“Some women are concerned that they don’t hold the priesthood.”

I can’t think of anything quite like this video being done before.  (Transcript here.)

I think one thing is obvious:  the Church has decided that having men explain why women should be content without the priesthood just isn’t going to work–the word “mansplaining” is just too easy to reach for in those situations.  That’s why, I suspect, Jessica Moody has been the Church’s official responder for media inquiries related to feminist issues this week.  Perhaps this is already a feminist victory, since the raising of these issues has placed the three general presidents and Sister Moody into positions of speaking authoritatively for the Church in ways that, otherwise, probably would not have happened.  It should also be abundantly clear that the “pants, prayers, and priesthood” movement has the ears of Church leaders.  And, instead of excommunicating them, they are responding to their concerns.

It seems that the Church will be answering the “why don’t women hold the priesthood” question with two answers:  (1) women have a lot of power in the church without it, as evidenced by their roles on councils, and (2) women and men are meant to be complementary, not identical.

So they emphasized their roles on the councils that they sit on. But the emphasis on the Church Education System board in this video feels kind of forced when women have no representation on so many other councils; if it is so very important for women’s voices to be heard in councils, as they say that it is, then why aren’t there women in bishoprics, stake presidencies, stake high councils, disciplinary councils, and the quorum of the Twelve?  Further, there is a bit of a disconnect between the “complementarianism” argument and the “but we’re on a lot of important councils” argument:  how and why is it that being a mother (=the standard complement to priesthood) makes it impossible to serve on a stake high council but is congruent with serving on the church education system council?  And what does “being listened to really well on councils” have to do with not being able to baptize one’s own child?

I hope no one is surprised that the answers offered in this video–complementarianism, the honor in which women are held, the seriousness with which women’s voices are taken in councils, the accessibility of priesthood blessings to all people–will not help anyone who has qualms about the current priesthood ban to sleep better at night. I wish they had stuck with “we don’t know” when asked why women don’t hold the priesthood.  The answers that were given feel like self-contradictory ad hoc rationales to me.   I will say this:  if the Church is going to take the complementarianism route, they need to develop the argument more.  As I argued here, when we separate the “strands of priesthood,” the complementarian reasoning doesn’t address any disparities that exist, except for “in the home,” and it doesn’t do anything to address the needs and realities of women who are not currently mothers.

But, I don’t want to kvetch too much about one video.  The existence of the video is perhaps more important than the specific arguments made in it.  In the last few months, we’ve seen a radical change in the YW program, a radical change in women’s missionary service, we’re supposed to see a woman pray in Conference tomorrow, and–this just in–missionary leadership now formally includes sister missionaries and the mission president’s wife.  Let’s take a moment and enjoy the fact that the cause of Mormon feminism has enjoyed more progress in the past six months than the past sixty years.  One almost senses a trajectory that will, someday, mean that all of this will be behind us.


128 comments for ““Some women are concerned that they don’t hold the priesthood.”

  1. I found it to be more of the same depressing, patronizing stuff; women might be asked for their opinions, but the men still make the decisions. Women have no authority, even over women’s organizations. Are we supposed to rejoice over another tiny crumb from the table?

    Anyone else think it was weird that they kept saying they had to be encouraged not to hold back, to say what they really thought?

  2. The longer I have been in the Church, the more women have been marginalized. They even lack any control over the organizations that they are tasked with running and have become puppets to do the will of sometime autocratic, authoritarian male leaders. I see women resigning their memberships and going into inactivities because of the horrible treatment they have receiving at the hands of male leaders. Church leaders need to look carefully at what is happening in the Church before they continue to issue any statements.

    I always have been and am an active member of the Church. I could write volumes about women I have observed who have been abused by Church leaders but I won’t. Look what happened to Lavina Fielding Anderson when she did. It is a travesty that she is not allowed to be rebaptized and another example of ecclesiastical abuse in the Church.

  3. My experience in the Church is that absolute power can corrupt and distort the way that women are treated and valued. Clearly, President Monson was not home for his wife or children. His calling as a bishop and church leader was what really mattered to him. My husband was a bishop and was gone far too much. My children suffered as have some of President Monson’s.

    Until the Church truly values and includes women, we will see women continue to suffer or leave. Church leaders care more about how much women can contribute either in time, talents, or money than they care about women’s needs, wants, and interests. A very few Church leaders really listen to them, and until women are included in every Church council with equal authority to men, this problem will continue. Because the Church has marginalized women for so long, I don’t think Church leaders recognize the scope or severity of the problem.

  4. Just because the delivery voice is female doesn’t mean that it’s not mansplaining. Perhaps we’ll be distracted enough by the appearance of progress to notice that the content of the message hasn’t changed?

  5. “[This] will not help anyone who has qualms about the current priesthood ban to sleep better at night. I wish they had stuck with “we don’t know””

    This is something I agree with. Those who refuse to accept in gender role differences will only accept ignorance on the part of church leadership as a reasonable excuse. Because ignorance is the only answer that leaves their aspirations open.

    No amount of counsel from authorities will do. Whether it’s Elder Christofferson offering counsel, Pres. Hinckley, etc. those who insist they are right are right at all costs.

    The truth of the matter is, this post and others in the same vein are a rejection of church lines authority. You’re not satisfied with answers from bishops, stake presidents. You’re not content ponder unanswered questions for yourself, but seek to enlist others beyond your stewardships to join you.

    That’s certainly you’re right as an individual exercising your agency. But it doesn’t respect the line of authority the Lord has setup.

  6. I’m wondering if the difference in response between Pants/prayers/priesthood vs. the September Six is due to a perception in the leadership that a big crackdown right now would be counterproductive and might even be met with massive protest and large numbers of women leaving the church, or whether they are simply sitting in wait, watching for the clear leadership core of the movement to emerge, so that a large public crackdown will have the most effect. I’m hoping its the former.

  7. Chris, it’s pretty hard to avoid “enlist[ing] others beyond [one’s] stewardship” to join one, when one is not granted stewardship over anything beyond cub scouts, potholders and diapers.

  8. Lorian, large numbers of women are already leaving the Church. Unless Church leadership recognizes how women are being marginalized and abused by ecclesiastical leaders, this will continue.

  9. Julie, do you think that big changes will happen, maybe unintentionally, just from the influx of female missionaries, as much as from direct campaigning? If their numbers get up to 50 percent and stay around there, I can see change just happening because it has to.

  10. Just because the delivery voice is female doesn’t mean that it’s not mansplaining.

    Well said, MDearest! And great post, Julie!

  11. Clearly, Jesus was not home for his wife or children either. Nor Joseph Smith. A lot of untrue superlatives and absolutes in this thread.

    The co-ed missionary leadership councils are pretty cool. Julie, I appreciate your holistic perspective in spite of your disappointments. As Elder Holland said 6 months ago, ‘one miracle at a time.’

  12. That’s a nice video. Those are great women.

    There are indeed prophetesses in the church.

  13. I’ve said this elsewhere, and I’ll say it here:


    You are amazing, and it is totally understandable that you would want the priesthood. Of course you should want it. Why shouldn’t you seek the power and authority of God?

    I understand this movement, and I love it. This is the thing that makes you great – seeing opportunity for improvement, and pressing for it.

    I hope you’re voices are heard respectfully. I am holding my breath this weekend, terrified of what Packer or Bednar might belch out on the topic…yet optimistic that change is possible.

    I hope you get the priesthood. Double the number of priesthood holders. Now that’s something, isn’t it? Mothers blessing babies. Wives blessing husbands. Women confessing to women, men confessing to men.

    Onward and upward, to a new era – A generation of respect and civility, of informed and thoughtful discourse.

    I love you sisters, and hope you receive the priesthood. The church will only be better from it.

  14. I sympathize with the frustration.

    But some of these comments are kind of frustrating, too. Enjoy the tiny battles won—they’re the stuff of victory! (I guess I’m speaking of the Mission age change, Mission leadership change, Prayer in Conference, etc.)

    As the cliche goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” And maybe those who expected it to be, moved on while their fellow countrymen, soon thereafter, dined in great halls. That would be most unfortunate.

    Anyway, I am grateful to see the “Mormon Spring” for women has bloomed. This is encouraging.

  15. You’d think we’d learn from past episodes (*ahem*) that ad hoc speculations and justifications for why we don’t/can’t do something with the priesthood, well, they just tend to look really bad down the road.

  16. It seems when Brigham Young took over he un-did everything Joseph Smith instituted. And each President there after followed suit.

    I do not want the Priesthood the same as men today have. I would like to go back to what Joseph Smith said women could do. I firmly believe the church needs to go back to everything Joseph Smith taught and allowed.

  17. “Julie, do you think that big changes will happen, maybe unintentionally, just from the influx of female missionaries, as much as from direct campaigning?”

    Absolutely. As I said in my other post, I think the change will be huge. I will add that this newest change in mission leadership will only increase that. The only thing I’m not sure about is the “unintentionally” part: I’d like to think that all of these changes (notice how they are focused on younger women) are divinely-rooted preparation for greater things for the next generation.

  18. Yep, this is pretty huge:

    “Each mission in the Church will organize a Mission Leadership Council that will include both elder (males) and sister (females) missionary leaders. The new mission leadership council will consist of the mission president and his wife, assistants to the president, zone leaders, and sister training leaders — a newly created role. ”


  19. Well said, Julie.

    As to the mission organization, sisters could have exactly the same leadership positions as the elders, not just this “sister training leaders”, which keeps their responsibilities and involvement limited. District leaders, zone leaders and assistants to the president are not priesthood offices so the church could expand that immediately to women serving in the mission. The day a sister will be zone leader over a group of sisters and elders will be another kind of progress.

  20. I agree–the fact that the church authorized this video is a giant step forward–and I think some of it (specifics of their counseling) is valuable for young girls to hear. I consider this a victory “for the people”. It shows how powerful social media is in gathering voices into a powerful message to leaders. I would liked to have asked the women this: if the brethren value women’s perspective so much, why not have more women serving as GAs, and leadership positions throughout the church??

  21. Lorian,
    Do you really view a family, souls entrustes to us from God and reduce them to pots and diapers to make a point? That rather direct throwing the baby with the bath water reveals the misjudgement of many on this issue.

    Here is how the proper way to respect the Lords authority works within the established church – if you believe in and accept the authority of the Lords servants on this issue.
    Study the issue in your mind.
    Serve others in a Christ like manner
    Sacrifice of yourself for others
    Keep your temple, covenants, attend often
    Make time for others by pounting them to Christ
    Reject worldy distractions, focus on the kingdom
    Take your questions to God in prayer, repeat over years if necessary

    Any time Ive received great personal revelation it was when i was following this pattern. Notice how little of it is focused on ourselves but others and the kingdom. All of the general women in this video live their lives that wayand that’s why they are comfortable on the issue. They may not perfectly explain the will of the Lord on this issue (who can but him) but they have the discerning spirit to not fight against what is established or demand of more while doing less.

    Now many of us dont want to put in the life changing discipleship effort to leave what we have behind and follow the savior more fulyly in inorder to receive answers. We just want answers. Recognizing that fact, the FP has time and again told us if we have difficukt questions we want answered local authorities are the place to go. When we act outside that chain we risk rejecting not only that local authority, we reject the trust the FP has in that authority and that rejection reveals our pride. When in fact depending intat authority to access God for us reveals we dont really grasp what god wants for us.

    The fact is this question is handled the wrong way, or rather the response to the answer provided, however incomplete, reveals how much the thinking of the world is being applied instead of the things of God.

    If you focused your life on fully honoring your covenants and living a disciples life geared toward building up the kingdom by sustaining and looking toward the Lords servants do you think it would be a life poorly lived? The immediate and eternal benefits would outweigh any burden your bear.

    Please dont think Im focused on women here, men who hold the priesthood dont act properly and still wait for great revelations or wish for more miracles of God. Its up to us to do our part, wear out our lives if necessary and then come the promised blessings. Not doubt many will be blessed beyond earthly measure for doing far less. But we should not suppose ourselves worthy of the blessings of Abraham without enduring and fully commiting to the Lord and his servants.

    The weightier matters are right here for us all to put our shoulders to the wheel. The sisters in the video are doing it and invite us to join them. Lets do so and then make ourselves worthy for the promised blessings.

  22. I cannot sympathize with the lament that bemoans the deficit of “women’s voices”. This is obviously an overly contrived argument. When have we ever lacked for hearing of women’s complaining voices?

  23. Wow chris, thanks for the mansplanation. I didn’t know how to have a relationship with Christ until you showed me the pattern. Awesomesauce.

    Julie, excellent post.

  24. “I cannot sympathize with the lament that bemoans the deficit of “women’s voices”. This is obviously an overly contrived argument. When have we ever lacked for hearing of women’s complaining voices?”

    Wow, and that’s just straight up sexist. That’s the nicest word for that. I suppose you also lamented the inclusion of complaining women in PEC.

  25. Does anyone have a comprehensive list of general church councils/committees and who serves on them? Examples: temple committee, business ventures, etc.

  26. Just a few thoughts.

    a) I wish that the women would get the priesthood and it taken away from the men. I am tired of meetings and calls to give blessings and would love to have that burden passed on to someone else.

    b) I reserve the right to complain when these women are given the priesthood and make decisions that I don’t agree with.

    c) I believe that it should be mandatory once women only have the priesthood for sisters to go on missions and with the men it will be optional.

    d) I believe that when the women hold the priesthood, the moms should be responsible for getting the sacrament prepared and home teaching.

    e) I promise to stay home and watch the kids when my wife has to leave at 10:00 pm to lock up the church, to spend Saturday manning the DI trailer, or help a new family unload their moving truck.

    Anything that I missed?

    My point being, that although there may have been abuses of authority by church leaders (as warned would happen in D&C), most of us priesthood holders are just trying to serve and help others. I would also venture to say the abuse of power would not decrease if sisters were to have the priesthood and men were excluded, but hey, I’m willing to take a back seat if the church decides to do otherwise.

  27. I would say that I would love to have women have the priesthood but I wonder how many of the members in my own ward would respond to this. So many seem so invested in defending the current position, I wonder how they would change.

  28. I served a LONG time ago. But in my mission there was a companionship of sisters that oversaw sisters.

  29. Wilfried, there are various reports of sisters having been zone leaders, including in your own Antwerp mission in 1976–but it was indeed only over other sisters, and it was shut down by a higher authority after a few months…. But yes, there is precedent.

  30. This is an excellent PR video that will play well to the TBM base except for the few who resent the church bending in the least to activism. It is a win for feminists because it acknowledges some of the issues providing feedback that they have been heard and suggests some movement. It is both a win and push back for church reformers in generat as the women in the video act as apologists for the brethren. It is a lose for marginalized Mormon women who’s roles and concerns are left unaddressed by elite women who know and are a part of core mainstream Mormonisn.

    Like the I’m a Mormon campaign this video presents the ideal shown in it’s best light with it’s best spin and does not represent the typical situation. Is anyone experiencing this level of female inclusion on a Stake or Ward level? So while I find the video very encouraging I wounder if it will have any more affect internally than the I’m a Mormon campaign did.

    Finally notice that they went out of the way to point out that “Sister” Dalton is a President! President Dalton? No, Sister Dalton as prescribed by The Lord himself through the day to day revelation of his living prophets. These seemingly minor distinctions are important to God.

  31. If the prophet announced at conference that he had prayed about extending priesthood ordination to women and received a revelation that a male-administered priesthood is part of the eternal order, would you accept that? If not, what would it take to convince you? Just curious to know what it would take to resolve this issue if the truth turns out to be that God agrees with the current approach.

  32. I think that the basic problem is that when feminists in the 1960s discovered that there were many priesthood-like roles and duties performed by women in the past, they felt as though they could inform church authorities who would then understand that it would be OK to restore these roles. Instead, they responded in bad faith, working aggressively to silence them through church discipline and consolidating church leadership into male-only roles.

    Aside from a few embarrassing missteps that were rolled back (e.g., women praying in sacrament meeting) and a few inevitable adaptions to cultural reality (e.g., ceasing to vilify working mothers and lightening up on the condemnation of divorce) the bad-faith, reactionary social order of the 1960s remains dominant.

    So if men and women are meant to be complementary and not identical, then why are they meant to be less identical in several respects than they were during the 19th century Utah era?

  33. Julie, thanks for your insights.

    I am encouraged by the rather dramatic changes and progress of the past few months, and I also agree that I have never seen anything quite like this video.

    That said, I find the video almost unbearable. These remarkable women are at such pains to describe how they and other women are listened to and how devoted, hard-working and well-intentioned the male leaders are. With all due respect, that seems like a waste of air time, since it just should NOT be a big deal that women are listened to, and the goodness of the male leaders is NOT the issue.

    The moderator asks if the brethren are aware of the issues facing women, and the women respond that indeed they do. That whole portion of the conversation was so flat—almost meaningless—for me, because there wasn’t a single mention of WHAT the issues are that face women and how they are responding to them.

    I’m in the church to stay, but this is not the video the women of the church need.

  34. Just wanted to add to my previous comment that I felt that the second half of the video had a somewhat different tone with its discussion of the worldwide travel these gifted women do and their encounters with and brief discussion of some of the issues facing women (single parenting, women and the priesthood), etc.

    It’s particularly interesting that they spoke directly about concerns for some women regarding women and the priesthood. Their responses are not unsurprising, of course, but their discussion of it has a hint of progressivity.

  35. ldspsygenius (#41):

    I don’t think that many people think of the temple ceremonies and the extraordinary blessings given to women. Many women don’t realize that they receive blessings that men do not.

  36. Really, we don’t know why women don’t hold priesthood? Has anyone here read D&C 107? The answer is revelation. God set it up that way.

    I am always amused at the treatises on uses of the priesthood by women in LDS history when we have an express revelation about how the priesthood was established through visitations of heavenly messengers after the Patriarchal Order. I suppose that Mormon feminists are just much wiser and spiritually sensitive than these divine messengers. The problem is really that the church is lead by a bunch of old male geezers who aren’t with the times and changing gender roles. They are ignorant of LDS history and how things should really be done — at least that is the leading narrative I often hear. Yet it is called the “Patriarchal Order of the Priesthood” in revelation. Of course anyone is free to reject this revelation and any others that just do not sit with their political sensibilities — but that rather makes the priesthood hardly worth “holding”.

    I have daughters. They are wonderful and able individuals. I wish for them everyone they can achieve. However, it seems to me that it would take an express revelation on the order doing away with the Law of Moses for them to be able to hold the priesthood. It could happen, but if the Church is just another political bureaucracy that can be lobbied like any other Democratic institution, then why bother?

  37. Blake,
    The word patriarchal is not found in D&C 107 scripture, only in the header summary.

  38. @32. Hey Mitch,

    Tell your wife to get off her lazy butt. There is nothing in your paragraph e which requires the priesthood. Sorry if your wife is too lazy to serve in those areas (paragraph e) but it isn’t her lack of priesthood holding her back from those activities. Maybe she isn’t too lazy, but you are coopting all the service opportunities under the rubric of the priesthood and, thus, excluding your wife and all other females.


    I’d yawn if I didn’t find it so utterly disrespectful. If the power to act in God’s name on earth is so hideously problematic for you, Mitch, you can decline. IMO that’s better than using it with such contempt.

    Funny thing is, now that women can go on missions at a reasonable age, they are rushing to go. My 19-year-old daughter is one of them. Go ahead and make it “mandatory.” I think the women are up to the task.

  40. I’m amazed at all of the phrasing similar to “I would love to see women have the priesthood”… particularly the use of “I”.

    “I want to see…”

    “I would love…”

    Maybe a bit more “not my will, but thine” would be a good idea when considering how the organization of the church should look like. It is HIS church after all.

  41. I found the anecdotes on interactions with apostles more interesting than the question which is highlighted in this post. As I said before, a lot of untrue superlatives and absolutes get thrown around in these threads, simply because a council might have less than 50% women in it, and people don’t know how actual general officers work together. The fact is, at the highest level, these women are equal council members and treated as such. I have seen the same in ward council meetings I’ve attended across the globe.

    Your point about appeasing the disconcerted is fair Julie, but what would appease that? Surely not a flat ‘we prayed, and got a no’?

    I thought the remarks on Priesthood today were interesting in light of this discussion.

    Perhaps Priesthood and gender can only be fully understood in the temple, and thus is not appropriate for a full-on public debate?

  42. Howard: You did read this in D&C 107:40 right? “The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made.” Father to son, that means the patriarchal order.

    And from Joseph Smith 27 October 1843: “There are three grand orders of priesthood referred to here. 1st. The King of Shiloam. (Salem) had power and authority over that of Abraham, holding the key and the power of endless life … What was the power of Melchizedek? ‘Twas not the Priesthood of Aaron which administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices. Those holding the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, that priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam. Abraham says to Melchizedek, I believe all that thou hast taught me concerning the priesthood and the coming of the Son of Man; so Melchizedek ordained Abraham and sent him away. Abraham rejoiced, saying, Now I have a priesthood . . . The 2nd Priesthood is Patriarchal authority. Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood. The 3rd is what is called the Levitical Priesthood, consisting of priests to administer in outward ordinance, made without an oath; but the Priesthood of Melchizedek is by an oath and covenant. The Holy Ghost is God’s messenger to administer in all those priesthoods.” (History of the Church 5:554-5)

    I suppose we could also throw in the Book of Abraham: ” sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers. It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me. I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed. My fathers, having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice.” (Abraham 1:2-5)

    Look, maybe the earth-shaking revelation will come — but if it does it won’t be because of the baby steps that Julie identifies in this post. And it certainly won’t be because the old geezers leading the Church just didn’t understand that women used to hold the priesthood to exercise priesthood keys.

  43. To me, a man in the Church with privileges and power both present and past, Blake’s remarks come across as arrogant. Not because he’s necessarily wrong, but because he misrepresents the cause held in the hearts of many men and women in the Church.

    Especially in light of the fact that most of the women involved in these issues in this unique era are simply seeking answers and are petitioning humbly. We might know why the men have privilege and power; that’s possibly clear— Blake seems to suggest how dumb people are if they suggest otherwise. What we don’t know as men and as women, is where our Mother in Heaven is and why it is that men are given such privileges and powers while women are not.

    So smarty pants Blake, what’s your take on that?

  44. Blake,
    Throw in what ever you like but D&C107 doesn’t say what you said it does! You do realize the priesthood is no longer handed down from father to son don’t you? So it’s not as clear cut as you claim, things change, don’t they?

  45. wreddyornot — first, stick and stones and ad hominem arguments and name calling and so forth …. I am not against women having the priesthood. I would actually rejoice if it happened. So you have assumed a lot.

    However, I am against ignoring the revelations and searching far and wide to try to answer a question that has been addressed expressly. If I seem arrogant to you, then perhaps it is because what bothers us most in others are our own problems.

    Moreover, what is your basis for what “most women” are doing? Have you done some research, or a poll or are you just so obviously omniscient that I should just grant whatever you assert? I knew that quoting the scriptures would rile people — and how that is somehow arrogant to you is interesting to me.

    We have the Book of Mormon girl Joanna Brooks telling us that Joseph Smith confirmed that women held the priesthood. Well . . . not quite. He actually expressly addressed the issue. That isn’t what he said now is it?

    As for the Mother in Heaven — the fact that we know absolutely nothing about her through revelation given to the Church (or otherwise) does not entail that we don’t have a statement regarding why males hold the priesthood and women don’t. Now if you want to know why God set it up that way (I admit that I am assuming you may think that God somehow had at least some hand in setting it up that way, but maybe not) I do not believe the revelations answer or even begin to address. Why the Church practices as it does regarding the all-male priesthood, however, is crystal clear.

  46. Howard: Maybe you could just show me what I said D&C 107 says and show that it does not say that. Since I never claimed that D&C 107 used the word “Patriarchal” you are tilting at wind mills my friend.

  47. Howard (38) “Like the I’m a Mormon campaign this video presents the ideal shown in it’s best light with it’s best spin and does not represent the typical situation. Is anyone experiencing this level of female inclusion on a Stake or Ward level?”

    I’ve never experienced anything but this level of inclusion in the few ward councils I’ve been a guest to in Tahiti and the US. Have you ever participated or attended a ward council, Howard? Everyone’s just trying to discern and meet people’s needs. I’m sorry if your experience has been different. Perhaps if you discern the problem, it is your duty and opportunity to reprove someone with sharpness, backed up with love?

  48. Blake,
    I realize you’re a high priced attorney, I know you realize that as well because you proudly informed us of that but the law doesn’t represent the truth or even a path to it, so I don’t intend to chase the moving target you’ve provided, rather I will stand by my comments regarding your #45 which spins a false impression. Do I believe revelation is required to extend the priesthood to women? Yes, this has always been my position.

  49. Everyone’s just trying to discern and meet people’s needs. Well, “just trying” comes down to well intended and I would agree that almost everyone is well intended but well intended only goes so far. We have a church lead by men and designed around families with stay at home mothers that is being stretched to include working mothers but largely ignores other categories of women. I suppose the men who assigned GC prayers were well intended but some how women were omitted for 182 years! Not exactly confidence building for women, especially women who are marginalized by the church’s practice and for the most part those women are well intended as well. So we must do better than be well intended, we must realize that we bring our biases into these well intentions. The video indicates that “Salt Lake” who ever those nameless people are that are incharge has been listening to some of the complaints addressed in the bloggernacle and goes out of it’s way to address them. Is this what you see at your ward council? Have feminist bloggernacle complaints reached the ward and stake level yet? If so, how are they being addressed?

  50. Alison,

    I didn’t use the pronoun “I” but your point is accurate regardless; I would like to see a bit less “I want…” statements.

    Sister Patricia Holland (Elder Holland’s wife) gave a talk once and told the story of their daughter losing an election for a school officer position (class president or something). When the girl got home she knelt down with her mother and offered a prayer saying something like, “I’ve been praying that I would win, but now help me be your servant instead of asking you to be mine.”

    A lot of the conversation on women and the priesthood, as well as gay-marriage appears to me to be asking the Lord to be our servant, and making things the way we want them to be, and doing things the way we think they should be done, that would make us feel good and meet our objectives. Rarely do I see comments or get the impression that the commenters are interested in being the Lord’s disciples or doig things in His way.

    Isaiah 55:8-9

    8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

    9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    Perhaps we could use a bit more trust that His ways are best??

  51. Jax,
    The church has repeatedly demonstrated that it responds to agitation to makes changes and provides mostly revealed minutia on it’s own. Rarely do I see comments or get the impression that the commenters are interested in being the Lord’s disciples or doig things in His way. I am a sell what you have, give it to the poor and follow me disciple and have been since 2003. As a result I enjoy easy access to the Spirit and frequent profound personal revelation. LDS prophets dispense often dated general advice. The Spirit provides real time individual tutoring and guidance. Contrary to what you may have heard the two do not always agree nor does the Spirit report to TSM. Dialog is healthy. I blog as a disciple while walking with the Spirit, I am doing it his way.

  52. Blake, I’m not sure if I understand your position here: are you arguing that we have to take “father to son” literally with regards to gender despite the fact that we do not take it literally with regards to biological relationship? Or are you using that verse to make a different point?

  53. First to Julie: Great Post. I think it is well worth our time to work out the “equality” argument and discussion. I’m not sure why it is assumed that women seeking the “authority” and/or the “power” of the priesthood seek to be identical to men. I think it would be good to clarify what men and women seek when they support women holding the priesthood. Are they seeking to be identical to men? Or are they seeking to come together with men as joint presiders of our community’s spiritual welfare?

    This past day of GC has emphasized to me that “Priesthood” is a troublesome linguistic problem. It means so many different things in a single talk even (re: Elder Ballard’s talk about priesthood being the creative power but also not male… he seems to be speaking of the power of God that women partake of as well as the administrative social construct of priesthood that we experience day to day in the church)

    To Blake:

    Would you agree that the scriptures often point to traditions and human social conventions that are useful-to/used-by God? That the scriptures contain a complex history of a specific people and that such history has been altered to tell the story in a way that later generations saw advantageous to their own position or narrative?

    The stories, traditions, and Scriptures you site are extremely important in our understanding of the priesthood. I agree with you. But don’t they merely point to the way certain generations understood priesthood and utilized it? Again, I feel that we have a double meaning in the term priesthood we are conflating. To me “patriarchal” is expanded in the temple to mean not just male fathers, but Parents. Male and Female. Didn’t Joseph take us to places beyond the scriptures? The temple and our recent mormon tradition has women acting as priestesses, healing the sick, laying on hands, standing together with their husbands when administering to their children for physical and spiritual needs. The scriptures have women acting as priestesses and prophetesses and performing miracles. Is this not the power of God? Is this not priesthood? Again, we come to a linguistic problem.

    Josep Smith certainly took liberty with such narratives and interpretations of scriptures saying he had the Holy Ghost and that he could interpret better than anyone. That he had the best book and that book was within him from the Holy Ghost.

    Blake, I think you do well to point out that a revelation of this magnitude would be similar to Christ’s fulfilling the law of Moses and taking us to a higher law. I believe we are living a lower law of priesthood and that our current understanding of “patriarchal” order is loaded with false tradition of Men presiding and women being subordinate because they have babies and because they are the daughters of Eve. Mormon teachings and revelations have been and will continue to be revolutionary. We are on the verge of a revolution in revelations and understanding of gender because we have never before asked these questions. We may be preparing our hearts for the further light and knowledge our Parents promised to send us. We may be ready to understand that the fullness of God’s power is in male and female… in the creation of life… in perfect love between the male and the female creating new life throughout all the eternities. We know so little and the scriptures reveal so little. We indeed see through a glass darkly as did all generations before us. Why not seek to clarify and move on to greater understanding and glory? Doesn’t it all begin with a departure from the previous tradition and the previous scripture???

  54. Julie,

    I’m not sure I understand your question. Are you suggesting that “father to son” shouldn’t be interpreted literally with regards to gender? And are you suggesting that priesthood doesn’t make biological relationships eternal along patriarchal lines?

    The patriarchal order is explicit in the teachings of Joseph Smith. And it is explicitly emphasized in temple ordinances.

  55. Blake. I know the scriptures use the terms ‘fathers’ and ‘sons’ to describe the ancient order of the priesthood. But do the scriptures state anywhere that the priesthood can only be held and exercised by men? Or do we infer that based on what little there is about the priesthood. I mean the OT and the NT don’t really use the word ‘priesthood’ do they? ‘Priesthood’ is a modern concept it seems. And our mormon concept is even more unique and something that was largely developed over many decades and is still being developed. Wouldn’t you agree?

  56. Old man

    How is it that the temple explicitly shows priesthood only involving father and sons?

    What about eve passing the blessings to her daughters–administering to her daughters in the priesthood? What about the daughters of eve being clothed in the robes of the priesthood and thus being authorized to administer and officiate in the ordinances of the aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood? What about the daughters of eve washing and anointing one another to be queens and priestesses?

    What about Joseph organizing the women of the RS into a kingdom of priests like into the order of Enoch?

    What about an expanded understanding of the fullness of the priesthood being found only in marriage–male and female–as taught by conservative leaders such as Joseph fielding smith and the idea that this is the only priesthood that will persist in the eternities–that priesthood offices such as high priest and apostle will not exist in the CK?

  57. Old Man,
    Are you suggesting that the LDS practice of male only priesthood is the same as father to son priesthood? Hasn’t the priesthood been offered over time to greater and greater numbers of people? Women are said to have access to the priesthood through their husbands but where does this leave unmarried women. Why couldn’t women be the next group to receive the priesthood and what would be wrong with it if they were?

  58. Blake, I guess I did describe you as a smarty pants and that descriptor is pejorative. My dictionary says a smarty-pants is a smart aleck, and I guess that’s the way I kind of meant it. I also did describe *my* reactions to your remarks as arrogant. So I did appeal to those personal considerations rather than to logic or reason. You veered off there too by suggesting because I made debate errors that you could subtly infer I am arrogant. Then further you addressed personal considerations yourself by assuming that your quoting the scriptures was what made me think you were arrogant.

    Anyway, all of that aside, I stand by my argument that your entries misrepresent the cause held in the hearts of many men and women in the Church. The *most* used in my second paragraph was intended to refer back to the *many men and women in the Church* involved in such questioning, seeking, knocking, etc., as to why women don’t have the priesthood and not to all men and women in the Church. So perhaps I was unclear. Am unclear.

    I am delighted to hear of your support for the priesthood going to women. I’m not sure my entry inferred otherwise.

    But as a child, as children, I believe we, including these women asking for the priesthood, have the right as we mature (hopefully) to ask our Father about an absent Mother.

  59. Old Man, at this point, I’m not stating a position, just trying to figure out what position Blake is holding here. Then I’ll wade in.

  60. Julie # 63- Julie, I believe that the import of D&C 107, the Book of Abraham and the statements by Joseph Smith are not really difficult to understand. The priesthood was from father to son because it was a male prerogative. The nature of the all-male priesthood historically and as described and explained in the revelations is straight-forward. My own view is very straightforward as well: the reason the LDS Church has an all-male priesthood is not really in dispute. It is established by revelation. It is unlike blacks and the priesthood in this regard because there is no revelation affirming that blacks cannot hold the priesthood — in addition to the fact that Joseph Smith ordained blacks and we know when and why the change occurred during Brigham Young’s administration.

    Because the practice of an all-male priesthood is based on revelation, it is not merely a cultural artifact or based on mere prejudice. The divine messengers who restored the priesthood, including John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, Moses, Elijah and Christ himself were not moral midgets who just did not get it. They were not spiritually insensitive. Arguments to the contrary are not merely insulting but just plain wrong-headed.

    God could change the practice by express revelation. I am sure that no Jew in Jesus’s day considered the possibility that the entire Law of Moses would be done away and satisfied in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. But let’s give up the narrative that the folks leading the church are just out of touch, not spiritually sensitive enough, old geezers of an earlier generation that was not attuned to women’s issues. They are just following what has been expressly revealed. It is really a kind of generational intolerance in the service of so-called gender tolerance. A person is free to disregard the revelations, but ought not ask those who accept them to do the same.

  61. Blake:

    One other question. What did you think of the scriptural justification of withholding priesthood from black people (or of supposed African descent)? Plenty of those were cited prior to 1978 and post 1978 to justify the policy. But I would say now that as a church we are evolving to hold that the reasons we gave just were not based on eternal truth and were based on the limited understanding of men at the time.

    Do we not find ourselves in a similar situation with women and the priesthood? If you want to use existing scriptures and revelations you can find them,and with some interpretation, make your case. But I don’t see anywhere in the scriptures where it specifically says that Men are to hold the priesthood and women are to be the nurturers and therefore don’t hold the priesthood. I don’t see the current organization of the Church in the scriptures. All of that is flexible right? That is the great point Joseph made about the need for continuing revelation. The revelations given to Adam were not sufficient for Noah. The revelations for Noah were not sufficient for Abraham. The revelations to Abraham were not sufficient for our generation. I would say the revelations to Joseph Smith are not sufficient for our generation. They are important and extremely revolutionary and create a great stepping stone for us to move on to further light and knowledge.

    My point with all of this is that you seem very confident in your citation of scripture. But scripture is rarely so “cut and dried.”

    Priesthood power and authority is something that is deep beyond our language and social constructs. We get so afraid of change.

    I see no danger in women holding the priesthood, only great power and progress–as it seems you may agree with this.

    I agree that we need to look closely at what scriptures say, what they don’t say, and what we seem to make them say for us… we need to be more honest in our interpretation of the scriptures and take ownership of our own “embellishment” as it were.

  62. Blake, I agree with you that a revelation will be needed to change the practice. (Actually, I think everyone agrees with this, right? I don’t think I’ve seen anyone, even from the most extreme end of the feminist spectrum, suggest otherwise.) There are definitely trend lines in the church that suggest that such a revelation might theoretically be possible–everything from Joseph Smith saying he’d make the RS into a kingdom of priests, to what we learn in the temple, to recent changes in teachings on the relationship of husbands and wives, to the massive changes regarding female missionary service and leadership.

    FWIW, I’m not someone who advocates for female ordination as much as I am someone who is interested in dissecting the arguments and impacts for and against, as, I think, should be obvious from my other recent posts on the topic. In that regard, I am stumped as to how you can take “fathers and sons” literally with regards to gender and figuratively with regards to biological relationships. I’m not sure which hermeneutical principles would permit that kind of a reading.

    I haven’t seen anyone on this thread call church leaders old geezers. I would certainly never do that, and I’d moderate the comments of anyone else who did. It might be better for maintaining a civil tone in the conversation if you didn’t use that kind of language, since no else is suggesting anything like that here.

  63. My point being that all the justification we are now giving for women not holding the priesthood is based not on scripture, but on our interpretation of it. It is based on traditions.

    If a change is made, baby steps may be necessary to allow us to get good footing before we take the plunge. And the plunge will be refreshing.

    Once it is made all of our reasons and interpretations will stand as relics of the past generations and we will move on to further light and knowledge.

    The relief most people felt when “all worthy males” could hold the priesthood (and all worthy families could be sealed) will be a foreshadowing of the relief and celebration we will fell with further light and knowledge on this very topic.

    The revelation in 1978 did not come out of thin air. There were many, many baby steps and looking into the Scriptures and examining our interpretations and ultimately, a clear question that led to a clear revelation.

    So this video: the subject of this post is important in two ways. It shows the Church is acknowledging the question. At the same time it starts to show our reasons for the existing policy… which really don’t seem to hold water. When we begin to investigate further, we can’t seem to put our fingers on a really solid reason for the existing understanding. So we’ll need to dig deeper, which can only mean one thing, … further light and knowledge and a departure from that which blinded us in the past.

  64. DP: I am afraid that your notion of “interpreting scripture” is so broad that scriptures can mean whatever we want them to so that they accord with our PC world. I do not believe that is a fruitful way forward.

  65. To me the biggest argument demanding female ordination is that women are not taken seriously as in equally respected by the Patriachy. Their participation in exercising God’s healing power and their orginazation was consolidated under men. Presidents of “auxiliaries” what ever that *less than* term actually means are called Sister rather than President and they are not called for life but 5 years. If the Patriachy truly understands women’s concerns and respects them why did it take 182 years and feminists agitation for a woman to finally be invited to pray at GC? The truth is many men are still subconsciously chauvinist if not subconsciously misogynist and I believe that feminist activism is largely their only input to the issues of marginalized women. Women holding high church office would begin to offset this problem while employing some of the best talent available that is currently sitting out the game.

  66. Julie: If you are suggesting that we should take “priesthood passing father and son” as merely “figurative” ( your word – whatever that means”) to mean that was not passed to males only, then I think it is your reading that is strained beyond recognition. The hermeneutic that I adopt is not vague at all: all fathers and all sons are males. Not a single mention of passing from mother to son, from father to daughter or from a mother to anyone except where the Book of Abraham rejects the possibility that the priesthood could have been given in a lineage from a mother Egyptus because it is the prerogative of the fathers.

    I agree with you that “recent trends” indicate that a revelation could be received, but it is not “recent” as you use it in terms of your post. It is merely the possibility of revelation on the order of abolishing the law of Moses that is needed to suggest the possibility of such a revelation. God has surprised us beyond what we dared to believe before; I have no reason to doubt it could happen again. But I want it to be at his behest and not mine. I want it to result from his prerogative and not because it is PC of feminists demand it and the out of touch old guys (OK, let’s pretend this isn’t the underlying dynamic and judgment behind the feminist critique) have to finally get it.

  67. Blake,
    President Kimball doesn’t believe revelation comes to man without him standing on his toes reaching for it and he had to wrestle with his own bias to receive OD2 and to took months of work. Is TSM likely to do months of work in the absence of agitation for something he’s not concerned about?

  68. As I’ve said before, I can’t understand why inheriting the universe isn’t enough for some people. What more do you want? I fear that wanting more than can be lawfully given is kinda like what the uber-bad guy wanted.

  69. boo hoo. In the same breath that women complain about not being equal they brag about being able to give birth and that no man understands that pain. Well, I can think of one man that has experienced every child birth, ever. His name is Jesus. Jesus organized His church. He’s the one that didn’t call female apostles. If you can’t come to grips with this then how can you believe that he atoned for anyone? Some people (males and females) in the LDS church grasp at straws. What’s the point?

  70. jack and Jonathan,
    Why are the privileged always explaining to those who aren’t why they must sacrifice?

  71. Blake, there’s this dynamic in the church where men pretend to be disinterested in callings that are perceived to be high-prestige, while at the same time they find it tremendously self-affirming when they receive such a calling. Indeed, in conversations with the faithful, unorthodox opinions can only be considered acceptable when they come from someone who has held a high-prestige calling; (e.g., a stake president who believes that women should be ordained would have his arguments treated with more weight than an Elders Quorum counselor.)

    So we see this double-bind on women: they are denied the affirmation and prestige of priesthood callings, and any protest prompts them to be criticized for not maintaining the pretense of disinterest in such callings. To add insult to injury, its impossible for any of the women supporting ordination to have the prestige of many of the men opposing it, because of the very imbalance they seek to correct.

    Thus we see that there is something feeble and basically dishonest about criticizing feminists by accusing them of thinking themselves to be “just much wiser and spiritually sensitive than these divine messengers” (to use your words), when the basis of the divine messenger’s authority is the priesthood that is withheld from the feminists.

    Personally, when I hear you say, ” I suppose that Mormon feminists are just much wiser and spiritually sensitive than these divine messengers,” I ask myself, “What’s so unlikely about that?” and I’m reminded of what Leonard Arrington wrote about the marionette fallacy.

  72. Blake, nobody is suggesting that the priesthood wasn’t literally passed from father to son. It was. The point is: if that’s the divine precedent that we’re trying to model today, why is it okay to deviate from part of it (the fact that it has to be a parent giving the priesthood) but not another part of it (the fact that both parties have to be male)?

    Another way to put it: Your argument from D&C 107:40, if good, should entail not only that women can’t hold the priesthood, but should deny it to males whose fathers aren’t priesthood-holders, too. Since (apparently) males with priesthood-free fathers can hold the priesthood, there must be something wrong with your argument.

  73. #61 Great thought Jax. But I’m afraid its a pointless exercise responding here.There is a liberal core that balk at anything that is not as they wish it to be. They will explain away every revelation, and criticise every practice and person that does not fit with their desires. They will criticise, rebuke, insult or abuse as is necessary. They agitate and disturb. They set brother against sister and peddle and promote myths.

    I love the honourable men and women who trust in God and get on doing good to all with what they have: It is not without significance that those who act most selflessly (that I know) are not hung up on any of these things. This is a talking shop for those who probably don’t believe in the basic propositions of the restored gospel but haven’t got the honesty to leave…That said, I consider these blogs as useful for reminding us that the greatest assaults come from within than from without, and provide necessary opposition to strengthen our spiritual resolve. Anyway, I’m off to watch the mysogynistic fossils speak (also occasional referred to as prophets, seers and revelators…)

  74. Euthyphronics: The scripture in D&C 107 says that the priesthood was passed down from father to son as a practice in fact, not that it could be passed down only by a father to his literal son. John the Baptist ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and they were not his literal sons. His very language about conferring the “Priesthood of Aaron” which was passed literally from father to son shows that they were being adopted into the sons of Aaron in the act of ordination. From the very commencement of the practice of all male ordinations, the interpretations was a non-literal son who has been adopted into the priesthood order. When Jesus ordained his apostles, he did not claim that they were literally sons but that they became sons to be ordained to the priesthood through the ordinance. The practice speaks for itself and provides the context of interpretation.

    DKL: If you want to believe that the feminists who seek “prestige of priesthood callings” are more spiritually sensitive than Jesus and the divine messengers like Peter, James and John who restored the priesthood, be my guest. I am not buying it.

    What is dishonest to me is pretending that one believes that there is something of value here from the perspective of the “unorthodox” — something more at issue than political prestige through priesthood callings. The real irony occurs when there is a conversation “between “the faithful” (your term) and those who are “unorthodox” (your term) pretending that they want what has value only from the perspective of the faithful. We see a double bind on the faithful since the real issue for the unorthodox is political power and not what the faithful think is at issue which is divine authority. It it is political clout that they want, then I agree with you that they should just be up front about it and say so. That way those who believe (like me) that seeking priesthood authority and callings so that they can have prestige and political clout are seeking what cannot be obtained by seeking such this-worldly power. If that is all that is at issue, there is not much here worth seeking.

    The so-called marionette fallacy is not a logical fallacy but an argument from political correctness based on the unwarranted assumption that it is always preferable to value the view of those who cannot establish their views through political power. It has nothing to do with the truthfulness, accuracy or even correctness of a view. As such, arguing that it is a fallacy to trust divine messengers from God ain’t a fallacy but a disaster in reasoning for those who want to suggest it is a fallacy.

  75. Euthyphronics… Agreed.

    If we were to follow the scritpures exactly all the time, than priesthood ordination should currently occur only if you have the right genealogy, as is practiced in the OT. Yes, I know, Christ did away with the law of Moses way of doing priesthood.

    But that shows another change in the way priesthood was understood and carried out. The term “priesthood” as it is found in the OT, NT, BofM, and D&C doesn’t always seem to mean the same thing–at least in my interpretation, which I admit is simply that.

    I only wish to make the point that others are making, there is no scriptural language that seems to lock priesthood into a male only thing. There *is* scriptural precedent that priesthood changes radically and that women seem to participate in it. Also there *is* very recent historical precedent showing that the way priesthood is structured today was due to very recent changes based on the needs of the people at the time. For example, it is not scripturally based that Deacons pass the sacrament and that Teacher’s prepare the sacrament. Those “priesthood duties” are only priesthood duties because we as a people made them such. The need was there to give young men purpose and value. Well, what about the young women of our day? Isn’t there a need for them to be given value and place within our society?

    Joseph Smith warned about “setting up stakes” in our beliefs saying that we will only go so far, or that God has spoken and that he need not speak any longer. Scriptures are to be useful tools for us, to cause us to take the step to receive our own personal scripture. We should not shut ourselves off from further light and knowledge by locking ourselves down to the past, including by saying that scripture means one thing and one thing only.

    We all practice some form of cafeteria mormonism. We all pay more attention to the statements and scriptures that support our positions. That is why I am grateful that God cares really only about what is in our hearts–he can work with us.

    Priesthood is such a broad term. In the end I believe it is really about life and love and that anyone who seeks it has access to it. There is also the priesthood that is socially constructed to suit the needs of the community. And that is what we are talking about in terms of ordaining men and women to official offices. I don’t by any means wish to minimize this in any way. Socially constructed priesthood is huge and bears deeply on the spiritual health of individuals and an entire community.

  76. Blake, that’s not the marionette fallacy at all. And you can wrap yourself in Jesus worship all you want, but we don’t actually have his words, just the words imputed to him by his followers, which serve the needs of the followers more than they serve the need for accuracy. And I have no problem categorizing it as political power, if we can drop the silly pretense that Mormon men aren’t universally interested in obtaining political power through their own ability to be called to positions of political power within the priesthood.

  77. Blake, you write, “When Jesus ordained his apostles, he did not claim that they were literally sons but that they became sons to be ordained to the priesthood through the ordinance.” — Where does he say this? I’ve looked and haven’t found it, but I’m perhaps looking in the wrong places.

    Also, to follow up on something else — what exactly is your understanding of the Marionette Fallacy (Arrington actually calls it a “bias”)? I’m having a hard time connecting your talk of “valuing views” with Arrington’s discussion, which says nothing whatsoever about value or views.

  78. DKL: Yeah, like I thought. All of the scriptures are nothing but a political power play from your perspective. As you well know, there is a high likelihood that many of Jesus’s actual words were faithfully transmitted — but your approach also shows that you do accept the revelations to Joseph Smith as coming form Jesus but merely from those seeking to promote their own self-interest. Your view that all men seek priesthood merely to promote their own positions of political power is both cynical and revealing since you undoubtedly include yourself in “all men.” Your cynical view is not my experience at all.

    Euthyphronics: You have answered your question with the observation that the fallacy is based upon a supposition of bias. The bias is that those who do no have political clout to be taken seriously must get someone with clout to get their views considered. However, DKL used it as a fallacy to suggest that the view was false. That is to misuse the so-called fallacy which is not a fallacy of logic of but privileging certain types of arguments because of their source.

    If a revelation is received granting priesthood to women then I will gladly accept it. Indeed, I will rejoice in it. However, I will not accept the argument that it is politically beneficial so women should be ordained. Nor will I accept the argument that priesthood is all about political power so let’s not pretend that there is anything more to it than that (DKL:’s argument). Nor do I find remotely persuasive the argument that women have been given the priesthood in the past and it is only the present regime of power that prevents them from exercising the authority they should receive because they already have it. These are bad arguments and the evidence adduced is special pleading of the worst kind.

  79. Blake, I haven’t the foggiest idea where you derived your summary of my beliefs from, since they don’t resemble mine — not even in caricature. Well, on second thought, it occurs to me that it likely derives from your eagerness to set fire to flimsy straw men in order to avoid real discussion.

    Anyway, are you going to be at this years’s MHA conference? We’d finally get a chance to meet in person, which will provide you the enviable opportunity to punch me in the face.

  80. DKL: Yes, I will be at MHA this year to comment on Brigham Young’s idea of escape from the eternal recurrence of the cyclical emergence from chaos and back again and how such views influenced his views overall theology.

    After several years as a Golden Gloves boxer (not making that up) I decided that I had too much to lose by giving up my noggin to the greater cause of not getting punched senseless. So not only will I not punch you out, I will offer you my other cheek, the one that didn’t get punched as often as the other. I am not as fast as I used to be, but the practice of martial arts has taught me never to engage in a battle that I could avoid by walking away.

    DKL if you read your # 82 you will see where I got your ideas. You assert that we have no words from Jesus and that all that we have is preserved to suit the needs of his followers. That seems to me to entail that we do not have any of Jesus’s own words and that everything that is presented as coming from Jesus is merely an attempt to serve the interests of those who attributed the words they said were from Jesus but really came from their own agendas. Is it really strange that I would conclude what I did from what you said?

  81. Actually, the comment that you cite needn’t entail anything more than what is frequently stated by prophets, that they record as best they can, but with blunders, combined with the assumption that they understand as best they can given their background and the context of the revelation. This is in keeping with the frequent contradictions in ancient scripture and the frequent revisions that Joseph (and others) made to Joseph’s own revelations.

  82. Funny how y’all are debating women’s ordination when we should be celebrating the fact that two women prayed in GC…! I’ve read all the responses and I’d like to offer a VERY different point of view that no one seems to have mentioned. Let me say that I would gladly accept any divine revelation that expands ordination to women, and I’m not hearing any objections to such. However, I’m also don’t hear any women clamoring for a change of language to join yet another exclusive all-male club—Outer Darkness. Shouldn’t scripture be expanded from “sons of perdition” to “sons and daughters of perdition?” I’m not at all trying to be facetious here. It just seems to me you can’t have one without the other, ya know, opposition in all things…that kind of thing. I don’t think anyone knows for a fact if it is possible for women to be a daughter of perdition or if OD truly is an all-male dominion, but evidently all those who are sons of perditions were holders of the priesthood. I’m not saying the two constructs are absolutely connected, but if our women are going to push for one privilege, then they have to push for the other extreme as well.
    Taking this one step further, it’s nary a stretch to say that men—not women—in general are culpable for the majority of the world’s problems and suffering. Men in power, and even powerless ones–by virtue of biology–have nearly always exercised unrighteous dominion (and I believe D&C 121’s “men” specifically references our gender)—just look at the incarceration statistics. Men are BY FAR the greater offenders, criminals, traffickers, assaulters, etc. etc.…not to mention being more prone to abuse/addiction (substances, gambling, sex, etc) and causing/instigating a host of inexplicable evils throughout history. Lest you mistake me for comparing criminal behavior to priesthood privilege (and Allison can add this to her list of stupid arguments), just remember Alma Jr. and Paul were the among “vilest of sinners.” Basically, I’m saying that men absolutely need the priesthood, not women so much, to keep their selfish tendencies aligned with the will of the Lord. If the PH doesn’t exist in a member’s home, then it is incumbent on the HTs to ensure the sister/mother/widow has access to it. That is the way it is currently designed. Yet, in the absence of the priesthood, women often receive revelation and blessings when it is needed.

  83. Howard #60:

    So we must do better than be well intended, we must realize that we bring our biases into these well intentions.

    Applause, Howard.

    Jax #61:

    I would like to see a bit less “I want…” statements.

    Physician, heal thyself.

    Perhaps we could use a bit more trust that His ways are best??

    I have no doubt his ways are the best. I have a great deal of doubt that your interpretation of those ways is.

  84. Have Old Man and Blake forgotten that almost all references in the scriptures use male verbiage? And yet, we have been taught over and over again that it was simply a cultural artifact and that, yes, the scriptures apply to women as well as men. (“Man” meaning “mankind,” etc.)

    When President Hinckley got the letter from the young girl asking if women could also go to the celestial kingdom, he seemed surprised that she didn’t know the scriptures applied to both male and female, but it is precisely in discussions like this that such harm is done.

    Since the two of you seem to know so perfectly how all this works, please explain to us all precisely when the male language really does apply to women and when it does not and please explain how you divined the answers.

  85. Allison, Yes, I’d love to know if “sons of perdition” also includes daughters and if women are also referenced in D&C 121 priesthood section, though I doubt it. (See my #94.)

  86. Jack #79

    As I’ve said before, I can’t understand why inheriting the universe isn’t enough for some people. What more do you want? I fear that wanting more than can be lawfully given is kinda like what the uber-bad guy wanted.

    You and Jax are kindred spirits!

    So, Jack, inheriting the universe isn’t enough for you? You also have to make sure everyone in the Bloggernacle agrees with you?

    Tiger #94:

    That’s a very interesting question. I have always assumed that the “sons of perdition” were of both genders and it’s just they typical male verbiage.

    The LDS.org scripture guide defines sons of perdition thusly:

    The followers of Satan who will suffer with him in eternity. Sons of perdition include (1) those who followed Satan and were cast out of heaven for rebellion during premortality, and (2) those who were permitted to be born to this world with physical bodies but then served Satan and turned utterly against God. Those in this second group will be resurrected from the dead but will not be redeemed from the second (spiritual) death and cannot dwell in a kingdom of glory.

    I can think of no reason to believe that only male spirits followed Satan in the preexistence or that only males on earth can have a testimony sufficient to deny the Holy Ghost. Can you?

  87. Allison re: # 96: To answer your question, I read the scriptures and saw how the prophets have understood them. When it says “father to son” and “right of the fathers” and rejection of a line of priesthood because it was from a matriarchal line and then saw the practices of those who received the priesthood from divine messengers who ordained males to the priesthood, lo and behold I divined that these words meant what they said. Then I saw that for about 200+ years those ordained to received revelation understood the words to mean what they said. Then I read all of the arguments of those who argued that the NT taught that some women held priesthood calling and found them to be unpersuasive. Then I read all the arguments of those who argued that Joseph Smith gave women the priesthood and found them to be both unpersuasive and often desperate to get the result they wanted. Then I avoided a personal political agenda to try to wrest these passages to mean what I wanted them to mean.

  88. Blake, that wasn’t my question. I’ll repeat:

    …please explain to us all precisely when the male language really does apply to women and when it does not and please explain how you divined the answers.

  89. Alison-
    I want to make a point about Blake’s response in 99. I have read much of the same (although not all of the arguments, meaning every single one, the way that Blake claims) and find some of them very persuasive, especially in light of what occurs during the temple ceremony. But I am not sure that whether I or anyone else is persuaded is as important as we seem to believe it is.

  90. Tiger (#94) – I know it probably wasn’t intended, but this –

    I don’t think anyone knows for a fact if it is possible for women to be a daughter of perdition or if OD truly is an all-male dominion, but evidently all those who are sons of perditions were holders of the priesthood. I’m not saying the two constructs are absolutely connected, but if our women are going to push for one privilege, then they have to push for the other extreme as well.

    is perilously close to the most recently highlighted rationale for not giving blacks the Priesthood. Basically, “they don’t the Priesthood so they don’t have so far to fall”. Patronizing, at the least.

    I think the video is good for what we have now. We know the Church will be different in another 20 years, since it has already changed from what it was 20 years ago. I just think with ordination being a worthwhile goal, it’s also much too far for us to be aiming. We’ve a lot of steps, some of which we’ve not yet thought of, before we get there. Lets get some of the little parts improved, like the Temple “hearken” and excommunication without oversight, and female ordination will become a natural next step to everyone, not just the few.

  91. Yeah Allison — I cannot see why you would have any rational basis for either expecting that I have some obligation to answer your question or why you think it is irrelevant beyond the passages I cited — which seem straightforward to me. In any event, the answer to your question until you explain some basis for believing I have some duty to answer is “mu” — the Japanese for “unask the question because you have assumed too much.”

  92. Blake, the “bias” in the marionette bias refers to a bias in how we think about the mechanics of revelation and priesthood leadership. It has nothing (at least not directly) to do with political or value biases or any of the other bugbears you seem to want to tie it to.

    Also, I’m still waiting for references of Christ talking of the apostles as “sons” for the purpose of assimilating NT priesthood structure to the patriarchal order.

  93. DLK,
    Based on what little google offers marionette fallacy or bias appears to be an interesting concept. Please post more about it.

  94. #98–I hadn’t considered the pre-existence, and it seems impossible that women were not among the 1/3 outcast, so probably it’s not the all-male club I suggested. However, the BofM states that as followers of Christ we become the “children of Christ, his sons and his daughters.” With reference to Satan, only “sons” are stated as being his followers. Perhaps it is not “typical male verbiage” as supposed.

    #102–Other than “I don’t know,” any rationalization will sound patronizing, whether intended or not. But isn’t that the point of a blog-thread, to foster ideas, theories, and discussion? But I tend to agree with you–we are a long ways away from priesthood expansion, but wait, isn’t that perilously close to what Elder McConkie said about Blacks not having the priesthood until the Millenium?

  95. Obviously, since women are “so much more spiritual” than men, we cannot become sons of perdition. Our special status as perfectly mild, sweet lovely creatures protects us from the dangers of knowledge, power, agency and possible failure. Indeed, we should be grateful we are not and cannot be ordained to the priesthood, because we would then be vulnerable to becoming “daughters of perdition”. Whew. Excuse me while I waft away on a cloud of lilac scent…I’m off to bless my neighbors with my soft voice and gentle hands.

  96. One should never covet what others have when those that have it dont understand it themselves. First of all why does someone want what they themselves have no understanding of really what it is About. Joseph Smith tried to teach the men about it and tried to help them to understand the power intrusted to them from God. Man refuse to live what they were taught because they thought it could be figured out with their primative understanding.Oh how their scholars begin to inturpit the teaching through their reasoning and soon was just left with the ecclesastic part of the priesthood because of their pride and they couldnt even follow that. Christ disciples made up of humble fisherman, tent makers and such went out and raised the dead , healed the sick and he told them what things you see me do you shall do greater.Now the priesthood blesses the sick and runs to the hospital.What happen to take up thy bed and walk,Oh ye of little faith !!!! But if something does happen, it is do to the great faith of the one being blessed.Many miracles like this are done daily in others followers of Christ that dont hold the Preisthood. For the priesthood holders have taken in the ways of Babylon look at their cars and houses and their toys.Oh how they worship their Idols in Zion, They cast out the beggersout of their communities, They widows and the poor have no life in their hearts they say they brought it upon themselves. No man can serve to masters in this they walk tall with their heads so high.I am not here to judge but to tell what is so plain to see. They live not up to the oath and covenants, Buisness is buisness and church is church. So if the women want thePriesthood what is it going to gain them for their hearts are no different, they to have failed their calling and want to covet something else to bring down more damnation upon themselves. One does not have to be excomunacted to lose the priesthood , men lose it each and everyday in their dealing with their fellow men turning their backs upon their fellow man. President Benson called usright out to REPENT on our PRIDE and many mocked him many failed to look within including the leaders, for he proclaimed that it was even in high places in the church. Pride nulifies the powers of the Priesthood in the snap of the fingers and it doesnt come back till amends are made and a broken heart and spirit is brought before the Lord..So if the women want it, what do you expect to gain from it?To be able to sit on a stand and be noticed like the High Priest of King Noah, Just as many men are today. If you only understood the greatness of your calling and lived up to the covenant you made with God The world would be reaching out to have what God promised you. Oh you blessed daughters of God reach not for that, when you have not come to live up to the Glory that awaits you from your most loving God and Mother in Heaven.

  97. Butch,
    If women could trust male leaders to actually look out after their best interests including those of marginalized women and treat them with equal respect I bet most of them would settle for restoring what was given by Joseph but later taken away. But male leaders don’t do that as witnessed by the 182 years that passed before women prayed in GC.

  98. Old Man, you mean as in D&C 84:32? (I didn’t see another verse that seemed relevant, but I only skimmed, so maybe I missed.) No, I wasn’t ignoring so much as forgetting — though I’m complimented by the implication that I’m scriptorian enough that I ought to have remembered this verse.

    Now that I look at it, I’m not quite sure how it helps. It might make us sons of Aaron and Moses, but it doesn’t make the priesthood pass from father to son: the Bishop who ordained me might be a son of Aaron, and I might become one on my ordination, but I don’t become a son of that Bishop. So there is still a modification of the father-to-son model: we aren’t ordained by our parents, even in the figurative sense of this verse.

    (Don’t get me wrong: I can see how this verse, combined with section 107, could be used with a bit of interpretative license to come up with a systematic patriarchal theology that says more or less what (I take it) you and Blake want it to. But that wasn’t how I took Blake’s original claim: it was that from section 107 there was a clear and unequivocal scriptural injunction against women holding the priesthood. And I’m still not seeing that…)

  99. Can someone enlighten me on possible answers to this question?

    We believe in a Mother in Heaven. We believe She is a co-equal with Her husband Father in Heaven.

    If that is the case then why is She silent in all of this? Why was it Jesus son of Mary who accomplished the atonement and not Mary daughter of Jesus? Why was Adam created first and Woman in part from his rib?

    I do not believe in a Mother in Heaven who sits back quietly simply because Her husband has told Her to do so or because He is concerned about protecting Her from Their bedlamite children.

    The only conclusion that makes sense to me is that She has decided that the current circumstances are for our own benefit or else are necessary for a reason we do not, perhaps cannot entirely fathom. Does She withhold Herself as God the Father did from the Savior in His time of greatest challenge because it was necessary?

    That or She leaves us to our own devices to allow us to hang ourselves or save ourselves because that is how it must be done? Or is She there plain as the sunlight and we simply fail to see Her in what we have been taught?

    Are changes happening now in the Church – albeit small changes – because we are so much more enlightened than any other time in the world? I cannot conceive that this is true either because in at least one previous dispensation, a whole city reached a level of enlightenment that caused the entire population to be translated. What could be learned if we might have access to how lives were led and the Church (however it was organized) functioned in the City of Enoch.

    Questions, all questions, and not very many answers. Why not?

  100. Howard why would you want something that would condemn you more when you already fail to fulfill what you already have the relief society has moved dar from they were.They have such a great calling and they neglect it like the Priesthood. Everyone always wants what they dont have just because’ And when they get it, what have you gained but glorifing your pride.Just because you win a fight doesnt alway make you right or the winner. I see men trying to climb the ladder in the church every day always wanting their “That A Boys” These are those at the judgement bar that they say Lord Lord have not I done this and that and he says Go thy way I know thee not, John Taylor said that that was written to the membership in the church. I testify to you that there will be many in the highest positions that will face that reply. Why do you even want to have those positions, When you yourself can Have your calling of election made sure with out that and enjoy the spirit of the Lord and enjoy his personal companionship. This life is for you to come to know God no one else can do it for you. These men in the leadership are there to help you understand the basics of the gospel for a foundation. It is then up to you to come to know and enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost. When you come to know him he will teach you till you can then recieve the second comforter. I was surprized when talking to a leader one time that he could not tell when it was the Holy Ghost spirit that was near him or the Savior. Their is a difference. I know others that are far more recieptive than myself by far.They are just down to earth lowly men that are content and humble with where they are. I am a apprentice compared to them I am so greatful that I God has guided me to even know them. So I ask why are people fighting over what they have and dont have. I was taught to have my wife stand in on blessings long ago. I had her stand in when a first counciler give me a blessing . He did what I ask , but run to check out if I was wrong an to his surprise in the handbook I was right. One has to learn to listen to the spirit to be taught. That is what Joseph Smith wanted, That is what Moses wanted but the people didnt want that they wanted to have someone else tell them. My dear friend I love your heart We all have to learn patience it is a great key. Joseph of Egypt had a great life ahead of him, but his brothers threw him in a pit and he become a slave in prision he blamed not the Lord that he was wronged, but stayed close to him. He made the best of what he had And when God finally saw that the time to take his servant to fulfill his need he brought him out of prison and blessed him more than man can understand. Sure he had rotten men and women over him that took advantage of him , but he stayed true to the God of his Fathers. The same can be said about Alma the younger or Lehi. When we begin to spurn those above us we become like them. Rather we need to be in subjection to the Lord and his spirit and the heavens will be open.Those above us that do not walk in humbleness and humility with great compassion in their hearts are walking in blindness and will be cast out from the Kingdom which they thought come automatically with a position. Just as King Noahs Priests. I share this with you in love and pray that you might not in anyway take offence. I have a hard time expressing myself this way.

  101. One has to learn to listen to the spirit to be taught. Been there, done that Butch and this is the result! God bless.

  102. Julie ~ I found the interview to be historic in its approach, topic, discussion, and language. A woman interviewed the three women presidents of the R.S., Y.W., and Primary, about the “priesthood” — asking how they define it, do they have access to it, how do they access it in their work, how do they use it in their lives? We’ve never seen this before. It was unscripted, sincere, open discussion by these women about their personal feelings and experiences. What did they say? Women can and do access the power of the priesthood. They access it the same way the men do. They are aware that some women want both the power and the authority of priesthood. And they insist that men are not the priesthood but that they bear priesthood. I think all of this is not only progressive, its historic.

  103. A.B. (no. 115) — “Questions, all questions, and not very many answers. Why not?

    Because we’re treading where God and scripture are wholly silent.

  104. Maxine,

    With all due respect you don’t really think that interview was “unscripted” do you? It was carefully orchestrated and edited. I am not saying that anyone told any of those women exactly what to say but it was made for a very specific purpose and carried out within very specific constraints. It was edited to provide a very specific message. It was unscripted in the “Jersey Shore” sense. Lets see those women take on the same topic with a real interviewer allowed to ask any questions. For example, I would be dying to know at what stage the women were councelled with regarding the sister missionary change. From the beginning? After the decision was made? Toward the end? My understanding is that they weren’t brought in until well after the decision had been made to get advice on implementation. I would want someone to ask for examples of when a strong disagreement with an apostle led to his deferral to their position. I am sorry but that interview did nothing to make me comfortable that any of those women would stand up to apostle they really thought was wrong. I might believe that they were willng to be “frank” in asnwering questions, but what type of influence do they really have in the case of sincere disagreement? I would want to know what innitiatives and major changes were first suggested by and concieved of by the women. The fact is that we know very little about how decisions are made or the process of governing the church except what eeks out in drips and drabs from insiders, rumor and speculation. This makes the interview a bit unique and interesting because it is so unique. But it was completely stage managed.

  105. rah, It seems for you the apostles are guilty until proven innocent when it comes to working with women general officers. Do you have any evidence to support this assumption? The fact is, we know a lot about how decisions are made by church general officers–the same way they occur on the stake/mission/ward/family/individual level: discussion/pondering, prayer, etc. Even sister Beck in the last 30 days when speaking of her initial call as RS President said no one told her what to do, and she didn’t tell any of the people she presided over what to do. She described it the process as ‘an alignment.’

  106. #118 Maxine Hanks and smart people at T&S,

    What does it mean for women to access the PH in the exact same way men do? Does this mean that regardless of gender, one is still served through a seperate PH bearer? E.g. You can’t give yourself a blessing?

    Or, are we talking about a few of the comments in the video where they cited the fact that the Lord works through righteous men and women, so what’s the big deal? If that is the extent of the PH, what then is the purpose of formalized ordination when it appears faith suffices?

    Isn’t there something intrinsic or important about bearing PH and using it formally?

    Did it really not matter whether Mary Fielding Smith used oil and specifically said ‘through the power of the HMPH’ or gave a simple prayer? Would her simple prayer have “worked” if she weren’t endowed, sealed to a PH holder, and/or baptized and given the gift of the HG?

    I’ve seen faithful men and women from other religious traditions access God’s blessings, call down miracles, receive inspiration, and “power” in the service of others. Is it perhaps that only certain applications really do require formalized PH bearers? Because I think healings and many other uses aren’t exclusively the result of formalized PH prayers, but can also be acquired through faithful prayers. Likewise, what is the difference between an Elder (MPH holder) serving a mission and a Sister missionary?

    Also, is ordained PH usage more consistent and binding desipte unrighteousness and imperfections? It seems the Oath and Covenant of the PH says no.

    I think it would be disingenuous and misleading to say that ‘access is the same’ if it only referred to healings and proselytizing, but didn’t apply to things like sealings and resurrections. It would be like saying ‘your access is the same’ if I gave one person a Library of Congress card and another, a card to the Provo Public Library.

    I appreciate the effort in the video, but I don’t think such a short video could really help someone as confused as I am.

  107. I’ve been thinking the equal but not identical argument and it’s implications:

    The standard view in the church is that men and women are different, therefore they have different roles and responsibilities. This is by divine or eternal design. It is not only part of our DNA, but it is deeper than that. Gender roles and differences are spiritual. They are as innate as our intelligence, or our self-hood.

    Nevertheless, this difference does not mean that they are unequal.

    The difference in eternal roles boils down to something like this.

    1. Men are distinguished as men because they are fathers. Fathers are strong. Fathers cannot nurse children and cannot care for infants very well on their own. Fathers therefore are more useful in organizing the tribe or community. This is the role of the “priesthood” in an administrative sense. But priesthood is also the power or law by which the universe was created. Men hold this power because they cannot nurture infants and small children. Therefore it is part of their eternal identity to be the strong ones who protect and preside/organize. Men do not have the power to bear children or to nurture them. Even though they are not identical to women and cannot do what they do, they are equal in importance to the life of the community and individuals in it.

    2. Women bear and raise children. Women are nurturers. This is part of their biology, but somehow it is part of their eternal identity. Because women need to spend time nurturing individual children, they cannot organize the tribe. Their role is to be one-on-one and not deal with the entire community. Because they do not protect or organize, they are not less important. Their role is not identical, but it is equal in importance to the men’s in preserving and perpetuating the life of the individual and the community.

    The women in this interview state this. Men and women are equal, but they are not identical. Their roles have equal importance, but they are not identical roles.

    Where this get’s confusing is when we seem to say that men are not the priesthood, but priesthood is inherently male.

    So what is the priesthood?

    It is the power of God.

    Isn’t the power women have also the power of God?

    No. It is the power of Mother in Heaven. So why don’t we speak of her or hear from her for the sake of the women? She is busy with her babies. And what about women who can’t have babies? Have they lost their power? Is there no place for them? Don’t worry, they will have babies in the eternities. What if they don’t marry in this life? Do they have a place? They can help in some respects. Don’t worry, they will have a chance to be married in the eternities to fill the measure of their creation in bearing children and nurturing them.

    So men have the power of Heavenly Father. They can have this power whether or not they can have babies. But it is better if they can have babies. Don’t worry, they will be able to have babies in the eternities if they can’t have them in his life. What if they don’t get married? Well, they can’t have some responsibilities with their power, but they can have others. Don’t worry, they will have a chance to be married in the eternities to fill the measure of their creation in having babies and protecting and organizing them.

    We talk about and hear from Heavenly Father because it is his role to protect and organize us.

    This is the model by which we reason that Men and Women are different, but equal in their importance.

    This Article …


    … has led me to wonder about the way we distinguish between the authority/roles in the home and the authority/roles in the Church. We say there is no hierarchy in the home and that it is evil. Yet we say there is hierarchy in the church and that it is divine.

    Elder Packer is quoted to say: “In the church there is a distinct line of authority. We serve where called by those who preside over us. In the home it is a partnership with husband and wife equally yoked together, sharing in decisions, always working together.”

    So, when men organize the community, they do it in a hierarchical way. Heavenly Father’s power is hierarchical. Men and women are presided over in the church organization. But only men really get to preside over ultimately because that is in the nature of their divine role. In a hierarchy we do not work together. The leader decides.

    However, in the individual family unit, there is no presiding over. Just an equal partnership. This is the place where children are nurtured and raised. The father gets to preside and protect. The mother nurtures and provides nourishment. They are always working together. But not in the hierarchy of the community organization presided over by men.

    I find it interesting that women now hold an equal place in the home where men were once thought of as the heads of the household. Yet the church organization is still by nature hierarchical and so only those with the special role of organizing the community can preside over another and be the heads of the community. Elder Packer’s statement acknowledges that the church is hierarchical; that only men who hold the priesthood can preside in that hierarchy because it is part of their divine role somehow.

    Maybe someday, the views we have about the church being a hierarchy will change just as our view of a marriage being a hierarchy changed. Maybe we will see that we are all equally yoked in the church as men and women.

    Elder Perry is quoted in the article to say: “There is not a president or a vice president in a family. The couple works together eternally for the good of the family. … They are on equal footing. They plan and organize the affairs of the family jointly and unanimously as they move forward.”

    The authors go on to say: “Both husband and wife have a sacred obligation to refrain from thoughts and actions that might undermine the equal partnership.”

    Yes, there is no president in the home. But there is in the Church. And the president is always a man because that is part of his divine role. There is not equal footing in the church because there is always someone who presides over the rest.

    Maybe one day in the Church we will teach the same about the church organization that we do about the family organization… that we “have a sacred obligation to refrain from thoughts and actions that might undermine the equal partnership” of men and women. But because the church is still a hierarchy, we need to emphasize that we are not all equal. If we don’t, then we undermine the power of the one(s) presiding.

    Don’t we believe that in the end there will be no church organization and only family organization? Isn’t the church, everything in the church, designed to protect the family? It seems that the power of God (Mother and Father) could unify us in the church and therefore help us be unified in the family. I’m not sure why the church needs to be a hierarchy but the family must not be. I’m glad that the family is not a hierarchy in our teachings. But I’m not sure why the church needs to maintain a difference through hierarchy. Can’t men and women in the church work together, yoked equally, in order to bring about the day when the family organization will be the only organization? Perhaps women being ordained to the priesthood means that we are getting closer to being equally yoked and more like the eternal family organization.

    In the not too distant past (2 years ago or so) there was an interview of the Hollands by Sheri Dew on the Mormon Channel. I did not listen, but my wife told me about it because she was disappointed–no, she was very discouraged by something Sister Holland said. She said something along the lines that her husband was her head, the head of the family, and that there needed to be a head, a decision maker, in order for there to be order. She compared the family to a business. Each business has one CEO, if there were two, there would be confusion and disorder.

    So… in some ways we still think there needs to be hierarchy, not only in the church, but in the family, in order for there to be order.

    Sorry for the long post… but I don’t have a blog and have been thinking a lot about this. I’m curios what others might say about these thoughts.

  108. @ Cameron N #12

    As Elder Holland said 6 months ago, ‘one miracle at a time.’

    what you refer to as ‘miracle[s]’, most Americans call ‘the 20th century’.

  109. True palerobber.

    But it is only ‘the 20th century’ to those who thoughtlessly see the age gap as an exclusively gender equality issue and not a gender relations in coed missionary groups issue. For anyone unwilling to spend more than 15 seconds thinking about the issue or listening to the church’s evidence for and reasoning for the age gap, that is definitely the first thought that comes to mind. Elder Holland also mentioned the longstanding reasoning and evidence for the gap, but few people cared to listen.

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