Not Ordained but Called: Women and the Priesthood

For a long time, I believed that women didn’t exercise the priesthood. But a class I took at BYU taught me how wrong I was.

God does not discriminate.

Photo by Catherine McMahon

I’ve often grappled with women’s roles in the priesthood. For the majority of my life, I thought the priesthood was something that only men had access to, and as I got older that concept became an issue for me. Why was it that only men could have the priesthood? Wasn’t I just as good as men? Did God favor one sex above the other?

I carried many of these questions with me when I enrolled in an eternal families class at BYU. When my professor started to discuss the covenants associated with being sealed in the temple, each and every one of my questions was answered in a profound way.

Before my professor delved into how the priesthood relates to temple sealings, he taught about the attributes of the priesthood. Among many things, I learned that there are four domains of the priesthood: keys, offices, power, and authority. Men are ordained to the priesthood and have access to keys and offices of the priesthood, and women also have access to the priesthood.

Yes. You heard me. Women have access to the priesthood. Specifically, they have access to two of the domains of the priesthood: power and authority. In the talk “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks states, “We are not accustomed to speaking of women having authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be?” When a woman receives a calling, goes on a mission, works in the temple, governs a family, or participates in other righteous endeavors, she uses priesthood power and authority to fulfill those roles.

This experience helped me realize that God doesn’t discriminate against any of his children. He loves all of us unconditionally and equally, and he gives everyone the opportunity to participate in the priesthood.

To learn more about the roles of women and men in the priesthood, read or watch Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s talk: “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood.”

Source: LDS General Conference

—Sarah Shields, Mormon Insights

feature image by sascha berner

Find more insights

Read “Priesthood: ‘A Sacred Trust to Be Used for the Benefit of Men, Women, and Children,’” by Sister Linda K. Burton, to learn about women’s divine and equal role in the priesthood.

Watch the video “Sweet Is the Work” to learn more about the ways young women can be involved in the priesthood.

Read the book Women and the Priesthood, by Sister Sheri Dew, for a doctrinal exploration of the topic.

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