On minstries, ordinations, rites, rituals, ceremonies and sacraments
All those who believe it matters to God whether a male or a female carries out ministries, ordinations, rites, rituals, ceremonies and sacraments please align yourselves on the tradition-based conservative right.
There is no recorded revelation nor historical/anecdotal in which prophets, priests, seers, revelators nor Jesus Christ Himself ever declared that LDS women cannot hold the priesthood. Nor is there any statement of theology declaring that somehow all the marvelous things the Church claims to have been created by God and accomplished entirely and uniquely by the power of the priesthood could not have been created or accomplished by a female as equally and qualitatively as the works of a male.
It seems that only pride stands in the way of priesthood equality in terms of gender within the Church. It seems that the pride is mostly connected to the personal proprietorship of legalistic LDS theology that has elevated mere mortal males to positions of significance beyond any comparative of genuine ministerial avocation. Such avocations are lives given in devotion to service and love rather than enforcement and insistence on religious legal notions that have no basis in fact and lots of basis in power and the psychology of manipulated emotion.
Why not ordain women to the priesthood and call them to the same positions now held only by males?
There is of course the insistence that such a change can only come from God through male prophets, seers and revelators – who have been doing very little prophesying, seeing and revelating lately; mostly a lot of organizational micro-management of contrived and correlated policies and procedures.
The leadership only seems to hear the voice of God when membership unrest and public perception becomes unmanageable; the consequence of which leaves the Church perhaps portrayed in an unfair light as rigidly clinging to authority and religious influence by coercion its members.
Who then would respond favorably to proselytizing and Church PR sloganeering were they to become aware that there are very real issues regarding the Church’s relationship to its membership around which interested non-LDS media are broadcasting and publishing?
Again, why not ordain women?
The divergence we experience with each other in the role the Church plays in our lives and what the Gospel really means is very much a consequence of each of us taking the position that “your assumptions aren’t as true as mine and in fact my assumptions are the truth and your assumptions are fantasy or imagined.”
When someone in ministry is seen almost constantly falling back on and citing scripture or a manual as the basis for applying, enforcing or teaching Church values, it is possible that we are most likely in the presence of someone who is ultimately unsure of his/her position; someone who seems reluctant to truly attempt to minister by the promptings of the Spirit. It takes faith to act on promptings without reviewing some mental or actual “handbook of instructions” before taking the step of faith with action.
Citable authority is often used to justify our own value judgments. Since there is no “one true way” to read scripture, is it not easy to slip into the idea that handbooks and procedurals are the same thing as scripture? Might it be true, however, that there is no “one true assumption one can make as to whether or not either of us have an opinion that is valid or invalid.
Whether literalistic or mystic, it would all come down to having to wait on God Himself to settle our disharmony and lay out the truth (with a capital T) once and for all. Without that, everything remains a function of prayer, tradition and reason. Risky for uninspired leaders who might feel righteously empowered by possession of an unfair advantage with handbooks of instruction. .
I can insist that God speaks to me without conveying comprehensive mandates and commandments for all humanity and you can insist that such a vivid and on-going awareness of a personal revelatory relationship with God that doesn’t agree with Church teachings. Church teachings include the notion that revelation to the many may override revelation to the one and make of revelation to the one a mere fact of error.
The LDS tradition suggests that the words I use compare me not to being led by the Spirit without the validation, agreement or permission of anyone else. That compares unreasonably to the notion that someone else’s magic IS valid because of an ecclesiastical title; something to which I must submit and to which I must remain subordinate.
The only position Church leaders can take from that angle is that the Church – and by implication the priesthood leadership – possesses a truth and wisdom that I might not possess. Such of course would be a truth that comes out of institutionally-defined righteousness and a house-of-order tradition that insists that I cannot interpret wisdom for myself in ways that do not agree with policy and procedure.
However, does not such a view reduce Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to mere nit-picking scorekeepers obsessed with minutiae of commandments; the letter of the law obedience to which is achieved only at the expense of the Spirit of the law?
The mental construct of a spirit world where God fights spiritual warfare against Satan and where everything is ultimately good or evil is a false construct. It remains the same spiritual construct prevalent in the 19th Century and which was the basis for the “improved” construct presented by Joseph Smith.
However, when we look closely, slowly and with a serious attention to detail, you do not find Jesus teaching or supporting the Judgmental God of Spiritual Warfare whose sons and daughters are conscripts in an age-old battle with evil and a who-knows-from-where empowered Satan.
You do not find Jesus teaching that we should be good because God will get us or let Satan have us in one final either/or confrontation.
In each of our internal spiritual kingdoms sits no mere moral mental construct. Within we can know – if we stop listening literally to things that were intended to metaphorically conceptualize truth – the astonishing epiphany of Jesus that “The Father and I are one,” and that in conceivable and believable ways: “and so are you.”
We have inherited that construct but it appears that leadership might have grown hesitant to teach believers to live in such a manner. This often then prompts well-meaning believers to hide behind the more simple acceptance of a myth of scriptural interpretation that must meet organizational approval.
We are then left with (or more accurately, stuck with) a god more interested in obedience than experience;
a God limited to rewards, punishments or withheld blessings as He presides over a conflict with Satan. Does that not give lie to the literality of an Almighty God who cannot tolerate sin and evil with the least degree of allowance- because Satan just keeps on keeping on?
That circumstance is why television evangelists cannot preach sermons with depth in them and are left to resorting to form and sizzle above substance.
That circumstance is why General Conference talks sound mostly like readings from the Gospel Doctrine and Priesthood manuals.
It’s a false idea that God has set up a mortal circumstance where orthodoxy of belief and doctrine supported by inflexible adherence to a shallow spiritual absolute of prophetic revelation and scriptural truthiness. These things we are taught are paramount to eternal progression – more paramount than the idea of existence as an on-going accumulation of wisdom.
Such a circumstance relegates God, who is supposed to be all-wise, all-knowing and all everything, to merely a school master who has made of life a one-time-only final exam where your performance score (how “active” you were) is more important than how you lived.
The reality is that God, the all-everything, is the true educator who created of this world a schoolroom, laboratory and field trips by which we can continually progress toward knowing more and more what God knows.
Does our conflict of testimonies leave us with the idea that God must and will justify one of us?
On the one hand He must justify the fundamental literalist on how many correct answers we have on our only and final exam before the bar of God …
… how many correct and how many incorrect …
… how many sins?
… whether or not a burning-bosom moment occurred in our life;
… whether a myriad of inconsequential doctrinal hairs were split in the scriptural or God-approved manner.
… there will be no bar of judgment in the manner we have had taught to us;
… there will be no Rapture with Jesus coming in the clouds with an army of vengeful angels all looking like what the Crusaders must have looked like marching forward to battle the Muslims in medieval times;
The Second Coming – whatever that might be – could leave literalists invested in theological end-times speculation with the realization that they have wasted theirs and many other lives in fantasy.
Rather, might the God of compassion be awaiting the return of each human singly asking the same questions every time:
… What did you learn my son, my daughter?
… How are you going to use that learning for the future?
… God as we understand God will make known the reality of a construct quite different from any which have been imagined.
That’s why coming to know and commune with God is so exciting.
It’s time for the patriarchy of the LDS Church to go to the Lord for a revelation about the 21st Century reality regarding the roles of men, women, children and marriage. They ought to do it before social attitudes and media hype force them to do so. It would be better to avoid such entrapment along with the temptation to claim that the God – who is the same yesterday, today and forever – changed his mind … again.
I believe the time is perfect for women to be ordained to the priesthood and function on an equal basis with those who ought to be merely their ecclesiastic peers and nothing more.