Priesthood question


sister_in_faith
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There are times when I see women having significant power to bless others, even without the priesthood. One man mentioned that he saw nothing wrong with a woman laying her hands on a person's head, and giving a prayer of faith. Don't invoke the priesthood -- or claim to be doing it by authority, but do it as a prayer of faith from a righteous woman. There are numerous examples where God answers the prayers of people who have no priesthood, with the scriptures replete with promises of blessings and answered prayers.

The problem I see is that the laying on of hands is itself a Priesthood form. As we know, God will not be mocked. Those who exercise Priesthood forms without authority (or authorization) put themselves in the position of mocking sacred things. For this reason, I think a non-authorized person (such as a non-Priesthood holder) should not parrot the Priesthood form of laying on of hands, even if done explicitly as a non-Priesthood function.

The lead character in Legacy (a church sponsored movie) did this exact thing to heal an ox that had fallen - she laid her hands on it and told it to get up and walk -- and it did.

I believe this was based on an actual experience of Mary Fielding Smith, widow of Hyrum and mother of (President) Joseph F. Smith. I think that the point was that she exercised marvelous faith to produce a miracle, not that her mistaken use of a Priesthood form, and on an animal, no less, should necessarily be emulated by others.

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Sorry, Justice. This is simply false.

Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.

I think you missed my point. My point is that Heavenly Father is the one who appears to fallen man in physical bodies. Heavenly Mother does not. This is not speculation, we know it's true because it's the way it happens.

You're free to disagree because I stated it differently than you've ever heard it, but the basis of this part of what I said is simply fact by what we know.

God is a God of spirit, and we must worship him in Spirit and in truth.

You are going far beyond my simple point. All I'm stating is that while in this fallen, mortal world, Father has charge over us, to send His Son, and reveal truths of eternity... Mother does not. We know this, not because it states in scripture, or that a General Authority has told us, but because it's what happens. I didn't have to go very far out on a limb to state what happens. Frankly, I find your adamant objection to this part very odd, because all I did was state what happens.

As for "heavenly Mother", besides the bare fact that she exists, we know nothing at all about her. Nothing. At. All. Without any doubt whatsoever, this is by design. On this topic, my firm conviction is that speculation is most unwise.

What exactly did I say? I think you're reading more in than what I said. It's funny, becuase I essentially stated what you did, just in different words. Heavenly Mother is hiidden to us on earth. Clearly, you simply restated this. My speculation is that She attends to her spirit children. The other possibility is that she does not. It seems only reasonable to imagine she attends to her spirit children.

It follow the pattern set on earth. The mother stays "in the home" and the father tends to more physical needs. I fail to see how this is blasphemous or dangerous. You'll have to fill me in.

This is no type of gospel doctrine. It is pure, unadulterated speculation, and one with a slight startrekkian odor to it. You are welcome to such space doctrine, if you choose to pursue it, but please do not mistake it for revealed truth.

Very true. It has not been stated in my words and ratified by the Church as doctrine. You know as well as I do that anything regarding Heavenly Mother will not be known (at least until the Millennium).

My big speculation is that mortal women give birth to mortal children (blood), and that immortal women give birth to immortal children (no blood). That really is my big speculation. I don't find that very impossible to believe. If it is true, then what I said is but a result of what would happen if women left heavenly home as immortals to tend to their children on earth, instead of Father(s), leaving Father in secret and at home.

I can show you much evidence of this speculation (mortal women give birth to mortal children, and immortal women give birth to immortal children) in the scriptures. But, it doesn't really matter. She asked a question and I stated my beliefs. I never claimed any part of it is doctrine, but maybe I should have stated it is my speculation. In any case, just because it is speculation, and just because you diagree, doesn't mean I'm wrong. I believe all the logic involved is sound, and I believe it fits every scripture that deals with these topics (I didn't arrive at this conclusion until after studying it over 20 years).

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it is not doctrinally sound.

Are you saying you have proof I am wrong? Or, are you saying it has never been said specifically as doctrine and is just speculation?

Because saying "it is not doctrinally sound" doesn't sound like you're saying "it's just speculation." It sounds like you're saying you know I am wrong. There's a difference.

As I said, my biggest speculation is that the offspring takes on the physical characteristics of the mother, not the father... if the mother is mortal, the baby will be mortal, and if the mother is immortal the baby will be immortal.

Show me where I am wrong, or tell me you didn't mean it is doctrinally unsound, but that I am speculating and you don't know if I am right or wrong.

I'd like to see what you have seen that leads you to believe I am wrong.

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Guest mormonmusic

The problem I see is that the laying on of hands is itself a Priesthood form. As we know, God will not be mocked. Those who exercise Priesthood forms without authority (or authorization) put themselves in the position of mocking sacred things. For this reason, I think a non-authorized person (such as a non-Priesthood holder) should not parrot the Priesthood form of laying on of hands, even if done explicitly as a non-Priesthood function.

I don't see it as a mockery at all when the state of the heart is right.

Whether it's a mockery would largely depend on the state of the heart of the person giving the prayer of faith in this manner. If it's done out of spite for not having the priesthood, with intent to elevate oneself, or out of rebellion, then you might have a case. But if it's the effort of a sincere person trying to bless the life of another, in literal good faith, then I see it as empowering, and as a blessing to the receiver.

This is one thing I intend to discuss in my families, and not discourage as a practice within the walls of our home.

Also, I recognize that in any community where there is a lot of policy and norms, as well as people with Belief (if you are familiar with the Gallup Strengths research) you are inviting criticism and often, harsh judgments if you do something that is out of the norm -- on which there is little or no policy. People can be quick to take a hard line on many matters that are not lock-step. Plus, there is social safety in simply disagreeing with the proposed action.

However, if you spend some time with even some very righteous families as part of their homelife, you see there is considerable judgment applied as to how the gospel is actually lived in the privacy of one's home. I lived with a couple families before my mission and saw wide variances in how they implemented the gospel -- some I agreed with, some I didn't, but ultimately, it was their choice. This is because there was no policy akin to the Law of Moses in place. We start out black and white with our values, but life quickly turns a lot of situations grey. This is where being honest with oneself, as well as acting with integrity and in consultation with God matters on issues like this.

Edited by mormonmusic
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I am a female convert to the church, and admittedly I don't fully understand the priesthood. I have some questions I would like to ask, I hope you guys will indulge me.

I am aware that there is some controversy over women not being able to hold the priesthood. I guess I don't really care one way or the other, so I support whatever the church decides, but I do want to know...

What is it about women that makes them 'unfit' to hold the priesthood? I'm not really sure how to word the question without it coming off wrong, let me try again... What is it about the priesthood that makes it something that a woman should not be a part of?

I hope you guys understand the general question... I just want to know why the priesthood is a male only thing, what about it makes it a male only thing?

I don't have an agenda in asking, I'm genuienly curious.

Probably for the correct answer is vorts response...

what i just usually tell people slightly tongue in cheek is that guys need help catching up to the gals.

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Sister_in_Faith,

I'd just like to say, and most miss this, is that women bring our Heavenly Fathers children through the veil into this world, not men. That is why being sealed in the temple is so highly taught and sought after. Bringing those children through the veil into this life is just as scared as it is on the other side of the situation, when men bring our Heavenly Fathers children through the other side of the veil.

I have found in all the teachings and doctrine of the church there is always a two-fold part of everything, male and female.

I agree with Justice, we are under our Fathers care in this life.

Just something to think about.

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I believe this was based on an actual experience of Mary Fielding Smith, widow of Hyrum and mother of (President) Joseph F. Smith. I think that the point was that she exercised marvelous faith to produce a miracle, not that her mistaken use of a Priesthood form, and on an animal, no less, should necessarily be emulated by others.

Well . . . mostly. I don't know where we get this idea that Mary did the anointing. Every published version I'm aware of says that she called on the elders to do it. See this article (especially pages 9-10).

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I'd just like to say, and most miss this, is that women bring our Heavenly Fathers children through the veil into this world, not men. That is why being sealed in the temple is so highly taught and sought after. Bringing those children through the veil into this life is just as scared as it is on the other side of the situation, when men bring our Heavenly Fathers children through the other side of the veil.

This is the best point made in this entire thread. It only makes sense that it would come from a woman.

According to Christ, the body is a temple. If we take that to be true, then the womb/vulva must be understood as a veil. In fact, that is the only understanding that will ever lead you to pay the respect to a woman that she deserves. It all stem's from Jesus' statement, so I don't care if it's speculation. It makes perfect sense.

Indeed, all must pass through that veil into this world. It is a gate between worlds through which the whole soul must pass. Just like the baptismal font and the other ordinances. Which is precisely why women of various cultures wear veils on their wedding day. The veil they wear, just as Kate Middleton when she married Prince William, is placed on their head to identify their authority... which necessarily mirrors that of the Priesthood.

So what does that mean? It means that all women are sentinels of one of the Lord's veils. In other words, they are veil workers. It also means that they hold a "yes" and a "no" regarding a temple of God (their bodies) just as any bishop or stake president does.

And why do we not need subsequent temple ordinances to seal children "born in the covenant" to their parents? Because in the context of the New and Everlasting Covenant of marriage, the mother is authorized as a sealer that completes the sealing with her own temple body. In fact, her power to seal is just as binding as that of any male, Priesthood-holding sealer in any temple. That is the truth.

The reason that this understanding of women and their authority is not typical in the church is because we don't take the symbols that the Lord has given us to their logical end: The font is a womb. The chapel is a womb. The temple is a womb. When you go into each of these places for the first time, you don't yet belong to the veils that they contain. But once you pass through those veils, you become part of the "bride" that belongs to Christ.

The reason why men are given the Priesthood is so that Christ can involve them in the veil work of the second veil. Women already have the first veil, so that's why the scriptures are relatively silent towards them. When women are addressed in scripture, it is usually regarding something going on in their womb.

It is men that must be brought up to speed as far as veil work is concerned. People often point to the hierarchy and "political" rank of the brethren, but what the Priesthood really boils down to is ordinances... the right to preside over them and perform them.

Fatherhood by itself is simply not commensurate with motherhood. If our bodies are temples, then birth is an ordinance, period.

How will any man in the world answer the fact that women put their lives on the line to pass infants into mortality? Bread-winning alone is not enough. Providing a home is not enough. Being loving and supportive isn't enough. Only ordinances can answer birth. She endows the child with mortality, and he endows the child with Eternal Life through the Priesthood of God.

Hence, in the church it is the Priesthood that creates gender equality. And veil worker is the most proper context in which a woman's authority should be understood.

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Well . . . mostly. I don't know where we get this idea that Mary did the anointing. Every published version I'm aware of says that she called on the elders to do it. See this article (especially pages 9-10).

Interesting article, but the fact that it was authored by Lavina Fielding Anderson greatly reduces its value, in my estimation.

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I make no personal judgments toward the worthiness or spiritual state of Sister Anderson. I simply am not very interested in anything she has to say, except perhaps for specific historical facts that she can document adequately. Even then, I tend to take her words with a grain of salt.

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I agree with Justice, we are under our Fathers care in this life.

Yes, and if it were opposite, or if we were under our Heavenly Mother's care while in this life, my speculation is that Christ could not have been born mortal, and no redemption could have been made. It seems so simple to me. Maybe I'm missing something? But, this seems the driver for eternal roles, and why men on earth hold the Priesthood, and why Christ had to be born of a mortal mother.

I'll admit that we know next to nothing about Heavenly Mother. I am very glad about that. The way I feel is that I can forgive you very patiently if you offend me, but if you offend my wife or my mother it's much harder for me. We have no understanding of her power, or how she is attached to the Priesthood, or shares in it with her eternal companion.

In other words, just because we don't know about it doesn't mean it's not there. Quite possibly it is reserved for a later time. Or, on the other hand, maybe it is just a male thing. All we can say for sure is that on earth it is for males only.

Thank you for your understanding RM.

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  • 1 month later...

I used to wonder about this question. My thinking was growing up "If I don't have it, I don't even need it." Which is why I never asked for blessings or anything. If I don't have it I don't need it. As I grew older my heart did change though. I came to realize what a beautiful thing it is that God wants nothing more than to bless his daughters. He doesn't require them to all the work of the priesthood! Women reap the benefits of the priesthood without doing any of the work! I think it shows how special women are to our heavenly father. He simply wants to bless them.

As for heavenly mother...I am a woman who has always desired a relationship with her. It is sad that we know nothing about her. As a mother myself I would be heartbroken at the way she seems to be isolated from us. But I sometimes like to think that heavenly father and heavenly mother are one just like husband and wife are supposed to be here. So I sometimes like to think when I'm praying to heavenly father I am praying to her as well.

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But I sometimes like to think that heavenly father and heavenly mother are one just like husband and wife are supposed to be here. So I sometimes like to think when I'm praying to heavenly father I am praying to her as well.

Your point here is instructive, Lisarp03. For Mormons, entrance into the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom requires that males be married. The rules infer that the Father is likely married also, and thus his godhood is contingent upon the other sovereign in the equation. The term "God", in the LDS context, infers a divine identity that suggests at least two individuals.

Our Heavenly parents are "one in purpose" just as much as the Godhead. If that's speculation, then it is the most beautiful and powerful kind.

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Concerning sisters following the pattern of the priesthood, I have been reading the minutes book from the original Relief Society meetings. They are available through the church website, and can be read Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book - Summary

"On 17 March 1842, JS first formally organized Latter-day Saint women in a group with distinct responsibilities and authority. At JS’s invitation, twenty women assembled in the large room above his dry goods store in Nauvoo, Illinois, to be organized, as one woman recalled his description, “under the priesthood after the pattern of the priesthood” (Sarah M. Kimball, “Auto-biography,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Sept. 1883, 51). Priesthood quorums—units of men assembled according to priesthood office and usually headed by a president and two counselors—had been organized previously. The women assembled on 17 March elected JS’s wife Emma Hale Smith president, and she selected two counselors; a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles ordained or set apart the three-member presidency to their new callings or offices. These were the first ecclesiastical positions in the church for women."

If you read the pages following you will find that the Prophet Joseph Smith instructed the sisters to organize the RS to follow the pattern from the priesthood. He described the sisters as being 'ordained' it is all very interesting if you get a chance to read it.

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Here is a quote from the minutes that I find particularly noteworth in this respect:

Mrs. [Elizabeth Davis] Durfee bore testimony to the great blessing she received when administered to after the close of the last meeting, by Prest. E. Smith & Councillors Cleveland and Whitney. she said she never realized more benefit thro’ any administration— that she was heal’d, and thought the sisters had more faith than the brethren

and again after the very next meeting:

The meeting clos’d with prayer by Mother Smith and singing by the choir— after which

Mrs. Leonard was administered to for the restoration of health, by Councillors Cleveland & Whitney.

The Councillors were the two sisters who were councilors to RS Pres. Emma Smith. Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book - Details

And later the Prophet joins the meeting to speak and says of the laying on of hands by the sisters:

"Respecting the female laying on hands, he further remark’d, there could be no devils in it if God gave his sanction by healing— that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on the sick than in wetting the face with water— that it is no sin for any body to do it that has faith, or if the sick has faith to be heal’d by the administration.

He reprov’d those that were dispos’d to find fault with the management of concerns— saying if he undertook to lead the church he would lead it right— that he calculates to organize the church in proper order &c." Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book - Details

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I've read that too, it's so good. Ya gotta love the gifts of the spirit. Sisters used to do it all the time. Most members don't know a sister can do miracles let alone that they used to lay on hands (shhhh). (This did change in the early 1900's I think, but I can't remember who changed it right now)

I like D&C 35:8-9

" 8 For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name.

9 And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith, they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk."

You can look it up here: Doctrine and Covenants 35*

Got Faith? :D

Edited by Magen_Avot
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I've read that too, it's so good. Ya gotta love the gifts of the spirit. Sisters used to do it all the time. Most members don't know a sister can do miracles let alone that they used to lay on hands (shhhh). (This did change in the early 1900's I think, but I can't remember who changed it right now)

It was an evolutionary thing; but I think it wasn't until the 1940s or so that the formal instruction went out that women should call for the elders to administer to the sick rather than undertake laying-on of hands themselves.

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Here is a quote from the minutes that I find particularly noteworth in this respect:

Mrs. [Elizabeth Davis] Durfee bore testimony to the great blessing she received when administered to after the close of the last meeting, by Prest. E. Smith & Councillors Cleveland and Whitney. she said she never realized more benefit thro’ any administration— that she was heal’d, and thought the sisters had more faith than the brethren

and again after the very next meeting:

The meeting clos’d with prayer by Mother Smith and singing by the choir— after which

Mrs. Leonard was administered to for the restoration of health, by Councillors Cleveland & Whitney.

The Councillors were the two sisters who were councilors to RS Pres. Emma Smith. Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book - Details

And later the Prophet joins the meeting to speak and says of the laying on of hands by the sisters:

"Respecting the female laying on hands, he further remark’d, there could be no devils in it if God gave his sanction by healing— that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on the sick than in wetting the face with water— that it is no sin for any body to do it that has faith, or if the sick has faith to be heal’d by the administration.

He reprov’d those that were dispos’d to find fault with the management of concerns— saying if he undertook to lead the church he would lead it right— that he calculates to organize the church in proper order &c." Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book - Details

I just wanted to make mention of the following thread if anyone is interested a lil about Church history:

http://www.lds.net/forums/lds-gospel-discussion/36422-women-priesthood.html

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