Women and the Priesthood.
I've been thinking about this all week. I have had several conversations with women I really respect about this topic. And they've come down on either side of the issue, for very good reasons. And so I percolate. I have been listening, praying, reading, listening, and formulating thoughts. And I'm not done percolating honestly. I'm still learning.
Here are three of the good things about the Ordain Women movement--whether you agree with their agenda or not:
1) The conversations are rolling. Women are sitting with other women discussing the power that women have. We are talking about our gifts, our spiritual experiences, our personal revelations. We are talking about Adam and Eve. We are sharing our testimonies and edifying one another through these conversations.
2) I am asking questions I wouldn't have thought to ask and receiving answers that overwhelm my spirit. Answers that bring so many other things into perspective.
3) Misconceptions about the powers that women have are coming to light and ignorance is being addressed.
So here are my beliefs as they stand on this Friday evening. And I'm open to new wisdom and eager to learn more. But here are some of the things that I feel I have learned as I have prayed and pondered these things this week.
A dear friend introduced the idea to me that in Hebrew--man and spirit can be used synonymously in some scriptures, and woman and body also seem to be interchangeable. I've thought about this idea a lot in thinking about the roles of men and women in the priesthood.
I believe that when a man and a woman receive their temple endowment, they are "endowed with power". Whether I am ordained or not, as an endowed woman, I have the priesthood. If you doubt it, go to the temple and listen closely. For this reason, I don't feel the need to ask for it.
But I want to know what my priesthood responsibilities are as a woman of God. I want to know how I may serve the Lord.
I believe that the men have authority over matters of the spirit. They administer in spiritual ordinances like baptism, giving the gift of the Holy Ghost, the administering of the sacrament, and all other spiritual ordinances because as a man--that is their calling.
What does this mean? And in our post Nicene Creed Christian world, how do I teach myself that duties related to the Flesh are equal in importance to duties of the Spirit? And what are these duties?
I was thinking about what these might be and I remembered a talk my mission president's wife, Judy Morgan gave to all the missionaries about how Christ's choice to appear to Mary Magdalene immediately following his resurrection was not a coincidence, but that as a woman, it was her right to be the first to see the resurrected Lord.
I believe that women have power and authority over these "ordinances of the flesh". Birth, death, resurrection, sex, healing, nurturing, feeding, clothing, and other things I haven't yet thought of.
All spiritual acts can become pedestrian without the right attitude. And these acts of the flesh can become every day to us as well. But as we reverence ourselves and the powers that we have--we will enrich these acts of the flesh, which will in turn help both men and women to become exalted. Just as ordinances of the spirit help men and women to become exalted.
The soul is made up of the spirit and the body. The spirit and the body are required for exaltation. The man and the woman together are required for exaltation.
While I am not opposed to ordaining women--I believe the first priority is to more openly teach and discuss the powers that women already possess. I want men and women to understand and respect their power to lift one another.
Just as exaltation requires a partnership, so does leadership. I believe one of the first things the church will do is more fully acknowledge the partnerships in the church leadership.
For those of you who aren't LDS and are now completely bored by this blog, I apologize. For those of you who think I'm too moderate, I apologize. For those of you think I'm too extreme, I apologize.
More than anything, I feel so enriched! I feel like I have disrespected things of the flesh to my spiritual detriment and I need to be a better steward to myself. Lots to do! Lots to learn!