Women and the Priesthood: I am opposed.

I haven’t written in a while. Not because I didn’t have anything to say, but simply because I couldn’t find the words.

Women and the priesthood. #letstalkaboutit

This subject, as my husband will attest to you, has brought me to tears on more than one occasion.

It troubles me deeply, and I am highly opposed to it.

But I’m not here to fight about it. Nor am I here to convince anyone. #goodthingtoo

This blog could appropriately be renamed, 72 Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Be a Lawyer.

With that being said, I simply wish to state boldly why I feel the way I do. I have given it careful consideration for several weeks. Months, really.

Maybe something will resonate with you. Maybe it won’t.

It starts with 7-year-old Emmilie and a day I still remember vividly.

“Dad, when I get to pass the sacrament, I’m going to do such a good job,” I proudly told my father with a toothless grin.

A look of uncomfortable concern quickly crossed his face. How was he going to tell me?

“Oh, honey,” he said. “You won’t pass the sacrament. That’s the boy’s job because they hold the priesthood.”

Tears. Instantly.

The injustice of it all felt like the weight of the world and I dissolved into a blubbering mess, complaining in my 7-year-old way of the inequality of it all.

Why couldn’t I hold the priesthood?

Now my parents had been baptized for just a little over two years at this point. And to her credit, my mother explained that women have their own special jobs.

“That’s stupid,” I said, wanting my way and nothing else.

Now, nearly 18 years later, I am happy to report that I don’t look upon the deacons that pass the sacrament with jealously, but rather gratitude and love.

In the years that followed, a series of experiences taught me the importance and magnitude of God’s love.

Nestled in those sacred, defining experiences was the understanding that we are led by prophets, seers and revelators.

Yes, they are men. Yes, they are prone to the same weakness as I am. Yet they are called to a high and holy office, and each General Conference as I raise my hand to the square, I willingly give my obedience to the Lord to follow the counsel they give — not just the counsel that resonates with me.

This is not blind faith. This is the same faith the Savior taught in John 7:17.

I believe that the brethren I sustain with all of my heart are leading the Church in behalf of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

As women and the priesthood are concerned, the brethren have spoken.

No. Women will not be admitted to priesthood session.

And frankly, I don’t believe they will hold the priesthood.

Though social pressures are a part of every culture, doctrine does not change by the voice of the people. Rather, it is instated by the voice of the Lord.

In a world of thousands of voices pulling our thoughts and attention in a chaotic number of ways, I choose to listen to the voice of an omniscient, and loving Father in Heaven.

As a journalist, I am acutely aware of the current struggle women are facing for equality. If I had 77 cents on the dollar for every time I heard about it, I could… well, you get the idea.

But to try and convince me that God, our creator, made women less equal than our male counterparts is too far across the proverbial line of my patience.

Because I believe in the equality of our creation, I believe that God operates and governs his children under the same equality.

As a freshman in college, I woke one night to a roommate crying in her bed. After trying to speak with her, and finding her inconsolable, I offered to pray with her.

The prayer that followed is an experience I will never forget, one I have never spoken of — not even to Eric. The spirit entered our small bedroom with such power that it still brings such sweet and tender emotions to my heart to think of it now.

The Lord loves his daughters. We were not discriminated against because we were women and I couldn’t offer to give my dear friend a blessing. Being a recipient of many such blessings myself, I would make a mockery of that sacred experience by suggesting it could have been more powerful if only I had held the priesthood.

God’s love is fair. It is just.

And as for the question of equality, humanity itself teaches us that equal does not always mean being the same.

Perhaps the same question could be raised when looking at the adverse living conditions of God’s children born into poverty and suffering as opposed to a child of God born in to wealth and privilege. He loves each the same.

Now perhaps the opposing view would argue that it’s not a matter of love, it’s a matter of rights. You could make that argument.

But if the priesthood was a part of the biological make up of men, as motherhood is for women, would there still be the screams for equality? No. We would have simply been made that way.

I submit that we are made this way.

Men to be priesthood holders, and women to be mothers.

I read every article I see arguing for and against women being ordained to the priesthood. While I’m not here to judge, simply to state my opinion, I can’t help but feel that all arguments I read in favor of women being ordained to the priesthood are the doctrines of men with only the essence of scripture.

And so I cling to this instead.

“ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

“…By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

And if you’re searching for concrete evidence as to why it’s this way, I doubt very much that you’ll find it. But my faith is what I’m holding onto, and years of experiences has made it concrete. It has made it enough.

So for now, I’ll echo the words of a Book of Mormon prophet by the name of Nephi.

“I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” (1 Nephi 11:17)

I don’t know why things are the way they are. Simply that they are. And simply that we are led by a prophet of God. And if changes do come, they will come from the top down, not from the bottom up.

For now, all we can do is press forward. We can lift where we stand, because clearly we each have an important role to play. And God, in his infinite goodness and love, will perfect us each step of the way.

Great links on the subject:

The Mormon feminist protest: And why I won’t be there

Women and the priesthood

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22 thoughts on “Women and the Priesthood: I am opposed.

  1. Amen. I feel exactly the same way and have struggled to express myself as eloquently as you. Thank you for your testimony. 🙂

  2. Thank you! It’s so good to hear from people who are happy with the Church’s organization as it is, especially with all of the media coverage the other party gets. Thanks, Emmilie! You never cease to amaze me!

  3. Thank you for sharing this. People often don’t understand that this isn’t about gender inequality, it’s about Heavenly Father’s purpose for each of us. And ultimately, men hold the priesthood, but women BEAR, raise, and nurture the future priesthood holders. If that’s not empowering, I don’t know what is.

    • Not all women are mothers. Where does such a woman fit if “men have the priesthood” and “women are the mothers”? Is there no place in this mortal world for a woman who will never have her own children? I appreciate that your life has followed the traditional pattern and that you are happy with that, but please consider that other women have different experiences.

      • I believe it is in God’s plan and desire for all His sons to one day bear the priesthood and for all His daughters to bear children, whether that is in this life or the next. Not all men who would want to receive the priesthood in this life either. At least, that is my perspective.

  4. I’m really liking this, a lot. You echo ALL of my thoughts on this issue. Thank you. And I’m really glad I found this, however I did. And I like the fact that you served in Montana (where I was born and raised for 13 years – Great Falls) and that you went to BYU-Idaho and that you studied journalism. Perhaps you worked on Scroll?

  5. If I had to chose between the two, I definitely wouldn’t chose the one that makes me bleed out of my vagina and cry uncontrollably every month, provided me with stretch marks, and spread hips and made my boobs sag to a place of no return… all while providing the father of my children two beautiful boys with absolutely none of his own effort. I don’t think the two are comparable. At all.

    • But what if you did choose to be a partner with God in creation to bring spirit children to Earth? Because you did. And you continued to exercise that choice all along the way. Men could be jealous, probably not of the sacrifices you mention, but obviously that isn’t all there is to it. The divine nature of mothers cannot be diminished so easily. Nor can man’s role be diminished so easily. But one day you will also see how comparable in its own right the priesthood is to creation, and believe it or not the sacrifice men will make for divine purposes yet unknown to you and therefore even considered (perhaps only a loving God currently understands fully what it takes to fully bear the priesthood, given the great sacrifice he had to make for creation).

  6. Well, putting an equal sign between the responsibility of acting in God’s name with motherhood really, really stinks for those of us who will never become mothers.

    My husband’s fatherhood is equal to my motherhood. His holding the priesthood (or power of God) is a different “thing” altogether.

    On a personal note, my husband is infertile. I am fertile and willing to be a mother – yet I will never be a mother. He will not adopt, so that’s out. Imagine what that joy must be like every week at church…

    It’s kind of strange that a priesthood = motherhood rhetoric is spreading so far in our church. We should be respectful of parenthood (of course). It is a HUGELY important role (for men and women). Are we equating 12-year-old boys’ ordination with the “likelihood” that a 12-year-old girl will start menses “about” the same time? I’m sure we don’t revere the fertility of our girls with the same honor and attention we do the boys’ ordination to offices of the priesthood. That would be weird, but that’s where the priesthood = motherhood leads us.

    If there is a faithful sister in the church who desires to serve, bless and do more…then she has my respect. She desires a good thing. It is not pride or evil, no moreso than a 12-year-old trying to “be good” to be worthy of his ordination. I don’t think priestesshood would be forced upon anyone. But if someone can use it, be it, live it, and really love it, then sure. Go for it. The power of God can be manifest in any person. Our culture simply isn’t ready for the “office” of presiding to be shared with a woman. That would be wayyyy to mind-bending for too many members. It’s easier to ignore it for now. It’s too scary to upend what we know for the unknown.

  7. My only thought to add is that just because for one priesthood session women weren’t allowed in, doesn’t mean that was a decision on female ordination. We’ll see what the future holds. I don’t believe that “I don’t know why things are the way they are. Simply that they are.” is a valid way of thinking about anything. As President Uchtdorf said, mistakes have been made by church leaders before, things do change. Maybe women wont get the priesthood, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the possibility because they haven’t had it in the past.

  8. Thank you so so so much for this post! I too have been feeling very strongly about this topic, and have written my own blog post about it. That we have been given our own divine gifts and roles. That together we can work with the priesthood holder to bring to pass the purposes of God for his children. I know I have the same access to the blessings of the priesthood as do the men. I am honoured to be a women and know that although it may not equal the world’s way, this is the Lord’s way, and He knows the way for His children to achieve a fullness of job.

    Great blog!!

  9. I have been reading through quite a few of these articles on this subject, ones that agree and disagree. I can say one thing from my research, the side that disagrees has, 99% of the time not actually researched the other side’s views and why they exist. You seem like a smart enough girl and you definitely did spiritual research which is wonderful. However, too many assumptions were made as too the motives of the women on the other side, and well that is unfair. It isn’t only about inequality and it saddens me that you would demonize these women by leading to the idea that they hold some jealousy for those who have the priesthood. This is untrue much of the time, They respect the priesthood and understand that it was given to man after the transgression of Eve in the garden. However, much like the law of Moses being lifted, is it really that absurd to believe that what was a consequence of the transgression in the garden of Eden, our eternal roles were defined. Or was it merely our earthly roles. Food for thought. As you can see I don’t agree with priesthood and women in this life necessarily, but I see where these women come from, have empathy for them, love and support their strong membership in the church regardless of this trial of their faith. I hope that you can do the same.

    • Motherhood = fatherhood, priesthood = priestesshood. Motherhood =/= fatherhood. We learn as such 1) through biology and 2) in the temple. The motherhood/priesthood dyad is an attempt by members to placate the question of the Relief Society’s loss of autonomy during the 20th century and an easy answer for the questions of children growing up in a world where women’s role was expanding outside the church, but shrinking from within due to policies (not doctrine). However, the dyad is not at all doctrinally sound.

      Also, I’m a part of OW, not because I don’t recognize my need for the men in my life, but because I fully recognize how we work together to create Zion. I have a beautiful marriage where my husband and I work as equal partners to raise our children. I feel like there are a lot of straw men arguments out there suggesting what it is that I think or feel because I agree with the movement (which came after much, much deliberation, prayer, studying my patriarchal blessing, and later even consulting with my priesthood leaders. In my patriarchal blessing, it talks about how I will know the hearts of those I associate with and how I have been blessed with a special understanding of the Gospel. After re-reading those words and always wondering what they meant before, I was struck with the understanding that my thoughts, opinions, feelings, experiences, etc, were actually God-given).

      In other words, I’m cool with people having varying opinions re: women and the priesthood, but I’m not really cool with people perpetuating straw men arguments and overall being entirely uninformed with the history of women’s contribution and role, both in the history of the LDS Church and in the history of early Christianity. It’s plain ol’ sophistry.

  10. Pingback: 9 Wrong Ideas About Women and The Priesthood | The Preppy Panda

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