Women and Priesthood Ordination

Issue: 2nd Nephi 26:33 teaches:

“…and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”

If “all are alike” to God doesn’t that mean women should also hold the priesthood?

Answer: When taken out of context this scripture may appear to support what many mormon feminists believe, ie: ordaining women to the priesthood. However a full and clear reading of this scripture gives us a better understanding what is really being taught here.

“For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”
– 2nd Nephi 26:33 [1]

Verse 32, previous to the verse above, lists a number of sins God has commanded us not to do and then begins verse 33. As we read verse 33 we see it is talking about the Atonement and how God invites all of us regardless of race, gender or social status to come unto Him and partake of His goodness and love. It is not saying that everyone is ordained to the Priesthood.

This invitation to come unto the Lord and use the Atonement in our personal life is freely available unto all regardless of race, gender or social status. Thus all may be saved in the Kingdom of God because God loves all of us equally and is no respecter of persons.

Our ways are not God’s Ways

This verse does not mean we as members in the Church and Kingdom of God have the exact same responsibilities or callings. In Isaiah 55:8-9 we read:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. [2]

We know the sociopolitical definition of equal or equality is, “being the same for all members of a group,” and this is often the definition used by the mormon feminist movement to justify Priesthood ordination. As we just pointed out in Isaiah the Lord’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor his ways our ways. Thus the Lord’s definition of equal is probably more akin to “Having the same quantity, measure, or value as another.”

We can see this definition in light of the fact that men can not bare nor give birth to children. This fact alone precludes the sociopolitical definition when speaking of the Gospel since men and women will never be exactly the same.

Men and women have different but very equal roles. After all, in the story of the Stripling Warriors [4], it was not fathers who were praised, it was the mothers. This is very telling in that Mormon knew motherhood and its value and worth would be greatly diminished in the eyes of the world. Thus it was purposely put in the Book of Mormon to reinforce the powerful and extremely valuable role of mothers and motherhood.

In short it is a worldly lie and falsehood to say that rearing and raising children is not a sacred, powerful and extremely worthy calling. You can not diminish the sacred role of motherhood in order to justify that giving the Priesthood to women would somehow make them equal to men — especially since they were already equal with men to begin with.

Rebuttals

Some arguments may come up such as these:

What about women who are barren? They never get the chance to have kids how are they treated equally?

While it is true we are given trials in life we shouldn’t suppose that because we are given these trials that somehow makes us unequal in God’s eyes. This would be no different than an adult male with down syndrome unable to hold the priesthood. The adult male with down syndrome is no less equal than the adult male or female without down syndrome. The same holds true for women who are unable to bare children.

Baring children is not equal to men holding the Priesthood because it requires a man to get a woman pregnant but it doesn’t require a woman to give a man the Priesthood.

In the exact same way that a priesthood holder cannot bless himself with the priesthood, nor take power unto himself with the priesthood so too it is with sisters and the power to bare children.

Priesthood holders can only exercise the priesthood to serve others, never themselves. So it requires another person, in need, for a priesthood holder to exercise their authority to bless the lives of others.

In order for a woman to exercise her power to bare children it requires another willing person to bring that life into being. Women, like men, cannot exercise their power unto themselves. It always requires an additional person to do so.

Final Thoughts

In the Book of Mormon, when Christ visited the American continent, he could have taught the people anything and they would have followed it. If it was God’s will that women be ordained into the Priesthood it could have easily happened then and there on the spot. Yet it didn’t, and throughout all of written scripture it never happened. The same could be said about men. They have never been given the sacred ability to grow and bare children.

Does this make men inferior to women or women to men? No. Each has a special, and sacred role to play as is taught in the “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” [5]. While the roles and responsibilities differ neither is greater than the other. They are, as I feel the Lord would say, different but “having the same quantity, measure, or value as another”.

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