{feminine} A Response to "Let Us Think Strait" Part IV

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This is part four 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, and part two here, and part three here.

"When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which by definition is priesthood power. While the authority of the priesthood is directed through priesthood keys, and priesthood keys are held only by worthy men, access to the power and the blessings of the priesthood is available to all of God’s children."

The power of the priesthood lies not in giving blessings and ordinances, but in receiving those blessings and ordinances. The first principles and ordinances of the gospel are having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, personal repentance through our Savior, third being baptized in His name, receiving the Holy Ghost to be our personal companion, and enduring our own journey and making the best of the beautiful lives each of us are given. There is no requirement to perform ordinances to return to our Father or to be together with our eternal families. I don't know of any blessing that is available to the bearers of Heavenly Father's priesthood that is not available to the receivers of Heavenly Father's priesthood. Surely the ordinances of baptism, confirmation, temple washing and anointing  temple endowments, and sealings as spouses and families carry with them the same blessings to all who receive them based on their own individual worthiness. It is evident that those faithful priesthood holders that faithfully exercise the priesthood on behalf of our Father for the benefit of all his children receive blessings through serving others, following the guidance of the Spirit, and striving to live worthy of the priesthood each day. However, those are blessings that each and every child of God has the ability to receive and the responsibility to search after. 

As President Joseph Fielding Smith explained:
The blessings of the priesthood are not confined to men alone. These blessings are also poured out upon . . . all the faithful women of the Church. . . . The Lord offers to his daughters every spiritual gift and blessing that can be obtained by his sons.[“Magnifying Our Callings in the Priesthood,” Improvement Era,June 1970, 66]

In each of the first principles of the gospel we see that God our Father wants and requires a personal relationship with each of His children. He puts no man between each of us and the Godhead. He gives each of us gift of prayer to be able to speak to Him directly and the command to do so often. He gives each child the opportunity to feel His Spirit so He can communicate and speak to us often, even giving those who repent and are baptized in the name of His Son the gift of the Spirit's constant companionship so that they need never be apart from Him, except through their own choices. His Son has performed the miracle of the Atonement for each and every one of His children who need only to come to Him, their Savior, to receive forgiveness and be brought back to his companionship. 

Those who have entered the waters of baptism and subsequently received their endowment in the house of the Lord are eligible for rich and wonderful blessings. The endowment is literally a gift of power. All who enter the house of the Lord officiate in the ordinances of the priesthood. This applies to men and women alike.
Our Father in Heaven is generous with His power. All men and all women have access to this power for help in our own lives. All who have made sacred covenants with the Lord and who honor those covenants are eligible to receive personal revelation, to be blessed by the ministering of angels, to commune with God, to receive the fulness of the gospel, and, ultimately, to become heirs alongside Jesus Christ of all our Father has.       -Elder Ballard

The priesthood holders do not stand between us and our God, but stand with us. Heavenly Father's plan is that we all help each other return to Him, that we all help each other live each of the first principles of the gospel.

And Elder James E. Talmage taught:
It is not given to woman to exercise the authority of the Priesthood independently; nevertheless, . . . woman shares with man the blessings of the Priesthood. . . . In the glorified state of the blessed hereafter, husband and wife will administer in their respective stations, seeing and understanding alike, and co-operating to the full in the government of their family kingdom. . . . Then shall woman reign by Divine right, a queen in the resplendent realm of her glorified state, even as exalted man shall stand, priest and king unto the Most High God. Mortal eye cannot see nor mind comprehend the beauty, glory, and majesty of a righteous woman made perfect in the celestial kingdom of God.[“The Eternity of Sex,” Young Woman’s Journal, October 1914, 602–3]

If our design is to receive all the blessings our Father has for us, than we will find the only way to do so is to follow His beautifully designed  Plan of Happiness. If our aim is for equality between men and women in the church than we need only study and live the plan He has laid for us to see that it is already there waiting for us, one of innumerable gifts from a loving God the Father.

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