Sunday, October 27, 2013

Men, Women and Priesthood

  The current conflict among some members of my faith over the issue of the Priesthood continues to both puzzle and concern me.  As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka: the Mormons, I'm not totally surprised by this conflict, however.  People being who and what they are, make judgement calls, mistakes, and pass on erroneous traditions as "truth."  There are a lot of men and women out there who think that priesthood = dominance.  
That's an idea that's as old as the devil who authored it.  
The only daughter in a family with eight children, I've been surrounded by males from my earliest recollections.  Mom had 3 sons before I came along, and since she loved babies,
she continued to have babies, all of whom were boys.  
I'm convinced her 3 miscarriages were my sisters, who chickened out when they saw the odds:  
 One of the things I LOVE about this photo is how it clearly illustrates the dynamics of my upbringing.  Taken at Mom's funeral, it's the only photo of its kind.
Despite our differences and distances in time, geography, personalities and life circumstances,
we all sat together, united in love, when our mother died.  
In this, I see a culmination of miracles.  
These men, whom I viewed primarily as "the opposition" in my youth, 
are now my friends, greatest helpers and sources of support.
 None of my brothers are mean, vindictive or hurtful.
I can't relate to so-called reality shows where families treat each other with contempt,
despite divorce and some pretty hefty problems we continue to address and surmount.  
Gatherings, like this one, at Tom and Marji's, are normal occurrences.  Why?  
I submit this is a direct manifestation of the Priesthood in action.
While we continue to struggle and try to figure out how to interact with one another,
truths which Mom introduced decades ago, are at the root of every positive reality we share today.
The LDS church is one of the few organizations that is structured around the assumption that women do not need to be ordained to the Priesthood of God, because they are already partner with Him as co-creators.  The Priesthood is within women and grows with us, as we grow.
The level to which we progress and exercise that right is up to us, 
just as it is with men who are ordained.  
Somehow, that point gets missed by those crying out for more.  
The power of women is acknowledged on every level of LDS doctrine.  
And just what is Priesthood?  It is synonymous with "service."  
What did Jesus Christ, the Source of the Priesthood, do through out His life?  
He spent all of His time serving.  
Women have this capacity built in physically, emotionally, psychologically and mentally.  
Balance is the purpose for ordaining men to the Priesthood.   
The first time my son served the Sacrament to me he was 12.
As I watched him walk up, carrying the bread for me to partake,
I saw the curve of a circle...all my life was spent in 
serving my son and at that moment he was learning to serve me.  
The 2 years he spent serving a full time mission, just as his father and I had before him, 
furthered his understanding of losing himself to serve others.  His service in the Priesthood, along with  his on-going close relationship with a mom who understands it,
along with Godly men and women around him,  have helped prepare my son 
to serve and sustain a strong, independent woman as his best friend and wife. 
Together, they will help each other be "all that they can be."  
As a couple, they will prepare to create an intact, complete family unit, with loving, service-oriented, 
and unique individuals who call them mommy and daddy.  Who stays home to have the honor of being first place in molding those amazing young souls, is usually the one 
who carried that person inside her body. 
I FEEL SORRY FOR PEOPLE, male or female, who don't understand what a fantastic thing that is!!!  Sure, it's hard.  What worthwhile thing isn't?  Men can't do it.  Only women can.  The opportunity to shape a soul, to transfer beliefs, knowledge and intelligence, is not greater in any other human relationship or dynamic.  As I said earlier, being raised with so many boys, in an isolated and, well, slightly dysfunctional family, I felt like a mistake.  The gospel wasn't in my home growing up.  My father was confused about who he was and I've encountered more than my share of men who don't "get it."  Who had the strength to try to fix what was broken in our family?  Mom.  She was never aware of just how strong she really was and never fully understood the rights of the Priesthood, but
how many of the leaders in our faith were raised by their mothers alone?
The power a woman doesn't begin or end with babies and children.
It is everywhere; and it's only limited by the mind and heart of the woman.
 I can testify from first hand experience, going it alone is not the ideal.  It's exhausting.  Like my mother, but with far fewer children, I've had to carry both sides of what is supposed to be shared.  
I am astounded by women who want this weight.  

How to word this clearly?  For women to demand what men are offered in Priesthood ordination 
is to insist on carrying all the weight of all that needs to be done, alone.  
It's illogical and self-destructive, because,the truth is, 
if there's a lopsidedness to the balance of power on this planet, 
it's already on the side of women, if they'll just see it.


  1. Love, appreciate and share your conviction, Joanna...and love you too, dear friend!

    Cindy <3