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Trying to understand lesson re: Priesthood today.


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#1 Eowyn

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:18 PM

Today the bishop came into RS and taught about the Priesthood and women, using as his foundation the life of Mary Fielding Smith and how she raised her family after Hyrum was martyred. I know he was trying to teach something really good, but I think he just wasn't getting across what he was trying to impress upon us. He said as women we have the power of the priesthood, but not the authority of the priesthood. The more he tried to explain that, the more confused we got. And I've been a member of the church my whole life. He wrote 3 categories on the board, but never wrote anything under them. If any of you don't mind, I'd be curious how you distinguish between them; because by the end of the lesson I just found myself wondering how we see and explain the difference between me as a mother praying in faith over my sick child, and my husband as a father giving the child a priesthood blessing. Anywho, here are the categories: Power of the priesthood Authority of the priesthood Blessings of the priesthood Have at it. ;)

"Therefore, let us beware of false prophets and false teachers, both men and women, who are self-appointed declarers of the doctrines of the Church and who seek to spread their false gospel and attract followers by sponsoring symposia, books, and journals whose contents challenge fundamental doctrines of the Church. Beware of those who speak and publish in opposition to God’s true prophets and who actively proselyte others with reckless disregard for the eternal well-being of those whom they seduce. Like Nehor and Korihor in the Book of Mormon, they rely on sophistry to deceive and entice others to their views. They “set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion” (2 Ne. 26:29). (Beware of False Prophets and Teachers, supra.)

Elder M Russell Ballard


#2 livy111us

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:42 PM

I would say that they have the power of the priesthood in certain circumstances, such as the Temple. Joseph Smith said that they would share the authority of the priesthood with their husbands (see below) and, of course, they partake in the blessings of the priesthood. President Franklin D. Richards: "I ask any and everybody present who have received their endowments, whether he be a brother Apostle, Bishop, High Priest, Elder, or whatever office he may hold in the Church, "What blessings did you receive, what ordinance, what power, intelligence, sanctification or grace did you receive that your wife did not partake of with you?" I will answer, that there was one thing that our wives were not made special partakers of, and that was the ordination to the various orders of the priesthood which were conferred upon us. Aside from that, our sisters share with us any and all of the ordinances of the holy anointing, endowments, sealings, sanctifications and blessings that we have been made partakers of. Now, I ask you: Is it possible that we have the holy priesthood and our wives have none of it? Do you not see, by what I have read, that Joseph desired to confer these keys of power upon them in connection with their husbands? I hold that a faithful wife has certain blessings, powers and rights, and is made partaker of certain gifts and blessings and promises with her husband, which she cannot be deprived of, EXCEPT BY TRANSGRESSION of the holy order of God. They shall enjoy what God said they should. And these signs shall follow them if they believe." (Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992], 5: [19 July 1888]).

#3 Eowyn

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:44 PM

Thanks. I definitely thought of connections to the temple.

"Therefore, let us beware of false prophets and false teachers, both men and women, who are self-appointed declarers of the doctrines of the Church and who seek to spread their false gospel and attract followers by sponsoring symposia, books, and journals whose contents challenge fundamental doctrines of the Church. Beware of those who speak and publish in opposition to God’s true prophets and who actively proselyte others with reckless disregard for the eternal well-being of those whom they seduce. Like Nehor and Korihor in the Book of Mormon, they rely on sophistry to deceive and entice others to their views. They “set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion” (2 Ne. 26:29). (Beware of False Prophets and Teachers, supra.)

Elder M Russell Ballard


#4 livy111us

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:18 PM

The best article I've read on women and the priesthood was written by Carol Madsen and called Mormon Women and the Temple: Toward a New Understanding. This article will answer most every question anyone has about the subject. You can read it here:

Sisters in Spirit: Mormon Women in Historical and Cultural Perspective - Google Books

#5 mikbone

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:40 PM

Strange. We had a lesson in priesthood that focused on Neal A Maxwells 1978 conference talk:

https://www.lds.org/...of-god?lang=eng

Excerpt

We know so little, brothers and sisters, about the reasons for the division of duties between womanhood and manhood as well as between motherhood and priesthood. These were divinely determined in another time and another place.

When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this.

I find it amazing in our day of enlightment when femenism and equality issues rear their ugly head that our GAs were able to succintly state the importance of motherhood decades ago.

Edited by mikbone, 25 March 2013 - 03:50 PM.

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#6 PhilosophicEagle

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 06:39 PM

This brings up a question here. How does the church define power and authority?

#7 Anddenex

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:01 PM

Power of the priesthood


Power of the priesthood is exemplified in Mary Fielding Smith and the Movie "Legacy." I believe it was Mary Fielding Smith who laid her hands on the ox and prayed. Sister Smith was acting in power and faith of the priesthood, not with authority.

Women/Mothers who pray that their child will be healed, while their husband, home teachers, bishops, etc.. may not be around, act in the power of the priesthood but not the authority of the priesthood.

In the same sentence a man may act with authority of the priesthood, but not be able to exercise the power of the priesthood. I believe it was Elder Bednar who provided a wonderful talk with regard to the power and authority of the priesthood.

I believe "many are called but few are chosen" is also good example of the difference between power and authority also.

Authority of the priesthood


Authority is solely the ability bestowed to use the priesthood. There are many man in the Church who hold the priesthood, they have the authority, but are unworthy to act in "power" of the priesthood.

Blessings of the priesthood


Solely the result of when the priesthood is called upon, and the result is that the will of man matches the will of God and God bestows his gift.

Have at it. ;)


Had at it! :)

#8 changed

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:04 PM

This brings up a question here. How does the church define power and authority?


Here are some scriptures about power:

(Guide to the Scriptures | P Power.:Entry)

For this cause have I raised thee up, to show in thee my power, Ex. 9:16. God is my strength and power, 2 Sam. 22:33. Withhold not good when it is in the power of thine hand to do it, Prov. 3:27. Truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, Micah 3:8. All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth, Matt. 28:18. They were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power, Luke 4:32. Tarry ye in the city until ye be endued with power from on high, Luke 24:49. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, John 1:12 (D&C 11:30). Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, Acts 1:8. There is no power but of God, Rom. 13:1. You are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, 1 Pet. 1:3–5. I am filled with the power of God, 1 Ne. 17:48. It has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost, Jacob 7:12. A man may have great power given him from God, Mosiah 8:16. They taught with power and authority of God, Alma 17:2–3. Nephi did minister with power and with great authority, 3 Ne. 7:15–20 (3 Ne. 11:19–22). Although a man may have power to do mighty works, if he boasts in his own strength he must fall, D&C 3:4. The power to do good is in each person, D&C 58:27–28. In the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood the power of godliness is manifest, D&C 84:19–22. The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, D&C 121:34–46. I will lead thee by my hand, and my power shall be over thee, Abr. 1:18.


We all have the power to act, which is our agency, agency was given by God - and power comes from God.

A lot of the power scriptures are in connection with the Spirit - if you are able to feel the power of the Spirit, talk while under the influence of the Spirit, to be guided by the Spirit - that is power.

Here are some on authority:

(Guide to the Scriptures | A Authority.:Entry)

I have sent thee, Ex. 3:12–15. Speak all that I command thee, Ex. 7:2. He gave the twelve disciples power, Matt. 10:1. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, John 15:16. Nephi and Lehi preached with great authority, Hel. 5:18. Nephi, the son of Helaman, was a man of God, having great power and authority from God, Hel. 11:18 (3 Ne. 7:17). Jesus gave power and authority to twelve Nephites, 3 Ne. 12:1–2. Joseph Smith was called of God and ordained, D&C 20:2. No one shall preach my gospel or build up my Church unless he is ordained and it is known to the Church that he has authority, D&C 42:11. Elders are to preach the gospel, acting in authority, D&C 68:8. The Melchizedek Priesthood has authority to administer in spiritual things, D&C 107:8, 18–19. What is done by divine authority becomes law, D&C 128:9. Any who preach or administer for God must be called of God by those in authority, A of F 1:5.


It seems like often authority comes from experience - like if you have experienced one of your children dieing, that would make you an authority on how to handle that type of grief, because you have experienced it. If you teach with the Spirit - there is a certain amount of authority that comes with that, people can feel the Spirit, and that gives what you say power.

Authority is also given by God - if anyone is prompted to do something by the Holy Ghost, I would think that person is given authority for their task, that they were called for a task by the Spirit. I think we are each given authority for different things.

As a female, I have felt the the power of the Spirit, the Spirit has directed me in a few of the things that I have done, and has given me the power to do them - "I will go and do the things the Lord commands, for I know the Lord gives no commandments save He shall prepare the way" - that applies to men and women equally. As a mother, I have some authority over my children, I have been called to be their teacher, their nurturer, and am given power to perform my tasks - if I keep the commandments, do what I am called to do, I am given the Spirit to be with and guide me, and I have power to fulfill all that the Spirit calls me to do.

Our Stake had a women's conference this weekend, and there was a lot of talk about how powerful women were. I didn't think of that power in terms of comparing it to the priesthood, and the priesthood was not really talked about much during the conference - but power was definitely talked about, and I felt empowered when I left.

Edited by changed, 24 March 2013 - 07:14 PM.

1 Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, ...we shall be changed.

#9 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:56 PM

Something missing from the discussion here is the oath and covenant of the priesthood. Brethren hold the priesthood as a covenant. This is far more weighty than what, I think, we actually understand. Power in the priesthood isn't really the important part in my opinion. Faith is faith and God answers the prayers of the faithful in miraculous ways, priesthood aside. But the authority of the priesthood comes with an obligation to serve. In exchange, we are given blessings. But the blessing of healing the sick (which is usually the most common thing gone to) are not really that important in the grand scheme of things. The blessings of the priesthood are directly tied to our rights to exaltation. Without the priesthood we have no baptism, no endowments of power (given to men and women), no sealings, hence no celestial marriage, no joining of father to son, mother to daughter. No turning the hearts of the fathers. In short, no salvation. No fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. All of these things are given to men and women. This is the power and the blessing of the priesthood, of which women are just as much recipients as men. Getting cured from disease or getting a blessing of comfort is nice. It's comforting. But the priesthood and it's glory are so much more important and amazing than that. The priesthood is the gift of salvation. Men are authorized to perform ordinances to this end, and ultimately under covenant to do so.

#10 Anddenex

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 08:03 PM

This is the talk given by Elder Bednar, "The Powers of Heaven."

The priesthood is the authority of God delegated to men on the earth to act in all things for the salvation of mankind (see Spencer W. Kimball, “The Example of Abraham,” Ensign, June 1975, 3). Priesthood is the means whereby the Lord acts through men to save souls. One of the defining features of the Church of Jesus Christ, both anciently and today, is His authority. There can be no true Church without divine authority.


The power of the priesthood is God’s power operating through men and boys like us and requires personal righteousness, faithfulness, obedience, and diligence. A boy or a man may receive priesthood authority by the laying on of hands but will have no priesthood power if he is disobedient, unworthy, or unwilling to serve.


Brethren, for a boy or a man to receive priesthood authority but neglect to do what is necessary to qualify for priesthood power is unacceptable to the Lord. Priesthood holders young and old need both authority and power—the necessary permission and the spiritual capacity to represent God in the work of salvation.



#11 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 08:08 PM

This is the talk given by Elder Bednar, "The Powers of Heaven."


Apostles always seem to say things so much better.

#12 Roseslipper

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:03 PM

we had a lesson given to us today by our stake pres, ward conf in r.s. It was on the priesthood too. It all has to do with who holds the keys, Bishop holds the keys for his ward, stake president for his stake, and so on. Prophet has the keys for the church, and so on. When you are set apart for a calling, that person has the keystodo so. woman have been set apart with the proper person who holds the keys and woman can hold the priesthood like in the temple.only.cause the temple pres. has the keys for the temple hes over. lays his hands on the women who need to have it, while performng priesthood ordinances in the temple. woman also share it with their husbands, or bishop or hometeacher IF a priesthood is not there, a woman can give a blessing just with a simple prayer of faith,faith works miracles . We have some sister missionaries about a wk ago or so they asked me if I wanted them to give me a blessing? My mind was thinking how can this be? there woman well it was a wonderful experience. It was a blessing in form of a prayer. No laying on of hands. I remember many yrs ago in a primary lessons when the mormons were crossing the plains, in this group their were no men and the cow got sick, the woman blessed it. cause she had faith. does any one remember that story? Poweris faith faith is power we can draw upon the powers of faith.

Edited by Roseslipper, 24 March 2013 - 10:14 PM.


#13 Still_Small_Voice

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:18 PM

You do not need the priesthood to draw down the powers of heaven. You need the priesthood for ordinances. The woman who blessed her ox crossing the plains did not do it with the priesthood. She did it with faith in Heavenly Father and Christ. Anyone can petition for blessings from Heavenly Father. It does not require the priesthood.

For if ye love only them which love you what reward have you?" -- Matthew 5:46 Inspired Version (changed to verse 48)

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#14 Roseslipper

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:25 PM

You do not need the priesthood to draw down the powers of heaven. You need the priesthood for ordinances.

The woman who blessed her ox crossing the plains did not do it with the priesthood. She did it with faith in Heavenly Father and Christ. Anyone can petition for blessings from Heavenly Father. It does not require the priesthood.


Iknow she didnt hold the priesthood.

#15 Vort

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:37 PM

My understanding of the terms is as follows: The Priesthood is the authority of God. The "power of the Priesthood" is the ability to exercise the authority of God, to call down his power through faith. Men and women both may draw on the power of the Priesthood. The "authority of the Priesthood" is the formal conferral of the authority of God. Only men may receive the authority of the Priesthood, and only worthy men may have actual power in that authority. The "blessings of the Priesthood" are the blessings of God to us. All such divine blessings are blessings of the Priesthood. Specifically, those blessings that come through the kingdom of God (the LDS Church) are often referred to as Priesthood blessings.

As if anyone could knowingly commit sin without being changed both in spirit, body, and mind. Let me say this again, sin changes who we are! --james12
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#16 rameumptom

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:36 AM

Women share the Patriarchal Priesthood with their husbands. They do not have the authorization to perform ordinances (except in the temple), but do have the power to perform many other functions as an auxiliary to the priesthood. In Nauvoo, women actually had more "priesthood authority" than they do today. Women were allowed to give blessings, and run the Relief Society as a priesthood sanctioned organization. Emma Smith, as president of the RS and as a member of the Quorum of Anointed, wielded more power than we can imagine today. In fact, Brigham Young invited Emma to move west with the Saints. She said she would do so on one condition: he recognize her preeminent position as RS president and QoA member. Brigham Young refused. Why? Because BY was actively involved in consolidating the power of the Quorum of 12 Apostles. Joseph Smith left many powerful organizations, each with claims to authority: First Presidency (Sidney Rigdon), Council of 50, Stake High Councils, Quorum of Anointed, etc. BY was working quickly and feverishly to end the disparate groups, so that Mormonism would survive as a single group of people. Some groups were disbanded (QoA, Relief Society), while BY used other methods to reign in some powerful people, such as having members of the Council of 50 sealed to him and his dynasty. Brigham also tried to control other things, such as not allowing Lucy Mack Smith's biography of JS into the Utah territory, as it was suggestive of JSIII being the next in line. As I noted, BY shut down the Relief Society for almost 20 years (IIRC). When it was reinstituted under Eliza R Snow, it was minus many of the rights, powers and authorities Joseph Smith initially gave to them.
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#17 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 12:49 PM

Talking about the power of the priesthood in terms of the ability to perform healings is like talking about the power of a computer in terms of being able to tell what time it is. The ability to heal is nice. It is a gift. It is part of how God shows love for us. It is a means to bring people closer to God. But it's a drop in a bucket compared to the true value and meaning of the priesthood. Whether a woman heals someone through a faith of prayer or through the laying on of hands has no bearing on that blessing. Either way, the person is just as healed. Either way, it really comes down to faith. The point being, you don't need the priesthood in order to exercise faith to miracles.

#18 Vort

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 09:44 PM

Ram, you speak with an authoritative tone far beyond what you or anyone else knows. Your definition of the Patriarchal Priesthood does not agree with that provided by our current leaders. Your story of Emma bargaining with Brigham Young in a power struggle over Church leadership authority is not, to my knowledge, well-attested. Your seeming plain statements of fact are, I believe, largely gossip and innuendo. If you have references to establish your claims, I would like to see them.

As if anyone could knowingly commit sin without being changed both in spirit, body, and mind. Let me say this again, sin changes who we are! --james12
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#19 rameumptom

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 05:45 AM

Vort,
As a historian, I look at the data and try to interpret it. My view is as valid as any other.

There was lots of issues between Emma and Brigham Youn, some of which I mentioned above that were tied to the OP. Others included who would end up with the huge debt that Joseph had incurred (Brigham left Emma with the debt that Joseph took under personal loans, and tried to take the lands that Joseph was only trustee to).

Here are some insights from the Book of Abraham Project on the Nauvoo Relief Society, and how the Utah version never arose to the same level of prominence (even though Eliza R Snow tried to make it so). The Nauvoo Female Relief Society Meeting of April 28, 1842 | Boap.org's Blog

You can now read the Nauvoo RS minutes Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book
which show just how much power was given to the sisters.

In John Turner's new book on Brigham Young and his attitude towards the RS: "When I want sisters...to get up the Relief Society, I will summon them to my aide" and then disbanded them. He believed men were the "head and the God of woman", very different view than that of Joseph Smith. Young suspended the general RS for over 20 years, uncomfortable with women having such power (probably based partially on his dislike of Emma) Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet - John G. Turner - Google Books
(Please read the entire section available online).


The Council of 50 was used by BY to move the saints across the Plains, but then pretty much put it out of its misery. It had little power, ir any, in Utah, especially after Utah was made a territory.
Council of Fifty - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


There are other things that are not available online, but this should suffice to give some "authority" to my reading of the history. BTW, I have a firm testimony that Brigham Young was a prophet of God. That said, I think he was a very rough, backwoods character, and that it showed in how he ran the Church and territory of Utah.
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#20 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 07:21 AM

As I understand it, there were distinct descriptive wording changes that took place, line upon line, over time, concerning our understanding and usage of words like "ordination", "keys", "quorum", etc... The fact that these terms were used doesn't really mean much as to evidence of power or authority. We don't use "ordain" now in ways they did in the early church. Over time this has been clarified and standardized. Ordaining is different than setting apart. In the early church...the words weren't always used the same. "Keys", same thing. Now we talk about keys in very distinctive terms. Only a few specific callings have keys (bishop, EQ pres, etc.) But the idea of what a key is has taken on specific meaning over time. In general terms, giving keys is simply assigning authority or rights, and in general terms that could be applied to any calling or organization (you now have the keys to run the sunbeam class or whatever) but we do not use it this way. That does not mean it was never used that generally, even by Joseph Smith who was also learning line-upon-line, and moreover, may have had no real need to have that level of clarity in his wording. Ordaining and the giving of keys and the usage of the term quorum are contemporary descriptions of specific things, and we carefully use them to help clarify understanding organization and authority. But the usage of those words in the early church in a meeting does not imply the women had more authority or power than they do now. Women have every bit as much authority and power now as they did then, with the obvious potential and highly contested (even in the early church) ability to lay hand on the sick -- this was contested and unclear for many, many years in the church. Over time, as the way the church works (line upon line) the proper understanding developed. To discount the current church's policy in favor of Joseph Smith's original ideas is to discount continuing revelation. It is quite clear that women were never authorized to baptize or seal, etc... And as I have pointed out, the ability to heal the sick by faith has never gone from women. Laying hands on or not is irrelevant.




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