Good morning brothers and sisters,
There is great confusion in the world and the church today, especially concerning women and mothers…
The purpose of this article is to shed light and knowledge…
Today, I present to some words from Jesus Christ concerning Women…
The Record of Ougou verse 149:
Now, behold ye Nemenhah, the daughters of Adam are blessed from before the foundation of the world.
Behold, My daughters, by the nature of your creation, ye do serve all people.
Yea, it is good that ye do organize yourselves in all your good and that ye do uphold this nation as ye presently do.
But behold the orders of the priesthood are for the sons of Adam, to be an instrument unto them that they may train their natures to be more like unto the daughters of Eve.
Yea, that by the sweat of their face, even by their strength, they might learn to give of themselves for the sake of others.
For how shall they become like Me if they do not that which I have done?
But, ye Daughters of Eve, ye do it already.
Wherefore, covet not that which I have given unto men;
but rejoice and know that ye may seek My face without other preparation than that which ye have received by your nature.
For ye receive of the Mother even a more complete priesthood than the orders of the priesthood that I give unto men, in order that they may prove themselves thereby.
I present to you a portion of the temple endowment;
and also an article in Sunstone magazine by Margaret Toscano,
The Title is; The missing rib…
The forgotten place of queens and priestesses in the establishment of Zion…
Now with the Nemenhah records we have new light and new understanding of Heavenly Mother and Her Priesthood “The Book of The High Place” Temple endowment…
The Fullness of the priesthood comes from understanding Elohim heavenly Mother…
Then Elohim Heavenly Mother caused the Man to sleep and from his substance Elohim Heavenly Father and Elohim Heavenly Mother formed the body of woman.
And Elohim Heavenly Mother commanded that substance that it should bring forth fruit after its own kind and no other.
Then the Woman received her spirit in the same manner as the Man. Yea, then Mi-Ahrah, who was great among the Daughters of Elohim Heavenly Mother and among they unto whom She had given Her Endowment of Power, did possess the body of the Woman, even as Michael, who was great in the Father’s Council, had possessed the body of the Man.
But this is not all. Elohim Heavenly Mother laid Her hands on the Woman and ordained her to a holy calling, and gave her substance the injunction to nurture all living things, but most especially, her children.
Then Elohim Heavenly Mother gave to the Woman Her own name and called her name, “Mother.”
Elohim Heavenly Father:
The gift you have given mankind is the key to the sealing.
Woman has inherent in her creation the drive to sacrifice for her children. She will provide the man with a right model to live by. She is a help mete for him, for he has not that within him which draws one to subdue the self.
His own nature alone is enough to thwart our work because of Lucifer. If he will look to his wife, their experience together will teach Man the fundamental steps toward subduing his nature.
Then shall the Holy Ghost be able to speak to him.
In this way shall the man and the woman be sealed with that same quickening that associates us all together.
Adam and Eve:
Elohim Heavenly Father:
Jehovah. Because the Man and the Woman have chosen disobedience, they must leave Our presence. Cast them out of this beautiful valley into the lonely world.
Place a veil in the Man and the Woman as wards to guard the valley so that they may not come back into it and eat the fruit of the Tree of Life and live forever in this fallen state.
Provide a way for them to return again into that state of being capable of withstanding and sharing the glory of Our countenance.
We will provide a Savior for them, in accordance with the Atonement to which We covenanted before the world was made.
If they choose obedience and strive with their might to rise up again from their fallen state, we will bring them upon the Way and instruct them.
If they remain faithful and do good continually, they will finish their work.
105) Jehovah:I will do all that you have commanded, Elohim Heavenly Father. I will take up the valley We set apart for the Man and the Woman and I will make of it a Way to which they may attain only if their intentions and their hearts prove to be good and faithful. Upon this Way they may be instructed by their grandfathers and also by My own presence.
106) Elohim Heavenly Father:It is well. Jehovah, make coats of skins and place them upon the Man and the Woman. Cause them to understand that this will be a protection for them and a symbol of their devotion one to another. They shall show not their nakedness unto any other than their own spouse and this will be a help and a protection for them.
107) Jehovah:It shall be done.
108) Narrator:Each of you have covered your nakedness with clothing. See to it that this clothing is always modest and it will serve to protect you from the temptation that Lucifer places in the hearts of men that leads to the corruption of the gift of procreation. The evil one will use any means to corrupt the work of the Father. Always remember this and cover your nakedness accordingly.
109) Narrator:Then Elohim Heavenly Father retired to the Heavens and watched from a distance.
110) Jehovah:Adam. Because you chose to listen to the voice of Lucifer instead of that of the Father, you are cursed to live in the lonely world. By the sweat of your face you must earn your living, for you have chosen the natural Man and, if you remain in that choice, dust you shall be.
111) Jehovah:Eve. Because you chose to listen to the voice of Lucifer over that of the Father, you are cursed also. In suffering shall you bring forth children. Nevertheless, it is by this gift that mankind is saved.
112) Jehovah:Adam. If you will covenant with Me that you will seek My face and obey My will, I will teach you the Law of Obedience and the Gospel. Through this Thanksgiving Way, you may overcome your fallen state.
113) Adam:Jehovah, I now covenant with You that I will seek Your face and obey Your will.
114) Jehovah:Eve, if you will covenant with Me that you will seek My face and obey My will, even as the Man has done, I will make you Husband and Wife, and I shall teach you the Law of Obedience and the Gospel. Through this Thanksgiving Way, you may overcome your fallen state.
115) Eve:Jehovah, I now covenant with You that I will join with my husband and seek Your face and obey Your will even as my husband has covenanted.
Break for Instruction
1) Narrator:It is at this point in the ordinance of the High Place that marriages may be solemnized. This is the earthly marriage and begins the covenant of marriage entered into by the man and the woman. It is part of the Law of Obedience and the Gospel, but is only made eternal by the power of the Holy Spirit of Promise, the token of which is the Second Anointing.
2) Jehovah:We desire all to receive this Law and this Way. All arise. Each of you covenant, as this Man and this Woman have done, to seek My face and obey My will, in whatever form I may choose to give in the generations of your lives. Each of you bow your head and say, Yes.
3) Jehovah:It is enough. That will do. Because of the pure intent of your hearts, you shall be instructed in all that you must do to regain the state from which you have fallen. You shall learn how faith and commitment to the Thanksgiving Way makes it possible for the suffering of one to make up for that which you cannot change. Now go forth into the lonely world. Build a home and an Altar.
Offer your oblations unto Me and I shall send messengers to you from time to time. You shall know them to be messengers from the Father because they will teach of four Sacred Directions.
This shall be a token by which you may know them when they come. Now, you must go out of this Valley which I created for you and live in the wide world and I must place between us a barrier, or veil, which shall separate you from the place where I may dwell with you for a time.
You must be apart from My face and My presence until you have proven worthy to once again be one with Me.
When you come again unto Me and have been instructed and prepared, I will cause the veil to be taken up and I will take you back into the presence of Father.
4) Adam:I will follow this Thanksgiving Way.
5) Eve:I, too, will follow this Path. For I know that, though it may prove to be strait, the Path of the Creator is a good road.
6) Narrator:Adam and Eve emerged up out of the sheltered place where they had spent their spiritual infancy into the Telestial World and they called it a lone and dreary world, a world that was filled with wonders and also dangers, and a world where they could not daily walk and talk with all things living.
A barrier was placed in their minds between them and the place where the Creator walks and they were left alone. Then Adam and Eve began to explore their new world and discovered that it was filled with the same plants and animals that they recognized from their previous home. They studied them and learned what was good for food and what was not, what could be used for clothing and for shelter. They found that their new home was not sheltered and was filled with danger.
The Missing Rib
by Margaret Toscano
In Mormon theology, priesthood keys are essential to administer the ordinances of salvation and to organize and superintend the Church. For this reason, the restoration of the priesthood has long been viewed as one of the most important events in the establishment of the Church.
Yet, though the Church commemorates the restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, little if anything is ever said about the restoration of the priesthood “by the hand of Elijah the prophet.” For Joseph Smith, however, Elijah’s mission was of the utmost importance to the Church, since Elijah restored the keys of the fulness of the priesthood.
Significantly, among Joseph’s first revelations from Moroni, given in 1823, appears the pronouncement that it would be by Elijah, not John the Baptist or Peter, James, and John that the priesthood would be revealed (D&C 2).
Though Elijah appeared in April of 1836, it was not until May 4, 1842, that Joseph began transmitting to other men the keys of this priesthood by means of the temple endowment. Later, Joseph organized these newly endowed members into a group most commonly referred to as “the quorum.”
A year later, on the evening of September 28, 1843, Joseph Smith “was by common consent & unanimous voice chosen president of the Quorum & anointed & ordained to the highest order of the priesthood (& Companionmd[itt]o” (D. Michael Quinn,”Latter-day Saint Prayer Circles,” BYU Studies, Fall 1978, p. 85).
Perhaps the most significant aspect of this important event is contained in the last two words of this report m words which are added parenthetically:
“(& Companion–d[itt]o.”These words mean that Joseph’s companion, Emma Smith, was also anointed and ordained to the highest order of the priesthood. She had, prior to this date, received her endowment from Joseph, making her the first woman to receive these ordinances; and she was the first woman to be admitted into the quorum.
Thereafter, she was in charge of administering to other select women the endowment ordinances which not only transmit priesthood power and keys to those who receive them, but which are a necessary prerequisite to the bestowal upon both men and women of the fulness of the priesthood.
It was Joseph’s intent that all faithful women were to receive what Emma received when she was “anointed and ordained to the highest order of the priesthood” with her husband. (See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 137, 226.) Women, then, can and do hold the priesthood. But this fact has been obscured and overlooked much in the same way that Emma’s ordination was subordinated in the report just quoted.
In Joseph’s view, women needed the priesthood as
much as the men did because the priesthood was not
merely a status or fraternity, but a requirement for
Joseph saw priesthood as raw spiritual power. For him it was inextricably entwined with God’s spirit that permeates the universe. Principles of righteousness and Priesthood are a necessary prerequisite to handling and controlling the powers of heaven.(See D&C 121:36.)
While Joseph taught that the reception of the gift
of the Holy Ghost brings with it such spiritual gifts
as revelations, visions, and tongues, he also taught
that the reception of the fulness of the priesthood by
a holy anointing brings similar but higher gifts:
revelations of greater knowledge and wisdom, including
the discernment of spirits, the reception of the ministry of angels,
the voice of Jehovah, the visitation of
the Father and the Son, and, finally, the power of an
endless life. (See Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 42, 245, 246,
(Communing with the church of the firstborn)
Entering; The Terrestrial World
Walking upon “The Way”
The Straight and Narrow Path that leads to The Gate…
Seeking The Lords Face…
Walking and Talking with Peacemaker…
Becoming His Disciple…Desiring to build Zion…for His
The anointing to the fulness of the priesthood is
among the very last ordinances of salvation on a
continuum that begins with faith in Jesus Christ and
ends with the washing of the feet.
The purpose of these ordinances is to sanctify an individual by giving to him or her one degree of spiritual power upon another until he or she is able to bear the full weight of God’s glory and come into union with God himself and with other sanctified individuals. (See WJS,pp. 341, 350, 365-66.)
For Joseph, the main purpose of the keys restored by John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John was to administer the ordinances which would eventually allow men and women to be endowed and anointed kings and priests and queens and priestesses, so that they could have direct and personal contact with God.
For Joseph, this was the whole point of religion.
He stated, “this is why Abraham blessed his posterity: He wanted to bring them into the presence of God …. Moses sought to bring the children of Israel into the presence of God, through the power of the Priesthood, but he could not.” (SeeWJS, p. 9.)
Since contact with God is the essence of religion;
then personal revelation is an indispensable ingredient of the religious life.
For Joseph the “spirit of revelation” and the “priesthood” were very closely linked. (See WJS, pp. 212, 230.) With the reception of the fulness of the priesthood, a man and woman
receive the spirit, power, and calling of Elijah: Now for Elijah, the spirit power & calling of Elijah is that ye have power to hold the keys of the revelations ordinances, oracles
powers & endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood & of the Kingdom of God on Earth & to receive, obtain & perform all the ordinances belonging to the Kingdom of God even unto the sealing of the hearts of the.., fathers unto the children & the hearts of the children unto the fathers even those who are in heaven. (WJS, p. 329.)
No person can “attain to the Joint heir-ship with Jesus
Christ with out being administered to by one having
the same power & Authority of Melchizedek.” (WJS,
By receiving the keys of the fulness of the
priesthood through the holy endowment and the
a man and woman make their calling and election sure and may receive the visitation of God the Son and be initiated by him into the presence of God the Father.
Since in Joseph’s view, this priesthood is essential
for full salvation and for contact and union with
God, it seems inconceivable that he could withhold it
And, in fact, he did not.
Joseph saw the offices of the priesthood in the
Church as necessary appendages to the fulness of
the priesthood (see WJS, p. 59; TPJS, p. 167),
Male Church members were ordained to these offices to prepare them to receive their anointings. But Joseph did not ordain women to these offices. However, he did have a plan to prepare the female members of the Church for the fulness of the priesthood. The organization of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo lay at the heart of this plan, which
the Prophet unfolded in the discourses he gave to the Relief Society between March 17 and August 31,1842.
In the first of these speeches, the Prophet directed
the Relief Society women to follow the pattern of
the priesthood quorums By establishing in their
organization a presidency and other officers. When
Emma Smith was elected president, Joseph explained
Since in Joseph’s view, priesthood is essential for full salvation, it seems
inconceivable that he could withhold it from women.
That she was to teach the “female part of the community.” (WJS, p. 105.) This remark constitutes an interpolation of Doctrine and Covenants 25, which actually told Emma she would be ordained “to expound the scriptures, and to exhort the church,”not just its female members (D&C 25:7).
Elsewhere, however, Joseph expanded women’s sphere of influence by saying that, although their administrations should be confined to their close acquaintances, their knowledge and preaching could “extend to all the world.” (See WJS, pp. 118-19.) Joseph emphasized that Emma and women in general have the calling to learn, write, and teach by virtue of their having received the gift of the Holy Ghost. (WJS, p. 10,5.)
Thus, women are not simply told to stay in the home and content themselves with “the things of the world” (D&C 25:10).
In Joseph’s next speech, he advised the Relief
Society to make a careful selection of its new
members; for he saw the organization as a means to
prepare women for the fulness of the priesthood–a
necessary step in building Zion, which was to be
patterned after the “ancient order of things.” He
said: “The society should move according to the
ancient Priesthood, hence there should be a select
society, separate from all the evils of the world,
choice, virtuous and holy” (WJS, p. 110).
“ancient priesthood” refers to the priesthood of the
Ancient of Days, Adam and Eve, the priesthood
given to men and women jointly (see Moses 6:7;
D&C 113:8; TPJS, p. 237). Hence, Joseph could tell
the Relief Society that they should “move according
to the ancient Priesthood,” because they too would
share in it. The Relief Society was clearly to be a
school to prepare women for the holy order, just as
the offices and quorums of the priesthood in the
Church were organized to prepare men for the same
That the ancient order is connected with the building: of Zion is indicated by Joseph’s stated intention
“to make of this society a kingdom of priests as in
Enoch’s day–as in Paul’s day” (WJS, p. 110). The
original version of this statement was later edited so
that the word “society” was changed to “Church” to
read: “The Lord was going to make of the Church of
Jesus Christ a kingdom of Priests.” This was done
perhaps because it seemed incredible that Joseph
would have said that he intended to make Relief
Society women into “priests.”
But I don’t believe that the original statement was
in error. I think Joseph used the masculine form here
in the same way Jesus did in the apocryphal Gospel
of Thomas. In that text, Peter objects to the fact that
Jesus seems always to be in the company of Mary.
Jesus answers this criticism, declaring: “I myself shall
lead her in order to make her male”
(James N. Robinson, ed., Nag Hammadi Library, p. 130).
not mean that he was going to change Mary’s sex
but that he was going to make her one with him, a
fact he explained when he says: “When you make
the two one, and when you make the inside like the
outside and the outside like the inside, and the above
like the below, and when you make the male and
female one and the same, so that the male not be
male nor the female female.., then will you enter
[the Kingdom]” (Nag Hammadi, p. 121).
When a man
and woman become one in God, the outer loses its
identity as outer, and the inner is no longer inner
because they have merged into one eternal entity.
The female does not become a male, nor the male a
female, but rather both become one. They both
become a whole person, a holy person, a divine
being, a “Man” of Holiness.
The term man is used here in the same sense it was used in Genesis: it embraces both the male and the female counterparts. Thus, Joseph Smith, in applying the masculine term priests to the women of the Relief Society, was not merely making an oversight or indulging in male chauvinism; rather he was using a shorthand expression to refer to an ancient and complex spiritual teaching.
One month later, in his speech of April 28, 1842, Joseph directly addressed the question of woman’s relationship to the priesthc~od by discussing the practice of women giving blessings. He observed that women have the right to administer to the sick because of the ordination and authority they receive by virtue of the gift of the Holy Ghost conferred by
the laying on of hands.
Joseph explained that the ability to cast out devils, speak in tongues, and heal the sick are given to all, “whether male or female,” who believe and are baptized (W]S, p. 115). The fact that God honors the administration of women by healing the person blessed, said Joseph, shows that there is no harm in the practice.
“It is no sin for anybody to do it that has faith, or if the sick has faith to be heal’d by the administration” (WJS, p. 116).
Joseph, however, did not leave the matter there. He added a second justification for women laying hands on the sick by implying that women would soon have an even greater right to administer in spiritual gifts than that given them by virtue of the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This greater right was to consist of the priesthood which was to be conferred upon them in the temple. But because Joseph had premonitions of his death, he felt an urgency to begin the work of conferring this priesthood on women before the temple was completed: “He said as he had this opportunity, he was going to instruct the Society …. He spoke of delivering the keys to this society and to the Church–that according to his prayers God had appointed him elsewhere.” (WJS, p. 116.)
The keys that Joseph spoke of in this passage are those priesthood keys, revealed in the temple, by which the heavens are opened so that spiritual power and knowledge may be received and the source of revelations tested. That Joseph intended women to receive the priesthood is further demonstrated by his statement found in the History of the Church: At two o’ clock I met the members of the “Female Relief Society,” and.., gave a lecture on the Priesthood, showing how the sisters would come in possession of the privileges blessings and gifts of the Priesthood, and that signs should follow them, such as healing the sick, casting out devils, &c., and that they might attain unto these
would have said
that he intended
to make Relief
JULY 1985/SUNSTONE 19
women a route
to the fulness of
that was different from that
charted for the
blessings by a virtuous life, and conversation, and diligence in keeping all the commandments. (HC, 4:602.) In this and other discourses to the Relief Society,
Joseph spoke at length on the subject of: charity and showed its connection to the spiritual gifts and the priesthood. Joseph taught that charity as the pure love of Christ was the root of purity and the beginning of unity.
If the kingdom of God was to be built, it would be founded on Christ’s love. For this reason he warned the members of the Relief Society to avoid fault-finding and self-righteousness. Joseph observed that charity not only brings unity of feeling but is indispensable to achieving unity with God.
This is an important temple concept. By addressing charity, Joseph was, once again, preparing the women for the higher ordinances leading to the fulness of the priesthood. For Joseph connected charity or “perfect love” with the highest order of the priesthood and with the doctrine of making one’s calling and election sure. He said: “Until we have perfect love we are liable to fall” (TPJS, p. 9).
Joseph was attempting to expand the view the women had of charity and their own priesthood destiny. For though they initially thought of the Relief Society as an organization dedicated to humanitarian service, Joseph Smith also saw it as a vehicle
for building the City of God, where women could commune with Jesus face to face. He saw women functioning in a priestly role to save. souls, not merely to administer to their temporal needs: “Away with self-righteousness.
The best measure or principle to bring the poor to repentance is to administer to their wants–the Society is not only to relieve the poor but to save souls.” (WJS, p. 124.)
The “poor” to which Joseph referred are the “poor in ,;pirit,” who need the “bread of life,” Jesus Christ. But why couldn’t the women have received the same preparation as the men, through the priesthood quorums already functioning in the Church?
Why did Joseph create for women a route to the fulness of the priesthood that was different from that charted for the men? There are no clear answers to these questions nor to the question of whether or not this difference will always exist. However, there are a few statements that may help us to understand why women are not ordained to priesthood offices in the Church structure. One such statement is Joseph’s remark that a “woman has no right to found or .organize a Church–God never sent them to do :it” (TPJS, p. 212). This is related to another statement by Joseph:
“The Kingdom of God was set upon the earth in all ages from the days of Adam to the present time whenever there was a man on earth who had authority to administer the ordinances of the Gospel” (WJS, p. 155).
Elsewhere we read that if there is but one king and priest left upon the earth he could
reorganize the Church (cf. TPJS, pp. 271-72).
In all of these statements, the commoner idea is that it must be a man who commences the work of the gospel through the administration of ,ordinances.
Through their ecclesiastical offices, often are the ones who perform the ordinances of rebirth, which bring an individual into the family of Christ.
In performing these initial ordinances men are, so to speak, like physicians who deliver the newborn babe into Christ’s kingdom.
Once a person is in the Church, however, he or she is nurtured by men and women equally; for both can teach and exhort, give blessings, prophesy, and receive revelation.
In short, they both can enjoy all the gifts of the spirit on an equal footing for the edification of the whole body of Christ.
When a person is ready to receive the higher ordinances in the temple, it is again the man who initiates.
At the outset of this dispensation, Emma Smith received her endowment from Joseph. However, once she had been anointed a queen and a priestess, she too could and did introduce other women into the mysteries of the holy endowment. So it appears that women can perform initiation rites under limited circumstances; for women anoint,
wash, and convey the tokens of priesthood to other women.
But, though it is the duty of the male priesthood holders to commence the work, it is important to observe that the last ordinances pertaining to the fulness of the priesthood cannot be administered by men; they must be administered by women.
The anointing to the fulness of the priesthood is divided into three parts, which do not necessarily take place in the order discussed here.
The first part is an anointing administered by the head of the high priesthood, who anoints the man to be a king and priest to God and the woman to be a queen and priestess to her husband.
The second part of this ordinance consists of the washing of feet,, by which the king and priest is made clean every whit.
The third part consists of certain ordinances conferred by the wife upon the husband in which she washes and anoints various parts of his body~last of all his feet.
From the Heber C. Kimball account of this portion of the ceremony, the part performed by his wife Vilate, we learn that this ritual was a reenactment of the washing and anointing of tl’te body of Jesus done by one of the Marys. Jesus, in the Gospel of John, is recorded as saying that Mary performed this ordinance “against the day of my burying” (John 12:7). Heber C. Kimball connects this ceremony with death by saying that the woman does this so that she might have claim upon her husband in the resurrection. (See “Strange Events” in th~ Heber C. Kimball Journal, Church Archives.)
Although this statement may be interpreted to mean that the woman is dependent upon the ~nan for her resurrection, it might also be interpreted to mean that the man must look to the woman for the ordinances which confer the power of endless life. In this view, the woman is the vehicle through which the man obtains power to come forth from the tomb, even as she is the vehicle by which he is brought forth from the womb.
This brings to mind the myth of Osiris, whose resurrection was dependent upon the effort or work of Isis in the Egyptian ceremonies, where, incidentally, a woman had to be present at every “awakening.” (Hugh Nibley, The Message of the Joseph
20 SUNSTONE/JULY 1985
Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment, pp. 148-51.)
Thus, in God’s plan men and women possess balanced responsibilities. For while males are intended to :initiate, females are intended to complete and bring to fruition.
This interdependence is perhaps best symbolized in the creation of a new human being: in the creative process, the woman is as vital as the man; both contribute life. The old cliche that men have the priesthood and women have motherhood is clearly inappropriate; it makes no sense.
Women have motherhood, and men have fatherhood. Men have priesthood, and women have priesthood too.
Motherhood and fatherhood have to do with creating physical life, with creating sons and daughters; priesthood has to do with spiritual motherhood and fatherhood, which concerns spiritual begetting, nurturing, and birth; it has to do with creating sons and daughters unto God.
Women, then, also have a priestly calling, a lifegiving calling, similar to the man’s but not identical to it. Though there are some ordinances she cannot perform there are others that she may perform; and there is at least one ordinance which she alone can perform. It is clear, however, that the male and female, in their priestly function, must act in union to realize the fulness of gospel blessings.
Without a proper apportionment of the spiritual contributions of both the male and female, there can be no birth, no enduring rebirth, no inner life, no continuing contact with God, no significant revelation, no balanced manifestation of the spiritual gifts, no mature counsel no triumph over Satan, no equality in which all things are held in common.
In short, there can be no city and kingdom of God. It is into the seamless cup of balanced and spiritually regenerated sexual union that God has promised to pour the fulness of his priesthood, which is the power of God.
In light of the fact that women have an important and coequal priestly function, it should not be surprising to learn that Joseph Smith allowed women some role in the governance of the Church in the months just prior to his martyrdom.
In September of 1843, Joseph not only gave the women the endowment and the fulness of the priesthood, but he also included them in the quorum of the anointed, or the holy order. Although it has been argued that this quorum never functioned as a priesthood quorum in the Church and that it was simply the antecedent to an endowment congregation in today’s temple practice (Quinn, “Prayer Circles,” p. 89), there is evidence to the contrary.
If Joseph thought of the holy order merely as an endowment group why did he not treat it as an ephemeral body?
Why did he meet with them regularly?
Why did he continue to instruct them?
Why was he chosen as president of the holy order if the quorum itself had no special significance?
Why did he allow this quorum to partake of the sacrament and engage in other activities beyond instruction in the temple endowment?
The quorum conducted prayer circles, not merely for the purpose of instructing the members in the details of the prayer circle, but for the purpose of addressing in prayer problems affecting the whole Church.
Though prayer meetings may not seem as important as administrative meetings to members of the modern Church, Joseph instilled in the minds of his followers the idea that the true order of prayer was the most effective means of bringing about change. Joseph did not have a managerial view, he had a sacral one.
He believed (as perhaps did St. Thomas More) that a kingdom could be governed by prayer. For this reason, prayer was not just another private devotional;
it was an act of spiritual administration, a way to call upon God to bring about needed changes and needed action. (See HC, 5:45-46.)
Brigham Young, for example, claimed that it was by the true order of prayer that he kept the Church together and the mobs at bay after the martyrdom (as cited in James B. Allen, Journal of Mormon History, 1979, note on p. 48).
And on one occasion in Nauvoo, Newel K. Whitney and Dr. John M. Bernhisel thought the quorum should meet together to pray that the weather might be changed so that sickness would not be spread among the Saints. (Quinn, “Prayer Circles,” p. 104.)
It is therefore consistent to view the holy order not merely as a prayer body but also as an administrative body of the Church. Joseph instructed the quorum that since they had the keys to test revelations, they were to test the revelations of anyone claiming to have received one for the Church.
At the trial of Sidney Rigdon in August of 1844, two different members of the quorum used this argument to show that Sidney Rigdon’s revelations were false (Times and Seasons, 5:664). This evidence suggests that the quorum had real, if not supreme, priesthood authority in the Church, for this group, which William Marks referred to as the “first quorum,” could pass upon the validity of revelations to the Church. This same view was emphasized by Heber C. Kimball, who indicated that although Sidney Rigdon had held a very high Church office, he did not have as much authority as others who held the fulness of the priesthood and participated in the “council pertaining to the High Priesthood” (T&S, 5:663).
This view of the quorum is further substantiated by the fact that Joseph Smith, at least on one occasion, conducted an important piece of Church business in a meeting of the”first quorum.”
On October 1, 1843, in a quorum meeting, he anointed William Law and Amasa Lyman as counselors in the First Presidency of the Church (Andrew F. Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Succession Question,” BYU master’s thesis, p. 119.)
From the time the quorum was first organized until his death, Joseph relied more and more on it to test out his doctrinal innovations and to disclose his most important decisions (Ehat, “Temple Ordinances,” p. 41). This focus corresponds with Joseph’s views on the importance of priesthood power for the full redemption of the individual and of society at large. Though there are some ordinances woman cannot perform, there are others that she may perform; and there is at least one which she alone can perform.
JULY 1985/SUNSTONE 21
quorum and the
woman’s role in
However, Joseph’s vision of priesthood faded quickly after his death. And as it faded!., so did the importance of the quorum, the place of women in it, and the role of women as priestesses in Zion.
Ironically, though the Quorum of Apostles succeeded to Joseph’s place because of their anointing to the fulness of the priesthood (see Ehat, “Temple Ordinances,” passim), once they assumed leadership, they shifted the preeminent authority away from the quorum of the anointed.
An apostolic dispensation quickly replaced the “dispensation of the fulness of the priesthood,” a phrase used by Joseph Smith to the Relief Society (see HC, 5:140).
Whether Brigham Young did this consciously because he believed that the time for Zion was not yet, or whether he did it because necessity simply dictated this. course of action is not clear. It is apparent, however, that it was under the administration of Brigham Young that the anointed quorum and the .concept of woman’s role in the priesthood simultaneously received quick death blows.
Following the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, the quorum met less frequently. As more and more Church members were endowed, the quorum ceased its separate meetings altogether.
With its discontinuance, women were no longer included in prayer circles, except at that point in the endowment ceremony when instruction on prayer circle..:.; is given.
Women’s role in Joseph’s system was further curtailed in 1844 when Brigham Young suspended the Relief Society organization. When the Prophet’s successor reorganized the society on a church wide basis in 1867, the focus of the organization was much more temporal than spiritual.
Thus, while Joseph’s attitude toward the role of women as queens and priestesses and his view of the function and place of the anointed quorum were expansive: and tended to widen wome~’s spiritual horizon, those leaders coming after him were quick to delimit women’s sphere of action in the Church with clear, bright lines.
As a result of these and other changes, Mormons today appear to have abandoned the quest for Elijah’s order of the priesthood with which they might establish Zion and talk with God.
When a male friend of mine heard the title of this paper, he asked caustically, “What about the forgotten place of kings and priests?”
His startling comment pointed out a little-noticed truth: We live in a day when spiritual powers are on the wane among both sexes. Who today really cares about spiritual gifts?
Who cares today about the establishment of Zion?
Instead of struggling for the right to exercise spiritual gifts and priestly powers like our nineteenth century counterparts, we women in the Church today seek only administrative power.
And that is precisely the problem.
In order for women to take their rightful places as queens and priestesses, the Church must first accept the primacy of spiritual power over temporal power, the primacy of the unseen over the seen, the primacy of the sacral over the secular.
If we women simply demand ordination to the ecclesiastical offices of the priesthood as a means of seizing power in the administrative structure, then we have missed the point of Joseph’s vision and are striving for the wrong objective.
We are fighting the wrong battle–the battle of the sexes, which is a struggle for power in this world, for the whip handle, for the number-one spot, for the management of the corporal.~ion.
But the priesthood does not bring with it the right to this kind of coercive power. This is “unrighteous dominion.” True power–the power of the holy priesthood–is the power of God, the power of life, the power of divine love, the power that restores, unites, harmonizes, and balances extremes.
The fulness of the priesthood is the power of eternal life, endless life, and endless lives.
This is the power we are enjoined to seek. It does not come by male or female chauvinism or by militancy.
It comes by waiting upon the Lord.
Ultimately, I suppose, my position on women’s place in the priesthood, the Church, and the kingdom of God is not that of a political or social activist but that of a mystic. For though I believe.~ that the Church will never be organized properly until women are acknowledged as joint holders of the holy priesthood and are brought into the leading councils of the Church, I feel even more strongly that to demand these things will only make matters worse and lead to greater disarray.
So what is my answer to the problem?
Joseph Smith spoke prophetically when he told the Relief Society in every speech he ever gave to them that it was essential for them to have charity–not that brand of charity that manifests itself as petty demonstrations of humanitarian service., but the real thing: the pure and sacrificial love of Christ, that is not puffed up, that seeks not its own, that loves the truth, and that endures all things.
And what will happen if the women of the Church endure patiently the deprivation of their
priesthood rights in charity?
In Joseph’s words, “God shall say to them, come up higher” (WJS, p. 116).
It is God, finally, who must bring this about.
It is with His hands that Zion will be built.
It is not in our hands anymore. “Man cannot steady the ark,” said Joseph Smith, “my arm cannot do it~God must steady it” (WJS, p. 121).
And when at last these blessing come, they shall come gloria solius Dei–
by the glory of God alone.
MARGARET M. TOSCANO holds a master’s deg;,ee in classics
and is a part-time Latin and Greek instructor at Brigham Young
What do you think about women and mothers in the priesthood?
Those of you who are reading these words?
Let’s have a sacred talk about this…here at Zions Path…let’s repent as a people…to become like little children…let us be easy for The Lord to lead and guide…We can pray for this blessing today…all my relations in Zion…Amen cj