Times & Seasons has been having a very lively conversation about women and the priesthood (see here, here, here, and here. I’d like to add my two cents (or ten cents, as the case may be), by proposing some reasons why I think it would be good for women to be ordained.
1) I often hear the concern that there isn’t enough priesthood leadership in many places to sustain a lot of church units. If women held the priesthood, that could help with the situation.
2) Women with families who had non-Mormon or inactive husbands (or no husbands at all), could have the priesthood in their home. If a mother, for example, wanted a blessing for her child in the middle of the night, she could do it herself.
3) Single women, who currently don’t have much of a place in the church set-up, could have more of a role.
4) Women would have more opportunities to develop their spiritual gifts.
5) One of the problems with an all-male leadership at the highest levels of the church is that they invariably miss things that are more likely to occur to women. Take, for example, the emphasis on modesty (a problem from a male point of view) versus body image and eating disorders (problems from a female point of view.) Which one gets more airtime?
6) We know from D&C 121 that once men get a little authority, it’s likely to go their head, leading to unrighteous dominion. I’m not at all suggesting that this wouldn’t be a problem for women as well–but in the current setup, women bear the brunt of unrighteous dominion.
7) If priesthood makes men into better fathers, couldn’t it also make women into better mothers?
8) Young Women wouldn’t have to discuss personal sexual issues with male leaders. In addition, women dealing with church courts wouldn’t be dealing with an all-male council judging them.
9) Women are regularly praised for their special qualities, such as compassion, empathy, and spirituality. Why wouldn’t we want people with those gifts in leadership positions?
10) Having women in a position to act in the name of God would underscore the doctrine that women, too, have a divine nature. It would also be a powerful image for girls growing up in the church.