I have wondered what if the Prophet had a revelation extending the Priesthood to all worthy women. Many of us have said, if that were to happen, we would happily accept it. But since it has not, well……
But if it did happen, how it would work?
- Since adult men who join the church are ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood and ordained to the office of Priest, would women first be ordained that way? And then have to wait a period of time to receive the higher Priesthood? Or would the model be what happened when adult men of color received the Priesthood and were given the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained as Elders. And what about the Young Women?
- Would the Priesthood be extended to all females 12 and up or to a select few as in the Community of Christ where not even all males receive the Priesthood at age 12?
- If the woman has been through the Temple does that make any difference?
- Would male and female Priesthood holders have different responsibilities?
- Would women now be eligible to hold the Presidency of the Elder’s Quorum with men or would there be a separate women’s Priesthood body? What happens to the Relief Society? Would the youth organizations be combined into an Aaronic Priesthood Organization with both young men and young women led by either men or women?
These are but a few questions that would have to be addressed and I’m sure there are many others.
A Few Other Observations
While I am certain there is a wide variety of women who would accept Priesthood ordination were it to happen, a considerable number, especially those who post profiles on the Ordain Women, appear to have other issues with the Church, its history, doctrines and practices that seem to transcend the priesthood ordination issue.
So, if the Church announces a revelation ordaining women to the Priesthood, do all those issues evaporate and these people, men and women, return to full activity?
- Does the Church suddenly become true again?
- Does Joseph’s first vision become real?
- Is the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham no longer fiction?
- Is Joseph’s Polygamy and polyandry and, polygamy in general, no longer an issue?
- The Church history, as told by the Church, no longer a problem?
- The Temple Endowment no longer sexist?
- Male Patriarchy now OK?
- Local leadership no longer a bunch of jerks?
- General Leadership no longer a bunch of out of touch old men?
The second observation is the expected pace of change that might occur should this revelation be received? Do the supporters of Ordain Women expect an affirmative action program for women Priesthood holders where new women Priesthood holders receive higher leadership callings just because they are female such as we saw in the corporate world in the 80s and 90s? Or will there be a period of time for increasing leadership responsibilities prior to a major leadership position like a Bishop? This is the normal course of action today. While I am sure there are a number of women who could do a wonderful job as a Bishop or Stake President, there have also always been a large number of men who were well qualified, but never called.
And what about the General Leadership? Given the current “track” these leaders have been on prior to a call to the Quorums of the 70 or other higher General Leadership callings, it could be 20 or 30 years before that possibility even exists for a women to reach that level. And the possibility of a female President of the Church? Probably 50 years or more.
And finally, what women would likely be called to Church leadership positions? The women who support Ordain Women? Probably not. It would be the same types of women who are called to serve in leadership positions today. Those who are loyal to the Church, active, temple-going, garment-wearing, and tithe paying with strong testimonies. Just like the men who are called to leadership positions today.
So, in the end, other than the ability to give Priesthood blessings under the authority of the Priesthood, would things really be that different?