Sisters, some will try to persuade you that because you are not ordained to the priesthood, you have been shortchanged. They are simply wrong, and they do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. The blessings of the priesthood are available to every righteous man and woman. We may all receive the Holy Ghost, obtain personal revelation, and be endowed in the temple, from which we emerge ‘armed’ with power. The power of the priesthood heals, protects, and inoculates all of the righteous against the powers of darkness. Most significantly, the fulness of the priesthood contained in the highest ordinances of the house of the Lord can be received only by a man and woman together.” Sheri Dew

This post may shed some light surrounding a website in the news that wants women to be ordained to the priesthood.

A lot of people wanted to know what I thought, and other people just want this to go away.

I wouldn’t have said anything at all, but after researching, it appears that the creator of this website may be a silly woman (as defined in the scriptures) who is preying on the emotions and pain of women of the church for her own agenda. 

These leaders have led away some really nice people by convincing them that all they are doing is asking about ordination, which is a lie.

The leaders of this website are calling for the dissolution of key doctrine in The Proclamation on the Family. I don’t think most people even know this.

The Proclamation on the Family is a living, breathing document to me. It is my banner.

And so I have to say something, because, well–that’s who I am. 

Ordain Women?

Ordain Women?

I actually read through the website, trying to understand the “why” behind this. I don’t know if very many people have.

Most bloggers weighing in on this issue sound a little exasperated.

They are tired of this debate because it paints us as somehow victimized, when in reality, most of us are empowered, sassy, amazing, forward thinking women who work in an equal partnership with our husbands.

I understand some of why the women identifying with this group want to be ordained to the priesthood. And for me it’s not a stretch of the imagination to posit the question, because endowed women already have access to the priesthood power.

I think that’s what our leaders have been trying to get across to us recently. Here are a few quotes:

We sometimes overly associate the power of the priesthood with men in the Church. The priesthood is the power and authority of God given for the salvation and blessing of all—men, women, and children.

A man may open the drapes so the warm sunlight comes into the room, but the man does not own the sun or the light or the warmth it brings. The blessings of the priesthood are infinitely greater than the one who is asked to administer the gift. –Elder Neil A. Andersen

Here is something else to consider:

Elder M. Russell Ballard said: “When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which by definition is priesthood power. … The endowment is literally a gift of power.

So we already are endowed with the same power. We just use it differently.

Because we are different.

Also, for those who have been adamant that there is no precedent for ordination of women, and who are stating that the prophet would never get revelation to ordain women, please, I advise you to never say never.

President Joseph Smith said to the Relief Society on March 30, 1842:

[I am] going to make of this Society a  kingdom of priests as in Enoch’s day— as in Pauls day

From minutes of the Nauvoo Relief Society:

Respecting the female laying on hands, [Joseph Smith] further remark’d, there could be no devils in it if God gave  his sanction by healing— that there could be no more sin in any  female laying hands on the sick than in wetting the face with  water— that it is no sin for any body to do it that has faith, or  if the sick has faith to be heal’d by the administration….

these  signs, such as healing the sick, casting out devils &c. should  follow all that believe whether male or female. He ask’d  the Society if they could not see by this sweeping stroke, that  wherein they are ordained, it is the privilege of those set apart to  administer in that authority which is confer’d on them— and if  the sisters should have faith to heal the sick, let all hold  their tongues, and let every thing roll on.

Two women were also formally ordained in the first Relief Society meeting.

Women indeed have administered the priesthood in the early church, presumably, I would guess, because the men were dead, serving missions, or in hiding during the polygamy situation.

Maybe it was a mercy, as so many of the women had been raped and assaulted by mobs. Perhaps many of them had psychological trauma that made it difficult to trust men.

For whatever reason, women have done that.

Deborah, Painting by the incomparable Elspeth Young

Deborah, Painting by the incomparable Elspeth Young

And Deborah held a predominantly male title of “judge” in the scriptures because of the wickedness of the men at the time.

A lot of women seem to not understand that we are already endowed with priesthood power.

After having done years of research on the phenomenon of pornography addiction, I sometimes wonder how we will find men to lead us . According to Elder Andersen’s recent statement saying that men who look at pornography must repent and change and forsake that sin before they are worthy to administer and officiate in the priesthood, I mean, who knows?

But we’re not there yet, in great part due to the wonderful 12 Step Programs available for those struggling with pornography addiction.

And of course, because of the Atonement.

And, because of the Proclamation on the Family. It’s saving us, I tell you.

That there are abuses of male authority within the administration of the church, there is no doubt.

Abuse is a problem everywhere. President Hinckley said:

Such abuse is not new. There is evidence to indicate that it goes back through the ages. It is a most despicable and tragic and terrible thing. I regret to say that there has been some very limited expression of this monstrous evil among us. It is something that cannot be countenanced or tolerated. The Lord Himself said, ‘But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea’ (Matt. 18:6). That is very strong language from the Prince of Peace, the Son of God.

The above quote is taken from the church’s official statement regarding child abuse. It is comforting to read those words from President Hinckley. At the same time, it is disheartening that many other paragraphs in the official statement are often not implemented at the local level, and often even the regional level.

I wish the church public affairs office could talk with some of the hundreds of people I know of who have had different experiences than what are described on the official statement. 

Perhaps some of them are behind the Ordain Women website.

Perhaps the creators of this site have seen women in pain and saw a way to take advantage of it, manipulate, and gain a following. Ugh.

And, you know, I wish instead of just issuing statements and opinions, someone would just thoughtfully sit down with these women, who do appear to be very brave (I don’t agree with this at all–but I think what they did still takes courage)–and simply ask them the question no one is asking:

WHY?

Why?

Why?

There is a problem with some of those in authority enabling perpetrators, covering up criminal acts, and, at the same time, ostracizing and aggressively attacking the victims and their families. I have seen it. I have talked to LDS counselors, Relief Society presidents, law enforcement personnel, district attorneys and victims of such abuse–and it truly is a tragic problem.

Many of the problems seem to stem from the fact that within the priesthood leadership, there is a fraternity of good feelings. It is important to work together for the good of all, and important to feel a genuine love and unity to receive revelation and help others.

Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to male priesthood leadership turning a blind eye on one of their own when allegations of criminal abuse or other wrongdoing is brought up (usually by a woman, but sometimes even by the courts and law enforcement).

In many instances, male priesthood leadership have unintentionally (most of the time), blamed the woman and sought to exonerate the man.

The fact that there are any followers of this website at all probably stems from many instances described by President Uchtdorf last conference:

And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.

The church is still true, and it still goes on, however, in spite of wicked men (or women)…President Uchtdorf continues:

It is unfortunate that some have stumbled because of mistakes made by men. But in spite of this, the eternal truth of the restored gospel found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not tarnished, diminished, or destroyed.

I think if the women who created this website are in any way manipulating victims of abuse for their own agenda, they should be ashamed of themselves and called out on it. If this is true, they also are no better than the males with whom they have a problem. 

I believe some women in this group feel  desperate because perhaps they have been severely traumatized by or have seen women getting hurt through the wickedness of men in the church. 

And maybe they are tired of hearing things like they can just call a home teacher for a blessing if they don’t have a priesthood holder in their home.

Do you know how hard that is? To find someone who will come with whom you have trust and are comfortable?

What if you have been a victim of rape or other abuses and have a difficult time trusting any man?

What if the very thought of being alone with men puts you on edge because of past history of abuse in your life? What if the very thought of having a male touch your head would be a trigger?

In all my years as a member, I can think of a small handful of men I would trust in my home at that level of intimacy.

I believe that is one reason these women want the ability to give blessings to each other, as faithful women in the beginning of the restoration did.

There may come a time when there truly aren’t enough worthy men and women may be called upon again to do this, but in the meantime, Ordain Women is missing something.

They don’t know what they have.

They already have the ability to call on heavenly angels to minister to them.

 I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the world Himself. --Elder Holland

I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the world Himself. –Elder Holland

They don’t need to feel like they are uncared for and cast off if there isn’t a man available to administer the priesthood to them personally or if they are going through a period of recovery from trauma and cannot psychologically deal with men.

If they are in a desperate circumstance, current doctrine suggests the blessings from angels are just as valid and helpful:

Elder Ballard also taught: “Our Father in Heaven is generous with His power. All men and all women have access to this power for help in our own lives. All who have made sacred covenants with the Lord and who honor those covenants are eligible to receive personal revelation, to be blessed by the ministering of angels, [and] to commune with God. (Carole M. Stephens, Do We Know What We Have?, italics added.)

I don’t believe that it is in any way wrong to petition the church leadership for change if we feel inspired to do so.

In fact, I think some of the voices (not necessarily Ordain Women), which have been raised have resulted in change–mostly based on the fact that I think it got people thinking.

For example, we now have women saying prayers in General Conference. And we now have the portraits of female leadership displayed at the Conference Center.

And I think it wasn’t about changing revelation, just about realizing that it was the right thing to do, but they had just never thought about it.

Yes, it is good to question, like President Uchtdorf said.

But there is something wrong when the questioning is just a method to cover up a denial of established doctrine–important established doctrine.

And this is where Ordain Women got lost.

They apparently can’t see that they are in a degree of apostasy if they are actively denying the truthfulness and validity of LDS doctrine and seeking to destroy it.

(And, to be honest, maybe some of them are not even aware that this is the real agenda of this website. Perhaps many of them don’t know.)

The website states that the proclamation is antiquated and demands to abolish eternal gender roles. A snippet from their FAQ page:

The Church’s Proclamation on the Family declares that men preside over their wives and families, thus preserving an antiquated and unequal model in both the domestic and ecclesiastical realms.

My problem is Kate Kelly’s desire to erase the gender role found in the Proclamation on the Family. That men are to preside in righteousness in the home is actually doctrinal. The proclamation is clear when it says that individual adaptation may be necessary in adverse circumstances, so I don’t understand why this would be an issue at all.

The Proclamation on the Family is the doctrine of the church. Said President Hinckley before he read it in 1995:

“…we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history” (“Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,”Ensign,Nov. 1995, 100).

It has been continually spoken of at every conference since it was proclaimed. It has been referenced as doctrine by the current prophet and apostles.

Official Doctrine.

Contains Official Doctrine.

It is constantly referred to in official church publications as doctrine and revealed truth.

It is our doctrine that gender roles are eternal.

It is our belief that the problem is not the “unequal model”. The model is not unequal.

It is our belief that the problem is not the priesthood. The presiding priesthood is not “antiquated.” It is eternal.

The problem is that men are not perfect and sin. Sinful men and women create inequality, not God or his prophets or His doctrine.

(Women also sin, and are imperfect, too.)

I wish I could shout that truth from the rooftops! It would stop so much contention and hand wringing and maybe then we could start actually fixing problems by fixing individuals. We could try living the actual gospel the same way Christ did, to enact change.

Christ enacted change through love, not by hiring a human rights lawyer.

The Atonement is real. Men can change. So can women.

That is where advocating for change has the greatest worldwide effect–in the confines of the human heart.

I can completely understand why a woman who has had negative experiences with males (or has only been taught negatively regarding eternal gender roles), would feel so antagonistic toward this proclamation of the ideal way of life.

So, for someone of our faith to demand that the eternal, God given roles of mother and father be abolished–to demand that men no longer preside in the home–it would be like demanding that the prophet make the earth flat. It goes against eternal truth.

Not everyone may live the ideal in this life. There is far too much of wickedness. But the only way to improve our lives is to actually know what the ideal is.

What Kate Kelly is demanding is that we dissolve the doctrine of the church and institute her doctrine, which is, by definition, apostasy.

It is contrary to what faithful and even questioning and even sassy pants Latter-day Saints believe is eternal truth.

Even if women were ordained officially (we already have the priesthood power), someone needs to preside in the family, and we believe that someone is the father.

Rather than add to dissonance, I find that the fight to stop wicked men in the church can be done in a different way.

Levi Savage, My Hero

Levi Savage, My Hero

I was so heartened by the story of “17 Miracles” and the situation with Levi Savage.

He was right.

The rest of the leadership was mistaken, including a General Authority, who prophesied that the handcart companies would make it to Salt Lake before the snow fell. Either ignorant of all the facts, or just inexperienced, or confusing emotion with the Spirit, they were wrong to believe that there would not be serious consequences in trying to get the handcart companies to Salt Lake. Levi Savage is quoted as saying this:

What I have said I know to be true; but seeing you are to go forward, I will go with you, will help all I can, will work with you, will rest with you, and if necessary, will die with you. May God in his mercy bless and preserve us.

I feel the same way with regard to abuses of power in the church. I will express my opinion–sometimes obnoxiously–and I will help all I can and  then pray that God will have mercy on all of us.

I know that the Lord knows what He is doing, and that He walks with those who face severe situations of injustice, even if they cannot see Him. He is there.

To the women who have gotten involved in this thing, I say, even if you have been wronged and even if you are utterly alone and feel cast out–just remember that God counts you. And realize what you already have. If you keep your temple covenants, you already have the priesthood power.

Also, remember that while the Lord asks us to attend church regularly in order to receive the ordinance of the sacrament and have a temple recommend, that is not the only way we can worship our Creator:

Behold thy brother hath said, What shall we do?—for we are cast out of our synagogues, that we cannot worship our God.

Behold I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only?

I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren…that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble.

If we can feel, in effect, cast out, and still maintain a testimony of Jesus Christ and the saving ordinances found in the holy temple, then we are truly learning wisdom and humility.

Good can still come out of this for us. We can take even this experience to become more holy.

I wish my sisters and brothers associating with this website could have found a better way to gently raise awareness of these kinds of things without smacking people over the head with demands to change what we believe to be the sacred roles of mother and father and openly rebel against and deny the doctrine of the church found in the Family Proclamation.

Perhaps we could have truly found ways to progress and move forward in love and light rather than create contention and divisiveness over such a sensitive, personal and sacred issue.

And I have waxed eloquent (or maybe not so eloquent!) long enough! I will end my sassy pants post with these words from Sister Carole M Stephens:

We all need each other. Sons of God need daughters of God, and daughters of God need sons of God.

We have different gifts and different strengths. First Corinthians chapter 12 emphasizes the need for sons and daughters of God, each one of us, to fulfill our individual roles and responsibilities according to the Lord’s plan, that all may benefit.

Sons of God, do you know who you are? Do you know what you have? Are you worthy to exercise the priesthood and receive the power and blessings of the priesthood? Do you embrace your roles and responsibilities to strengthen homes as fathers, grandfathers, sons, brothers, and uncles? Do you show respect for women, womanhood, and motherhood?

Daughters of God, do we know who we are? Do we know what we have? Are we worthy to receive the power and blessings of the priesthood? Do we receive the gifts given to us with gratitude, grace, and dignity? Do we embrace our roles and responsibilities to strengthen homes as mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts? Do we show respect for men, manhood, and fatherhood?

Yes, let’s remember that. We all need each other.