I have been thinking a lot about the issue of Mormon women and the priesthood, and how some of my sisters and brothers in the Church feel that the only way that women’s worth can be fully proven (or their talents fully utilized) is to have women ordained to the priesthood. I’ve even heard it said that women are only getting crumbs at the table in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because they don’t have the priesthood. This honestly breaks my heart to hear women say. I can understand the desire for institutional similarity in roles and responsibilities, but I simply disagree with this kind of assertion about what women can and do experience in the Church.
Ultimately the Church is not about who does what, it’s about providing the means whereby we can access the power and blessings that come from the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
As I thought about this notion of crumbs at the table last night, I was reminded of a phrase that I love from S. Michael Wilcox: “What we must understand about our Father in Heaven is that He only gives bread; He never gives stones. He only gives fish; He never gives serpents. He only gives eggs; He never gives scorpions.”
And He never gives just crumbs. God gives the Bread of Life to all who seek it. The Master’s table is spread, and we are all invited to partake.
In the context of talking about the misperceptions about the role of women in the Church that are often perpetuated on the internet, Elder Ballard recently plead with us to “be cautious and wise to ever keep uppermost in our minds the simple doctrine and gospel of Christ.”
The doctrine of Christ is powerful and beautiful. And it really is simple. All who desire to partake of His grace may come to Him through “faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance of sin, baptism by immersion for the remission of sin, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end” [also from Elder Ballard]. There is no inequality in God’s eternal plan. There is only Bread. The reality that “all are alike unto God” is demonstrated by the fact that He has provided a way for all who are living and all who have ever lived to “come to [Christ] and partake of His goodness.” That goodness includes the peace of His power in our lives now, the grace to be forgiven of sin and covered in our weakness, and the promise of life after death.
And, as Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said, “In the world to come, to these, the most faithful, our generous Father will give “all that [He] hath” (D&C 84:38). Brothers and sisters, there isn’t any more!” (From the talk “Apply the Atoning Blood of Jesus Christ.”)
What does the doctrine of Christ mean to you? How have you felt the power of the Savior’s atonement in your life? How have you seen His power and grace in the lives of those you love?