Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Yes, Virginia, Girls have Priesthood Power too


Last Sunday I substituted in Primary, the 6 and 7-year-old class. Our lesson was on the priesthood and its blessings. I started my lesson by making pinwheels with the children and talking about how there are powers (like wind) that you can't see but still have the ability to do powerful things. I then moved into making the example about how God's priesthood power is similar.  It isn't something we can see with our eyes, but that we can feel it and see it by watching what it does.

Not long into our discussion of priesthood a sweet little red-headed girl beside me pipped up and exclaimed, "Well, that isn't something girls get. I won't ever get the priesthood."

She said this matter of factually, without any trace of anger or disappointment, but there was something in my spirit that rose to the surface. I heard the unspoken question in her voice and knew I couldn't let this remark slide by. So I looked her straight in the eyes and said, "That isn't true."

She perked up and looked at me curiously as I continued, "The priesthood is God's power, and it is all around you.  It is the power that makes the sun shine, the power that makes flowers grow, rain to fall, gravity to work; it is the power that helps you learn and helps you know that things are true or not true, it is the power that answers prayers and makes miracles happen. It is the most powerful power in the entire world and God gives it to both boys and girls. "

By this time I had the whole class's rapt attention. 

"Boys and girls are different and because they are different they use priesthood power in different ways. Boys get ordained to a priesthood office and can do things like baptize and pass the sacrament, because those are the priesthood jobs that God has given to them."  Then I looked down into her sweet little face and asked, "Can you think of any ways that girls use priesthood power too?" 

She thought for a moment and was just about to shake her head "no" when a smile spread across her face, "Girls get to go on missions!" she exclaimed.

"Right", I responded back, "and don't you think that Sister Missionaries need God's power to help them teach people, to help them answer people's prayers, and to do miracles." She nodded her head enthusiastically.

I turned to another little girl, whose mother was pregnant, and asked her, "What is your mom growing right now inside of her body?"

"A baby boy." 

"And do you think that God is helping her to grow that baby? She nodded her head slightly. "Your right He is. He is helping her.  He is giving her power to make a new person, and God's power is priesthood power." I saw comprehension dawn on her little face and a smile come to her eyes.

I turned to the whole class and asked, "And what about the Primary president? Do you think that God gives her power to help know how to teach and take care of all the children in primary?"

As I talked I felt the spirit washing over me in waves and I knew that this was important for these children-- boys and girls-- to understand. I picked back up my lesson book and started to hand out coloring pictures of ways in which men use the priesthood power, a father blessing his baby, a boy passing the sacrament, and men giving a blessing. As I handed them the pictures I explained,

"Today our lesson is going to be about how boys use the priesthood power, because it is really important. We need the priesthood ordinances, like baptism, to return to our Heavenly Father and God has given  boys the very important job of administering ordinances. Heavenly Father has also given girls important jobs and power too, but today we are focusing on how boys use God's power to bless others."

Later that afternoon, as I thought about the conversation I'd had in Primary with those children about women and the priesthood, I started to worry. I didn't feel like I had said anything that wasn't true, and the spirit had been strong in that little classroom, but still I worried. I envisioned a situation in which they went home and told their parents that their primary teacher had told them that girls had the priesthood too.


In fact, I later found out from a friend that this had happened. Her son, when questioned that afternoon about what he'd learned in Primary said, "I learned that girls have the priesthood!" Needless to say his parents were a bit astonished and asked him to explain. "But", she told me, "He totally understood. He explained about what priesthood power was and that girls and boys used it differently, like when girls have babies or go on missions." She also told me that once she realized I'd been substituting his class, the conversation made a whole lot more sense.

It was exciting for me to see that these little primary kids were grasping an idea that I think is sometimes hard for grown men and women to understand.  Yet, it also dawned on me that there wasn't going to be a lesson in primary about how girls used the priesthood. There would be lessons on motherhood and the Relief Society (which are both part of a girl's priesthood responsibilities) but that the words priesthood or power would most likely not be used in speaking about their roles in God's kingdom.

And that made me feel a bit sad, because our girls need that lesson, and they need those words. They need to know they have access to power, real priesthood power. That they are not just passive recipients of priesthood blessings but that they too can channel and use God's power to work miracles, to bless, to heal, to teach and to move God's work forward. That power is available to them because of the covenants they have, and will, make.




As I thought about this I wondered about why it seems so hard to talk about women having priesthood power. I feel like Elder Oaks made it really clear in his talk "The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood" that priesthood power and authority is not limited to men. He said, 
"Priesthood keys direct women as well as men, and priesthood ordinances and priesthood authority pertain to women as well as men... We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be? When a woman—young or old—is set apart to preach the gospel as a full-time missionary, she is given priesthood authority to perform a priesthood function. The same is true when a woman is set apart to function as an officer or teacher in a Church organization under the direction of one who holds the keys of the priesthood. Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties." 
And Elder Ballard also said, in an address at BYU Education Week, that,
"When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which by definition is priesthood power. While the authority of the priesthood is directed through priesthood keys, and priesthood keys are held only by worthy men, access to the power and the blessings of the priesthood is available to all of God’s children."
Yet, somehow it still feels like a taboo topic, perhaps because we still don't really understand what it means for women to have priesthood authority and power without being ordained to priesthood offices like men. I think that we are still trying to  discover just exactly what our power is, and we use every other word for it besides the word priesthood power. But like Elder Oaks said, "what other authority can it be?"

Priesthood power is the power of God, and there is no other power that governs or works righteousness and light upon this earth. In D&C 88: 6-13 the Lord explains what the power of God, or in other words priesthood power, does:
  • It is in the light of the sun, moon, and stars 
  • It is the power by which the sun, moon and starts were created 
  • It is the light of the earth and is the power by which it was created
  • It allows you to see- both physically and spiritually
  • It "quickeneth your understanding"
  • It gives life to all things
  • It is the law by which all things are governed
The light of Christ, the power of God,  is the priesthood power. Priesthood power is the ONLY type of power there is. 

Yet, the degree to which we get to use this power, or in other words the amount of power we have,  is based upon the degree to which we are obedient to God's laws. The more good choices we make, and the more covenants we make with God, the more power-- priesthood power-- our souls receive. Men can receive priesthood power and keys through ordination, but both men and women receive priesthood power when they go to the temple. The endowment of power we get in the temple is real power, and is equally accessible to both men and women who are willing to make sacred covenants to God.

It is true that men and women are different, and that our roles and our responsibilities are not the same. Men are ordained and set apart to priesthood offices, and have responsibilities that women do not have. The work men do for women through those priesthood offices is an incredible blessing, it allows both women and men to return to God's presence and to be with Him eternally. That is stewardship that God has given to men, and is one that blesses each of our lives in a powerful way.

Yet even though men have priesthood offices and stewardship that women don't doesn't make them unequal. When God sealed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden he told Adam that Eve was his "helpmeet" which does not mean "helper." It is a Hebrew word that basically means, "a companion of strength and power who has a saving power and is equal with him.” Adam and Eve were both given the power to work saving ordinances for others.  I believe that is true with all my heart, and that when men and women kneel across the altar they are spiritual equals, endowed with priesthood power.

I think the challenge is finding the words and the ways in which to talk about these things. In many ways we don't even have words in our LDS vocabulary to talk about how women harness and use priesthood power. I think our inability to talk about it, to define it, or to even understand how it works limits our ability to use it.

Yet, I have hope that we will find those words. That as we pray, study, and continue to seek understanding that we will receive greater light and knowledge, a better and more complete picture of how God's priesthood power works upon the earth. I have hope that we will be able to help our daughters and our sons understand it in ways that will make them both mighty instruments for God-- fully aware of the power they wield and the responsibilities that go with that power. And I guess that means being brave enough to tackle hard topics... even in primary.


60 comments:

  1. A million thank yous for this. You are wonderful.

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  2. I wish I had this a couple of weeks ago when we taught our CTR 6 class on the priesthood! I also had a little girl say, "Girls don't get the priesthood." Even though I understand how I use the priesthood, I was unprepared to counter what this little girl's belief was. I did acknowledge it and I may have said we use it differently, but I don't remember exactly what I said. This says it perfectly and I will talk about it in one of our upcoming lessons before we move in a few weeks.

    Also, I want to share. When I was a missionary I received a very direct prophecy for one of our investigators that I didn't share with her because I doubted I could say it "because I'm not a priesthood holder". I wish I had understood then what I do now, that spiritual gifts to prophesy are not relegate to only men who hold the priesthood, but that ANYONE acting under direction of the Holy Ghost is authority to make pronouncements, even if they seem impossible at the time.

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    1. I agree! I have had those moments where I have felt that I could have used MUCH more power but I didn't know if I was "allowed" to. Just imagine if women started really using that power they have bottled up, if we gave ourselves permission to be as powerful as we really are.

      I wrote about a time similar to yours here: http://www.womeninthescriptures.com/2013/02/a-blessing-from-my-daughter.html

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  3. Wonderful Heather! You were in just the right place at the right time. I'm saving this.

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  4. I had this exact revelation when I taught Elder Oak's talk in relief society! I was like "wait, did Elder Oak's really just say that men and women have the same priesthood power?" I had to read his talk multiple times to make sure I wasn't preaching false doctrine. But once I knew I understood correctly I was confused on why every woman and church leader and parent wasn't screaming this from the rooftop! Understanding how God delegates the keys and authority of the priesthood to his children is a game changer. Knowing that the relief society president has the same priesthood authority as her male counterpart is huge. Why don't we scream that at EVERY woman in the church from the minute they are born? For whatever reason, God decided to delegate priesthood keys solely to the men, but his authority He delegates to everyone. Amazing. I mean, He delegated His priesthood to Jesus to create the earth, and He promises that one day we will create worlds using the exact same power! So OF COURSE He is going to let us use the priesthood as a trial run before we get to heaven.

    And Dave and I were talking about an article (that you are probably responding to) that I read on Facebook about how women are treated unequal in the church because they often have to "go through men" to receive certain blessings. My first response was, we have been told since we were really little that we have to be married to reach the highest kingdom of glory. Why do you think that is? It's because the priesthood (of both a man and a woman) isn't complete unless they hold it together. We can't create worlds alone. And when Dave and I were discussing this, he said "well, I have to go through you to have children". I thought that was a good parallel. But my only problem with that is, and probably with many women, is that some women can't have kids. And God does not deny any worthy male of the priesthood. No male is told that he has to wait until the afterlife to exercise his priesthood authority, so women shouldn't either. And I don't have a good answer for women who are struggling with infertility on why that is and what that means about their power as a woman, but I can understand how that would be incredibly difficult and why it is hard to hear that their priesthood authority is sometimes wrapped up with having children. All I know, is that women have priesthood authority. And they exercise it on a regular basis. And that is amazing.

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    1. Wow I didn't realize how long that was until I published it!

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    2. Such good ideas Hilary! I love Dave's thoughts about that he has to go through you to create children. I think that one of the truths of female priesthood power is that it is INNATELY tied to our bodies. We are creators, at our very cores and that power is tied to our female body. I think that if more women truly understood the power that they have in their body, even if they will never be able to give birth to a child, it would really change things. I think this is one of the reasons that Satan targets women's bodies so heavily. They are powerful and full of priesthood power, and if women don't realize what they already have Satan can easily deceive them into giving it away or under appreciating. I have so many more thoughts on this! It is powerful stuff.

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    3. And keep in mind, some women who don't have children, the infertility isn't their own but their husband's infertility. Sometimes it's combined. It's more than the physical act, and like sister dew said several years ago "are we not all mothers?" The priesthood power we are endowed with is in our innate and internal/eternal mothering love. Without THAT priesthood power, bearing children would be completely void of any and all goodness and they would just as easily be left to fend for self as kept and cared for out of curiosity, but soon left from boredom and would therefore die. It is because of the priesthood power delegated to women that we are bonded to and deeply desire to nurture babies and children. Such a beautiful gift! That gift does not end with our own children but may be shared with and used with all whom we come into contact with. So those without children of their own are still provided multiple avenues to use the power in which they have been endowed. :)

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    4. I'm coming a little late to the table, but I had a thought regarding infertility and why God might allow worthy women to be denied children, but He doesn't deny priesthood offices to worthy men. I think there are cases where worthy men HAVE been denied priesthood offices for one reason or another. Up until the 1978 revelation, a lot of black men were denied it, for example. The true reason for that is not known, but I believe a lot of black men up to that time were worthy of ordination. The reformers were all denied priesthood offices because the Gospel was not on the earth in fullness during their lives. Alvin Smith was similarly denied. I believe many if not all of those men were worthy of it. In our day, there are lots of good men who don't receive a priesthood office because "they know not where to find it." It is not that they are unworthy, it's merely that no one ever told them. And according to section 137, eternally speaking they will be treated as if they had received it while on earth. I would also note that men struggle with infertility as well, as mentioned above, and there are women who must deal with the lack of a priesthood holder in their home for various reasons. There are a multitude of blessings for us all to receive, and different people receive different sets of blessings in this life. But as we learn in the parable of the talents, as long as we magnify whatever we are given, we will receive all blessings in the hereafter through the Savior's grace. I hope that helps.

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  5. I. Love. This. And you too. :) Thanks for a lovely, thought-provoking post, Heather.

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  6. YES! Thank you. I know the spirit must have been strong in your classroom because I felt it very powerfully as I was reading this post. You've articulated perfectly the feelings of my heart.

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  7. Wow! Thank you so much! A great way to explain things!

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  8. Best explanation ever! Thank you so much!

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  9. I love this, heather! That is exactly right, and I wish we all spoke about it openly. I think people are rightly afraid to misuse the knowledge we receive in the temple about the priesthood. But we shouldn't pretend we didn't receive that knowledge either. I think it is pretty clear in the temple that both women and men receive priesthood power.

    It strikes me that men are 'put in charge' of getting us back to our father in heaven From this fallen world, and women are 'put in charge' of obtaining knowledge and learning how to use our agency. Example: Adam and Eve. Just a thought.

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    1. I think of things a little differently. If you want to lay it out in broad strokes like that, I think that *I* would say, "Men are put in charge of the ordinances necessary for successfully exiting" - basically the same as you said. But for women, my feeling is that it would be better to say it, "Women are in charge of successfully entering." I don't think that we are entitled to one bit of revelation that a man can't have -- and I don't believe for an instant the stuff about Eve being wise to disobey Father. It is *never* wise to disobey our Father in Heaven, AND we are promised in 1 Nephi 3:7 that for every single commandment, there is a way to be obedient. It is contrary to the nature of God to set us up in a catch 22, where we are forced to disobey. If you think about the Temple, then you will realize that the need for a Savior was not a foregone conclusion. That is, to my mind, a hint of the other way, the obedient way. I think, too, that some of the lines said in the Temple hint that it was a question of both timing and authority. And that makes a lot of sense to me. My 8 yo may not drive right now, it is forbidden, and doing so will carry some serious consequences for him. But, when the time comes that he has matured and is ready, I will quite cheerfully give him the keys. I suspect it was something like that. But I don't believe for an instant that disobedience to God is ever, ever wise.

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    2. I agree with Ritsumei. Eve's calling was to initiate life so that Adam's calling - to bring about salvation - could be accomplished. One doesn't work without the other. She did her hard thing, and he did his - and Christ made it all work.

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  10. Yes. A million times yes. The entire post is perfection.

    I first understood this just a few years ago in sunday school. The lesson was on priesthood and an older divorced woman who had raised 8 kids on her own said, "I've never understood how these lessons applies to me." A very intense discussion happened after that, among which someone pointed out that priesthood offices administer priesthood ordinances--thus when you make an ordinance you get priesthood power. Baptism, confirmation, taking the sacrament, the temple--all of it is administering priesthood power to us. A few weeks after that Elder Anderson gave his talk in conference that talked about a single mother listening to the primary sing "mine is a home where every hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood power." and falsely thinking that line didn't apply to her home. This whole sequence of events changed the way I viewed priesthood.

    I've heard people write this off as just an issue of semantics--but it's so much more. When single mothers are saying that priesthood lessons don't apply to them or grieve that they don't have the priesthood in the home, could it be any more obvious that we're short changing women in how we traditionally talk about this? We're robbing women of realizing the power of their contributions when they keep their covenants. I'm so glad we as a church are beginning to understand this better. The realization has mattered to me a lot, personally.

    Again, this post is perfect.

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  11. I'm sure when the new Primary curriculum comes out there will be an effort made for children to understand priesthood power better. Never you fear!

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  12. I'm sure when the new Primary curriculum comes out there will be an effort made for children to understand priesthood power better. Never you fear!

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  13. Amen. This is essentially what I told my young women when I had to teach about women and the priesthood but you have pulled in some awesome quotes to match.

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  14. I love this! I hope you don't mind but I'd love to link to it on our Women in the Gospel page at thewonderwomen.squarespace.com. It's just too perfect. :)

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  15. Heather, you are a rock star. I read this to my husband because I was so excited about the clarity of your explanation, and now we're both giddy and discussing all the nuances and ramifications and opportunities that this perspective gives us. My 2 1/2 year old daughter has been big on giving "special blessings" to her dolls lately and I've wondered how to explain the priesthood to her in a way that doesn't shut her down. This is just perfect. Thank you thank you for sharing!

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  16. Heather, you have written an excellent article. As I read, and re-read, I felt the Holy Spirit confirm the truthfulness of the words you share here. Thank you.

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  17. These are some very interesting thoughts. I have suspected for quote some time that women's foreordination had much of ordination in it. I'm going to have to ponder some of this stuff you've written. I suspect that my husband will like these thoughts as well. It is interesting to note that in some of the very early Relief Society meetings the sisters gave each other blessings. I have often wondered what happened to that practice. Why don't we do that any more? Brother Joseph, as I understand it, did not tell them that it was incorrect, at least, not so far as I have read. There is much that I don't understand about the relationship of women and the priesthood. I am content to wait for the Lord to teach me, but I do want Him to teach me. Brother Brigham once said, "Brethren, we live far below our privileges." I don't want to do that. I think you have some new pieces of the puzzle for me here. Thank you.

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  18. The history of women giving blessings is fascinating. If you are interested I wrote about it here http://www.womeninthescriptures.com/2011/02/women-giving-blessings-in-early-days-of.html?m=1

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    1. Oh, thank you! This is a topic that has drawn me ever since I first heard the stories of that first Relief Society meeting. It's one of those things that I've been watching out for for a long time, but have never made time for finding the information because I've felt drawn in other directions. I'm excited to go read what you've written. (I've read several of your essays, now. Fabulous blog. Thank you.)

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  19. I feel like the confusion shown by women wanting priesthood authority has led our leaders to be more clear on priesthood power, almost pleading with us sometimes to understand. I love Elder Anderson's talk where he tells the story of the woman with only her baptism and confirmation, and the power she is in her home And the effects of that. Sheri Dew also gave a great women's conference talk in 2013, "Sweet Above All That is Sweet" that addresses this as well. I thought two RS lessons the past couple of years on the priesthood, and like another commenter mentioned, I read and re-read tall to make sure I wasn't teaching false doctrine. The women kept responding with, "My husband ..." I think it's an important doctrine to understand.

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  20. This. Is. Awesome. And an answer to a prayer. Thank you.

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  21. Next time you do initiatories, and you are waiting between names, close your eyes and listen - and you will hear what the priesthood sounds like in women's voices.

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  22. The light of Christ, the power of God, is the priesthood power. Priesthood power it is the ONLY type of power there is.
    This is so wrong. What you are actually stating is that all men and women on the earth hold the priesthood when you talk about the "light of Christ". It's a nice thought but you are HIGHLY misunderstanding the REAL authority of God. You are diminishing it to something it's not. Your thinking both intellectually, doctrinally, and spiritually is NOT accurate. It's dangerous to convey such misunderstanding. The authority of God is real. It doesn't just light upon us. I know it comes from a good place in your heart but intellectually, doctrinally, and spiritually you're wrong.

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    1. Glutinick, thanks for your comments and the opportunity to explain myself a bit better. I think you really pinpointed why this topic and doctrine is so tricky and hard to understand. On one hand we often define priesthood as "the power of God given to man" and that is a definition that is really broad. D&C 88 it talks about the power of God and what it does, which can also be called the light of Christ because Christ gets his power from God. Christ's power is God's power. Also the Holy Ghost's power is God's power, and God has told us that his power is priesthood power. David O. Mckay said,

      "Priesthood is inherent in the Godhead. It is authority and power which has its source only in the Eternal Father and his Son Jesus Christ. . . .In seeking the source of the priesthood, . . . we can conceive of no condition beyond God himself. In him it centers. From him it must emanate. Priesthood, being thus inherent in the Father, it follows that he alone can give it to another. [CR, October 1965, 103; quoted in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay (2003), 115]

      The truth is that EVERY person who comes into the world is God's child and is given a portion of God's power, this is what we call the light of Christ. If you think about God being light the sun-- the source of all power-- then each of us comes to earth with maybe the equivalent of a candle of his power, but each of us has a little, which is an incredible thing to think about. Yet as a person lives their life in accordance with God's laws they can gain more light-- or power (it is interesting to study D&C 93 about light, truth and power). This is why even people who aren't LDS, but who follow God's commandments, are able to work miracles, heal and prophesy. Just think about the Pope, he is still able to do INCREDIBLE things in the name of God because he is aligned with his power. God is not a miser with his power, he is ready and willing to give it to all his children, if they are obedient. With that said though one of the biggest blessings of the restored church is that we have ordinances which allow us to get more power from God. It is like going from a candle of power to a blow torch, it is still the same power you just have an increased amount of it, which is a huge blessing of our restored church.

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    2. Yet the confusing part is that in the LDS church we often talk about how what makes us unique is the priesthood. That the priesthood has been restored and that we are the only church on the earth who operates under the priesthood. Yet what we really mean when we say this is that our church is unique not because all our members are somehow more righteous than another church's but because God has organized HIS church again on the earth and restored the Priesthood keys, authority and power to performance the saving ordinances that allow God's children to return to live with him again. That is what makes us unique. Is that we have priesthood authority and keys, which is huge. I think what Elder oaks and Elder Ballard were trying to explain in the talks is that even though those keys and those ordinances are only performed by men, women also have access to that power and that authority, like in the temple and in their callings in the church. The women are also organized under the priesthood, and in the manner of the priesthood (to paraphrase Joseph Smith) even though they don't hold keys.

      I don't know if I explained this well enough for you to understand but I think that it IS truth that priesthood power originates from God, that He is the supreme being of the universe and that his power is the only power there is. Jesus and the Holy Ghost also have that power but it is because they are unified with God, the source of power. And the most incredible part is that god wants us to be like HIm, he wants us to have as much priesthood power as he does, and he is generous with it when we live by his rules. I know that this isn't the way that we are use to talking about, but I think that it is true. Though of course I am always open to the fact that there is more for me to learn, which I am finding is usually the case :)

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  24. This was so well written. I mailed a ink to several women who I have talked to recently about expressing ourselves with language that teaches doctrine correctly. Thank-you.

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  25. You are misunderstanding the powers of discernment with the power and authority of the priesthood. We are given the gift of the holy ghost. We are set apart to a calling. We receive discernment as to how to do our callings. This is NOT priesthood. This is utilizing the gift of the Holy Ghost to gain powers of discernment for what we are called to do. It's light. It's NOT the power of the priesthood. This is wrong on so many levels. We can be the means by which the priesthood can flow THROUGH us in the temple. We do NOT hold it. We do not HAVE it. It's a REAL authority. It's a REAL power. It doesn't light upon us. This is simply wrong.

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    1. You are correct Elder Packer gave a talk in 1993 about this. Let me go see if I can find the link...

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    2. Here it is:

      https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1993/04/the-temple-the-priesthood?lang=eng

      I believe that this GC talk was in response to one of the September Six who was teaching the same thing about the priesthood as this blog post.

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    3. Shannon, Thank you for that talk, it is a really good one and I hadn't read it before. I think though you might be misunderstanding my post, because in Elder Packer's talk he said,

      "Some members of the Church are now teaching that priesthood is some kind of a free-floating authority which can be assumed by anyone who has had the endowment. They claim this automatically gives one authority to perform priesthood ordinances. They take verses of scripture out of context and misinterpret statements of early leaders—for instance, the Prophet Joseph Smith—to sustain their claims."

      I hope that this isn't what you are thinking I was trying to say in my post, because I am not. I do not think that women should perform ordinances or that they should have priesthood offices like men, or that because of women's experiences in the temple that they can act independently of the priesthood authority. I think perhaps what is getting confusing is me using the world "priesthood power" for what we normally call "god's power." But the point I was trying to make is that all power is the same power, it all comes from God and whether you are a RS president getting revelation about the needs of your ward, a mother getting revelation about her family, or a stake president getting revelation about the needs of your stake you still are relying on the same power, even though your responsibilities and positions are different.

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  26. Heather-The authority to act in the name of God is conferred by the laying on of hands by those who are in AUTHORITY and by NO OTHER WAY. PERIOD. That ANYONE would state otherwise is COMPLETELY WRONG. There is NOTHING confusing about the restoration of the priesthood. It's simple. That you would state that since we are all born with the "light of Christ" that we all can have authority if we are just worthy enough is FALSE. The light of Christ is LIGHT. It is NOT. authority. Saying it does NOT make it so. The AUTHORITY to act in the name of God can ONLY be conferred by the laying on of hands. PERIOD. The pope has NO AUTHORITY. You and I have NO AUTHORITY. We have the gift of the Holy Ghost which is LIGHT. it is NOT authority. We are able to be conduits through which the priesthood PASSES THROUGH in the temple. THAT is IT. That you would state otherwise is COMPLETELY IRRESPONSIBLE and COMPLETELY FALSE. DOCTRINE. You are wrong. VERY wrong. The priesthood of God is a REAL POWER it is not some mist from Heaven we can all RECEIVE. We are affected by the priesthood. We are greatly blessed by the priesthood. We are given ordinances and blessing through the priesthood. We DO NOT HAVE IT. The priesthood is REAL. It does not talk in circles as you are doing. It’s ONLY conferred by the laying on of hands. PERIOD.

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    1. You are right, the Pope doesn't have any priesthood authority or keys. Priesthood authority is something that can only be given by either ordination or being set apart by another person who has priesthood keys, which is only available through the restored church. Good point of clarification.

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    2. Glutinik--I think you are looking at part of what the priesthood is-the administering of the ordinances-but there is much more to it. Creation. Laws. Eternal life. All that is around us. The priesthood does even the prophet not one bit of good if he is not sealed to a WOMAN. He cannot enter the highest degree of the celestial kingdom without her-thus-to me-this implies his priesthood is not complete without Her. Heavens-he cannot even create a new life without a woman. Therefore, how can the priesthood power be complete without a woman? If you look at priesthood in a limited way-like being a bishop or giving a blessing or baptizing someone-then you are correct. Women don't have it. But if we are talking big picture-creating worlds without end...it takes both a man and a woman together-that is what real priesthood is.

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  27. Hi, Sister Farrell. Thanks for your great posts! I think you will find this VERY interesting, and it may supply some of the language you are searching for. http://thegoateskids.blogspot.com/2013/04/how-men-and-women-share-priesthood-power.html?showComment=1420590567490#c7316873786379682502

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  28. His priesthood is ABSOLUTELY complete without a women. His salvation is NOT. Do not confuse the two. The Priesthood is ONLY conferred by the laying on of hands by those in AUTHORITY through ordination. We absolutely have access to the blessings of the priesthood in very tangible ways. We do not "hold" that power. To state otherwise is false, misleading, and confusing to people. I think people don't understand that even though we don't "hold" that power that it's affect on our lives as women is tangible and real. But we MUST BE CLEAR the ENTIRE crux of the restoration is based upon the restoration of the priesthood. If it is taught in a way that CONFUSES that point then the ENTIRE RESTORATION comes into question. PLEASE be careful how this is presented. (It SHOULDN'T be presented at ALL). SO MUCH misunderstanding comes from posts like this. We MUST be CLEAR about the BASIC DOCTRINES of the Gospel.

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    1. Glutinick, I believe you are confusing priesthood *authority* with *power* in the priesthood, they are not the same thing.

      Priesthood authority is the right to act in the name of God to manage affairs of the church and to perform priesthood ordinances for others. The authority to manage the affairs of the church may be delegated to any worthy member as appropriate. Authority to perform priesthood ordinances may also be delegated to worthy members as appropriate. Usually authority to perform ordinances is only delegated to other priesthood holders but, as in the Initiatory ordinance where it would be inappropriate for brethren be to in that area of the temple with the sisters, to those who have not been ordained to offices in the priesthood. What authority is delegated? Priesthood authority, limited authority yes but priesthood authority regardless. A Relief Society president (or any sister) acts with limited, delegated priesthood authority to fulfill her calling. Elder Oaks, an apostle of the Lord, said that this is the way it is. Argue that point with him.

      Power in the priesthood is where things always become confused. What is the power of the priesthood? There is no distinct power of the priesthood. There is only the authority of God—the priesthood—and the power of God; which is to say, the powers of heaven. Doc & Cov 121.36 makes this very clear: "That the rights [authority] of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness." There is only one power of God and that power is accessed—controlled or handled—only upon the principles of righteousness. Priesthood does not give one the right to access the powers of heaven. Baptism does not give one the right to access the powers of heaven. Being born gives one the right to access the powers of heaven. There is no restriction on who may access the power of God, "he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." The only restriction on accessing the power of God is righteousness.

      The authority of God (priesthood) is—in this life—restricted to men but may, as appropriate, be delegated. The power of God is available to all, equally.

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  29. What a beautiful and wonderful post! Thank you so much!

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  30. Whew! What a string of comments. I'm not sure I read them all, so maybe this point was made, but I think that as women, when we are set apart by the laying on of hands for a calling, we are giving a portion of God's priesthood power to fulfill that calling. As Elder Oaks stated, "What other power could it be?" But we do not hold priesthood offices.

    I must fully disagree with the priesthood power being the only power there is, though. If that were the case, I doubt there would be as much evil and sorrow and pain in the world as there is. There are true powers of darkness at work around us just as well as God's power. Joseph Smith stated it himself in his account of the First Vision. There is opposition in all things and we know that righteousness will overcome evil in the end, but evil powers do have their powerful influence until Christ comes again.

    Good post and good thoughts!

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  31. Good point ! You are right there are evil powers that are very real. I should have made it more clear, there is only one power that works light and righteousness in the earth.. Everything good comes from god.

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  32. I think this is great way to explain it to children so that they begin to understand how women are blessed by the Priesthood (meaning the authority of God, not the bearers of the Priesthood specifically).

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  33. Hi, I just wanted to share something you might be interested in, if you didn't already know about it. Its an amazing book no longer in print (but there is a blog http://thegoateskids.blogspot.com/2009/10/power-and-covenants-men-women-and.html) that my grandmother shared with me. It really opened my eyes to understanding more about the preisthood. Its call Power and Covenants: Men, Women and the Priesthood.

    Everything you said in your article is something I have learned and know to be true. If you haven't read this book you need to! He describes priesthood authority and priesthood power on a vertical and horizontal line kinda like a plus sign. The vertical line is the authority, the way that God chooses to order and structure his church. God has an order to all things, and he must delegate who can do what and when which is why we have authority from him to the prophet, to the apostles and right on down. However the part I didn't really realize or know til I read this book was that the horizontal line is the power of the priesthood and every man woman an child have access to it, and it is based upon their faith and obedience. Women do have the power to call upon God and angels, the power to use the gifts God has given her to do her work here, etc. A man with authority but without faith has no power in the priesthood. He explains it so very well and just expands the understanding.

    I think a lot of our understanding of the priesthood gets confused by the words we choose to use when describing it, Do we each really understand what is meant by Authority, or Power? In my ward and lots of others from the sound of it, when the bishopric member excuses the Aaronic priesthood to sit with their families they always say, "We now excuse the priesthood to go and sit with their families." I don't think they realize that these men are not the priesthood, but only bearers of the it, or representative of it. Not that i think they mean any harm by saying that, it just goes to show how confusing the verbiage and wording can be. Thanks for a great article!

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  34. This was so eloquently, yet simply written. God truly is opening the heavens and blessing us with greater light and understanding. Thank you for putting into words what I have felt in my heart! And thank you especially for sharing how you were able to teach this doctrine to children!

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  35. Heather,
    I taught this lesson today. All week I had struggled with how I was going to present it. I had even thought about focusing on the miracles and really downplaying the priesthood part of the lesson. Then I thought I should google how other people have taught this lesson - specifically to young girls - and I found your post. It was just what I needed. (I totally cried when I read it.) We had a great lesson and it was a huge blessing to feel comfortable with what I was teaching. Thanks! Leila Gardunia

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  36. I think we need to take this blog post and adapt it to lesson form! Thank you for sharing this. I am currently called to youth Sunday school and the whole month is devoted to teaching about the Priesthood. I am trying to find materials that will help the girls feel of their worth. I will definitely be using points from here. Thank you.

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  37. This was such a great article! Thank you for your thoughts! Here is some food for thought as well: a 70 year old woman in my ward calls herself our "resident Mormon feminist" and she likens women's experiences with the priesthood and power and authority to Dorothy and her red shoes. Dorothy had those red shoes on her feet during her whole journey, but simply didn't understand what she already had and brought with her. My friend gives these examples: when she got set apart as a temple ordinance worker, she said she listened very carefully to see if any authority was given to her in that blessing, but it was not. YET, during her work in the temple, as we know, she repeated over and over about having authority. She wasn't given any more authority than whatever was already in her. I asked my mom about her setting apart to be an ordinance worker, and she said the same thing- no one ever said that they were giving her authority at that point. So, somehow, she already had all the authority she needed as a worthy, covenant-making, temple recommend- holding woman.

    Another thought about this is that as long as 12 year old girls are worthy to enter the temple, they can get a temple recommend and go. Boys, on the other hand, need not JUST be worthy, they also need to be ordained to the Aaronic priesthood. They can't go to the temple without that extra step, yet girls don't need that.

    My friend's point is that, perhaps, women come to earth already having authority within them (obviously requisite is worthiness and covenant making and keeping to utilize that authority). Whether there is a different name for that authority besides "priesthood authority," I don't know, but nobody can dispute the fact that women aren't given any extra authority, yet utilize what is already in them throughout their lives. We, like Dorothy, already have been given what we need, we just sometimes don't see it.

    Meg

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  38. I agree with an exception. You said toward the end that all power is priesthood power and I agree to a degree, but there is in this world also an influence of Satan's priesthood. All power is not of God. Some is of the adversary. We would be naive to imagine that all power in this world is of God.
    You said also, that the light of Christ IS THE priesthood power. In truth, the light of Christ is manifestation of God's priesthood power, but it is not the definition of God's priesthood power.
    Otherwise, loved it.

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  39. I just taught the "The Priesthood Helps Me" lesson to my CTR4 class and knee I wanted to use this. I did the pinwheel demonstration and mentioned missions/babies/Primary teachers. I clarified that some men have keys and use it that way, but men and women can use the power and need it for many things. Thank you!

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  40. Great article about priesthood power in relation to light of Christ...
    "The light of Christ is the power by which all things are governed. (See D&C 88:13) It has been and can be appropriately described as priesthood, or power of God."


    http://emp.byui.edu/OpenshawR/Pearl%20of%20Great%20Price/Statements%20on%20Light.htm

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  41. I am using this to help in my primary lesson today as well. Thank you for articulating so beautifully the idea I was hoping to convey! You were an answer to prayer today.

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