, I should also say that I am old school feminist, the type that went out there and did the work so that women could be hired for jobs that weren’t bank teller or waitress. The only reason I didn’t burn my bra was because I was too busy sweating in it. :-) My question to you is this, what don’t you understand about the priesthood that would make you afraid to teach it. The power coming down from Heaven is enormous and great. Just the healing powers alone, not moving the earth or calming the seas or bringing the dead back to life. Reattaching ears. Do you believe someone with the priesthood is able to do these things, like Jesus did. Most people do not. I hope you have the greatest time exploring the priesthood during these few months.

  59. Joseph M says:

    Three Thoughts.

    One. My understandig of the new cariculum is that the Adult leaders are suposed to be facilitating the youth are suposed to be doing a lot of the actual teaching. This practice teaching is supposed to help prepare them for missions.

    Two Getting teh full beniffit of the Sisteres participation in the Councels of the Church at all levels is definetly a concern among the leaders of the Church (See the forward and introduction of the rerelese of Elder Ballard’s Councilling with our Councils http://www.amazon.com/Counseling-With-Councils-Revised-Edition/dp/1609070631/ref=pd_sim_b_2#_). I know that the new mission councils are going to train a lot more young women in how they are supposed to be operating. As there are alot fewer missions than stakes and wards I suspect that there will be a greater ability for incorect implimentation to be corrected.

    Three. Is makeing everybody go this for a month solid a way of forcing us to get past the easy answers?

  60. I have been wondering for some time why men are required to have the priesthood in order to progress in the gospel. If I would have been given a choice I probably would have opted for being a priesthood holder, but i know other men who probably would not.

  61. I am more than twice your daughter’s age, but I absolutely share her fears about praying. I haven’t said a truly sincere prayer in years, because I am just so afraid to discover that the answer is that women really ARE supposed to be the meek, submissive, second class citizens the Church and the temple teach us we should be.

  62. Rebecca says:

    I am a beehive adviser and will be teaching/facilitating this Sunday. I think this will be a fabulous opportunity to give the girls the opportunity to voice such questions — and not all girls would be willing to do it in just one lesson. I have no personal issues with this common questions as I ascribe to Shari Dew’s point that once you go to the temple it is clear to see that it is a “non-issue.” I think many (most?) women in the Church have no problem with the whole priesthood thing because of what is seen/done in the temple. We need to encourage our daughters to have faith–kind of like President Holland’s comment in the last General Conference:
    “In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.”

  63. I am always confused when people say the temple makes them feel better, because for me it made the whole thing a lot worse.

  64. Leonard R. says:

    I would like to see the context of Sheri Dew’s quote, but I agree that to me the temple makes the question more acute, not a non-issue.

    There is both the explicit promise that my wife will some day become a priestess, and the implicit priesthood nature of the entire ceremony (including both men and women clothed in priesthood garments, priestly robes, given priesthood signs, tokens, names, keywords, and being declared as prepared to officiate in priesthood ordinances, etc.), and yet, the moment we walk outside the doors of the building…. Only one of us is a bearer of the priesthood.

    Promises for the world to come are fine when they are currently not doable (I look forward to the resurrection of my parents, but can’t resurrect them now). But when there is nothing inherintly stopping my wife from being a formal priesthood bearer now, other then her gender… How is this a non-issue?

  65. Leonard R says:
  66. questioning says:

    Reading here reminds me of 1 Nephi 15:1-11

  67. I’m only a little older than your daughter and remember having the same feelings as your daughter (well I still do sometimes). I think you’re right in encouraging her to pray and search it out herself.

    One thing that really helped me, as others have mentioned is separating the Authority of the Priesthood that men hold and the Power that is available to all. Look in the story of King Lamoni in the Book of Mormon. After Lamoni and Ammon are both unconscious and the people are about to kill them, Abish reaches forth and raises up the Queen, who in turn raises up her husband (Alma 29:19-20). It was obviously the power of God that did this great miracle and I see that as a prime example of women using the Priesthood. Although men have the authority to administer in Priesthood ordinances and offices, women have the power of the Priesthood available to them. I think our culture has obscured that point a lot, but some of the more recent conference talks I think are moving in the right direction.

  68. Rebecca J: I found the following “money quote” at Keepapitchinin to give to your daughter’s instructor to explain why she should not speculate about unknown matters (i.e., the doctrinal basis for a gendered-priesthood). It’s from President Joseph F. Smith:

    “Ignorance, in many cases inexcusable, is not infrequently exhibited by those who undertake to teach others. Sunday School teachers and instructors in general must learn to be accurate in their statements, or to remain silent respecting subjects unstudied and problems unsolved by them. Not only in doctrinal matters is this defect among our instructors demonstrated; in the teaching of Church history, for example, too little attention is given to details of dates, places and persons, and thus is error spread.

    “It is decidedly better for the teacher to be silent on subjects unknown to him, or to frankly acknowledge his ignorance if the topic is brought up in class, than to give incorrect answers or otherwise mislead.”

    –Joseph F. Smith (Juvenile Instructor, 1906)

    For the whole thing (and an excellent discussion in the comments, including the idea that maybe we should avoid teaching the Proclamation on the Family as equal to the authorized canon of scripture), go to Keepapitchinin: http://www.keepapitchinin.org/2011/05/06/on-teaching-speculation-debate-heterodoxy-ignorance/

  69. We never, ever talk with Young Women about what the Priesthood *isn’t* – we hear “respect the priesthood” a lot in YW (and in RS for that matter) but not a lot about priesthood holders respecting *us.* Once when giving a RS 4th Sunday lesson based on a priesthood session talk, one woman shared that she didn’t really know what unrighteous dominion *was*, she believed that the way her priesthood-holding father treated her mother (ie. poorly) was normal and appropriate behavior when she was growing up. This is the kind of thing we ought to be discussing with Young Women. That it’s not okay for a boy you date and eventually marry to do X, Y, and Z. But we don’t know how to recognize it because we are afraid to be thought of as not respecting the priesthood.

    We definitely forget that “The Priesthood” =/= “The priesthood holders.” It’s God’s power, after all, not any man’s, no matter how righteous he may be.

  70. ecb – How bizarre! Don’t blessings of the sick (ie. the kind using the oil) also requite TWO priesthood holders? Would your Stake President like it if the follow-up question to your date was, “Do you have a roommate who holds the priesthood and can accompany us on this date?” And what do you do if the roommate is cuter?

  71. “Don’t blessings of the sick (ie. the kind using the oil) also requite TWO priesthood holders?”

    That is the suggested form, but it’s not required.

  72. nat kelly says:

    I’ve often had a similarly agitated mind as your daughter, about gender and many other things. Talking and talking and talking can be helpful or frustrating or whatever. But what really gives me a sense of peace and firmness is taking action. Acting on my feelings always helps me to clarify them. So you might actually want to talk to your daughter about the Ordain Women movement. Maybe she’s not clear enough about her ideas to say she actually supports women’s ordination, but it might be a relief for her to know that many people do, and that there is something concrete she can do to voice those concerns. The OW site is also very faith-friendly in its messaging, super high road, so it might help her navigate how to have a positive relationship with the church (if that is what she wants) while remaining true to her own feelings.

    Anyway. Lots of great advice here. But for my mental angst, nothing soothes like owning those feelings to the point where I feel comfortable actually acting on them.

  73. Nona – I’ve done the praying on this, and that’s not the answer I got. Have no fear!

    I’m going to take the Sheryl Sandberg approach on the “councils” lesson and focus ALL the kids on leaning in, being more active participants, making decisions, and gaining leadership skills. Then leaning in by preparing for their missions. In my experience, even though these young boys have the priesthood, they often sit back and want to be told by adult leaders what to do rather than taking charge. Likewise the girls. So, at least the councils lesson is one I have an angle on.

  74. Wow! While the post is post thought provoking and sincere, I can’t help but wonder if you have received your answers but just didn’t accept them. It clearly states in the Bible, and I’m sure in the book of Mormon as well if I were to look hard enough, that God loves all of his children and we were all made in his image! I don’t wish to pick a fight, so please do not take this reply that way. I am merely playing “Devils Advocate” I’m guessing these are some things you have never thought about before.

    I am a convert, I have been a member now since September 11th, 2008. I absolutely love this church, what it teaches and all it stands for. I to am a bit of a feminist and I too have asked these same questions. However, I have found peace to most of these issues, by looking at both sides of the coins.

    I would like to share with you a brief bit about me to point out how deep my feminist roots run. I studied and succeeded as an Auto Technician(Mechanic), I ran with that knowledge and became a Long Haul Truck Driver. Both jobs are consided even to this day to be “men’s work”. I was very successful as both and loved my jobs, what I got from them and the respect I got from others for tackling the issue of “men’s work” I travelled the entire USA, Canada, and Mexico all on my own, I crossed international borders, dealt with assaults, with many many sexist people, however I never lost my joy of the job!! I travelled through Canada into Alaska on my own, roamed Mexico on my own, I broke down in mountains, I fixed my own truck more times than I care to count. I assure you….. life is as easy or as difficult as YOU make it.

    Here is what I have learned…………..

    1. Heavenly Father has blessed each of his children differently. Men are given the priesthood, however women have been blessed with the ability to bring life to the world. Please don’t get me wrong I understand your daughter has no interest in having children at this point in her life, however I’m sure that will change! :) In truth even if it doesn’t, it doesn’t diminish the fact that we have been blessed in this manner.

    While I am sure men are pleased they don’t have to deal with the pain of childbirth, they will NEVER understand or feel what it is like to have a baby growing inside your body, they will never be able to make the amazing claim that they grew a human life from egg to baby in their bodies. They will never feel a baby’s movement inside them. They will never understand how we love a baby so much because it is the only being on the planet who has seen our bodies from the inside out. Child bearing is amazing, it is a miracle when you think about it and a huge blessing!

    2. Not all I am aware but many of the Mormon Mothers I know have been blessed with the ability to stay home and raise their children. This is amazing!!! We are able to raise children who have no question as to whether or not they are loved, they are raised with the security of someone always being there for them. This is huge!!!! I think the whole idea of feminism has made people take for granted these things and see them more as a punishment than a blessing. The thought of neandrethal men expecting women to be “bear foot and pregnant in the kitchen” makes the task that Heavenly Father has laid out of us almost seem an insult. Fact is…. it is YOUR choice how you view this. I don’t know about you but this is not how my husband treats me, nor how any of my many friends are treated or seen by their husbands!

    3. The world continues to revolve and be an interesting place because we are all different!! If we were all the same the world would be a boring place! Can you imagine, there would be no Pinterest, as everyone would already do the same things! There would be no need for travel guides as we would all be interested in the same things! There would be no need for different Genre’s of music, films, books, etc. We would all like the same things. There would be no interest in reading about others lives, or learning from history, because there would be no such people as Hitler, Mother Teresa, Mark Twain, Einstein, etc. It takes team work to make the world a place worth living in. We are blessed with the ability to make choices, agency, whether or not to have children, whether or not to work, what career path we choose to study and take, etc.

    4. Just because we may or my not be happy or impressed with our blessings it doesn’t take away from the fact they are still indeed blessings!!!!!

    5. While most if not all of the Priesthood Holders I know feel very blessed by the gift they have been given, have you ever stopped to think about the time and effort that goes into being a priesthood holder? Meetings, giving blessings whether you feel like it or have the time for it or not, it is expected YOU will just turn up with no thought going into the effort or what has been given up to make that time available. Have you ever thought that many priesthood holders doubt their abilities to fully and completely manage to do all tasks required, and have the time and patience to fulfill this calling. We all have our own issues, trials and problems, yet these men are expected to put their lives on hold and take care of us!!!! It is not just something that is offered, it is something that those of us who do no hold the priesthood keys expect! The grass is not always greener on the other side. Those Keys come with a lot of learning, time, teaching, understanding and faith.

    6. Men are built in stature to be stronger physically than women. Its just the way it is…. does that make us usless? Unworthy? Absolutely not!!!!! Men are wired to fix things, woman are wired to love!!! We are just different with different blessings! There is no reason in the world you can not go out and do things the world tells you that you cannot!! There is really no such thing anymore in the “Mortal World” we can not do. However when we have an eternal perspective, We were designed to take care of eachother! To work hand in hand!!! Team work!!! :)

    7. There is no reason to believe that just because you have not been given the Priesthood Keys that YOU are useless or unworthy, Heavenly Father has blessed us with the ability to love and concole, is that not part of the blessing process. I can think of many times a friend has come to me with issues and we pray together and words come out of my mouth that I have no idea where they came from other then Heavenly Father answering our prayers. YOU may no have the title of Priesthood holder but it doesn’t make you any less able or worthy. Some of the duties that come with the priesthood are things that we consider part of friendship. Do we really need the title?

    8. I personally believe that by being ungrateful to Heavenly Father, and judgemental of his decision not to grant us Priesthood Keys is disrespectful as well as counterproductive! We need to focus on what we have. Heavenly Father is not restricting what we are able to do, he is only blessing each of us different. As I previously stated. Life is as easy or as difficult as YOU make it. YOU can not stop someone from saying things to you, however you can control how you allow those things to affect you. The same applies to this.

    9. Disabled people are restricted in their movements, in their abilities sometimes physically, sometimes mentally, however do you think they give up on life and walk away just because of what they cannot do? No ALL the disabled people I know including myself strive to prove people wrong. I have a friend who was told she wouldn’t walk again, in less than a year she was back on her feet and she gets better and better at it everyday!!! She started with the possible, and before she knew it she was doing the impossible. I was told I wouldn’t recover from some of the things that have happened in my life. Each day I am grateful for the blessings I have in my life. I focus on what I have, I push myself and before I know it I am working through things and improving! Just because you are or are not labeled with something doesn’t mean you aren’t able, it purely means you don’t have the pressure and stress of worrying about what comes with being “labeled” :)

    10. Life is short, we are all imperfect, we all make mistakes, there is only so much we can do and handle. That is why these jobs are spread amongst us all!! :) Heavenly Father didn’t put you down, Heavenly Father didn’t say you were useless or unworthy, why do you feel that way? Are you listening to your eternal beliefs or are you listening to the world?

  75. Observing says:

    This is in my ward’s RS newsletter for June:

    Monthly Ward Theme – Fatherhood
    “Fatherhood is leadership, the most important kind of leadership. It has always been so; it always will be so. Father, with the assistance and counsel and encouragement of your eternal companion, you preside in the home. It is not a matter of whether you are most worthy or best qualified, but it is a matter of [divine] appointment.” – L. Tom Perry 

    Just in case there are any uppity feminists lurking in my ward I guess. I quit going to RS years ago, and I can see it has not improved in that time (in my ward, at least).

  76. Melissa says:

    sba – in my southern California stake, our own Stake President reports an 80% inactivity rate for our singles ward. That’s from the horse’s mouth.

    Someone above mentioned the fact that women are promised to be Priestesses in the temple. Yes, we’re to be Priestesses unto our husbands. Our husbands will be Priests unto God. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t been to the temple in a long time. It leaves me feeling “less than,” that I have hit my glass ceiling.

    And oh, Katy. If I wasn’t on a mobile device I’d be better able to respond to some of your points. My main argument is that the fact that I can give birth (an please remember, many women DO NOT have the opportunity/ability to become mothers) should not automatically prevent me from having a voice and authority in the institutional structure of the church, and since we’ve conflated ALL genuine institutional authority and power with the Priesthood, women are completely shut out of church governance. Honestly, I’d probably make a cruddy bishop (and I’ve known a few lousy bishops in my time), but there are a lot of amazing women out there and the church is losing out by using so few of them. Oh, and PLEASE don’t tell me that women are super influential because we get to teach Primary – I don’t remember any of my Primary teachers.

  77. Melissa, as I stated earlier I do not wish to pick a fight, however I would like to clarify the holes in my comment that you seem to have found :) I am fully aware that many woman are not able to have babies, I was very blessed, I had 5 however my children were killed by a drunk driver in a horrible accident. Shortly there after I had to have a hysterectomy due to cancer. I can now only wish that I was able to have children. While I am aware that is not the same as some others who have been unable to have any…. as I have actually had the experience, I understand the pain very clearly of not being able to have another baby. But the fact is there are men with issues as well such as downs syndrome, or other disabling illnesses that make them unable to hold the office of Priesthood. The world is not perfect, we all have trials, some are given some takes while others are given other tasks.

    I don’t feel that Women are completely left out of church governance. We are able to be called to Relief Society posts, Sunday School of ALL ages, Young Womens, We are called as teachers, as counsellors. We do have voices!!! We just have to be willing to use them. Sometimes we don’t receive the callings necessary to have that voice because we don’t come to church regularly, we don’t pay tithes, perhaps we have made it clear to others our faith is wavering on issues of the church, etc. Some people choose not to be involved and as a result are over looked but there ARE indeed positions where are voices are heard. :)

    We can, have been, and continue to be influential in church when we are asked to give talks. When we teach, Adults, Children, Coverts, Relief Society, Sunday School! Our voices are heard through our husbands. Prime example is Sister Monson!!! I don’t know if you watched or attended her Funeral but it was beautiful and person after person talked about what an inspiration she was, what an amazing woman she was….. Don’t just sit back and be angry at what you can’t have, put yourself out there, get involved, speak your mind, pray.

    I have read frequently in this post that people are afraid to pray for their answer. At the end of the day I guess I don’t understand the difference between attending church pretending ignorance is bliss, and being angry at Heavenly Father if you were to get an answer you don’t want….. It happens to all of us. We don’t always get what we want…… we accept the hand we are dealt and we do the very best with what we have been given.

    We may never understand why Heavenly Father chose only men to be Priesthood, but the fact is all the way back to the Diciples the Priesthood holders were men. There are some things in life that work, that are in place for a reason, it is just like faith…… taking the first step even when you can’t see the rest of the staircase! When we have a trial, we have faith that Heavenly Father sees the big picture and controls our path. The same applies with this…. if we have faith in him for everything we need…. why do we not have faith in this decision he has made?

    It is promised that we will become our husbands Priestess, however what happens to the people who have never been married? There are always things in life that have the “What if” factor to think about and throw into a debate, however the vast majority of people in the world are able to do and fulfill the duties we have been given. :) If we look at statistics I’m sure you will agree that the scale is nearly equal. :)

    It was once said by, I believe Elenor Rosevelt however I could be wrong on that “That people cannot upset or offend us without our permission” So if you come out of the temple feeling less, perhaps it is more about your thoughts and feelings than is what is truly the case? We have learned but also prayed to know and now believe that Heavenly Father loves us. Surely when we love someone we want to lift them up not drag them down?

    We will never truly know or understand why the terrorists that committed the attacks on September 11th in NY, PA, and DC did what that did, or why the terrorists that attacked the transport in London on 7/7 did what they did, Why the kids that planted the bombs at the Boston Marathon did what they did, Why the men who attacked the soldier in the streets of London with machettes did that! We may have put together bits but we will never know for sure what was going on in their heads or what happened in their lives that made them think this was the right thing to do….. we just have to accept that. We have to go on with our lives. I realize it is an extreme example but the fact is there are many things in our lives that work the same way…… Why did My Grandmother, My Mother and I get cancer but my sister did not? Who knows………. but we must carry on……. Why do bad things happen to good people, why does time seem to go faster the older we get? Why do the ones we love most get taken from us far to soon sometimes? Soooooo many unanswered questions in life but we accept that and move on. We don’t quit going to church just because our children died, or our husband died even though he was perfectly healthy and ran marathons…… We don’t give up on God, or at the very least….. HE never gives up on US!! Just some food for thought! :)

    Please feel free to share your thoughts more when you are at a computer….. I love to hear others thoughts and opinions! :) I won’t fight!! I promise!! :) I’m happy to admit when I am wrong…… I don’t bite!! ;) Happy Super Saturday Friend!! :) xx

  78. I’m sorry for your losses, Katy. It’s really easy to make assumptions and stereotype when all we have are words on a screen that we would never make if we knew each other in person.

    All of us have different experiences, personalities, paradigms, understanding, emotional and/or intellectual orientations, etc. that shape our worldviews. I believe strongly that one of the best indicators of our charity is whether or not we can accept others unconditionally (including their differing personalities, paradigms, understanding, orientation, etc.) and allow them to find answers that work for them – how we deal with what brings them joy when those same things don’t bring us joy.

    I’m glad you have found peace with this issue, and I hope nobody belittles or rejects that peace – even if your peace doesn’t resonate with them. We need diverse voices in the Church, so I thank you for sharing yours.

    That is the core message I am planning on teaching while we cover these lessons next month – that it’s okay if the students end up differing from me and each other as to how they view this topic and that they need to try to value others, even if they disagree quite strongly with and can’t value their view(s).

  79. For what its worth, there is some historical precedence for using the language that queens and priestesses will also be so unto God.

    Joseph F. Smith (President) – “Some of you will understand when I tell you that some of these good women who have passed beyond have actually been anointed queens and priestesses unto God and unto their husbands, to continue their work and to be the mothers of spirits in the world to come. The world does not understand this—they cannot receive it—they do not know what it means, and it is sometimes hard for those who ought to be thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the gospel—even for some of us, to comprehend, but it is true.” (Gospel Doctrine, p.461)

    Melvin J. Ballard (Quorum of the Twelve) – “Whatever disappointments may come, still be true to him and I promise you, in the name of the Lord, that if not in time, in eternity, you shall have like honors and glory and privilege. If you are faithful over a few things here, you shall be ruler over many things there, and become kings and priests unto God. And you sisters who have dwelt in reflected glory will shine in your own light, queens and priestesses unto the Lord forever and ever.” (Conference Report, October 1934, p.121)

    Also, I just wanted to point out that hierarchy doesn’t have to insinuate levels of worth or fundamental superiority or inferiority like in many of the hierarchies we find in the world. I would imagine in the Celestial Kingdom where exalted beings have all things in common and share in all that the Father has, a hierarchy would actually not mean such things–rather it is only a means of establishing order in the Kingdom.

    Personally, I feel that there may be changes in the organization of the Church on earth (that may or may not be dependent on when we as a people are prepared to receive them) that may more accurately reflect this heavenly system, but also reflecting on my spiritual feelings I think the concept of a husband presiding over a family may truly be an eternal principle. And I don’t think this position means that the husband is superior or inferior to the wife, or the King superior or inferior to the Queen (I imagine you could make arguments both ways), rather it is only a reflection of order, and maybe an order that actually aids both genders in their eternal duties and functions. But I guess only time and revelation can tell how accurately such feelings reflect the truth.

  80. I tell my daughters that I fully believe that God expects his daughters to be prepared to officiate in priesthood ordinances and exercise priesthood responsibilities and that they should learn as much about that as possible so that they are. And I educate them well in the difference between priesthood keys, priesthood responsibilities and priesthood power, the latter of which they should expect to exercise many times in their current and future lives and the former two of which they should be fully informed about so that they are not susceptible to cultural myths. Knowledge is power.

  81. Steve,
    Thank you for the quotes.

  82. Geovana says:

    If man did not have the priesthood, the women of the church would be doing EVERYTHING, while the men sat back and watched. God had to make sure both man and woman carried the yoke equally.

  83. I really do like some of the responses here. Some people have some interesting perspectives.

    However, there is one thing that is missing in the responses here. This is that EVERYONE has EQUAL right to RECEIVE the blessings and ordinances of the priesthood. THIS IS REALLY WHAT IS IMPORTANT!

    I understand the argument some people have that not everyone is given equal opportunity to hold priesthood offices and officiate the ordinances and rites therein. I understand the value of having a discussion on this.

    However, I do think that we need to be wary of saying that not being ordained to the priesthood is associated with some sort of dominance or superiority/inferiority. My father was never a bishop–does this mean he is inferior in God’s eyes or in the Church’s eyes than my Father-in-law who was a bishop? My grandfather who just passed was never a patriarch or temple sealer. So is he inferior to those who have received those privileges to officiate? The same argument that women are treated as inferiors should then apply to my father–although he is a faithful lifetime member of the church, and in theory he could have been asked to be a bishop, he has never been called despite being worthy. This does not mean he is an inferior to others who have been called.

    Again, I think the focus here is in the wrong place. It shouldn’t be about who administers the priesthood, but rather what the priesthood gives to us.

  84. Leonard R says:

    I’m always fascinated by comments such as this….. Evan, do you really believe that none of the people who have made comments before you missed this point?

    I’m confident everyone is well aware of the equality in receiving the blessings and ordinances.

    Are you saying that receiving the priesthood is not also a blessing? A blessing (at least apparently) denied over half the members of the church. The oath and covenant of the priesthood, in Section 84, certainly describes the blessings of obtaining, receiving, and magnifying the priesthood. Not receiving the blessings or the ordinances, but obtaining the priesthood itself.

    If obtaining the priesthood were not important, I wonder why Abraham sought after it? I wonder why any of us seek after it? If it were not important, why, pray tell, did you receive it?

    And as many have already said, your father or grandfather may not have acted in those offices, but they had the potential too. Your mother or grandmother never could.

    Or to put it more briefly, discussing the “who” that administers does not mean that anyone is “missing” the “what” that is being administered. The importance of the “what” (the blessings/ordinances) is the implicit foundation that everyone is building on when they are talking about the “who”. No one is “missing” it.

  85. @ Leonard R. I can appreciate what your saying, but I might add a caveat to “Not receiving the blessings or the ordinances, but obtaining the priesthood itself.”… unless it is the case that one can obtain all Priesthood and its associated blessings through ordinances of salvation–in which case it may be said that the blessings of having Priesthood are available to all as well.

    Under this scenario, there may be changes in policy and further doctrinal clarifications that allow us to see and better utilize these blessings, but the restrictions that you allude to may not be in the end as restrictive as you imply. I believe what I said earlier to be true, that any future changes in Priesthood policy will not enable individual men or women to gain a greater exaltation than is already available to them now.

  86. There are no purely academic issues within the field of religion. Everything in that arena is emotional, as well, to someone – usually more so to those who are affected the most negatively by the issue.

    There is a place for intellectualism, as long as it doesn’t deny the reality and importance of emotionalism – and vice-versa. Even our scriptures say that God will speak to us in our minds and in our hearts – not just one or the other.

  87. Leonard R says:

    Steve – assuming I follow the undercurrents of what you’re saying, I agree. Indeed, I think the promises made to those who obtain/receive/magnify the priesthood – promises that our theology explicitly makes elsewhere to men and women – imply the obtaining of the priesthood by both men and women (as I allude to in an earlier comment, its the only way the endowment makes sense to me). It is those things that push me towards feeling that our current “limiting” of priesthood to men (outside of the temple) is not a necessary state of affairs.

  88. My lesson last Sunday was about “The Priesthood and the priesthood” and included a distinction between the “administrative, formal Priesthood of ordinances outside the temple” and the “informal priesthood of believers”. I told them we would talk in a few weeks about the temple and what we learn about the Priesthood there.

    If anyone wants to read the summary, it will post on my personal blog this Saturday – when I post all the summaries of my lessons each week.

  89. Leonard R says:

    Looking forward to it. :-)

  90. melodynew says:

    I taught these lessons last year to my 14 & 15 year-old Sunday school class consisting of both YM and YW. (Our stake was among those that piloted the program.) These are some of the points I brought into the discussion throughout the month.

    1. The power of the priesthood is the power of God. The power of God is Love. The priesthood is God’s Love made manifest through human beings.

    2. God can only exist as a man and woman successfully joined for eternity. So the power of God or priesthood power was created by the union of a man and woman. It comes from both, not just from men. It wouldn’t exist without God the Mother. (Jesus got his power from his parents in this model.)

    3. Section 121 of D&C clearly articulates qualities that define appropriate use of priesthood or God’s power. All these qualities can easily be identified as “feminine” based on our current cultural/social model of what is masculine or feminine. (the YW loved this)

    4. Men in this world are told that what it means to be a “man” is to be tough, strong, dominating, competitive. Priesthood power is none of these things. Jesus, the originator of our earthly version of priesthood power, showed us that in his life.

    5. Many women possess qualities that help men learn what priesthood power should look like. (my feminist sisters might hate me for that, but this is when the girls started saying things like, “Yeah. Seriously.”)

    6. We believe that God will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God. We should all live worthy of bearing the priesthood of God. We may all do it together as men and women one day.

  91. Synnove says:

    It is a fact that God, Heavenly Father and Jesus are men, regardless of their spouses in any way, so for this and because they are most focused in the scriptures, which mainly tells about the handling of the priesthood throughout the centuries, the main priesthood holder is a man. But for a reason even so. Reflecting the service Jesus has done. The coordinating moves has been performed through the male priesthood, even if suggested by woman. It has nothing to do with qualification. It has to do with a service training, which makes sure to some degree that men who cannot bear children and therefore is not so close to them as a breastfeeding mother and thereby does not get that necessary training imbedded without choice, has some imbedded obligatory training that may add to their development, so they can feel they are developing in service also, sadly so many leave in spite of this. A main reason isTo protect the children from the men, or other dangers in society as much as possible and try to secure the children and at least for a few years they will be able to have a permanent safe carer and play-mate in the mother no matter what the circumstances at home, the breastfeeding will secure some comfort and needed nourishment, this the priesthood holder cannot give. If the woman has to work and the man has to stay home eventually, he has at least some group connection to his own sex, and may meet with them on Sundays in the male relief society, the priesthood class. He needs this like we need to meet alone sometimes. I think however from a lot of sad experiences seen everywhere also in church that a main reason is to secure the children at home more. And when they grow up, an added security for some safe contacts for grand children, for primary children, for youth. That in itself is sufficient, and in priesthood classes and in church the men may receive training not relevant at all for the woman, who does not have the same problems. Who leaves the LDS families the most…men. They are weaker and needs a lot more nourishing to make it, the priesthood helps them to feel valued in spite of all their shortcomings, and when they misuse it I simply do not think they will make it. It is also a fact that many leaders have misunderstood the priesthood and thought it was an award for being a man. So wrong, but it is a very necessary part of development for so many, also the woman shares in the priesthood through the man. As it is no qualifying asset of any person, it is better to train those who need it most and secure those that are without a say in this, the children. Even so many men needed a lot more direct training in the priesthood, I think it fails otherwise we would see a sharp decline in divorces. Priesthood needs to understand they may have to stay home and let the woman work and to manage feel fine about it, to cook and change diapers to be a home person, to avoid befriending all kinds of women to feel better, to really learn and understand that the woman often has higher qualifications and insight into all problems of life, to stop misunderstanding the priesthood, stop believing they have the last say, when others have not spoken and know more and so on. Simply just two offices and they overlap. There is no need for it other than to try save more men and also save more children from injustice.

  92. Melodynew,
    Thank you.

  93. “We see through a glass, darkly.”

    When it comes to matters of faith, Synnove, very little can be prefaced with, “It is a fact.”

  94. Thanks, Ray. I look forward to reading your lesson.

  95. Dale Whiting says:

    Any of you out there ever studied sociology? We are a society. Social order changes, but only slowly. Some view change as wrong. And sometimes it is. Perhaps we ought to view change as inevitable and work with it? Trouble is, the conservative mind and temperament finds change too threatening to do much other than oppose it. Christ found that to be the case when he came along! Is it really any different today?

  96. Stephanie says:

    I taught RS on a talk about the priesthood, and I am subbing a youth Sunday School class tomorrow (and the teacher specifically asked me to address the bullet on how women and priesthood leaders work together). This is the approach I take and how I explain it:

    There is a difference between priesthood power and priesthood authority. Priesthood authority is the authorization to perform priesthood ordinances and have keys for specific responsibilities. Priesthood power is the power of God, and it is unleashed when an individual makes covenants through ordinances and keeps those covenants. As an analogy, priesthood authority opens the spigot, but the priesthood power that comes out is available to all who make and keep those covenants.

    The problem is when the generic word “priesthood” is used for anything, particularly when it is used to mean just “men at church” or describe responsibilities that don’t require priesthood authority. For example, in the Worldwide Leadership Training on the priesthood this year, one of the first sections is about Priesthood Keys. It has several men around the table and one or two young men. One of the men reads a quote about how priesthood keys give the authority to govern the church and asks “President Bryan” (a teacher’s quorom president) how it has affected him. Bryan responds that the keys help him sit in a quorom and counsel people what they need to do and use his keys to teach them and show examples to them. Because of the priesthood, he sees a person for what they can be instead of what they are.

    Really? Well, if that is the case, then what are we women doing in the church? How in the world are we counseling, teaching, and loving people with no priesthood keys?!?! Either these responsibilities don’t require keys, or we somehow have the authority and ability to do them, too. I think it is the latter – when you are set apart in a calling, you are given the priesthood power from God to do His will and His work. But don’t make the Young Men feel like they are something special because they have some level of priesthood authority, too, while they are doing it.

    I think that is the biggest problem – this obsession with respecting “the priesthood”, which isn’t clearly defined. Too often it turns into women respecting men. Case in point – the last bullet on the YW lessons this month is on “How do I honor and uphold the priesthood” (which could be a great discussion on living worthily and respecting God’s power and authority), and it suggests this:

    “Invite the young women to make a list on the board of some of the ways they can honor and sustain Aaronic Priesthood holders. Why is it important that the young women do these things? Consider sharing the following quotation or others that you know of to help the young women add ideas to their list: “Being a guardian of virtue means you will always be modest not only in your dress but also in your speech, your actions, and your use of social media. Being a guardian of virtue means you will never text words or images to young men that may cause them to lose the Spirit, lose their priesthood power, or lose their virtue” (Elaine S. Dalton, “Guardians of Virtue,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 123).”

    You have got to be kidding me. There is no way I am discussing that with my young women. They don’t need to learn that they have to honor young men because they hold some level of priesthood authority. If so, then yes, women are definitely second class citizens in the church. Where is the reciprocal lesson? There is none. And YW are not responsible for the virtue of the YM.

    Perhaps worse is the suggested activity: “Do something to help a young Aaronic Priesthood holder undertand and honor his priesthood more fully.”

    No. No. No. Fine – God wants men the have the priesthood [authority] and women not to. I can deal with that. I cannot deal with us as humans using that as a way to treat men and women differently, specifically as a way to teach young women to “honor” the young men (which then would lead to grown women honoring men because they have priesthood authority. I am all about treating all people with respect and showing a level of honor and courtesy to all people. But this is specifically about women treating men differently and “more than” because they have priesthood authority. It elevates men.

    I have four sons. This is what I want them to know about their priesthood authority: it is about responsibility. When you have priesthood keys, you have specific responsibilities. You need to know what that is, what it isn’t and that it doesn’t make you special. A young women coming and doing something for them because they hold the priesthood is not going to help with keeping them humble. I imagine it would make them thing that they are something pretty special. Well, they are! But not because they hold priesthood authority.

    I have been really happy with all the talk of equal partnership flying around the Ensign and General Conference, etc. I was feeling pretty good about things, and then these lessons to the YW hit me in the gut. I am really having a hard time dealing with them.

  97. fmhstephanie says:

    I think it is also interesting to compare the YW lessons with the YM lessons. Both have lessons titled “What is the priesthood?” It would be easy enough to give the same lesson to both, right? Theoretically, shouldn’t a description or understanding of the priesthood be the same to both? Well, for the YW, these are their bullets:
    *Men must be called of God and ordained by one in authority
    *Priesthood holders are ordained after the order of the Son of God
    *The priesthood is eternal
    *The authority of the priesthood operates only on principles of righteousness

    Simple enough, right? Here is the YM list:

    *Priesthood holders preach the gospel
    *Priesthood holders give blessings to heal the sick and afflicted
    *Priesthood holders are called of God
    *Priesthood holders administer ordinances
    *Duties of priesthood holders
    *Priesthood holders help govern the Church
    *The authority of the priesthood operates only on principles of righteousness)

    Why the difference? How could a young women look at those two different lists and not wonder what is going on? Sure, one explanation could be that those are not responsibilities of the YW, so they don’t need to know them (lame excuse, IMO, if you don’t know what all those special jobs are that the young men are supposed to do, how can you hold them accountable for fulfilling their duties?). Another could be that we don’t really want the YW to know all that they are missing out on? It’s pretty hard to argue that men and women are equal in the church when you just read in black and white that men govern the church. Are these lessons really tackling the hard issues head on? Or are they just glossing over them?

  98. Stephanie,

    Knowing this topic was coming up, a month or so ago I did a serious study of every scriptural reference and conference talk I could find that discusses the concept of priesthood keys, priesthood authority and priesthood power and then a couple of weeks ago I watched the video you reference. I have come to the conclusion that none of the good men in that video who were asked by Brothers Perry, Hallstrom and Davies about the priesthood keys they hold were able to, off the cuff, articulate well what priesthood keys are and how they are used. But then, neither would I have been able to three months ago.

    There’s a lot of education that needs to be done for both men and women in that regard.

  99. Let me point you in a direction you may find helpful. I’m a temple worker and male I only figured this out since working in the temple for the last two years. This earth is said to be comparable to a Telestial sphere. The temple however, is compared to a Terrestrial sphere. http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/transcripts/?id=58 Hugh W. Nibley “The purpose of such ordinances is to bridge the space between the world in which we now live, the telestial world, and that to which we aspire, the celestial world. Therefore, the events of the temple were thought to take place in the terrestrial sphere.” You are saying, what has this got to do with the priesthood? In the temple woman participate and even officiate in sacred priesthood ordinances IE. Name issue and initiatory. One of the, in my humble opinion, most beautiful and sacred blessings in this world. Then maybe in spheres above this one…

    So take from this what you will obviously this is a sacred subject to be handled with much care. I wouldn’t go into this in a class setting but perhaps it might bring you some peace as well as your daughter.

  100. QwertyPie says:

    Thank you so much for the post!! The double whammy of priesthood lessons this month so far lead to a great discussion with my very aware 16 year old. I showed her Carol Lynn Pearson’s A Walk in Pink Moccasins today and she loved it. We talked about the “myth of male weakness” & the flip side of that coin, “women’s superior angelic nature”. We explored the excuses, shame, and pride that it can create in both boys and girls. It was awesome. I just wish we could talk about that in our YW lessons, instead of dodging comments about motherhood = priesthood.

  101. R. W. Honor says:

    Consider the chaos in the church if there were no “separation of powers”, to make use a common phrase. There are already wards where the Bishop calls his wife to run the Relief Society. Imagine if the 2/3 of the Bishopric were from one household? Considering the time it takes out of a person’s life, to adequately perform the role of Bishop or Stake President, and the eternal emphasis on families, it makes sense to me that one gender focus on the personal needs of the family while the other take care of the administrative functions.

    When I have serious concerns about doctrinal topics, instead of asking “why”, I find it strengthens my testimony to ask “for what purpose”. We know the first principle of the gospel is Faith, because now we “see through a glass darkly” and we don’t see “as God seeth”.

    In response to Stephanie, above, the YM should be having lessons on honoring and respecting women. If their leaders are not doing so, someone needs to set them straight. The lessons for the YW about helping the YM to respect women are important, because it empowers the girls to help the YM. They should also have lessons on helping the other YW, because we all are tempted.

    I like the concept that the Power of the Priesthood is available to any worthy member, that has been sustained and set apart for a specific calling. Do we not all have the responsibility to do on earth what God would want done?

  102. R.W. Honor, your comment has several troubling assumptions and conclusions. For the sake of brevity, I’ll respond to only one: You said “Imagine if the 2/3 of the Bishopric were from one household?” — and then you said that the work both at church and at the home would suffer. But . . . when you stop to think about it, does this actually make sense in the practical world? The question is, “Why is the priesthood gendered?” The answer simply cannot be, “Well, because we all know that husbands and wives would monopolize the power structures to the detriment of their kids.” (The priesthood shouldn’t be a zero-sum game, by the way. In your scenario, why couldn’t the wife serve as the unit leader while the husband stays home with the kids?) I don’t mean to disrespect you, but I think the question deserves more thought than your after-the-fact justifications. If we don’t know, we don’t know. Otherwise, don’t shoot from the hip. Please.

  103. The lessons for the YW about helping the YM to respect women are important, because it empowers the girls to help the YM.


  104. (Screaming right along side you, Ardis. //start snark: I mean, because we all know that it’s the young ladies’ job to keep the young men in line, right?. Speaking of jobs, other than sitting in church meetings, and looking modest, that’s pretty much the only job for girls, huh? And of course, because that’s the way it is, that’s the way it *should* be, right? //end snark. OK, back to screaming . . . )

  105. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Before we throw around too much hate, it may be wise to acknowledge that beyond personal responsibility we do have a duty to aid and support those with whom we interact. I see nothing wrong with men and women learning to help each other in their respective duties/trials/obligations. I agree this is not a one way street, but giving other comments the benefit of the doubt – I’m not sure anybody here really believes such a thing anyway.

  106. I think YM should be taught that YW don’t exist. If they think they see one, they should sing or hum their favorite hymn. This may require that YW be hid away somewhere. On a special island, say. We must still teach the YM that YW are to be greatly desired. Only that they cannot be touched. Like happiness and God. And, truly, if pressed, we should relent and admit that, yes, YW do exist. But that doesn’t mean you should think of them, only under the most holy conditions.

    YW will exist only after marriage, but must still be kept out of sight of the YM as much as possible..

  107. “The lessons for the YW about helping the YM to respect women are important, because it empowers the girls to help the YM.”

    I can accept that if, and only if, lessons for the YM are taught about helping the YW to respect men – and if, and only if, those lessons (all of them) focus on respecting every single person as a child of God, with no worthiness qualifications – and if, and only if, modesty is not a part of the lessons – and if, and only if, self-worth is not tied to being accepted by the opposite sex – and if, and only if, marriage is not a part of the lessons – and . . .

    Oh, never mind. What Ardis said.

  108. I understand what your getting at Ray. But even still, I think a list of qualifiers and all the extra effort it entails may be a kinder approach then assuming a person’s position and making them feel bad about it.

  109. *you’re.

  110. *than. Apparently hooked on phonics did not work for me.

  111. I understand, Steve, the ideal (and I agree we ought to support each other) – but I also don’t want that ideal lesson taught in one ward for every 20 (or more) wards where the current standard lesson is taught.

    Given only those two options, I’ll vote for the elimination of the one-sided lessons until the ideal lesson can be written into the manual and be taught everywhere.

  112. fair enough

  113. Wow, I need to get out more! – Both “out of the house” and “out of Google into the Blogosphere”. I knew that there were lots of Mormonism discussions these days. But I didn’t realize how many different opinions there were and how passionate people are about them. [Slaps his own face] Silly me!

    All I wanted was some background on the word “telestial” for my Adult Gospel Doctrine class (Lesson #20). So thank you, Kevin Barney, for this useful info: bycommonconsent.com/2010/01/27/the-etymology-of-telestial. I learned something new.

    Yes, we in our Ward seem to be behind the rest of you by a couple of lessons. We had the usual conferences (Ward, Stake, and General) plus a special Adult Lesson on January 6th about the new Youth Lessons. Who knew that these would stir up so much angst among the members? I guess I should be glad that I am teaching the Adults (who either don’t know any better or who have learned not to “rock the boat”) instead of the Youth (whose job it is to rock the boat, capsize it, and end up in a huge water fight).

    Actually, when the benefits of the new Youth Program were explained to us, both my wife and I looked at each other and said, “What’s the big deal? And what took so long? We’ve always tried to drive our youth lessons in that direction. Seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it? Maybe we were a bit ahead of our time and needn’t have felt so guilty about going ‘off manual’ ”.

    Anyway, while studying the above post, I saw the “Featured Post” and the picture. By the way what does the T-shirt graphic represent? – I can’t quite make it out. And who is the hot chick young lady with the funky hair? Is that Rebecca J’s daughter?

    So I bookmarked that post and came back and stayed up very late last night reading all the comments. I didn’t want say anything that had already been beaten to death. [Better to stay a lurker and be thought a fool than to speak prematurely and remove all doubt.] Then I woke up at 5 am thinking about it and couldn’t go back to sleep! Now I am going to be tired all day at work. I hate that. Curse you, Mormon Free-Thinkers! May the Lord bless you with a lifetime of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth over Unanswerable Questions!

    By the way, I’m reading the comments to this post on my computer, and I don’t see that they are numbered. Some of you seem to refer to numbers, so I’m wondering what you are seeing that I am not. [Perhaps I could ask that same question about the entire discussion!]

    I will often spend free “brain cycles” during the week running through the upcoming SS* lessons in my mind, trying to work out how to present/say various things, and then imagining that I am seeing/hearing my lesson in the audience and trying to sense if the “student” version of me will experience any “cringe-worthy” reactions from the “teacher” version of me. Using this process, I think I am able to successfully avoid a few embarrassments. Of course, there are always the moments during class when I think, “Whoops, that didn’t come out the way I wanted it to! Can I have a do-over?”

    [* I recently had someone who lived through WW II in Germany tell me that they would prefer I not use the abbreviation “SS” for “Sunday School”. Just another example of how we can innocently offend someone without any inkling of what we have done.]

    A few weeks ago we had a lesson on Priesthood, and last week’s was on the Kingdoms of Glory. I kept wondering what I could/should say to/about the Sisters, and if someone would put me on the spot. I read all the key scriptures (some of which are easily misinterpreted IMHO) and ran through various scenarios. I arrived at the same conclusion as Rebecca J (which is very well articulated): “I do not know how to teach [anything more than cursory] lessons on the priesthood without offending myself.”

    We are clearly dealing with an NEI (Not Enough Information) situation here; somewhat like those word problems you used to get in Math class where it appears that you have enough clues to find the answer, but some crucial detail is missing. It is almost as if the Lord designed it on purpose to be that way and expects us (for now) to circle the answer “(e) none of the above”.

    By the way, Rebecca J, one of our favorite TV shows is “Parenthood”. Is your daughter like Max? If so, then I guess I can see what it is like to endure a “Freak Out”. My sympathies! We haven’t had to experience that level of family turmoil with our kids (yet). I guess we were better in the Pre-existence than you. [Wink, wink! That’s a joke people! – for those of you who can’t see my facial expressions and don’t “get” my perhaps too bone-dry sense of humor.]

    Speaking of the Pre-existence, I don’t recall that subject being brought up much in the discussion comments. [My apologies if I skimmed too quickly and missed it.] I have developed a “broad perspective” way of thinking that helps me in dealing with these kinds of issues. Perhaps if people are still reading this thread, then I will say more about that angle.

    In the meantime, I leave you with a scene that I seem to see in the very back of my mind during moments of quiet reflection:

    Heavenly Mother: Dear, come quick! You’ve got to see this. Little Mitchy is trying to explain “Women and the Priesthood” to his Sunday School class.

    Heavenly Father: Great, this should be hoot!

    HM: I just love it when they are this age. They try so hard to understand, but they just don’t get it.

    (They both burst out laughing.)
    HF: Wait! Did he just say that? What a riot. These kids say the darndest things. You can just see the little gears turning in their heads as they try to process the information and come up with a reasonable explanation.

    HM: Well, I kind of feel bad for them. It all seems so “life and death” important to them, and they do try so hard.

    HF: Well Mother, recall that we were once young like that also. Remember how we struggled with those kinds of things.

    HM: True. It is encouraging as well as entertaining to see them stretch and grow. Who knew that having “joy and rejoicing in our posterity” could be so wonderful!

    HF: Yes, but I wish we could convince them to spend more time and energy on all the other things that they can and should be doing and not so much on the Imponderables.

    HM: I agree. They have no idea of the severe trials of the Last Days that are coming soon that will shake their testimonies to the core and make these issues look like a walk in the park.

    HF: Oh, look over there! Little Bobby is earnestly praying to be able to find his “One and Only”. He seems to be looking for a Mormon Goddess who plays the piano, bakes bread, runs marathons, has a graduate degree, never gets sick, thinks for herself, respects the Priesthood (whatever that means), is drop-dead gorgeous, is great in bed, will never lose her looks, and will churn out children every 18 months.

    HM: Yes, and the one for him is sitting right in front of him in Sunday School class. But he ignores her because she doesn’t meet all his requirements and has just as many flaws as he does. She is dying for someone to ask her out, but he won’t give her the time of day.

    HF: Yeh, it takes them quite a while to figure it out. What do you think we should do? Shall we give him a small hint, or let him flail about for a few more months?

    Well, I certainly mean no disrespect to our Heavenly Parents. Perhaps I am far too casual in my relationship with and depictions of Deity. Maybe I need to grow up and do some repenting.

    On the other hand, I don’t know about your Gods, but mine have a great sense of humor. After all, they created me! In times of trouble and trial and confusion, I often raise my eyes in grief to Heaven looking for help, and I sense (through the veil, ever so slightly) a chuckle, a wink, and a nod which seem to say, “Yes, I know. You’re doing great. Just keep plugging away and you’ll get there.”

    As you can tell, I’m a newby here. So please don’t flame me too badly!

  114. Steve: I’m not sure where you’re seeing “hate.” As for giving the benefit of the doubt, I’m all for that, but when a comment like R.W. Honor’s pops up, with a somewhat self-rightous tone, and apparently not having actually read the opening post, well, that’s just downright inconsiderate in my book. So, I addressed his/her opinions, albeit with a little attitude. But no hate here. It’s all good.

  115. You’re right, ‘hate’ was probably the wrong word there

  116. By the way, I just re-read my post (always a good idea, even if it is a little late to make corrections!). The “hot chick” part was supposed to be in strikeout text. That will teach me to use fancy Word features in an attempt to be humorous.

  117. One thought that I had as I read this post, and some of the comments was that maybe rephrasing the question can help some…instead of asking “why can’t women hold the priesthood?” maybe turning it around and asking “why are the men forced to endure the responsibilities of the priesthood?”.

    As a male in the Church, I personally bristle at the thought that I’m a ‘less-than’ in the spirituality department and that by nature I need the priesthood to make up for my spiritual retardation. I don’t buy it. Why would Heavenly Father give access to the greatest power in the universe to a bunch of dolts who need to be coerced into service by titles? It just makes no sense.

    I will confess that I have many lessons to learn and humility to gain. Most of those lessons are taught to me through priesthood service. I certainly don’t get them from sitting in a classroom listening to lectures. The real power of the Priesthood is in action, getting out and DOING.

    I currently serve as a councilor in the bishopric and there are many times where I’d gladly give it up. It’s a lot of ‘busy-work’ that brings very little reward and a lot of frustration. My faith and willingness to humble myself and seek the Lord’s guidance is what carries me through…even when I spend most of my time asking “WHY the heck are we doing that?”

    So in short, the only really good answer I can come up with is that God has lessons for all of us to learn and it’s up to us to learn them in the variety of positions where we are called to serve…priesthood or no…the best teacher is the Holy Ghost, and sometimes the answer isn’t what we want to hear, but it is the answer. The trick is to learn to align our will to that of our Heavenly Father and trust that He knows ‘WHY’ and that is good enough.

  118. Maybe I’m being generous, but as a YW leader and feminist, I think it’s no coincidence that the new curriculum, with its emphasis on discussion and deep questions, includes an entire month of lesson on the priesthood. I don’t think the Church is seeking to appease girls who don’t understand priesthood’s patriarchal structure, but to encourage them to ask why … and to work their way through the possible answers to find peace within their own understanding.

    As evidenced in all the thoughtful comments here, there are many different perspectives on this matter. Some women feel slighted, some don’t. Some feel motherhood has given a power comparable to priesthood, others find that a weak argument. Without formal doctrine on the specifics, I don’t think anyone can judge what another finds comforting or logical. I hope that my YW will ask tough questions, but that they will be tolerant of soft answers from other girls.

    My thoughts on the matter:
    1. It’s just the luck of the draw. Like assigning chores to my children, God felt like only half of his children needed to manage the priesthood, so he picked men. Why? I’m not sure. There are general qualities of most males that line up well with the responsibilities of the priesthood, but who knows? In my opinion, he could have just as easily chosen women and there would be men questioning their value in a matriarchal society on posts like these. It’s similar to divvying candy among my children – if I accidentally give someone 5 and the rest 4, all hell breaks loose because it’s not fair. Meanwhile I’m shaking my head, thinking, “You should just be grateful I even bought you candy.”

    2. The Priesthood isn’t that great. It’s an awesome power, and when wielded by God, watch yo’ back … but a Priesthood blessing is really no more effective than a child’s prayer. It’s all about faith — the Priesthood is just a means for the giver and receiver to access higher levels of it. But in the end, no man can administer to himself, so we’re all equally detached from the Priesthood in that sense. My husband didn’t baptize himself, he doesn’t give himself blessings … he’s equally vulnerable as I am. Of course, he has the “privilege” of administering ordinances and serving in leadership roles I cannot hold … but what’s to say that wasn’t by request of the women in heaven who refused to have those extra responsibilities sully their fun trip to Earth?

    3. You’ll all probably rip me apart because I fail to have the passion or intellect that you do. You’re right. My apologies.

    p.s. Rebecca, how has your daughter survived the lessons so far this month?

  119. Hello,

    I’m a priesthood holder and my wife is a semi-recent convert to the church. She has been asked why she’d join a church that is “anti-women” and/or “Sexist”. She’s an inspiration to me and I hope that she will be to others as well. Her answer is always “I have enough to worry about without having to deal with the priesthood as well.”

    She is a SaHM by choice, we’ve three kids and one of which is autistic (He just became a deacon), the youngest is in Kindergarten and the girls are crazy (the fun kind of crazy). On top of that she will not let anyone help her with chores that she has taken upon themselves (we don’t do it ‘the same way’) and she’s trying to get a photography company off the ground. She cooks for the family, does Activity Day Girls, substitutes often in Primary and basically is an unstoppable force that blesses our lives in more ways than I could ever properly mention. In essence, I hold the priesthood in our family, but she’s the one that you want to keep happy!

    Just a side note, before the church started with paper back manuals, the bishopric and other leaders used a book entitled Church and Priesthood Government. When you check the section on the priesthood and ordinances, it says that the wife wields the priesthood through her husband and thus can act in that capacity when needed (without needing the husband present to do so). This is just by virtue of being married.

    I know it doesn’t answer the main question, but I hope that it will help in some way. My wife is amazing and her mindset about the priesthood is great and adds a more human image to what too many people seem to view as a superpower. The fact that the church said that the wife uses the priesthood of the husband, in a book I consider based on doctrine, tells me that there’s something about women in the church that men simply have not figured out yet. I look forward to learning what it is.

    Personally, I think that in this world, this life, that men hold the priesthood because we need it. I am not sure why women don’t share this need, and my view is not an official view of the church; however, I feel that in the next life, women will be doing something and in order for men to be able to help, we need the priesthood now.

    In a more playful view, you can always tell your daughter that because women are capable of so much, men needed something to get them closer to being equal. Heck, it’s probably true.

    Thank you for your time.


  121. God's Girl!!!!!!!! says:

    ROBERT!!!!!!! YOU are a ROCKSTAR!!!! I soooooo agree with you!!! I am a woman and I am a feminist, however the fact remains this is what Heavenly Father wants and we need to just accept that!!! If people are unhappy with this set up then they are unhappy with the church and as a result they should leave. Please don’t get me wrong, I would never truly tell someone to leave but I hear quite frequently that “If you don’t like it in this country leave” “If you don’t like that store Don’t go to it” I mean really it is obvious!!!! The church is founded on the Priesthood, well other than the fact it is founded on Heavenly Father and His Amazing Son!!! So at the end of the day we have no right to judge anyone, only God has that right!! Who are we as mere humans to question the decisions and demands of our Heavenly Father!!!! We have to have faith that things in our lives will work out…. we need to have faith that He knows what he is doing!!!!!!! What is the problem here!?!! How can ONE possibly EVER be insulted by the wants and requests of our Heavenly Father?!?!!!? Its insulting really!!!! It is not a SUPER POWER!!!! It is a JOB!!!! It is a TASK” It is a learning journey!!!! GET OVER IT ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!! The world tells us that this is sexist…… If One has a TRUE Eternal Outlook…… they will see things the way Heavenly Father sees them!!!! Snap out of it women!!! Its not about YOU!!!!! Nor is it about the men!!!!! It is about working together to build Heavenly Fathers Plan!!!!!!! NOW QUIT YOUR MOANING!!! QUIT YOUR COMPLAINING!!!! GET TO WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!

  122. Nick and God’s Girl, all caps is extremely rude in a forum like this. It’s the equivalent of shouting at someone with whom you are talking when they can hear you just fine in a normal speaking voice.

    Frankly, you won’t get a lot of traction anywhere by screaming at people – especially when you are telling people, essentially, that they just don’t get it and you do. That level of condescension rarely is effective in any conversation.

  123. See what I mean?

  124. Be honest. As a teacher that’s what I can tell you you need to do. Teens want you to be honest. You are raising your daughter as a feminist and so she’ll go through the same struggles you have. She doesn’t want a fake answer or an easy answer she wants the truth. Real recognizes real.

  125. “If people are unhappy with this set up then they are unhappy with the church and as a result they should leave.” – How nice of you.

  126. I kinda suspect that G’s Gal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is a sock puppet of Robert.

  127. Haha, it does seem like that

  128. Ardis, are you sure? I mean, G’s Girl uses a lot more exclamation marks. They even use all caps.

  129. I confused Robert with Nick, I take back my comment

  130. katybristow says:

    Bwahahaahahahaahaha Now that is just funny!!!!! Hilarious Matter of Fact!!!! I don’t know who Nick is….. and Robert I just think he rocks, he is so inspirational!! He is a good example of what an LDS husband should be like!! Clearly you all have never seen, Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration where Joseph Smith is outside beating the rug and someone jokes with him for it…. and he says he needs to help Emma!!! That is what it is all about!!! Working together!! I mean honestly!! The whole sexist thing…. it is of the world!! True believers hold a eternal perspective!! I know the world creeps in sometimes but dang some of these comments are out of control!!! Its really simple….. You woman know dang well that when your children ask why and you say “Because I’m the Mom, thats why” that is what Heavenly Father is saying in this instant!!! Wake up people!! It sooooo don’t have to be this difficult it doesn;’t need to be a point of contention!!! GET A GRIP!!!!!!!!

  131. Sometimes all you can do is sigh and wish people well.

  132. MDearest says:

    Looking at so many exclamation points, all I can see is an admonition to “Keep Sweet!!”
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!! !! !

  133. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Really worth it though – lots of wisdom along the way. I’ve been thrown in the deep end with this – followed the blogging on other sites and ended up last Sunday covering for my wife teaching Youth Sunday School about women and priesthood working together and then was Exhibit A in the YW class asked to share my thoughts on growing up with priesthood in my home etc. I get really frustrated because I think most people above who feel there isn’t an explanation for why men are ordained exclusively to many of the functions within the priesthood as currently organised are really not paying attention to all the key feminist ingredients in what Joseph Smith restored and taught, starting with the Genesis and all the way to the Temple endowment and sealing, via seminary scriptures. Hardly a conspiracy of silence. It’s all there clear as day. Despite the worrying number of GA’s who seem incapable of saying anything about women that isn’t toe-curlingly patronising about women, the core Mormon stuff is Feminist to the max. Eve isn’t a failed version of a man who foolishly brought original sin into the world – she used her multiple intelligences (Genesis 3:6 practical, aesthetic and intellectual) to initiate progress and freedom for all mankind – Original Opportunity – by stepping out of the comfort zone and dragging a somewhat bemused Adam with her. She had to be specifically handicapped by God with all that awful hormonal childbearing nightmare and a ‘desire for your husband’ dependency thingamajigger (a temporary mortal condition) to give him a chance to stand on his own feet a bit more and catch up to where she was from the start wisdom-wise. Whether this is literally what happened or an archetype of fundamental truths about men and women, the message is the same.

    Joseph Smith restored the idea of a divine potential for women that they could actually aspire to become in Heavenly Mother, rather than Catholic Mary the mother who is a lifelong virgin, which no normal woman could actually be (…before IVF I suppose!). Joseph redefined priesthood as not simply permission to be a minister presiding over a congregation as most Christians see it, but a power that men and women can access in many different ways and settings, and a gender-specific format for training men spiritually – they have to make and fulfil the oath and covenant of the Melchezedek priesthood to be exalted, women don’t. Women are fully involved in LDS ministry to all ages and genders and also have a women-only space in which to minister to each other, as advocated by many contemporary Christian feminists as a crucial tool to decontaminate women from 2000 years of patriarchal oppression in Christian churches and culture. Seminary scripture Doctrine and Covenants 121, the crowning glory and perhaps ultimate purpose of the hell Joseph went through in Liberty Jail under the control of authority figures who abused power, forensically deconstructs traditional male concepts of power and controlling leadership utterly. It says that the reason men are given priesthood is that they are rubbish at handling power and leadership, so they need the training it will give them, and very few will pass that test. I see the jobs the teenage boys are given as graciously adapted to reach and save the most knuckle-dragging selfish teenage male and slowly but surely teach him to consider others, and actually offer them food as a brief respite from his usual mode of expecting other people to mainly bring food to him. I teach at an all-boys school. Achieving that is nothing short of a miracle. Hallelujah! Women get to do plenty of catering in their lifetimes – give them a break! That accounts for boys passing sacrament and men having leadership and final decision-making roles. If they choose to properly consult with the women around them and lead by gentle persuasion and without guile as taught to they simply won’t be making any decisions from a wholly male perspective, so in most cases these days in my experience the idea that women are excluded from those decision making processes and roles because they are not ordained is rubbish. If the men don’t lead the feminist / correct way, God says they have no priesthood. It has just evaporated. Can’t be clearer than that.

    And then in the temple ALL women wear the robes of the Aaronic and Melchezedek priesthood in order to officiate in those priesthoods in personal and vicarious priesthood ordinances, not just the women administering washings and annointings as is usually said when people comment about women having a ‘limited’ priesthood role in the temple. ALL women. EVERY temple ordinance apart from baptisms, and they are promised that they will be queens and priestesses in heaven alongside the male kings and priests. How can so many women commenting above say that there isn’t a clear explanation of why men are ordained to priesthood and feel that somehow they are not priesthood holders already both in real power to call down blessing from heaven, and in clothing and name in the temple ordinances? The temple ordinances are the ones about what the future holds for women in the eternities, not the temporary configurations of priesthood administration that only men get ordained to. Ordaining women seems to me to miss the whole point. Not a single doctrine has to change, only the rhetoric and some of the remaining silly policies, which are already being reformed by the General Authorities as they realise how incongruous they are with what the ancient and restoration scriptures teach about women’s divine nature.

    That’s what I taught in Priesthood month! From the scriptures. All kosher. Your daughter should be over the moon to be in the most feminist Christian denomination, possibly religion, in the world, bar none, and very confident about her rights and responsibilities in God’s kingdom as a Goddess in training. Some stupid men haven’t worked this out yet, but that’s the whole point. D and C 121 says many simply won’t get it. But don’t worry about it – God is not with them. They are powerless. In time they’ll hopefully learn.

    Or rather, trying to apply the Section 121 principles, I lovingly invite your future Queen Priestess daughter to think about these amazing ideas and consider for herself prayerfully if they are true, and have them distill on her soul like dews from heaven. (No ‘should’. Shoulds are bad. I was taught that by my awesome several times Stake Relief Society President and Stake Primary President mother who has held much more senior leadership roles in the LDS Church ministry for much longer than I or my Bishop father have.)

  134. Hi again,

    I don’t have any sock puppets, but I do have a small stuffed cow that my wife gave me, a blue monkey that my oldest daughter gave me, and a stuffed rat that I got from Warwick castle in England… His name is Frank.

    Anyhow. I really appreciate your kind replies and the Rockstar comment made me laugh. I try to be a good husband and father, yet I know I can do better. I honestly feel that I got lucky when it came to my family, there’s nothing normal about us and I love it!

    Please, there’s no need for rudeness and I honestly think that katybristow and God’s Girl are just really excited rather than being rude or “yelling”.

    I love the church, I stopped going to church when I was around 16 years old because the people in my ward had a severe Holier-than-thou attitude and never lost faith in the Gospel or in the Lord. I started going again because my wife joined the church and we had our son. I still find it annoying that Sunday School teaches the same bloody lessons that I’ve heard a million times over. There’s so much to talk about and learn that I get tired of the same old messages, and the answers and comments of some ward members make me want to bash my head into something hard. So yeah, I’m not perfect.

    I wish they taught church history in Sunday School, or more doctrine and even do studies of things like the Journal of Discourses and the Joseph Smith Papers. Heck, why not a class on how to answer questions from non-members and those people who are more antagonistic towards us that is needed. I think classes like this would help everyone understand more about the church, ease a lot of concerns and even help people find their own answers.

    Church doctrine, church history, and answering questions about the church is not just a hobby of mine, it’s a passion. (Doing so goes well with my Asperger syndrome). There are a couple sites that I’d like to share, they are not official church sites but they are pretty well thought out and I find them very helpful, but keep in mind that they are not doctrine. They are:

    http://www.fairlds.org/ Which has a wonderful topical guide.
    http://www.shields-research.org Another great site for information exploration

    Anyhow, I’d write more but I have to go to Scouts now.

    One last thing, I’ve gotta plug my wife’s photography!

  135. I look forward to seeing the reaction of people when one day (hopefully soon) it is the prophet that women deserve equal rights in ALL leadership and priesthood opportunities to men.

  136. Peter, you’re amazing.

  137. katybristow says:

    I can only speak for myself…. the whole big giggle in the beginning of my message wasn’t meant to be nasty…. nor was anything I said…. I just can’t seem to understand why people choose to make life more difficult than it has to be? Why worry about things we can’t change. Its the way it is…. the way it has always been. There are many many many places in the doctrine where it states that women have many very important roles in this life and the next. It seems rather than reading and actually researching the facts…. people would rather complain and get worked up over something incredibly unecessary. So my message was meant to be light hearted and just jokingly say…. let it go and choose your battles….. sorry if there was any misunderstanding!!! :( p.s. all my exclamations are just a matter of habit!! :) hehehe not sure why I do it but I do….. I guess because I really do feel and want to stress, life is entirely to short to complicate it ourselves!!!!! :) Happy Thankful Thursday Friends!!!! Best wishes and God Bless!!!!! :) xxx

  138. “Its the way it is…. the way it has always been.” — That wasn’t good enough in denying priesthood to people based on skin color nor is it good enough in denying priesthood based on gender.

  139. I had this same discussion with my daughter yesterday, RJ. We didn’t find any good answers, but lots of good questions. Maybe all difficult issues are to help parents bond with their children while seeking answers. That fits everything, doesn’t it? And it’s EASY.

  140. “It seems rather than reading and actually researching the facts…”

    Katy, you don’t know how funny that is in a thread in this forum about this topic. Since you seem like a nice, sincere person, I believe if you did know how funny that statement is, your understanding would influence a change in your comments. So, my suggestion would be to read regularly here for a couple of weeks and start to get to know everyone better.

    Just as a comparison, there is almost nothing that will rile up someone from Carson City, Nevada as much as insisting that Las Vegas is the capital of the state, since they have done more than just reading – and even more than just researching the facts. They have lived in the middle of it.

  141. katybristow says:

    I guess I still don’t understand why it is humourous…. but I do understand what you are saying!!!! :) I guess the whole point of discussions is to bring together many many viewpoints. It seems that has occured here which is awesome. I guess I am just a very simple person. I think that life is as easy or as difficult as WE make it. So in my humble opinion such topics are just fighting a battle that is similiar to banging ones head against the wall…. know what I mean? However I also understand that doesn’t make me any more right than anyone else here…. just my opinion and how I get through the day!!! :) I guess in my humble opinion arguing the wishes of Heavenly Father is disrespectful. He is not of this world. He is eternal and we are here to learn and grow, so our lives without the Priesthood here are preparing us to learn more, to experience more, to have more time to fulfill other callings, and prepare us to be Priesthood Holders in Heaven. I hate sexism… I hate that people are not just considered equal… I hate racism and every other “ism” out there. We are all human, no one has super powers, we all get dressed the same way each day…. we are all made the same, we all come from the same place…. we each just hold different abilities and different interests, as a result, we have Doctors, Lawyers, Nurses, Janitors, Cashiers, Truck Drivers, Police Officers, Military….. etc…. if everyone was equal and exactly the same… we wouldn’t be able to exist…. its our differences and talents we have been blessed with that keep the world going…. I guess I just equally hate to think that people are losing any time out of their lives on something that will more than likely not change. We can change sexism in the work place, we can change the way women are viewed in the world, we can change the world for that matter! But we will not change the wishes or the Great Plan of Heavenly Father so we are wasting valuable time on something that will likely never change. We could focus that time on making the world a better place. :) I know that sounds quite shallow, I know it sounds a bit like a Miss America Speech, but the fact is it is true. We can change the world. Maybe not in massive ways but in small little ways. By the way we treat others, we can change the world one kind act at a time…… anyway I seem to have gotten off the point. I just hate to see people struggle with something. We are told if we ask with a sincere heart, we will receive answers…. I can completely why people feel the way they feel about that but the truth is… if they really want answers, that is what they will have to do!!! :) Heavenly Father like any parent is not in it for a popularity contest, He is in it to bless us and take care of His children. Perhaps they won’t like the answer they receive but then they just need to pray for a way to find peace with what they have learned. :) It don’t have to be a point of contention. It doesn’t have to be a difficult thing. Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to be angry… it just chases the Spirit away. Please….. find a way to find some peace. :) Life is too short to lose any time, feel any stress or lose the Spirit to anger on something we can’t change. Soon Heavenly Father will reveal his plan!! :) And when he does…. it will all be made clear!! :) Much Love and God Bless,
    Katy x

  142. The thing is, katybristow, that it IS a genuinely difficult thing for many women, especially the youngest, and your telling us that we shouldn’t bang our pretty little heads against something that is no challenge in your breezy, exclamation-pointed world of smiley faces and false assumptions that “what is” has always been, and will always be, yea, worlds without end, amen, doesn’t help. Not at all. Stop it.

  143. katybristow says:

    Hmmmmmmm!!!!! :) :) :) :) I am merely stating my opinion and lack of understanding as to why it has to be such a hard thing. I’m really glad to think that YOU think I live in a “breezy, exclamation-pointed world of smiley faces and false assumptions”!!!! :) :) :) :) :) Clearly YOU know absoluely nothing about MY life and what has brought me to this sense of peace with most if not all things worldly!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) I could feel insulted that someone is accussing me of “false assumptions” could make such a HUGE, GYNORMOUS, “false assumption” by deciding because I use !!!!!!! and :) :) :) :) :) :)’s that makes my world a happy perfect place!!!! :) :) :) :) However, I can’t be bothered with such a minor thing. In the grand scheme of my life, what other people think of me and my !!!!!!!!! and :) :) :) :) :)’s means very little if anything at all to me, as in truth the only person who truly knows the person I am is Heavenly Father!!!!!! :) :) :) :) And that is good enough for me. I like YOU intend to go live in his house one day….. and as a result we will have to live by his rules….. I don’t think that is an assumption…….. YOUR rules are folllowed in YOUR house are they not????? :) :) :) :) :) Saying that life is as easy or as difficult as WE make it, is not an assumption it is something I learned through prayer, through lifes trials, through the trauma I have gone through in my life. I could be a bitter person, like I once was, holding a grudge, getting angry about every little way I feel wronged, but Heavenly Father showed me that I, yes ME can learn and work at letting things go and accepting things I cannot change. If YOU asked…. I’m quite certain he would teach YOU the same!!!!! :) :) :) :) It is something that takes work!!! :) :) :) :) A lot of work!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) And I am far from perfect!!!!!!! :) ::) :) :) :) However it can be done!!!! :) :) :) :) I am not telling you it will not change!!!!! I am telling YOU what I have learned!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the Bible, the Church, The Teachings, The Structure etc. Have been the same since the beginning of time, Eternal things do not change! :) :) :) :) :) :) So while it is my opinion, that it will never change, and I can see where you would think it is an assumption, it is what I, just ME believe!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) While my first message did indeed jokingly say let it go….. I can no more make you change your mind than the man on the moon!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) And in fairness, that is the same with you. I have many reasons and many many experiences that have brought me to this point, and I love the peace I find in what I believe!! Sooooo PLEASE!!!!!!! PLEASE forgive me for trying to help you look at things a different way, an eternal way and feel better about what is clearly not going to change at this very moment!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) You can be angry, you can get angry, you can stress yourself out if you wish……. but don’t assume someones life is or has been “breezy” or anything wonderful just because they choose to NOT be angry!!! Bitter!!!! Or Spiteful!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) I shall pray for you that YOU find the answers you so clearly need!!!!! I shall pray that YOU can let go of some of your hurt, upset and anger!!!!! I shall pray that YOU find a way to get through life and hopefully into the Celestial Kingdom with the knowledge of Heavenly Father and the faith that allows you to accept the things you struggle with!!!!!!! :) Have a wonderful blessed day Sister!!!! Best wishes and God Bless YOU!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

  144. katybristow has been banned for befouling our site with countless smileys.

  145. I don’t know if I can ever look at an exclamation point the same again

  146. Yeah, talk about passive-aggressive use of smiley faces. Sheesh.
    But let’s return to katybristow’s important main point: how can we all help Ardis overcome her obvious and extreme anger? I mean, hopefully Ardis can get through her bitterness and make it into the Celestial Kingdom to be with the rest of us. (There — I did the self-righteous, holier-than-thou thing with nary a punctuation mark or emoticon. You’re welcome.)

  147. P.S. I loved katybristow’s wonderfully ironic use of the word “genius” here: “It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the Bible, the Church, The Teachings, The Structure etc. Have been the same since the beginning of time.” I would engage her on this point, but, alas, she’s been banninated. :( :( :(

  148. The fact that excessive exclamation points and smileys are a banning offense has done more than anything else to make me love this site.

  149. I’ve been away for a few hours and missed some fun. :( My anger and bitterness knows no bounds.

  150. There is no issue, however, with frownies.

  151. The use of the word “GYNORMOUS” leads me to wonder whether there are very large obstetricians roaming the earth, like invasive Cains.

  152. OOUS — Obstetricians Of Unusual Size — armed with exclamation points to enforce their cheeriness. /shudder/

  153. (Not angry, bitter, or spiteful) MDearest says:

    I had a comment percolating on my text/edit which has now been rendered weak sauce.

    Thank you Steve Evans,and Ardis and, oh hell, the last several commenters (even Katy for playing her part–the Young Innocent Self-righteous…Cashier(?)) for redeeming this thread and making it so very instructive for an angry young feminist. And even perhaps for a cynical old one.

  154. !

  155. Hi Rebecca J
    You’ve already received a lot of comments and really thoughtful input on here, but I thought I’d add my two cents to the discussion. Like many others that have already written, I’ve struggled with this, and continue to struggle with this. I grew up with all brothers, almost all male friends, and have felt it’s my mission in life to prove I can do anything just as well or better than a man etc yadda yadda. Through years of praying, studying, asking people I trust, and seeking, I still don’t have a definitive answer. However, I do have a piece of the puzzle that brings me comfort. There are so many “spiritual gifts” that He gives us all, Christ and His Atonement and access to the Holy Ghost (increased when we are baptized and make promises to receive the Holy Ghost) being primary ones. But God is not a jerk or an indifferent scientist – He loves us infinitely, and as individuals. He loves our differences, and our personal outlook and skills, and helps us develop them. You probably have spiritual skills that I don’t have and vica versa. I have a relative who has revelatory dreams often, and a friend who sometimes can sense the presence of spirits of her family who have passed on – these are gifts I don’t have. One gift I enjoy is the Holy Ghost giving me a feeling of great clarity and peace in moments of great need. Check out Moroni 10:8 (and on if you’d like). We don’t get all of them, all the time in this life. Just what we need to grow and help others in our unique ways. I think of Priesthood as one of those gifts that not everyone gets, but is to be used to help us all come together. Priesthood is not magic. It is not admission into a private club. It is a tool to help people, heal people, and learn together.
    I know it is not a perfect answer, but I suspect we won’t have perfect understanding of anything until we get to talk face to face with God again. I feel for you and your daughter – may God help you and her and the rest of us be strong.

  156. The founders of the church simply were following 1800s gender norms, which have since become outdated. Is it really that hard to believe? This exact issue has already been overturned on race. It’s really only a matter of time before this catches up.

  157. The facts are that God DISCRIMINATES whether with men or women, black, white or purple, Nephite, Lamanite, Israelite, Cananite, Jew, Samaritan or Gentile. Why?…… Moses 1:30-31 says why. But He is a loving God and when we see and know all we will understand and bow the knee and agree that it was wisdom……and the best way.

  158. marginalizedmormon says:

    @100saros, just my opinion, but I don’t think verses 30 and 31 have anything to do with discrimination; I don’t think God has done that; people have.

    Back to the priesthood and women, etc.–

    I am really neutral/undecided/waiting on this, but there are people in my world who have been upset about the month’s long emphasis on the priesthood–

    the fact is that this is causing young women to come home and talk to parents; it is causing people to talk and pray and that is good. That is, I believe, what *we* want.

    We have an elderly home teacher who is what would be called a staunch conservative–

    He came into our home a few months ago (and we have never mentioned that any of us ever question anything; we are gentle, mild souls who don’t stir things up)–

    and said, “Why isn’t Heavenly Mother mentioned in the scriptures?”–

    One of our males said, “God wants to protect “Her”.”

    He, the home teacher, snorted and acted quite upset, “No, INDEED; Heavenly Mother needs protection from Nobody, not even another God!”–

    Several of the females quietly smiled as he went on, ranting; this is a man who was a pioneer in our area, a church leader of renown, father of an amazing family and grandfather and great grandfather of so many he can’t keep track–

    This is a ‘true blue’ in every way–

    He, becoming more quiet, said, “Because men write the scriptures, and that is that. And there are gaps. And that’s what I want to say today.”

    We were all dumbfounded, especially the male who had spoken up–

    That was his lesson–

    this ancient patriarch–

    God bless him.

  159. 100saros, I would be careful about quoting really ancient scripture and ignoring much more recent scripture. There’s this thing call ongoing revelation . . .

  160. Let me elaborate…. In Matthew 15:22-28 was the Saviour being a bigot or a racist?…. you be the judge….. but we find this type of “discrimination” or things that appear non-politically correct by todays standards throughout the scriptures. Why???? Its quite simple, during the development or the establishment of a dispensation growth is made in baby steps, hence the need for continuing revelation. As the dispensation evolves so more is revealed, disseminated and delegated. Currently certain responsibilities and the authority necessary to perform those responsibilities is limited based on the Lords own purposes. I do not comprehend the mind of God and all His purposes but I know He has the entire worlds best interests at heart and to anybody that feels discriminated against lets not forget His oft repeated promise that “the first shall be last and the last first”

  161. The first principle of the gospel is faith and God desires his children to exercise that faith to gain understanding. There are resources available (The Standard Works, Ensign, Conference talks,etc) to help find the answers you and your daughter are looking for. Sometimes it is through the faith of others that answers can be found, but the work must be an individual endeavor.

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