A Priesthood for All

++ Quick caveat, I didn't provide links to the quotes but I can if you need me to! And. Not an expert, just sharing a week of notes on what I learned :) ++

Last week I was asked to cover for someone and give a Relief Society lesson about the Priesthood. I actually prepared the wrong chapter (oops) but the correct lesson was about the priesthood too..so it kind of worked. The Priesthood topic has been a BIG topic with all of our friends and something that I've thought about a lot a lot. My beliefs have gone from extreme to mellow to I think a good neutral zone for now. I decided to discuss the different ways we talk about the Priesthood and how women and children are included a lot more than we think. If you have an extra 10 minutes in life, read on!

A few things

+ I mentioned the dinner table analogy I learned from this lady that spoke at a fireside in Cambridge. Imagine the Priesthood as a big dinner table and everyone has a part - the glasses, the plates, the forks, etc.

+ I didn't want to talk about motherhood vs Priesthood. Motherhood is amazing, so important. I wanted to focus on our part in the Priesthood not what we have instead of the Priesthood.

+Also, my friend pointed out that I wasn't discussing the culture and structure of the church - i.e. having more women leaders and women being able to have other callings. I do think that's an interesting/important topic too! Just didn't address that here.

+ I talked about my journey with the topic. First, shock and why in the world would a woman want the Priesthood? Then, still confused. Then starting to understand and sympathize. Then desire to know more. Then anger and upset. Then being humble, ready to listen. Then Neil Andersen's talk from Oct 2013 which blew me out of the water in the first few paragraphs.

The lesson went by really really fast with a some super good comments. I'll mention a couple of them as I get to the topics. I started out by talking about allll the ways we talk about the Priesthood.

Priesthood Power
Priesthood Office
Priesthood Keys
Priesthood Ordinance
Priesthood Duty
Priesthood Authority
Priesthood Leaders
Priesthood Blessings

- there were a couple others mentioned but I can't remember them! shoot. As we talked about each one, I combined some of them together that I felt meant the same thing.

Priesthood Power and Blessings:
(This was especially important to me as I've often heard that we all have access to priesthood blessings but not our own personal access to priesthood power.)

Neil Andersen, Power in the Priesthood:

There are special blessings from God for every worthy person who is baptized, receives the Holy Ghost, and regularly partakes of the sacrament. The temple brings added light and strength, along with the promise of eternal life.

All of the ordinances invite us to increase our faith in Jesus Christ and to make and keep covenants with God. As we keep these sacred covenants, we receive priesthood power and blessings.

Do we not feel this power of the priesthood in our own lives and see it among the covenant-keeping members of the Church? We see it in new converts as they step from the waters of baptism feeling forgiven and clean. We see our children and youth more sensitive to the promptings and guidance of the Holy Ghost. We see the ordinances of the temple becoming a beacon of strength and light for righteous men and women across the world.

Story about mother who was baptized, held on to priesthood power-

The family was baptized in Santos, Brazil, 42 years ago. Adilson Parrella said, “At first, Father seemed very excited about joining the Church. However, he [soon] became less active and asked our mother not to attend church.”

Adilson told me that his mother sewed clothing for the neighbors to pay for her children’s bus fare to church. The four little boys walked together over a mile to another town, boarded the bus for 45 minutes, and then walked another 20 minutes to the chapel.

Although unable to go to church with her children, Sister Parrella read the scriptures with her sons and daughters, taught them the gospel, and prayed with them. Their humble home was filled with the rich blessings of priesthood power. The little boys grew up, served missions, were educated, and married in the temple. The blessings of the priesthood filled their homes.

Sheri Dew

"We may all receive the Holy Ghost, obtain personal revelation, and be endowed in the temple, from which we emerge “armed” with power. The power of the priesthood heals, protects, and inoculates all of the righteous against the powers of darkness."

YW Website lesson:

Keeping the covenants associated with these ordinances brings priesthood power—the power of God—into our lives.

Julie B Beck:

“Don’t confuse the power of the priesthood with the keys and offices of the priesthood,” Sister Beck said. “The power is limitless and is shared with those who make and keep covenants. Too much is said and misunderstood about what brothers have and sister’s don’t. This is Satan’s way of confusing men and women so that neither understands what they really have.”

M Russell Ballard:

“When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which is priesthood power. … Access to the power and the blessings of the priesthood is available to all of God’s children.”

+ I remembered a story told by a woman in our Cambridge ward who had to leave her children with a brother in Africa for a few weeks. She said she gathered her children together and did all but put her hands on their head and pray for their safety while she was gone. I've always remembered this story and now I think about the Priesthood power each mother/woman has on her own.

Priesthood Duty and Priesthood Authority and Priesthood Leaders

Thomas S Monson:

We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty—and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable to respond to the call to serve.

+ One of the sister missionaries talked about the authority they have as sisters to bless the homes of those they teach.

Elder Oaks:

When a woman—young or old—is set apart to preach the gospel as a full-time missionary, she is given priesthood authority to perform a priesthood function.

Neil Andersen:

And they call men and women by revelation who are sustained and set apart to exercise delegated authority to teach and administer.

Elder Oaks, April 2014: (quotes President Joseph Fielding Smith)

While the sisters have not been given the Priesthood, it has not been conferred upon them, that does not mean that the Lord has not given unto them authority. … A person may have authority given to him, or a sister to her, to do certain things in the Church that are binding and absolutely necessary for our salvation, such as the work that our sisters do in the House of the Lord. They have authority given unto them to do some great and wonderful things, sacred unto the Lord, and binding just as thoroughly as are the blessings that are given by the men who hold the Priesthood.

We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be?

+ One sister talked about her experience with the Priesthood in the temple. (From how I understand it, women aren't given Priesthood keys in the temple but they are given Priesthood authority)

+ Could the garment of the holy priesthood – priesthood authority? (no specific source here, just thinking.)

Elder Oaks:

Priesthood authority is governed by priesthood holders who hold priesthood keys, and (3) since the scriptures state that “all other authorities [and] offices in the church are appendages to this [Melchizedek] priesthood” (D&C 107:5), all that is done under the direction of those priesthood keys is done with priesthood authority.

Priesthood Keys and Priesthood Office and authority to do Priesthood Ordinances
(men hold the Priesthood keys available to us)

Neil Andersen:

We know that the keys of the priesthood, held by members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, direct the work of the Lord upon the earth. Specific priesthood keys are conferred upon stake presidents and bishops for their geographic responsibilities. And they call men and women by revelation who are sustained and set apart to exercise delegated authority to teach and administer.21

Pres Benson:
(an example of a Priesthood key available to us through the temple?)

You will receive the key of the knowledge of God. (See D&C 84:19.) You will learn how you can be like Him. Even the power of godliness will be manifest to you. (See D&C 84:20.)

Quoted by Dallin H Oaks:

As Elder M. Russell Ballard has explained, “Those who have priesthood keys … literally make it possible for all who serve faithfully under their direction to exercise priesthood authority and have access to priesthood power

Neil Andersen:

Some may sincerely ask the question, “If the power and blessings of the priesthood are available to all, why are the ordinances of the priesthood administered by men?”

Talks about the pattern of men having the priesthood, including Jesus Christ. Those that restored the priesthood to Joseph Smith in the latter days were men.

When an angel asked Nephi, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” Nephi answered honestly, “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”6

When we speak of the priesthood, there are many things we do know.

A few other things:

Neil Andersen:

+We know that the power of the holy priesthood does not work independently of faith, the Holy Ghost, and spiritual gifts. The scriptures caution: “Deny not the gifts of God, for they are many. … And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh [them] all.”13

+Humility: A mother, carrying the weight of providing both spiritually and temporally for her family, sensitively explained that calling her home teachers to bless one of her children requires her humility. – and humility for her home teachers to bless.

+Worthiness: Sister Linda K. Burton, general president of the Relief Society, has said, “Righteousness is the qualifier … to invite priesthood power into our lives.”14

+D&C 107: 99-100

99 Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.
100 He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen.

(A little argument for those who might be worried about exploring these ideas...)

Sister Burton:

Linda K. Burton said, “We hope to instill within each of us a greater desire to better understand the priesthood.”

Elder Oaks:

It is time … to defend not so much human rights as human obligations - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Gib Korcherans, September 1980 Ensign:

5. Priesthood is not chauvinistic. The priesthood is “without father, without mother, … having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” (Heb. 7:3), nor maleness nor femaleness. It is head to them both. Male and female alike come under it and must understand their true relationship to it, one to serve as priest within it, the other eventually as a priestess. Men here are given the priesthood power, but both man and woman must bring themselves into submission unto it, rather than she unto him as a person. The man must assume the same relationship of honor and obedience to priesthood truths and doctrines that the woman does. That is, it precedes them both. For the man to assume that because he “holds” the priesthood that it is his or that he is somehow exalted in importance is a serious distortion:

(I like that quote above because it makes me think of a triangle. Husband and wife at the bottom with the Priesthood above them both)

Obviously, this isn't a comprehensive post on this topic but I hope for anyone that reads this the same thing I hoped for those in the lesson: that it makes you think a little bit more the way we talk about the Priesthood and about how we have such a strong role in it! We have Priesthood power and we even have Priesthood authority in our callings! Everyone who has a calling, even the little Beehives in their class presidency, have some Priesthood authority going on. Super cool.


  1. this was beautiful, gracie! i especially loved that last quote. you did awesome research and i want to print this off and read it all the time. have you read the talks from the RS presidency at women's conference in 2013? i don't remember if i shared those with you before. they all spoke about the priesthood there too and it was really great. just like you.


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