Latter-day Saint men and women are equal in the sight of God. Both have access to priesthood authority to perform priesthood functions.
A string orchestra is made up of five sections: first violins, second violins, violas, cellos, and string basses. Sometimes it seems like one section is more important than the others. However, if all the sections don’t contribute, the harmony is lost—and with it a big part of what makes the music so great.
Just like sections in an orchestra, sometimes it seems like certain groups in the Church are less important, when in reality they have just as much value.
In an April 2016 conference talk entitled “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks addresses one area in which certain people are sometimes perceived as lesser—that of women and the priesthood. He notes that while women do not receive the priesthood itself, they do belong to the Relief Society, which is “a divinely established appendage to the priesthood.”
Women are able not only to receive the blessings of the priesthood from worthy priesthood holders but also to use some aspects of the priesthood’s power. Just as an orchestra’s melody may be primarily carried by the first violins but may jump from section to section, priesthood authority can be used by both men and women. Elder Oaks says, “When a woman—young or old—is set apart [to fulfill a calling], she is given priesthood authority to perform a priesthood function.” In other words, she too has the melody.
Read or watch Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s address “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood” to find out more.
—Monica Allen, Mormon Insights
feature image of relief society general presidency (from left: sharon eubank, jean b. bingham, and reyna i. aburto) courtesy of lds media library
Find more insights
See Joseph Smith’s teachings about women and the priesthood.
Read a Mormon Insights article by Nicole Whitworth about how a single mother crossing the plains was able to claim priesthood blessings for herself and her children.