Thursday, April 19, 2012

To Become a Priestess

“And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.”
—Abraham, on becoming a priest; Abraham 1:2

I rocked, helplessly alone in a house as silent as a house can be in the middle of the city. A faint pool of streetlight fell over the face of my restless ten month old. Her fevered body could only find rest in my arms until the Tylenol soothed her symptoms. Even though there was no one to see, I furiously held back tears. It was 2 a.m. and I wasn’t going to call a house in the middle of the night to try to find some priesthood holder to wrest himself out of bed to give my daughter a blessing. So, instead, I offered a pleading prayer of faith.

Months later, I sat again. This time I was surrounded by people, watching a tribute to a prominent woman in my company who was retiring from her career as a minister in her church. I was happy for her, but mostly I was fiercely jealous. She had a fulfilling life: businesswoman, minister, mother, and wife. People loved her. She had made a difference to them, brought God to them in a way I never can, as a Mormon.

They say that we Mormon women don’t want the Priesthood. Maybe for most, it is true. But for me, a woman who has gone toe-to-toe with Church detractors in its defense, who has gone to Church almost every weekend of her life (sometimes more than once,) and many weekdays, too, who has internally, silently, dedicated herself to the service of God, I would dearly love to have the chance to represent Him in truth, and not just in deed.

I don’t pine after the Priesthood. Most days, I don’t feel much of a lack. But there are times when I feel how my service is not authorized, how my dedication is less meaningful to others. I can only serve indirectly, by example. I am patient. I believe there is further light and knowledge yet to be revealed on women and woman’s place in the great and Eternal Plan of the Father. I don't know that it is the Priesthood, exactly. But I feel that there is more, and the Priesthood is all I have to see what that place may look like.

And when they say I don’t want it, they are wrong.

But I am willing to wait upon the Lord and His timetable. I don’t feel angry because that opportunity is not now open to me. I know it is His power, His to give when and how He wishes. And until then, I will be the best silent, internal disciple I can be.

“I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire; but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what he has before done.”
—Jesus, to Peter; D&C 7:5


  1. Wow, SilverRain, I could have written this. I, too, don't know that priesthood is what I want, but I DO know that priestesshood is, and I painfully yearn to know more about that and really wish I could practice it here as men practice priesthood. Maybe I am and don't know it, but I'd like to know it.

    I listen as people debate and I respect their many, many different positions. I haven't found a single one I agree wholeheartedly with on this issue, so I wait. I'm encouraged by the fact that often doctrine is revealed to us individually and not as church, and that the church confines itself to correcting false doctrine and encouraging the kind of behavior that improves personal revelation. I'm trying really hard to increase my sensitivity to personal revelation, hoping to have D&C138 moments. Your scriptures quoted are two of my favorites, and I have quoted them to the Lord and in journals many times.

    I begin to know "the patience of a saint" - wish that patience came some other way than waiting in silence.

  2. I love your wanting it and support your decision to wait. But this isn't exactly being silent and I love that too.

  3. You WILL achieve this someday, SR. Many, many LDS women will, but I don't know if it will be in this life or the next. I know God honors his promises and those who are ordained to a calling will become as such. I hope it is realized in this life; but I, too, will wait on the Lord.

  4. Beautifully written. Though I can't pretend to know the timetable of this, I begin to wonder if a restoration of some of the more obvious miracles seen in the early church (immediate healing, tongues, etc) will become more apperant when we once again have Priests and Priestesses working together to do these things. Not that there were ordained Priestesses in the early restored church, but there was certainly a lot more female involvement in making use of the gifts of the spirit.

  5. I am sorry to be different. I don't have the priesthood and I don't want it.
    I read all over the blogosphere and elsewhere about women in the church wanting the priesthood and I have a hard time understanding where this desire comes from.
    Don't beat me up right away :P

    I have the feeling (tell me where I am wrong) that there are two kinds of women who don't want the priesthood: those who are perfectly satisfied with things as they are for women in the church and those who don't expect fulfillment from the church in their life.

    I see the church as the way for me to benefit of a path that fits my need to go back to God when I need it in my daily life and a path for the ultimate return. He is the only one I am turning to for validation of what I think and what I say. I think this is why I don't feel less empowered than men. I actually often feel more powerful because I don't have the feeling that I have had to be granted something. I just have it.

    I find very strange that some women need to be told that they have been divinely officially given a power.

    Pleaaase as I have said: don't beat me up :) I just don't understand.

    1. I feel very much the same, never had a desire for the priesthood, and don't feel the lack.

  6. Don't ever apologize for being different, backandthen - that's what makes us beautiful, all the different colors we bring to life's palette.

    "I see the church as the way for me to benefit of a path that fits my need to go back to God when I need it in my daily life and a path for the ultimate return. He is the only one I am turning to for validation of what I think and what I say."

    I agree that this is empowering - I think too often we look to leaders and organizations rather than to the true source of light and truth.

    And, for what it's worth, I think that we conflate the priesthood with a lot of things that really we shouldn't, such as administrative structures and whatnot.


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