Let me first apologize for not posting in such a long time. December was busy with finishing up my undergraduate career at BYU, but I did it. I graduated! And now we are in the middle of preparing to move away from Provo to Columbus, Ohio. So, life’s been busy.
But I did read an interesting article the other day and I wanted to write my response to it. I found it here. And it is written by a BYU Religion professor about his thoughts on the role of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But as I read the article it seemed to me that the author was mixing two completely different subjects: Women and the Priesthood, and Women and leadership in the Church. Some may tell me that Priesthood and leadership in the Church are almost synonymous, but I see it differently.
Yes, it is true that in order to hold most leadership positions in the Church one needs to be a worthy Priesthood holder. But Priesthood is about more than just being able to lead a congregation. Priesthood is a personal thing, it is a tool used to serve others and never for one’s own aggrandizement. I don’t want to use the old ‘cop-out’ answer that women can hold the Priesthood as they hold their husbands, but that is exactly the case. The whole purpose of the Priesthood is to prepare individuals to become more like God, including finding an eternal companion. It is together with one’s spouse that the Priesthood is truly and properly utilized. The book of Doctrine and Covenants teaches that it is possible for a man to misuse his Priesthood and lose it, and I firmly believe that if I do not use my Priesthood to bless my wife and my family, then I am in danger of losing it. The priesthood is designed to be used jointly by man and wife for the collective benefit of those around us.
And, I also believe that women do have their proper place in Church leadership, as well. I disagree with the statement that the author makes.
I assume that the relatively recent emphasis on governing with councils, which include women, is intended to help ameliorate that. But the highest of these councils, at the ward (congregational), stake (multi-congregational), and general church level, include no women.
How can he state that the highest of councils at the ward, stake, and general Church level include no women? Has he never been a part of a Ward Council, which, by definition, includes the Relief Society President, Young Women’s President, and Primary President, all of whom are women? The Stake council has similar members at the Stake level, and at the general Church level, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve regularly meet with the Relief Society General presidency, the Young Women General presidency, and the Primary General presidency. That is exactly the point of councils in the church, that different people with responsibilities over different organizations and auxiliaries of the church come together to discuss what needs to happen. Women are not only invited, they are encouraged, and if these women representatives did not show up it would not be considered a Ward Council, but instead a meeting similar to a PEC (Priesthood Executive Council, a meeting where the priesthood leadership of the ward discuss the needs and concerns of the membership).
Maybe women are not being utilized as well as they should be in the Church, I agree. But that is not because the Church is wrong, or because the organization of the Church needs to be changed. If one reads the Church Handbook of Instruction, and the scriptures and looks at the example of the General Authorities of the Church, one sees the proper way women are to be treated and incorporated in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Of course, I am male. I am not a woman. I do not fully know what it is like to be a woman in the Church, I only know what I have observed and what I have learned from my study of the gospel. I would love to hear your thoughts on the role of Women in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What have you seen, what do you believe should be based on what the scriptures say? I encourage discussion, but please, keep the comments civil!