Three weeks ago I was sitting in a Gospel Principles class (Its on the basics in my L.D.S.church) that I had been asked to teach by a friend who was out of town.
I found it strange that just a few weeks ago they had been talking about the priesthood and how men held it, and women didn't. All the men in the room nodding in agreement and more women than not were sitting, heads down, quiet.
A few women and I shared knowing glances, as there are 2 or three that I have shared my story with,( I believe my big ol eye in the sky-you know...God has given me moments of clarity and more than enough inspirational people in my life)
To be able to bless their own children, to call down that power of God to help others in need. Not for themselves, but for those they love. And people say feminists who want the priesthood want power? That power has nothing to do with us.
There are women who long to give of themselves in service, blessing others through that gift given by God. That "mantle" that says its ok for women, unashamed and without fear to lay their hands on another's head to bless them.
And still, as I write this I can hear what some will say about this...
Weeks later, after the lesson on the Priesthood there I was giving a lesson in the same classroom on fasting.
This is not just in my church, but all over the world.
Catholic, Moslem. Any church who does not allow women to hold the Priesthood and in Moslems case, to allow them to pray at the wall in Jerusalem http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jordan-calls-women-of-the-wall-prayer-site-an-attack-on-islam/2013/09/03/
There was a webinar ( http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/37855947 ) at the end of the day of fasting... And at the end, they called on women of the past to help us in our cause, to me it was awe inspiring, and it gave me chills to think of our forbearers, those who came before us.
I found it interesting because a few days prior I had found out that "Ordain Women" that I have a profile on was having a day of fasting. Their hope was that the brethren of our (LDS) church would prayerfully consider women in the church holding the Priesthood.
The only thing I could say, in my own church, is that "I found it significant that today I was teaching a lesson on fasting when I was fasting with thousands upon thousands of all faiths for something(The Priesthood) the next day which I said I wouldn't go into. (Sigh)
With all of this going on, I had to stay silent. (People who know me KNOW that that for me it is like yanking out my nails with pliers...not that I've ever done that before but...OUCH!)
What's sad to me is if I would have, the class would have erupted in all kinds of disarray and I would have been in serious trouble, so, I kept my mouth shut because its not doctrine, and in church there is no discussion about it. SO it would have been "inappropriate". (Double sigh)
I asked him "what is "Women's suffrage" just to see what his reaction would be and he blurted out some crass comment that if "I didn't understand what it was that there was no point cracking the joke" or something...as if its ok to joke about women not having something as simple as the right to vote... even if he was joking it was in poor taste...)
Someone (a guy) after class who was in the class I taught was talking to me and I mentioned that what I was fasting about the next day was for Ordaining women...he said he didn't agree and I said to each his own...THEN he cracked some joke talking about "We should have never allowed women's suffrage."
With that said, Joseph Smith, the founder of our church didn't think that it was inappropriate for women to hold the Priesthood. Here is what he said, and what happened when he talked to the women of the Relief Society
On 17 March 1842, Joseph Smith first formally organized Latter-day Saint women in a group with distinct responsibilities and authority. At JS’s invitation, twenty women assembled in the large room above his dry goods store in Nauvoo, Illinois, to be organized, as one woman recalled his description, “under the priesthood after the pattern of the priesthood” (Sarah M. Kimball, “Auto-biography,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Sept. 1883, 51). Priesthood quorums—units of men assembled according to priesthood office and usually headed by a president and two counselors—had been organized previously. The women assembled on 17 March elected JS’s wife Emma Hale Smith president, and she selected two counselors; a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles ordained or set apart the three-member presidency to their new callings or offices. These were the first ecclesiastical positions in the church for women.
Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book
Top of Form
30 March 1842 • Wednesday
Minutes of the Proceedings
Third Meeting of the Society —
Lodge Room March 30th 1842.
Joseph Smith said that...
"The Society should move according to the ancient Priesthood, hence there should be a select Society separate from all the evils of the world, choice, virtuous and holy— He said he was going to make of this Society a kingdom of priests as in Enoch’s day— as in Pauls day."
This goes even further. ( Don't pay attention to the miss-spelling...its not me...I swear:p)
In this link it talks specifically about the women who were ordained to the Priesthood in Joseph Smiths time. (At the bottom of the link and with the historical things written here, it talks about where the evidence was found, and also talks about things being omitted. I won't say whether I agree with those or not because honestly, I don't know in some of these cases what conspired, but I find it interesting.)
(If this part seems too long, skip down to where I talk about my part and belief in all of this...but again, I find this interesting.)
http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=1171 (I included the link so people can see it in its entirety and where they got the information- and where the #s come from so they can look it up... LONG but TOTALLY worth reading)
"Mormon women did not request priesthood—Joseph Smith would soon confer it on them as part of the restoration of the gospel. Joseph clearly intended that Mormon women in 1842 understand their healings were to be “gifts of the priesthood,” not simply ministrations of faith.11Presiding Patriarch Hyrum Smith, an original member of the Holy Order, blessed Leonora Cannon Taylor: “You shall be blesst [sic] with your portion  of the Priesthood which belongeth to you, that you may be set apart for your Anointing and your induement [endowment].”14
The men who received the Holy Order endowment in 1842 did not constitute a fully organized “quorum” until a woman was initiated in 1843. At 7 p.m. on 28 September 1843, Joseph Smith was “by common consent and unanimous voice chosen president of the Quorum” by eleven other previously endowed men. Next, Emma Hale Smith became the first woman to receive priesthood and its fullness.17 Willard Richards had referred to the men as “the quorum” in their prayer meeting of 11 September 1843, but Joseph did not officially become the Anointed Quorum’s president until the day he admitted the quorum’s first woman.18
As newly sustained president of the Anointed Quorum, Joseph administered the initiatory ordinances and priesthood endowment to his wife in an upper room of the Nauvoo Mansion.19 The record of “Meetings of the Anointed Quorum” shows that at this same meeting, Joseph and Emma also became the first couple to receive the “second anointing” or “fullness of the priesthood.” By this ceremony they were each “anointed & ordained to the highest & holiest order of the priesthood.”20 Later church historians in Utah deleted Emma’s name from the 1843 description of the prophet’s “second Anointing of the Highest & Holiest order.”21
Thus Emma Smith began the fulfillment of the prophet’s promise to make the Relief Society “a kingdom of priests.” She was anointed to become a “queen and priestess” in the initiatory ordinance of the endowment and was ordained to the fulness of those offices by the second anointing.26 First counselor Sidney Rigdon later commented on this event: “Emma was the one to whom the female priesthood was first given.”27
A common misunderstanding claims that women receive priesthood only through temple marriage or through the second anointing—both of which a husband and wife must receive together.28 However, such was not the view expressed by many of the Anointed Quorum’s original members, who learned about the endowment directly from Joseph Smith.
Brigham Young’s 1843 diary associated the endowment of women with receiving priesthood. On 29 October 1843, for example, he noted that Thirza Cahoon, Lois Cutler, and Phebe Woodworth were “taken into the order of the priesthood.” That was the day those three women individually received their endowment. They did not join with their husbands to receive the second anointing until 12 and 15 November 1843, respectively. When his own wife received the endowment on 1 November 1843, Brigham Young wrote: “Mary A. Young admitted in to the hiest [highest] orderer [order of] Preasthood [sic].” She did not receive the second anointing with him until three weeks later.29
In February 1844 stake patriarch John Smith told an LDS woman that she had a right to priesthood from her birth. “Thou art of the blood of Abraham thru the Loins of Manasseh & lawful heir to the Priesthood,” he said to Louisa C. Jackson. She was not among the elite Mormon women who received the endowment before the opening of the Nauvoo temple in December 1845.33 Referring to her eventual sealing and second anointing, the patriarch added that this woman “shall possess it [priesthood] in common with thy companion.” Louisa’s blessing showed that any Mormon woman had a birthright to priesthood which depended on no man.34
On 28 April 1842 the prophet returned to this subject. He told  the women that “the keys of the kingdom are about to be given to them that they may be able to detect everything false, as well as to the Elders.”7 The keys “to detect everything false” referred to the signs and tokens used in the “true order of prayer,” still practiced in LDS temples.8 Then Joseph Smith said, “I now turn the key to you in the name of God, and this society shall rejoice, and knowledge and intelligence shall flow down from this time …”9 For nineteenth-century LDS women, Joseph’s words were prophecy and inspiration to advance spiritually, intellectually, socially, professionally, and politically.10"
All I know is what women do in the temple as I go there and it is after the manner of the Priesthood...with women doing everything the men do.
BUT...I had no idea about any of this (Other than the temple) until I came upon a paper written by Hannah Wheelwright
"Motherhood is not women's complementary role to men's priesthood. Motherhood is complementary to men's fatherhood. If priesthood was truly the counterpart to motherhood, infertile men would be denied it, and all men would lose it when they hit menopause. I hope the silliness of this comparison highlights how bizarre it is to limit someone's ability to serve based solely on their ability to perform a specific physical activity that not all people have the opportunity to do. An aversion to "more meetings" and a personal apathy towards holding the power to act in the name of Almighty God are not sufficient for denying half of God's children this authority and the resulting institutional ability to have a seat at the table.
I cling to the hope that Mormon women will one day not merely be held up on a pedestal and protected, but will be side by side with their male counterparts, will be empowered to speak up for their own concerns, will be stewards over adult groups of mixed genders, and will demonstrate once and for all that there is no more sin in a woman with a desperate, righteous, genuine desire to bless those around her than there is in a 12-year-old boy with that same desire.
In the LDS Church History Department's Joseph Smith Papers project, Hannah read Joseph's stunning declaration recorded by a scribe that "the Society should move according to the ancient Priesthood... [Joseph Smith] said he was going to make of this Society a kingdom of priests as in Enoch's day, as in Paul's day." I could not deny that reading original source documents suggested to me that Joseph Smith had a much more expansive and empowering vision for the women of the church than we acknowledge now."
Why are we as a church going backward instead of forward?
Growing up I didn't question women not having the priesthood, I didn't even think about it.
I was a young single woman going to some really fun activities at my church, with a very perceptive bishop. ( I'm not sure if I will use the other word I'm thinking yet, but you'll get the gist of it in a second)
My Bishop took me aside all by myself one day at a devotional, out of earshot of everyone else.
"You are going to have to be VERY careful who you marry. If you marry the wrong man you will have three kids, get divorced, and end up out of the church for a while."
As we were sitting on the back deck of the house talking he said to me...
I thought this was very strange advice, so I said..."Okkkayyyy" and just didn't really think about it much, other than I thought it was odd.
Weeks later we had an activity outside, And then we went in to have a devotional. I don't think I was paying attention much at first, until my Bishop (The same one as above) suddenly stopped what he was talking about, paused for a moment, and said "Some day women will have the priesthood". I perked right up, but I couldn't believe my ears. A football player I knew raised his hand and said "You mean through the men, right"? he said "No, One day women will hold the Priesthood". I held on to that thought thinking that it was interesting, but went about my life as usual.
I had been hanging out with a guy at the church who had told me that I had to go to his ward ( we are divided up depending which area we live, and that depends on what time and building you go to) because where I lived was in the ward boundaries where this same bishop was. I was dating his best friend, and so I thought that his friend was trying to help.
I found out later his friend was really no friend at all. He had been telling people that I was his girlfriend, even though I had no desire to be his girlfriend.
I pawned him off on a friend, and they got married.
They had 3 kids, he had multiple affairs, they got divorced, and she was out of the church for a while.
Though I'm happy to say she re-married and is back in the church now:))
Why am I telling you this?
Because I believe that because that Bishop was right about one thing, I believe he may be right about the other.
The older I have gotten, the more I have read, and the more I have learned about life, the more I believe this to be needed. That it is necessary, and just as with my African American Brothers and sisters in my church, we both (African Americans AND women) should have ALWAYS had the Priesthood. (If you look at historical data in the church, both African American men AND women DID. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_people_and_early_Mormonism#Elijah_Abel)
(See link up above for women and the Priesthood)
From what I have seen on Brigham Young, and if it was true, the only reason in my mind that it was taken away from African Americans was bigotry...plain and simple, no other excuse.
Thank God (really) that changed!
Too many times I have seen women who have had to stand idly by or have not said anything when it was too late at night for them to feel comfortable calling someone to come bless their child, spouse, friend...When they know in their hearts what God is calling them to say.
There are women who have men in their house who are not worthy Priesthood holders, along with good single women with kids.
Not long ago a friend of mine brought up the whole priesthood and women idea on facebook...not much later they lost a few friends on facebook over it.
How sad that people would allow themselves to get so incensed over this!
Talk about rocking the boat! I heard some very bigoted responses that I won't
even post here.
Why is it that it is such an inflammatory idea? After all, again... Joseph smith himself talked to the women in the church when the Relief Society was put together (Women in my church go to Relief society where we talk about church and learn about different things, men to Priesthood meeting, where they do the same.)
I read on a profile on OrdainWomen.org where One woman and her husbands daughter passed away and her husband could give her a blessing knowing exactly what was in her heart but when her husband was having the most anguish in the middle of the night when he was hurting she couldn't lay her hands on his head and give him a blessing knowing how exquisite his pain was and what was in his heart...
What if women could do that?
What if we could bless our sons and daughters? I I think that women have spiritual gifts and we should be able to help others with that priesthood mantle meant to help others.
What if a mother and father BOTH could lay their hands on their Childs head and give their child a blessing?(That would also solve having to have 2 people there- There would already be!( Not in all cases, but some) That is a beautiful thought, I think. I think it would be an amazing gift that could bring a couple closer together working together, as it is all about helping their child.
What about single mothers?
This is what one woman had to say about being raised by her single mother
"As someone who was raised by a single mother I would love to have back to school blessings from my mother rather than some decent well intentioned stranger who came to our house once a month..."
I have heard people say, "You have a phone, use it"! But when it is your loved one who is in pure agony, mentally Or physically, who better to give a blessing than those who know their loved ones best? Does a sleepy home teacher who knows you, a LITTLE really want to get out of bed, maybe some, yes, but most of us are too timid or don't want to bug anyone to call.(Yes, I know God can speak through these people as he knows us best, but with that said, would you rather have a sleepy home teacher who you feel guilty about waking, or someone in your family who may already be awake thinking about you?)
Can you call anyone 24 /7? can you honestly say that if you aren't single or don't have a worthy priesthood member that you would feel comfortable? I know women who are extremely uncomfortable calling people in the middle of the night and honestly, people who would not like it if people were calling others in the middle of the night.
One woman on my friends facebook said "You have a phone, don't you?" One woman responded..."As if its an easy thing...some of us don't have a husband...some of us may never...Just because you're well fed doesn't mean there aren't starving people in this world".
And what about places where a huge percentage of church members are women? It HAS happened. One of the women in Ordain women served her mission in an area where 80% of members were women. What are they supposed to do? I have even heard of women in a ward with no one to administer the sacrament where they had to ask missionaries from another ward.
Another woman in a ward ( A ward is a certain amount of people from an area going at a certain time to church) talked of not always being able to get the missionaries from another ward to administer the sacrament... there were times that for that week, they just weren't able to.
If women were ordained, none of that need happen.
The other thing that needs to be mentioned is the HUGE problem with pornography and other problems where men are unworthy and don't hold the priesthood. What do women do then?
Again, giving women the Priesthood would solve that problem.
I have heard men say "Well then, what are the men supposed to do then?"
The answer is...
THE SAME THING AS THEY ALWAYS WERE DOING.
There would just be more help instead of men having to make up for the difference.
We would SHARE the load.
I have seen where there just isn't enough help and it can be spread pretty thin.
That would not be an issue if women held the Priesthood.
Another thought I have held on to for YEARS...
Years back before I was married, I made out a little bit, and though I was incredibly uncomfortable, I went to my bishop and started to talk to him a little bit about it because it is a required thing church wise. ( kind of like confession in other churches)
He started to majorly grill me for the actual, specific details about it, and as I was talking to him something told me to STOP TALKING....
I had this horrible, sinking feeling that my bishop was getting off on it, and actually getting turned on, and at that moment it felt confirmed to me that I needed to get out of there QUICK and stop talking.
I believe that even in that moment, the holy spirit was talking to me, even then telling me to get out of there.
I told the Bishop I would not give him any more details and got the hell outa dodge...
Honestly, I believe that there should NEVER be a middle aged, older man, no matter how good or holy they are, sitting in a room alone with a young girl talking to her about sexual things. I think women should be talking to women, and men to men.
I think women understand women's issues better, and men understand men's issues better. (As in have the men go to men, women to women) I don't know if that would mean women bishops or not, or if a Bishop and his wife would be partners in it and share responsibilities, but even having a wife outside, I believe,(as I have heard some do) is not enough.
There are good men out there, but there is also temptation, and bad things HAVE happened before. (There have been things that have happened where teens have been taken advantage of, not just what teens share, but actual, physical acts where women have been taken advantage of. It DOES happen in our church.) I don't know if its taboo to talk about but I'm saying it, because I believe it needs to be considered. I have NEVER felt comfortable talking to a bishop about that, and I think that no man, Bishop or not should be exposed to that kind of temptation.
I have never been about power. Only helping. And this just seems like a simple way to solve many problems.
With that said...to my chagrin (I won't say the thoughts I REALLY had about this because they are too dark and not worth sharing, honestly...)
One Sunday my husband and I got a call from the Bishop...(Who is a very good man, by the way...) for my husband and I to meet him, for separate meetings
RIGHT away, my inclination was that it was about my posts on Facebook about Women and the Priesthood.
So I wrote up exactly what my thoughts were on Women and the Priesthood so that when I met with him my thoughts would be clear and concessive, and I prayed for guidance...I thought...if that's what the call for a meeting was about...
Meanwhile...As I watched the next day In the meeting after fasting for Women's Ordination One brave woman stood at the podium put there for people with questions and thoughts... (Its there in the link above)
She said that she had shared with her Bishop her thoughts about women's ordination, and she had believed that what she shared with her Bishop would stay in that room.
Till he humiliated her in front of the entire ward. And her entire Relief Society Presidency (Of which unless I don't understand it right) ended up leaving the church. Every one of them, but her. Going to church feeling ostracized, totally alone and YET, To her credit, SHE STILL WENT. This brave woman, standing there shaking and sobbing in front of the entire world and that microphone telling her story has raised the standard.
God bless women like that!
That woman is a tribute to Women everywhere.
I have had many, MANY things in church done to me that were incredibly unfair, and yet I have never left either. (I'm too tenacious;p)
So I added those thoughts I had about the woman above telling her Bishop and waited for the Sunday meeting with the Bishop.
This is what I posted on my Facebook
For all those women out there who are afraid to speak their mind on this issue...
Its ok with me (Well, sorta...rolling eyes here...lol) that someone in my ward on Facebook felt they needed to talk to the bishop about what I am posting on Facebook about ordaining women because I have always been very open about how I feel (Though I have never and never will say any of this in church.)
I am VERY open on my page about how I feel about a lot of things, especially things that I feel are important...someday I hope to see women holding the priesthood. I hope I see it before I die. I understand its not doctrine, even though Joseph Smith himself said to the Relief Society (As recorded In the Nauvoo Relief Society minutes March 30,1842) that "he was going to make of the Society a kingdom of priests as in Enoch's day, as in Paul's day"...
My meeting with the Bishop today was exactly what I thought it was about.
I told the Bishop everything I felt and have said on here about the priesthood and I was not reprimanded. He didn't see that I should be as he did not see anything I did was apostate and that he didn't know if it would ever happen or if it wouldn't, but through revelation. (As he asked me all the questions he felt needed to...and he was very honest and fair about it...he did say to be careful what I posted on Facebook...(HAHA!)
This is just proof to me that the Mormon Church is not going to throw the book at me for having my own thoughts and opinions, which SHOULD be ok and that I won't just get thrown under the bus for. I am valued and loved for who I am. After my experience, I can say that it was a very beautiful and spiritual experience talking through my thoughts with the Bishop.
Thank Heavens for good men.
As to whoever felt they had to tell the Bishop...If there is anyone in my ward who does not like what I am posting, its ok if you remove me from your friend list, I won't be offended. You don't have to look at what I post. Really. It might just be easier for you if you don't look at what I post. (I am talking to whoever did this...)This is my safe space, and I will keep posting what I feel. I always have. We all have to tend to our OWN salvation. Please attend to yours.
Nothing about who I am has or will ever change. Period.
I posted what I did on my facebook because I WANT the world to know that the Mormon church is a FAIR church to women, (although I do believe some things need to change) not excommunicating women for petty things. After all, all we want to do is serve.
The week (The Sunday I was meeting with the Bishop) I found it funny that the lesson was on the Priesthood. If it was September 1st (I don't remember) that makes sense that it was that day because it was on the agenda...(I have the syllabus for lessons through Dec 29th...)
One woman who is a friend of mine on Facebook had printed out some things on the priesthood and whether she realized it or not, she kept pointing with her pointer finger towards me as she read about the Priesthood...whether it was intentional or not, I don't know...but it made me wonder if she had been reading my thoughts on facebook and it was her way of blasting "Come To Jesus" at me:p... (With all that , I'm not mad, I just thought it was kind of funny...and a bit bizarre.
As the lesson went on the teacher talked about how Gordon B Hinckley had said women didn't have the priesthood because the Lord made it that way...??? BUT the thoughts going through MY mind as she said that was that Gordon B Hinckley ALSO said women had "never asked for the Priesthood" in an interview, so what does that say? What WAS he saying?
Now we are asking.
All I have noticed is that in a time when enough people worked through God ( I think God always works through people whether it's bringing some who had inspiration to do it or people bringing about change when there are enough people out there ready, I think God works with them (I think that happened with my African American friends and the Priesthood) miracles happen and things change.
Thank God! (Really)
I'm not going to try to tell God whether ordaining women will happen or not. But this I know...In a recent talk to BYU, someone said that this whole womens ordination thing was a contemporary idea, that we need to think straight,(As if we are not???)my thoughts up above, it has been an issue for hundreds of years,I think we are pretty straight shooting... and then he talks about tampering with heavenly fathers plan, which I don't believe we can do anyway, I mean...he's GOD right?
One day my daughter and I were in my city (Seattle) and I saw on a ol dusty hippie car "Jesus Was A Jewish Liberal". I have that picture across the top of my facebook to remind me that his ideas, at one point, were thought of as liberal. Love your neighbor???Thats hippie talk! (As one of my friends said)
Jesus was the ultimate in service, and all around him were women. The first person he chose to show himself to after his crucifixion was a woman.
Truly, he loved and revered women.
As one of the most incredible women of our time, Mother Teresa once said
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
― Mother Teresa (Thanks Steffi)
I don't want to make waves, I want to create ripples. I want to change the world for GOOD.
Water travels. Water nourishes. Water reshapes the environment around it.
Water creates life. A force of nature...
Kind of like women, don't you think?