Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lo! Read this!

I just found out about a press release from the church from four years ago.  I feel quite enthusiastic about this press release because of its implications.  You can read it here.

Two highlights for me:

  • "Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine."
  • "...the Church does not preclude future additions or changes to its teachings or practices."
In regards to the first one, I think of the religion classes I've been in where the professors use Power Point presentations that have quotes from a general authority along with a picture of him (I'm not saying "them" because it's not a question of it being either "him" or "her").  How many of those quotes are taken out of context and/or aren't really doctrine?

The second one can definitely be applied to women and the priesthood.  The press release goes onto quote the ninth article of faith:
"We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."
  This, I think, is one of the main scriptural passages that backs up the idea that women could be ordained to the priesthood, along with many other changes that could take place.

Why don't we talk about this press release more often?  Probably because it opens up a can of worms: "Well yeah, so-and-so said that, but is that really doctrine??"  It leads you to question everything (which, I think, isn't bad.  In fact, I think it's good).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Women and the Priesthood, part 2

An addendum to the last post:

Why do I think women should have the Priesthood?  It's not just about equality, although that is an issue.  A woman can't be the president of the church, and words uttered by her in General Conference aren't quoted like those of the apostles and other authorities. 

More important to me is the issue of opportunity: I think a woman should have the opportunity to give her friend, child, husband, or mission companion a blessing.  I think that if she brought a friend to the church, that she should be able to baptize him or her.  I've had someone ask me why I would want the Priesthood anyway (!); the answer is that I also want the ability to serve in this capacity.  I want to help people!  I want to be able to comfort them with blessings or bless and pass the sacrament to them or baptize them!  I'd like to seal people to their families.  But as of now, I can't.  It's a righteous desire I have, not an obnoxious give-me-power thing.

Women and the Priesthood

Ooh!  Controversial topic!  This post is only coincidentally being written on Father's Day.  What bothers me about the subject of women and the Priesthood most of all is not the fact that women at this time don't have it; I do believe that they should have it and that they some day will have it.  What bothers me most is actually the attitude of people I've encountered toward the very idea that women could some day have the Priesthood.

All I've encountered are knee-jerk reactions to the supposition that women could one day receive the Priesthood, and those reactions are that it will never happen, how could we think that, that would be preposterous, that wouldn't make any sense.  People (sorry, but I've mainly seen men) don't even take the time to even consider the possibility.  Use your imagination, please!  It's good to imagine alternate options and realities, I think; think of "what if?" even if it sounds ridiculous.  What if pigs instead of cats were common house pets?  What if lizards could fly?  What if popcorn were poisonous?  How would these situations change how we live?  It seems that to some people, questioning what if lizards could fly sounds just as ridiculous and pointless as asking what if women had the Priesthood.

I think questioning this is so scary to people is because it would shatter the explanations/rationalizations/illusions that people have created to explain the situation and would force you to admit that instead of the truth, they are merely explanations/rationalizations/illusions.  I will readily admit that I could be wrong and that only men will forever have the Priesthood in the church; but none of the reasons people use for why that could be are official doctrine—they are merely explanations created without any authority.  Some of these explanations include that motherhood is equal to the Priesthood (when, logically [and yes, you could attack my use of logic and quote Isaiah 55:8 and say that logic is myopic compared with God's view], wouldn't it be equal to fatherhood?  Also, any fertile woman can have children, but being ordained to the Priesthood requires worthiness.)  I will say now that I do think motherhood is divine and that honestly, given the choice, I'd rather be a mother than have the Priesthood. 

Here is an example from a website I am fond of, the 100 Hour BoardSomeone asked if the writers thought that there could ever be a female apostle, which, to me, is also implying the question of do they think that women could one day have the priesthood?  Three writers and one commenter answered, and only one of them was female.  One male writer did admit that if revelation came, that women could theoretically receive the Priesthood; but then it seems he was quick to dismiss that that would ever happen.  The commenter, I have found out, is one of the managing directors of Newsnet, which is apparently over the 100 Hour Board.  I find it worrisome that there was only one female voice in this matter (and that she was the only one who believed in the same thing I do), and that an older man felt the need to add a comment to refute her belief.  I don't think you can prove through logic or reasoning indefinitely whether or not it will happen, because we have an open canon.  But why all the explanations against it then if it can't be proven?

This post is probably to be continued because there is so much to write about; I feel like everything I write has so many counter arguments that it's like trying to kill off a hydra.