Posts Tagged ‘Mormon priesthood’

Mormon Women

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
Republished From:
This article has been shared here by permission of the author. The original article can be found at Mountain Meadows

Women have an unusual place in Mormonism. While they do not hold the priesthood (which is held by all worthy men ages twelve and older) they have the opportunity to do essentially everything a minister in another church might do.

Mormons—a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—believe that gender was assigned before our births and that each gender has sacred responsibilities. The Bible demonstrates that God sometimes assigns roles based on gender, including childbirth and family leadership. This is not a reflection on the abilities of the gender, but merely a simple way to provide a division of duties.

Mormon mother and daughterIn general, women have primary responsibility for the home and men for providing financially for the family. However, caring for the home is usually too large a job for one person and so Mormon men are taught to help with the housework and parenting. Children benefit from having both a mother and a father active in their lives, so it is important for men to be active parents. In addition, Mormon women, although asked to make the raising of children their priority, can work outside the home if they have no children or if they have a financial need. Whether or not her income is necessary is left to the discretion of the husband and wife.

Mormon father and son talkThe husband presides over the home as the priesthood holder, but this does not mean he is the boss. To preside, in Mormon terms, means to lead by example. It is his responsibility to live as morally as possible so he sets the proper example and pattern for the home. Husbands and wives are considered equal partners in the home. When a decision needs to be made, the husband and wife make it together. If they come to a complete deadlock, the wife often chooses to turn it over to her husband, but this only increases the likelihood she will get what she wants. When he has the final decision, church teachings on respect for wives mean he will usually decide to do things her way. However, since they make important decisions through prayer, they seldom reach those sorts of impasses.

Church leadership is all done by laymen, with roles changing regularly. There are many positions to fill and nearly everyone holds a position. Priesthood is a service position, not a power position, and Mormons have many, many ways to serve.

In most churches, the minister will pray publicly, give sermons, counsel others, and plan programs. Mormon women can do all of these things. Opening and closing prayers are given by different people each week and anyone, male or female, who is twelve or older can offer those prayers at the start and end of the worship service.

Mormon PrimaryInstead of one sermon given by the same person each week, Mormons invite two or three people to give brief sermons, called talks. Teens speak for five minutes and adults for fifteen to twenty minutes. Even children give little sermons in their children’s Primary program. They speak for two and a half minutes. These talks are given by both men and women and each person speaks about once a year. In addition, women have leadership ability over the Relief Society (women’s organization), Young Women (teen girls), and the Primary for children. Men may serve in the Primary but may not hold leadership positions. They can also serve in the literacy program, but only women may run the program, since it is done through the Relief Society.

Women hold leadership responsibilities at all levels of the church, including the international level. Although they work under the direction of the priesthood, they are generally given free reign over their work. When President Hinckley, a former Mormon prophet, was asked what they do with their women, he said they get out of the way and let them do the good work they do.

For Mormons, serving in the church is not about power and authority. All authority comes from God and all Mormons do is to carry out the work the way God has chosen. Leadership is service and it doesn’t matter how we serve God as long as we do.

The Role of Women in Mormonism

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

The role of Mormon women has been the subject of a great deal of debate, discussion, and interpretation, both within and without the Church. (Mormon is a nickname sometimes applied to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) This discussion often leaves out the larger picture and the context. To understand the role of Mormon women today, we have to look at their overall roles in the scriptures, in the modern past, and in today’s church, home, and society. We also have to evaluate what official Mormon teachings look like and how they influence actual behavior.

The Mormon view of womanhood has been a traditional one, but it is one that allows for diversity of practice. It outlines the ideal but does not penalize or judge women who are not living in ideal situations. For instance, while teaching that where possible, women have primary responsibility for child care (but are to be assisted by their spouse), the Church also teaches that others must not judge a woman who is employed. The Lord and the leaders of the Church know there are extenuating circumstances that might necessitate mothers working outside the home (and many Mormon moms do). That is between the family and God.

The Origin of Mormon Beliefs about Gender

People wonder what we do for women. I will tell you what we do. We get our their way and look with wonder at what they are accomplishing. - Gordon B. HinckleyMormons believe that all people were created as spirits by God prior to their birth. As spirits, we had gender, personality, intelligence, and agency. Our spirits resembled our mortal appearance but lacked the substance of a physical body. We lived in this form for a time before we were born into mortality. During the period of pre-mortal life, we began to develop our character. We had many opportunities to learn and to make choices. We were taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it was left to us to decide whether or not we wanted to live what was taught. Decisions always have consequences, however, and the decisions we made prior to our birth were no exception. (more…)

A Mormon Apostle Speaks at Harvard

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Speaks at Harvard Law SchoolThe Mormon Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland spoke on March 20, 2012 to students of the Harvard University Law School as part of the school’s annual “Mormonism 101″ series. Elder Holland (Mormon leaders are traditionally addressed by the title, “Elder”) explained about the history and beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are often called “Mormons.” He then engaged in a question-and-answer session with members of the audience. Elder Holland’s remarks helped shed some light on the Church, which has received a lot of media attention lately due to the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney.

Elder Holland began his remarks by congratulating the students on their openness to discussions of religious belief. “In the western world religion has historically been the basis of civil society as we have known it, and if I am not mistaken, men and women of the law are committed to the best—that is, the most just—civil society possible,” Elder Holland pointed out. “So thank you for taking religion seriously. You will not only be better attorneys but you will be closer to the truth in your own personal lives.” (more…)