Rumor has it that there’s going to be a new gospel topics essay on the ever-so-delightful subject of women and the priesthood. I came up with a list of arguments that might be made. Tell me, what am I missing? And which ones do you think are most likely to get used?
1) Women are important/valued/necessary
a) Women are essential to the plan of salvation, “a keystone in the priesthood arch of creation.” (Russell M. Nelson)
b) Woman are God’s supreme creation: “And so Eve became God’s final creation, the grand summation of all of the marvelous work that had gone before.” (Gordon B. Hinckley)
2) Women already exercise power in the church
a) Unlike some other churches, women teach, pray, give talks, run organizations.
b) Women have a voice in church administration; they are consulted and listened to.
c) Women have the authority of the priesthood in their church callings (see Dallin H. Oaks).
3) Men and women are different/have different roles
a) Men and women have different attributes. “You [women] were not created to be the same as men. Your natural attributes, affections, and personalities are entirely different from a man’s.” (Ezra Taft Benson)
b) Women have a particular intuition that is in some ways comparable to priesthood direction. “The woman’s innate spiritual instincts are like a moral magnet, pointing toward spiritual north . . . the man’s presiding gift is the priesthood.” (Bruce C. Hafen)
c) Men have priesthood, and women have motherhood. “Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood.” (Sheri L. Dew)
d) Valerie Hudson argues that women have their own female ordinances, “of body and of agency—pregnancy, childbirth, lactation.”
e) Women have divine gifts of femininity which would be lessened if they became like men. “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind.” (Margaret Nadauld)
f) Women are naturally spiritual. “Virtues and attributes upon which perfection and exaltation depend come naturally to a woman and are refined through marriage and motherhood.” (Body K. Packer)
g) Women don’t need the priesthood in the way that men do; men wouldn’t live up to their responsibilities and develop necessary spirituality without it
5) Men and women are equal partners. “In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.” (Gordon B. Hinckley)
6) Most LDS women don’t want the priesthood. “Fully nine-in-ten Mormon women (90%) say women should not be ordained.” (Pew Forum)
7) Male-only priesthood is God’s will
a) Jesus only called male apostles.
b) God has called modern-day prophets, who tell us that the current system is inspired.
8) God will condemn those who abuse the priesthood. “I also acknowledge that some men oppress women and in some rare circumstances are guilty of abusing women. This is abhorrent in the eyes of God. I feel certain that men who demean women in any way will answer to God for their actions.” (M. Russell Ballard)
a) Just because some have bad experiences doesn’t mean the system itself is wrong. “A person who has had a bad experience with a particular electrical appliance should not forego using the power of electricity. (Dallin H. Oaks)
9) The priesthood is about service, not power. We shouldn’t use worldly standards in measuring who’s important.
10) Women are given priesthood in the temple. “When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which by definition is priesthood power.” (M. Russell Ballard)
11) While the priesthood may be administered by men only, its blessings are available to women and men alike.
12) LDS women are actually among the most empowered. One can find examples of strong women in the church both historically and today.