A recent presentation given in the auxiliary training for Relief Society leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sister Sandra Rogers, a member of the Relief Society general board, spoke on priesthood power available to Mormon women. (Her presentation begins just before the 39:00 minute mark). Her focus in the training was on the recent Worldwide Leadership Training meeting.
She beautifully distilled some important messages of the worldwide training meeting and how the doctrine of the priesthood relates to the work Mormon women do in the Lord’s work of salvation. We participate in that work through sharing the gospel with others, helping converts stay strong in the faith, helping reach out to those who are less active, doing temple and family history work, through gospel teaching, and through welfare work. Relief Society leaders unite with priesthood leaders in all facets of this work.
Sister Rogers talked of how God’s priesthood power is essential to do the Lord’s work of helping to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of all of Heavenly Father’s children. She testifies of the importance of the power of the priesthood (which she distinguishes from the the keys and authority of the priesthood).
There are several ways Mormon women have access to priesthood power to do the work of God in our Church callings and in our homes. Following are notes from Sister Rogers’ presentation. You can watch her presentation here. This topic of priesthood keys, authority, power, and blessings were also the subject of the recent Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting so we encourage you to watch those videos. Sister Rogers also pointed those in attendance to Daughters in My Kingdom (especially chapter 8) and also the Church Handbook of Instructions for more insight on these topics.
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Women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have access to priesthood power…
– When we receive priesthood ordinances
– When we “make and righteously keep” the sacred covenants we have made that are associated with priesthood ordinances
– When we participate in temple work and remember our covenants and the eternal blessings that are part of that saving, empowering work
– When we renew our baptismal covenants every week as we partake of the sacrament
– When we receive delegated authority as we are set apart in our callings
– When we work in unity in councils: ward councils, stake councils, family councils and in female auxiliary presidencies
– When we receive priesthood blessings
“Through delegated authority and personal righteousness” in our callings in the Church we can “act in priesthood power.” We “can receive inspiration, have access to gifts of the Spirit,” have the Lord’s sustaining power, and have the confidence that the Lord will help us in the work that we do.
Through making and keeping our priesthood covenants, all Mormon women can have access to priesthood power in “calling down the blessings of heaven” for ourselves, for our families, and for those within the stewardships of our callings in the Church.
From the Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting:
“Priesthood power…functions… in both the family and the church and its blessings are available to men and women alike.” -Elder Dallin H. Oaks
And from a talk Elder Oaks gave several years ago:
“The Prophet Joseph Smith told the early sisters that he had something better for them than a written constitution. Being organized under priesthood authority, they were to reject worldly concepts of power and seek the power that flows down from heaven for those functions and to those individuals who are using their time and talents in the Lord’s way.” -Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Relief Society and the Church”
Sister Rogers shared a story from Daughters in My Kingdom:
“Just as I was preparing to serve a full-time mission, my father left our family and the Church. Under these circumstances, it was difficult for me to leave home for two years, but I went. And while I served the Lord in a faraway land, I learned of my mother’s strength at home. She needed and appreciated the special attention she received from men who held the priesthood—her father and brothers, her home teachers, other men in the ward. However, her greatest strength came from the Lord Himself. She did not have to wait for a visit in order to have the blessings of the priesthood in her home, and when visitors left, those blessings did not leave with them. Because she was faithful to the covenants she had made in the waters of baptism and in the temple, she always had the blessings of the priesthood in her life. The Lord gave her inspiration and strength beyond her own capacity, and she raised children who now keep the same covenants that have sustained her.”
[Editor’s note: This reminds me of something Sister Julie B. Beck said a couple of years ago in a BYU Women’s Conference address:
Recently I reviewed this Primary song. You’re familiar with it. It says, “Mine is a home where ev’ry hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood pow’r, With father and mother leading the way.” Mine is a home where every hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood power. That is your responsibility, sisters, to help your home be a home that is blessed every hour by priesthood power. It isn’t just when Dad is there. It’s not just when Mom is there. It’s not just when a priesthood ordinance or blessing is being performed. It’s every hour as covenants are kept.]
I see the Priesthood as a whole, it is made up of parts, the Wife, the children. Look at the Jailer in Philippi, he asked “What must I do to be saved?”, the answer given to him was to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and YOUR HOUSEHOLD will be saved.” and when you continue to read on in Acts 16:29-34, you can see the beginnings of the Priesthood unfolding. The Gospel was preached to everyone in the home, everyone was washed clean of their stripes. Paul & Silas (the Priesthood)were “brought into his house”, food was set before them, they (the Priesthood) was welcomed as a family, he rejoiced that he had believed, and his household.
That is just one of many examples I could sit here and type for hours on, but it becomes plain to see that the Priesthood is indeed “Family”, because the Bible is simply a “Handbook on Family”, Heavenly Father explaining how His children have lived, and should live, which is extended, and expounded upon by the New Testament, and then restored, and verified by The Book Of Mormon, when we see the restoration of “Womanhood” in the Nephite society.
Maybe the incompleteness of my own Priesthood, being a single Father of 8 Daughters makes me more sensitive to the missing piece within it, and with many of the “feminist types” as they label themselves, asking why “they” do not have the Priesthood, I think it is because they are missing the fact that it is available to them, but it is not something singular that is meant to bring glory to the individual, but something that eventually culminates into a Family unit, something collective that is meant to bring Glory to Heavenly Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, our Brother. A Family unit, doing the Will of the Family of God.
I believe this to be true because I can see the missing piece in our “unit” so to speak,during instances where the Priesthood would be doing the Will of God, during sacrament when she is missing, during Family Night when she is missing, during Scripture learning times, any and all Family times, both within the walls of the Church, and without, where she is missing.
Matthew 28:18-20 is a very good example of explaining the Priesthood in an overall manner, but if you ponder closely, you can see that making disciples of ALL the nations, means Women as well, so it stands to reason that the Priesthood is recruiting the Priesthood, ALL of the nations, together, a Family of Children under their Heavenly Father, leaving their Heavenly Father to come to Earth, and then returning to Him as the same Brothers and Sisters they left Him as….
“it is not something singular that is meant to bring glory to the individual, but something that eventually culminates into a Family unit, something collective that is meant to bring Glory to Heavenly Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, our Brother. A Family unit, doing the Will of the Family of God.”
Guy, thanks for your comment. I like how you captured this here.
Sorry for what you have been through, but I appreciate the perspective you bring of what the priesthood as a whole, a bigger picture, means to you. I did a recent read of the Book of Mormon looking for these kinds of patterns as well. I also see priesthood as God’s power with the purpose of gathering ALL of us to Him in His pattern of family.