Priesthood, Women, and Non-Agency

Two anecdotes: 1) Recently our bishop was teaching an Aaronic Priesthood lesson to a small group of young men that included a newly ordained deacon, the only deacon in the ward and the de facto president of the quorum. The earnest (and highly educated) bishop was zeroing in on the deacon, explaining that as the deacon’s quorum president he was one of only four people in the ward who hold the power to turn keys. 2) A (different) bishop was teaching a sharing time lesson in Primary in which some Aaronic priesthood holders were present. Speaking of Joseph Smith’s restoration of the priesthood, he said that the priesthood is the power to act in God’s name, which is perhaps the most common definition of priesthood in the church. He pointed to one of the priests in the audience and said “Matt has the power to act in God’s name, isn’t it great that Joseph Smith restored it?” I happened to be looking at my (9-year-old) daughter, and she was crestfallen.

Aside from the obvious problems of a) how this means the deacon in at least one sense trumps the Relief Society President, b) how easily adopted this kind of rhetoric is in all-male contexts, and c) how characteristically blind men are (myself included) to the way such rhetoric affects non-males, another problem strikes me: that of agency.

The common usage of agency in the Church is synonymous with abstract notions of freewill and choice, in other words, an intellectual capacity that involves discerning right from wrong and then acting accordingly. But this is not how anthropologists and professional sports (etc.) use the term. Agency, there, is the power to act, and free agency is the power to determine one’s own fate, as opposed to having other agents (people who act) make decisions and take action for you. David Bokovoy takes up this topic well and at greater length and concludes that a “man acting as an agent [is] one who is held responsible for a stewardship given to him by God.”

The gendered language here is not accidental (nor does it originate with Bokovoy). When agency is thus nuanced, it is clear that women are stripped of it. They have no power to act in God’s name, unless that agency is bequeathed them from a male with such agency. The stewardships of men and women are lopsided in the church, and therefore their agency is too. This is why my daughter was crestfallen–it was reinforced to her, once again, that the power to act in the name of God is something that, by virtue of her having been born female, she is excluded from. In this respect, she currently has no agency.

  • Kristine

    Yes. And this is the discussion we need to be having, not the one about whether the situation is painful for a significant enough fraction of Mormon women to be worth doing something about. It’s a theological and ethical problem, not a pastoral one.

  • Old Dad

    Handbook 2 speaks to authority and power of the priesthood, with a fairly lengthy explanation of authority, ordinances, keys, and so forth. The “power” aspect really isn’t discussed until 2.4.3. I didn’t quite follow your agency argument. In women’s professional sports, aren’t there free agents? Under the law, can’t a woman execute a power of attorney on her own behalf without any help or participation of a male? And, I think in the church we refer to agency in general as “moral agency.” I’m not sure why my wife and three daughters have never expressed the feelings allegedly felt by your daughter. Perhaps young men appear crestfallen when they are told they will never carry a baby to term. I wouldn’t disagree that your daughter does not have the “authority” of God. But I don’t find the lack thereof tied to moral agency at all. Perhaps if you explained that one day, presuming she lives righteously and participates in temple ordinances, she will be a queen and priestess, it might asuage her feelings.

  • Kristine

    I think we could look at the rhetoric in the Priesthood session of GenCon as compared to the rhetoric in General RS meetings as support for your thesis–the men are called to act and often chastised for their sins; the women are “helped”/manipulated to _feel_ things.

  • Howard

    Excellent post! I know a number of non-member women who regularly apply God’s power to the mortal world including healers, psychotherapists and a medical doctor who use spiritual gifts in their practice. Some have saved lives, many have reduced suffering. It’s time to get over this silly implied exclusion of Mormon females and realize that ordination is simply a formal invitation (currently to males) to engage God’s power and use it in the LDS community IF you have actually gained access to it or pretend to use it if you haven’t. It is also important to realize that religion, ordinance and ritual are all moralization of spirituality. Don’t confuse the finger pointing at the moon with the moon! Allow women to give hands on blessings as they once did and to hold their babies while being given a name and a blessing and when more women desire it, ordain women.

    The church is stuck in a mortal version of the gospel enforcing OT behavioral rules while giving only occasional lip service to the greater beatitudes. The kingdom of God is within you, yet the church acts as if building the kingdom of God is about building buildings. Be still and know that I am God, yet the church creates and reveres activity; being active is good, inactive is bad. It has lost sight of the goal. When we focus on God’s power instead of the trappings of power we begin to see that the Priesthood is currently the latter.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

    “I happened to be looking at my (9-year-old) daughter, and she was crestfallen.”

    That is the killer aspect of all this for me. My daughter (7) has moved this beyond a theoretical matter for me.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

    “Perhaps young men appear crestfallen when they are told they will never carry a baby to term.”

    Or maybe not.

  • Kristine

    ” But I don’t find the lack thereof tied to moral agency at all. Perhaps if you explained that one day, presuming she lives righteously and participates in temple ordinances, she will be a queen and priestess, it might asuage her feelings.”

    Well, it might, right up until the moment when she discovers that her queendom and priestesshood depend (wait for it) on a man.

  • Old Dad

    Kriotine #7 – no more than a becoming a king and priest depends on a woman. The last time I checked, it’s takes a man and woman together to obtain the highest degree of the celestial kingdom.

  • Old Dad

    Oops – That’s “Kristine.”

  • Kristine

    Yeah, read Section 132 for a quick primer on the equality between men and women in celestial marriage. Note particularly who is the subject and who is the object of verbs like “give.”

  • Jessica

    @ old dad –

    Not in the same way. Men are not removed from God through women. Women as taught in the temple only have access to god mediated by a male.

  • RT

    This is articulated really well. Thanks jupiterschild!

  • jrs

    Personally, nothing troubles me more as a man in the church than going to the temple and having my wife promise to obey me. Sorry, but there’s just no good argument for that. Frankly it’s the most significant reason why I attend the temple so rarely.

    Anyway, I’m curious, since I have two toddler-age daughters and haven’t yet had to deal with such realities: how do those of you with more liberal theological leanings explain things to your girls? (And, now that I think about it, I’m not even sure how I’m going to explain things to my 5-yr-old son, since I don’t want him growing up taking seriously the rhetoric about how men and women are “equal” because men have the PH and women have babies. Other than teaching the concept of category error…:))

  • Old Dad

    Because I am an old guy, I’ve read D&C 1000 tmes. Note the very last verse that says “I will reveal more to you.” A lot of water has gone under the bridge since Section 132 was written. In other words, modern day revelation and practice and doctrine has changed significantly. As for the “give” language and the women being treated as property arguments, you won’t get any push back from me on poor choices of words and so forth. Wish it didn’t read the way it reads. Notwithstanding that fact, it takes two members of the opposite sex to reach the CK. So, husbands and wives are teams, united together. Doesn’t have any bearing on “agency” that’s laid out in the OP. The Fifth Article of Faith says even a man can’t just “take” the priesthood — he must be called of God and received it through the laying on of hands. So, even if men have more “agency” than women, the PH is not something they can just “take.” As for power in the priesthood, that promise is made to both men and women in the temple. Women already have power in the priesthood. As noted in other comments and by older comments by church leaders, they can easily call down the powers of heaven to do all sorts of great and wonderful things. The authority stuff is strictly administrative. Don’t know why God decreed it so. Maybe He’ll change it. Maybe He won’t. But having a clearer understanding of what the priesthood is, how it is viewed doctrinally, what’s been said about it over the last 150 or so years, is helpful because some of the questions and issues being bandied about have already been asked and answered by church leaders. Now, if you don’t think church leaders are inspired, then there’s not much more to discuss.

  • jrs

    “As for power in the priesthood, that promise is made to both men and women in the temple. Women already have power in the priesthood. As noted in other comments and by older comments by church leaders, they can easily call down the powers of heaven to do all sorts of great and wonderful things. The authority stuff is strictly administrative.” Right, just like it was “strictly administrative” that we didn’t let women vote back in the day. True, they didn’t get a voice in government, but we could trust their husbands to do it for them. Besides, they had other responsibilities, like doing laundry and raising their children.

    “Don’t know why God decreed it so. Maybe He’ll change it. Maybe He won’t. . . . some of the questions and issues being bandied about have already been asked and answered by church leaders. Now, if you don’t think church leaders are inspired, then there’s not much more to discuss.” Wow. Just…wow.

  • jrs

    Just one more thought and then I will shut up… ““Perhaps young men appear crestfallen when they are told they will never carry a baby to term.””

    I assume you meant that sarcastically. But if boys were taught to take seriously the importance of “nurturing,” then they probably would. Instead, we teach them how to tie knots. Meanwhile, I am confident that there are a lot of older men who wish that they could spend more time “nurturing” their kids and less time slaving away at the corporate law firm (or whatever) in an attempt to fulfill their alleged divine destiny to provide for their families. Just as there are a lot of women who would probably like to feel like they are “acting in God’s name” and not just acting as appendages to the patriarchy.

  • http://www.bycommonconsent.com John C.

    Old Dad,
    From the moment you said “allegedly” regarding jc’s daughter’s feelings, you were dead to me. Go be a horrible person somewhere else, please.

  • Rod

    John C.
    From the moment you said “the moment you said” any thought of you understanding the comments section is more than an echo chamber were dead to me

  • Jack

    jupiterschild, I’d like to fly to the moon! But, alas, an enemy has stripped me of my agency.

    Kristine, is not the universe a large enough inheritance? hmm?

  • Pingback: Priesthood, Women, and Non-Agency – Patheos | Worship Leaders

  • Matt

    I too am having a hard time following the agency argument. Having read David Bokovoy’s post I think jupiterschild is putting the cart before the horse. David is pointing out that the term agency is a term of art with a specific meaning. An agent is someone who has the authority to act on behalf of a master. The agent is accountable to his master for actions taken as an agent.

    The implications of applying the legal construct of agency to the scriptures are profound. However I didn’t see anywhere that David suggested that women don’t have agency. And I am not aware of any doctrinal basis to to conclude that. Rather, in the context David has proposed, priesthood would be a particular assignment given (thus far, as far as we know) to men to act in the name of God to perform certain administrative tasks and divinely appointed ordinances. But that is not the only aspect of our lives in which we should see ourselves acting as agents for the Lord. Indeed, all disciples, men and women, are to take His name upon them at all times and in all places–to take up our crosses and follow him.

    It is certainly true that we need to be more careful that we do not send mixed messages with the language that we use about the priesthood. I thought Elder Ballard’s talk in general conference was a welcome (hopefully first) step in that direction. And I, for one, would welcome a revelation that closed the gender gap with respect to church administration and/or in the performance of ordinances. But I would hope that we would sit our daughters down, no matter their ages, and teach them that they already have the power to act in the name of God…indeed that is precisely what we have covenanted to do when we are baptized. We should teach them that there are really vanishingly few aspects of their lives in which they have less authority to do so than males.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

    Rod,

    You will be missed. Not really.

  • http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/ LDS Anarchist

    There are many points in this post that are at odds with my understanding. Specifically:

    “The earnest (and highly educated) bishop was zeroing in on the deacon, explaining that as the deacon’s quorum president he was one of only four people in the ward who hold the power to turn keys.”

    There are actually two sets of keys. See the following post on my blog for more information:

    An alternate view of the keys

    Speaking of Joseph Smith’s restoration of the priesthood, he said that the priesthood is the power to act in God’s name, which is perhaps the most common definition of priesthood in the church. He pointed to one of the priests in the audience and said “Matt has the power to act in God’s name, isn’t it great that Joseph Smith restored it?”

    This is not entirely my understanding of priesthood. See the following post on my blog for my understanding:

    The Priesthood

    Aside from the obvious problems of a) how this means the deacon in at least one sense trumps the Relief Society President

    Everything is jurisdictional. A deacon does not have jurisdiction over the Relief Society. Some posts that explain this are:

    Who is supposed to take the lead of meetings?
    More church anarchy: autonomous quorums
    The orders of the priesthood

    David Bokovoy takes up this topic well and at greater length and concludes that a “man acting as an agent [is] one who is held responsible for a stewardship given to him by God.”

    Re: agency, agents and stewards, please see the following posts:

    The role of agency in political systems
    The nature of authority: the Lord’s stewardship law

    Lastly, this:

    This is why my daughter was crestfallen–it was reinforced to her, once again, that the power to act in the name of God is something that, by virtue of her having been born female, she is excluded from. In this respect, she currently has no agency.

    For this I don’t have any posts I’ve written in mind. I just want to say that everyone on the planet has been given authority to act in the name of God, otherwise, it would be a sin for people to pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ unless they were first ordained to the Melchizedek or Aaronic priesthoods. Also, power has nothing to do with priesthood ordination, but with faith, therefore, anyone with faith has power to act in God’s name, otherwise gifts of the Spirit would also require ordination to one of the two male priesthood orders. There seems to be some confusion over where these priesthood orders come from or how they originated, so I take it back. Here is another post that addresses that:

    The root and divine pattern of the damsel in distress

  • Brenda

    Thanks for this, jupiterschild. It brings up the real difficulties with the gender inequalities in the church: men have a place, while women really have no place.

  • Clark

    I think there is something to this in that “acting in God’s name” is key to priesthood. However I think you push it too far since clearly all (men and women) are commanded to take his name upon us at the sacrament. Whenever we act in the spirit we should ideally be acting in his name, both men and women. So to argue that within the Church there’s no place for women in that sense seems highly problematic.

    That said I think the Church has never been able clearly to distinguish how acting in God’s name in our daily lives independent of priesthood differs from acting in God’s name by virtue of the priesthood. Clearly there is a difference, but it seems a confusing one. We should also point out that the ways priesthood holders can act in Gods name by virtue of the priesthood are pretty severely limited relative to the ways we act in God’s name in daily life.

    All that said in terms of being spiritually born of God I think the Church is pretty clear and that such spiritual rebirths are for all. Also clearly we are to be one with God the way he and the son are one. To say that some are stripped of agency seems to miss fundamentally the point of how we are bought so we become free.

  • jupiterschild

    Kristine: Thanks, and agreed that this is a crucial conversation to be having. I tried having it with open-minded conservative friends over dinner last Sunday and it was amazing how quickly the pastoral dimension was seized to elide the theological issue. And excellent point about GenCon—this is certainly another dimension to explore, feeling evokes response to someone else’s agency, “acted upon”, while chastisement for sin highlights the agency of an actor.

  • jupiterschild

    Old Dad, welcome and thanks for participating! A couple of things to be clarified: My daughter’s “alleged” feelings were made explicit in the conversation we had afterward. She’s been perceptive about this issue since she was 4, with no overt prompting from us. And, as Kristine said, whether or not my daughter actually felt the way I thought she did is beside the point. The point is about whether or not women have power to act at an institutional level in the church, or “to be acted upon” to quote 2 Nephi 2.

    To that end, I need to clarify another point. I’m not saying that women have no power to choose. I’m saying that agency in the wider world and in the Book of Mormon is more like agency in sports. If you are a free agent, you have the power to determine where you go, to choose between options and to act for yourself. If you are not, someone (another agent) acts upon you, and you go where you are traded. Similarly, if you hire an agent, you give that person power to act on your behalf. I never meant that there is no agency in women’s sports.

    Priesthood and motherhood are not two sides of the same coin. Fatherhood and motherhood are the most appropriate comparanda, especially when it comes to the institutional church and authority. And, as has been noted by others, queenship and priestesshood is defined in the temple as existing through the husband’s agency. It is stated explicitly as such.

    The idea that women are equal to men because a man needs a woman to get to the celestial kingdom is like saying slaves and their masters were equal because the owner couldn’t make any money without them—he was nothing without them. Indispensability does not imply parity.

  • jupiterschild

    jrs (13): Good questions! I struggle with this too. I try to explain a) that we have scriptural models of women exercising institutional power equal to men’s, as prophets, saviors, (Judges 4-5), apostles, deacons, (Romans 16), etc., that b) we believe there will yet be revealed many great and important things… and finally that c) I think the current ecclesiastical arrangement is not the will of God. I try for nuance, but I don’t know if this way is best. Other thoughts, anyone?

    Chris (5): The theological problems have never seemed more pressing than now, as I watch the institution attempt to imprint my daughters with something I find plain wrong.

    Jack (19): Reductio ad absurdum is not helpful in this case. Agency is not defined as the power to do anything possible. My point is to bring the concept of agency in the sense of the power to act to bear on the Priesthood and gender discourse. My point is not to say that women are powerless in general and cannot act, or that they have been stripped of all agency. But when we define Priesthood as the power to act, we are creating specialized agents. And those agents are exclusively male.

  • jupiterschild

    Matt (20): I think your confusion with my point might come because I never said that agency is the power to act on behalf of a master. It is less restricted than that: it is simply the power to act. Sometimes agency is distributed, in which case the power to act is given to another party (often called an agent). My point doesn’t come from David’s post, it comes from reading anthropologists and from a vague understanding of baseball. I think that David is generally right to say that agency as it is used in LDS scripture is only rarely “free will” and much more frequently the power to act. As a side note, I think it is interesting that many of the scriptures he cites are heavy-handed with the gendered language.

    As to your last point, would that it were so! Comparing boys’ turning 12 to girls’, we’ve got a long, long way to go.

    LDS Anarchist (22): Thanks for the links (?). Until I read them, let me just assume that your views on Priesthood, keys, and agency are not the church’s? I’m really speaking to the doctrinal, theological rhetoric at the institutional level and the problems it creates.

    Clark: agreed that the church is not clear at the moment on what Priesthood (and, by extension, Patriarchy) is. Kiskilili has a classic exposition of this that I really should have linked to in the OP: The Trouble with Chicken Patriarchy.

  • Beatrice

    Great post. I think an example of this is the cultural/doctrinal idea that the father presides in the home. Currently there are a lot of different perceptions about what presiding in the home actually entails. But over the years it has included (among other things) 1-Making the final decisions in the home 2-Bearing greater responsibility for the choices that the family makes (such as having a personal priesthood interview with the Savior after death about how well you dealt with your stewardship). 3-Being the spiritual leader of the home. Granted not all LDS members view stewardship as these things, but there is plenty of conference talks (and aspects of the temple ceremony) to back up these ideas. What I have always struggled with is that becoming an adult in my faith is different for me than it is for a man. While a man grows up and becomes his own steward, I, as a woman, move from being under the stewardship of my father to being under the stewardship of my husband. Also, getting married for me means moving from being the head of my own household to not being the head of the household anymore. I think in some real ways, these doctrinal/cultural traditions suggest that I have less agency (I am supposed to follow the direction of someone in my own home) than my husband is. Sure, I can choose whether to follow him or not, but within this framework his choices are broader than simply agreeing to follow someone. Also, the idea that men are more responsible for the choices of the family (because they are the steward) never made sense to me. I think women are just as accountable for the choices the family makes as the husband is. Of course the amount of agency/choice women have are reflected in other areas. For example, LDS women often have less choices then their husbands because they are financially dependent on their husbands.

  • g.wesley

    Thanks for sharing those anecdotes, jupiterschild, and for pointing out the connection between talk of priesthood and agency.

    I have never been able to understand how we get from “ago (whence “agens,” “agentis”), “agere,” “egi,” “actum,” to ‘the power to choose.’

    Whereas I can totally see how the power to “act” in God’s name might including driving or leading animals/people, governing, transacting, etc.

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3Dago

    Also, last Sunday while I was gagging as I reread D&C 132 for the first time in a while during Sunday school, one of the girls in primary asked why women don’t hold the priesthood. Usual answers were given, and the primary presidency decided to have a presidency meeting later to discuss more. One presidency member suggested that primary was not the place to be answering such challenging questions, that kids should be encouraged to talk to their parents about it, and that there was liable to be a variety of opinions among parents, who may well not appreciate what this or that primary leader might teach as pure gospel truth to their children.

    The rest of the presidency did not seem to want to recognize the possibility of there being more than one opinion (even when examples were cited from Mormon.org), not to mention allowing more than one opinion to exist. They just wanted to know what the prophets had said. You know, the infallible prophets who used to say that black men could not hold the priesthood, because God said so.

  • Jack

    ” But when we define Priesthood as the power to act, we are creating specialized agents. And those agents are exclusively male.”

    The priesthood is the power to act on behalf of another agent — a higher agent, if you will. The only action an individual can take with regard to the priesthood that is truly self-actuating is to receive its blessings.

  • http://blakeostler.com blake

    It seems to me that the argument from agency is indeed over-broad and makes some unwarranted assumptions. First, it is true of all males that the power to act in God’s name, even in the sense of acting in the priesthood, comes from another man. Every calling I have had has been from another. The power that I have comes from another man. However, the power to act in God’s name as a simple act does not come from anyone but God.

    Second, it is not true that it is much different for women. My wife as RS and Primary president has called women to positions in those organizations. I know because she called me to be the nursery leader where I served for 3 years (largely because no one else wanted to do it and I loved it). I acknowledge that these women were “set apart” in their callings by men. I do not believe that is a big deal. They were called and chosen by a woman and they chose to accept and act on their own.

    Third, if agency is the delegated power of agency to act for a principal and in the principal’s name as this post assumes, then I can see no reason why women who fulfill their callings, act at the urgings of the spirit, invoking the name of Christ in any act, are not acting in God’s name. The fact that they do not act in the same administrative offices is irrelevant to the question of whether they act in God’s name. In this sense, they are agents to act for themselves. In addition, women have stewardships over which they exercise agency both within the church in their callings and within the administrative structures of the Church. They are not always the same as men, but they can be. Women have stewardships over teaching SS just like I have had. I serve with my wife as a missionary and we share as equal companions in our calling. We have the same stewardship.

    Fourth, the notion that women do not have the power to “determine their own fate” if they do not hold the priesthood is surely over-broad. They cannot determine the callings that they receive. Neither can every male not making the calling. I have never once chosen any of my callings except to accept them when extended to me. In addition, women play the role of actally choosing who to call in a number of callings in Relief Society, Primary, and Young Women.

    Finally, I believe that your reading of Romans 16 asserting that women acting as deacons and apostles in any sense that is isomorphic with current usage in the LDS church is both question begging and textually questionable. But that is another discussion.

    Will matters change so that women have access to some offices of the priesthood that they do not have? I do not know. Because women already hold the priesthood on some important senses, it certainly is not out of the question. Perhaps God will see fit to change it. But if he doesn’t, I will continue to accept callings I did not choose to have made to me, to not have access to some callings that women have access to, and have access to others that women do not have. But it seems to me that the argument that women lack agency entirely is overstated.

  • Angie

    “My wife as RS and Primary president has called women to positions in those organizations. I know because she called me to be the nursery leader where I served for 3 years (largely because no one else wanted to do it and I loved it). I acknowledge that these women were “set apart” in their callings by men. I do not believe that is a big deal. They were called and chosen by a woman and they chose to accept and act on their own.” Blake, I’m pretty sure your wife did not directly call you or anyone else to any position when she was RS or Primary president. She had to submit names to the bishop, wait for approval, and then wait for a bishopric member to extend the call. In my own experience, this can be an excruciatingly slow and frustrating experience. Inspiration felt by a RS or Primary president may be overridden at any time by a bishop.

  • Matt

    Jupiterschild,

    My confusion comes from this statement: “The gendered language here is not accidental (nor does it originate with Bokovoy). When agency is thus nuanced, it is clear that women are stripped of it. They have no power to act in God’s name, unless that agency is bequeathed them from a male with such agency. ” I see no support for this conclusion in e scriptures, in David’s post, or in yours.

    And as for your last point, if the acting in the name of God by a person of any age is limited to passing the sacrament and the other duties performed by deacons then that persons relationship to God is in a sorry state indeed. I would think we would be better off teaching our boys and girls that God expects us to do much more than attend to such duties, and in all of them we can choose to act for God or not.

  • Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: The Power of the Book of Mormon Edition!! » Main Street Plaza

  • Nona

    It always amuses me in this conversation how there are inevitably a few commenters who start saying that the priesthood really isn’t that big of a deal. Phrases like “anyone with faith has power to act in God’s name.” Why then is priesthood such a Big Important Thing? You can’t say “it’s the power of God on Earth and the one thing that makes our church more true than all the others” and at the same time say “it’s really not that big of a deal and you women don’t really need/want it anyway.” You can’t have it both ways.

  • http://blakeostler.com blake

    Angie: In my wife’s case, I am afraid it was more desperation that inspiration. She had called many others who had turned down the calling. When my name was submitted it was approved within about 30 seconds. You are right that the Bishop could have vetoed it. But he could not make the initial call; only she could. The point is that she called me. A woman called a man; not the other way around. She called me “directly” as much as the Bishop did.

  • http://www.faithpromotingrumor.com TT

    Blake, that is not what direct means.

  • http://twitter.com/ClarkGoble Clark Goble

    Well, it might, right up until the moment when she discovers that her queendom and priestesshood depend (wait for it) on a man.

    Except that men are told (wait for it) their kingdom and depends upon a woman. I’m also think you’re incorrect about the priestess issue but that’s hard to debate without getting into temple ceremonies and their order. I’m just not willing to have that discussion. We can of course debate what priestess in the temple means and entails. Clearly it’s quite different in the current church from what priesthood means in a non-temple context. So it’s not like there are no asymmetries. But I think it important not to overstate the asymmetries.

  • http://www.facebook.com/geoff.johnston.7777 Geoff Johnston

    jupiterschild: “[Women] have no power to act in God’s name, unless that agency is bequeathed them from a male with such agency.”

    Uhh… this is true of virtually all men in the church too. None of us can perform ordinance in the church (baptisms, administering sacrament, etc) without permission.

    That is all this “power to act in God’s name” really means in practice.

    The good news is that we all, male and female, have equal access to the spiritual gifts; healing, tongues, miracles, revelations, etc. In my home I teach my kids that access to the actually useful gifts/powers from God is the same for my daughters as it is for my son.

  • Pingback: Volume 2.18 (April 29-May 5) « The Nightstand @ Weightier Matters of the Law

  • Douglas Hunter

    I’m late to the discussion
    but I have to say that one of the things I hope to teach my children (male and
    female) is that all this concern over power and authority, and the gendering of
    power and authority has a great deal more to do with ideology and institutional
    concerns than it does with God. One of the things I cherish in the Bible is
    what might be called its theology of weakness. On many occassions its the weak,
    the poor, the powerless, those without authority or status who are chosen by
    God, or end up doing God’s work in a more profound way than those who claim
    divine and or institutional authority. I hope to keep my sons focused on the
    uneven and unexpected ways that power & weakness, authority & exclusion
    play out in the Bible; and that being “given” the priesthood might not
    mean what they are encouraged to think it does. Equating maleness with
    God’s power is a patriarchal fantasy, a cultural matter.

  • Jane

    It was mentioned today in Sunday School that the world would be wasted and unsalvageable without the Priesthood. That sounds like a Pretty Big Deal to me.

  • Chinenye

    Giving the priesthood to males only doesn’t say that a woman who has faith isn’t welcome. Authority to act and perform certain rites isn’t the same as faith, which every believer women inclusive must have. the two aren’t the same

  • Pingback: The Best of 10+ Years of Mormons Blogging: Supplement | Dialogue – A Journal of Mormon Thought


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X