Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I'm a Mormon, I'm a Feminist, & I Don't Want to Be Ordained to the Priesthood

This is my husband and I. We have a lot of similarities, which is why we get along so well, but we also have a fair amount of differences. He loves action movies and would happily watch them all day everyday while I like to limit mine to a few a year. He is very outdoorsy, whereas I may have to have knee surgery as a result of the last 18-mile hike we did. He is starving the moment he wakes up, but I can’t even look at food until after I’ve been awake for at least an hour. He likes to get out of bed super early in the morning while I’m content to sleep in a bit more. He loves a big steak whereas I would never say no to a big slab of tofu. He has huge, bulging biceps while mine are still waiting to develop. He has the Priesthood, but I do not. Now the way that last statement is structured may sound a bit unfair because he possesses something that I do not. But that’s not how I see it in the least.
Our Heavenly Father created all of us. He could have easily decided to make us all the same and just have one gender for human beings. Certain animals are asexual and He could have created us that same way. But He didn’t. He chose to make us inherently different. Our hormones, anatomical features, and physiology are different from one another. What was the purpose in all this? We may not have all the answers, but here is what I do know. As men and women, we deserve all of the same rights. There is a near-universal agreement on this. From voting, to careers, to expressing our opinions, women absolutely deserve the same rights as men. Our society has evolved to embrace these truths. However, I don’t view being ordained to the Priesthood as a right that women need.
We know that men and women each play integral parts in the Plan of Salvation. As women, it is our privilege to bring human life from the presence of our Heavenly parents into this earthly existence. Men have the privilege of administering the ordinances of salvation necessary to bring these earthly children back into the presence of their Heavenly parents. In order for men to do this, they need the Priesthood power. Only men who are found worthy can be ordained to the Priesthood.  As women, I believe we have already been given the power necessary to allow us to bring children into the world. This power was given to ALL women, regardless of worthiness.
Learning to nurture and minister to children, whether they are my own or others’, will help me to reach my ultimate heavenly potential, and worthily holding and exercising the Priesthood will help my husband reach his ultimate heavenly potential as well. While being a father will certainly help him too, he needs to be ordained to the Priesthood during his earthly life to achieve all that he is capable of in the future. I believe I already have all the power I need to fulfill my role in the Plan of Salvation.
Men do not receive any more blessings than women because they hold the Priesthood. Women are just as blessed as men are and for all of us, those blessings are contingent on our faith and obedience to the Lord and His commandments. One of my responsibilities as a member of the Church is to sustain Priesthood leaders and have faith in their Priesthood power because their power blesses my life.
I also do not feel the need to ever be Bishop, Stake President, or an Apostle for the Church. Not because I think women are not worthy or capable of holding such positions, but rather because men need to hold these positions in order to learn to love and serve those around them using their Priesthood authority. That is part of their ultimate calling. Women will have their roles to play in Heaven as well. We learn as the primary nurturers of children, ministering to them and encouraging and preparing them to receive all the ordinances of salvation. Women hold callings in the church that are just as important as callings that men do. And there are many assignments in our church that can be held by men or women. And I’m good with that. If women needed to hold Priesthood callings in the church in order to learn and grow to achieve their ultimate potential, there is no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father would make sure that happened. But He hasn’t done so, and I highly doubt He ever will because the doctrines of our Church do not change in response to worldly opinion. The Church has changed through the years, there is no doubting that, but the changes that have been made have not been doctrinal changes. Women being ordained to the Priesthood would be in conflict with the doctrine of the Church that has always existed.
I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. I know that He sees my husband and me as equal partners in this life, and the next. I know that He will ensure (as long as I am righteous and obedient) that I am given every opportunity I need in this life in order to reach my full, divine potential just as my Heavenly Mother has. I know that we have a true Prophet of God leading our Church today who cares about and loves the women of the Church and hears our opinions and counsels with us on every Church matter. I have no doubt that if the Plan of Salvation required women to have the Priesthood, God would have made that known. But He has not. And that doesn’t bother me at all. I know that I don’t have all the answers, but I know that Jesus lives and that this is His church and that it is being carried out just as He desires it, and I know enough to rejoice in being a woman and to learn what I need to while here on Earth. And that is good enough for me. 

What I've said here is obviously not doctrine, but the following articles (all by LDS women) are definitely worth reading and pondering and I'd encourage you to check them out for yourselves.


  1. I love it! I see myself blessed enough to carry and bring children into the world. I don't need to hold the priesthood to do this. That is my husbands job so that he may lead our family back to our Heavenly Father. - Jennifer McLiver

  2. Thank you for your post. Let me add a new argument that you maybe have not considered.

    I've read a fair number of these feminist-Mormon blog posts now, some for why women should have the priesthood, and some for why they don't need it.

    One perspective that is often lacking is regarding men's need for manhood rituals. (See http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/11/09/coming-of-age-the-importance-of-male-rites-of-passage/) In this respect, men and women tend to view their gender identity differently. In general, the transition from girl to woman is a matter of maturity, and when the bridge is crossed is defined by a mix of biological, psychological, and emotional maturity. However, when that transition is made, women seldom doubt if they are still women sometime in the future. They are a woman, and that's that.

    With men it is different. The transition from boyhood into manhood is not a permanent change of states, and emasculation can happen at any time (such as a mid-life crisis). This is why traditional manliness (as we think of it) is obsessed with coming of age rituals, feats of strength, and the callous pride we often negatively associate with manliness. It is to constantly reaffirm their manliness. For men, the title of manhood is a dynamic state, and must be constantly maintained. One of the spiritual and psychological consequences of this is that men often must be called or invited to be something more. Without external impetus, men often fall into the gray realm of mediocrity. Generally, men do not excel until they are asked to.

    I suspect these posts lack this perspective because they are written by women who in general don't need to reaffirm their identity. This perhaps may explain why there is a formal structure in the church (the priesthood) that asks men to be more, and there is no such formal structure for women.

  3. Joran I really appreciate you talking about the ritualistic side that men have the need to fulfill in life. I have studied that a bit in one of my communication classes but I hadn't thought of it in terms of the Priesthood before. Thank you for sharing that perspective! It's a really good point to keep in mind.


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