Posts categorized “feminism”.

A Case for Ordaining Mormon Women

[A comment of mine on Facebook that I wanted to save.]

I think a strong case can be made for ordination of women from Mormon history and from within a Mormon framework.

During the first century of Mormon history, women often laid their hands on the sick and anointed their heads to give them a blessing of healing, something that is currently understood as a power of the priesthood. Church presidents from Brigham Young to Joseph F. Smith affirmed the propriety of this practice though many expressly separated this practice from the priesthood.

In fact, women often stood in priesthood circles with Melchizedek priesthood holders. Church policy has only within the last generation changed so that women are no longer permitted to stand in the circle when naming their child.

Second, women currently administer saving ordinances in the temple. Women acting in authority wash and anoint each other in preparation to becoming priestesses. They clothe each other in the Garment of the Holy Priesthood which they wear throughout the rest of their lives.

If they are privileged to receive the ordinance of the Second Anointing, they will be appointed a priestess (they had only been prepared to be such during the first ordinance of anointing). The woman will culminate this ordinance by laying her hands on her husband’s head preparing him for his resurrection and pronouncing a blessing on him.

So women are appointed priestesses and act as such in the temple though their exercise of this authority has become strictly circumscribed in modern Mormonism.

Regarding God deciding whether or not to openly ordain women to the priest(ess)hood, it seems that many revelations were received only when church leaders were motivated to ask for them: the Word of Wisdom and Official Declaration 2 are two such examples. Perhaps by faithful and long-suffering persuasion Mormons can motivate their leaders to knock on that door.