{feminine} a response to "let us think strait" part ii

Thursday, September 12, 2013

This is part two in a series based off of Elder Russell M Ballard's BYU Ed Week Devotional, "Let Us Think Straight'', given 20 August 2013. You can find part one here.

"It takes both men who respect women and the distinctive spiritual gifts they have and women who respect the priesthood keys held by men to invite the full blessings of heaven in any endeavor."

In our normal conversation we combine and mix terms, often calling men in the church "the priesthood". We say that they hold the priesthood, that it was given to them. Let us remember that even though the priesthood authority and priesthood keys are conferred upon worthy male members of the church, the priesthood is still the authority to act in God's name only when we do His will to serve His children.

The purpose of the priesthood is to bless His children. Every child of God has access to receive the blessings of the priesthood, no matter who is administering them. The power of the priesthood comes from worthily receiving the covenants, ordinances, and blessings of the gospel. The power of the priesthood is available to everyone. 

From Elder Ballard: 

Let me repeat something I stated in the April 2013 general conference: In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood-endowed plan, men have the unique responsibility to administer the priesthood, but they are not the priesthood. Men and women have different but equally valued roles. Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman. . . . In the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by husband and wife. [“This Is My Work and Glory,” Ensign, May 2013, 19]
Though men hold the priesthood authority and keys and women hold the great privilege and responsibility of carrying children and bearing them into this world, neither can be separated from the other. The goal of both is to create and bless eternal families. They go hand in hand, work in concert, and cannot be successful without each other. True happiness comes from families that work with balance and equal respect to the complimentary roles of priesthood fathers and loving mothers.

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. [“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, November 1995, 102]
When I think about the recent push from a small group of sisters in the church to ordain women with the priesthood I wonder if they have felt the importance of balancing these two powers and responsibilities. With so much power and influence coming from our place as sisters in Zion, why would we need to seek power and influence through holding priesthood keys? I can only feel that they feel powerless and thus seek to feel powerful through holding the same office and responsibility held by those they see as powerful. I don't think comparing ourselves to others makes us happy in any circumstance, whether comparing our financial situation with others, our talents and gifts to others, or our roles and responsibilities with others. If we are unhappy with our place I don't think we'll find happiness in being in another's place.

Why are men ordained to priesthood offices and not women? President Gordon B. Hinckley explained that it was the Lord, not man, “who designated that men in His Church should hold the priesthood” and that it was also the Lord who endowed women with “capabilities to round out this great and marvelous organization, which is the Church and kingdom of God” (“Women of the Church,” Ensign, November 1996, 70). When all is said and done, the Lord has not revealed why He has organized His Church as He has...
Do not spend time trying to overhaul or adjust God’s plan. We do not have time for such. It is a pointless exercise to try and determine how to organize the Lord’s Church differently. The Lord is at the head of this Church, and we all follow His direction.    -Elder Ballard 
The greatest outcome for wards and families come when men and women respect each other. But we cannot except respect from others if we ourselves disrespect and disparaging our own abilities. Instead of focusing on what we desire of others' positions, roles, and gifts, let us all look to see how we can find happiness and fulfillment within our sphere, in our own lives and responsibilities.
"It takes a man and a woman to create a new life. And it takes both men who respect women and the distinctive spiritual gifts they have and women who respect the priesthood keys held by men to invite the full blessings of heaven in any endeavor."
 I know that God seeks our happiness and that He has filled our lives with ways to be full, happy, and strong people. We need not look to others' opportunities but look to our own endless possibilities. 

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