Few weeks ago Danise’s article touched on feminism, Mormon women, priesthood and equality. I would also like to add on to her article and share my view, particularly on priesthood.
What is priesthood?
This is from the Church official explanation:
The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. Through the priesthood God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power He redeems and exalts His children, bringing to pass "the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). God gives priesthood authority to worthy male members of the Church so they can act in His name for the salvation of His children. Priesthood holders can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern the kingdom of God on the earth.
It is simple and direct.
So… why men holding priesthood is controversial?
The answer is simple and direct too: it is because MEN are holding the PRIESTHOOD. Both “men” and “women” are problematic words because they contain hidden stereotypical definitions. The society and our unconscious mind connect “men” to authority, power, domination, patriarch, and phallocrat. As for now, only men in the Church are ordained priesthood. In this way, we “genderize” priesthood by the social norm of gender specification and by looking at it in a worldly manner. It is not fair to apply this social norm to those faithful and righteous men who hold the priesthood. As feminists we also fight for gender equality for men. However, there are cases that priesthood men out there use priesthood in a manipulative way, in connection to their cultural and social background. This adds negative connotation to the word “priesthood”. Using priesthood in a manipulative way is abominable in the eyes of God (D&C 121).
Is it vital and important for women to be ordained the priesthood?
I personally think that working towards salvation and exaltation are far more important than worrying who gets what from God and who doesn't. Priesthood is the power from God enabling us to receive necessary ordinances in order to return to His presence. We should “degenderize” our way of thinking towards priesthood and focus on the importance of priesthood regarding to salvation and exaltation.
In my personal opinion, I don’t think priesthood is something that we need to fight for or petition for. There are things that is not revealed unto us at this particular time. However, an advice to the brethren: Please do not use the “I-am-a-priesthood-holder-because-I-am-a-man” attitude. Also, an advice to the sisters: Please stop whining “why women can’t hold the priesthood”! Let us all remember that “we have been made instrument in the hands of God to bring about this great work” (Alma 26:3), no matter who we are, male or female.