Connecting Daughters of God
WITH HIS Priesthood Power
I’ve come to recognize as never before the impor tance of understanding the priesthood and its associated blessings for
women. We’re living in a day when equality, power, fair ness, and tolerance are touted—often above other virtues. What’s
more, identity, authority, spirituality, and even God are topics of great confusion for many. Many women, not knowing what blessings they have access to, are not taking full advantage of the spiritual feast available to them. Many men are also confused about the topic. How can we better understand the connection women have with priesthood power and help them “to step forward,” to “take [their] rightful and needful place in [their] home, in [their] com- munity, and in the kingdom of God—more than [they] ever have before”?1 First, we can humbly seek to understand truths asso- ciated with the priesthood, espe- cially the most recent teachings of Church leaders. Second, we can seek to understand why some women don’t fully realize their access to God’s priesthood power.
WOMEN ARE ESSENTIAL PARTICIPANTS IN THE WORK GOD ACCOM- PLISHES THROUGH HIS PRIESTHOOD POWER.
Third, we can be aware of how we can help women more fully partici- pate in the work God accomplishes through His priesthood power.
What Truths Have Been Clarified Regarding Women and the Priesthood?
Apostles and general women auxiliary leaders have recently given more emphasis to the rela- tionship of women and the priest- hood. The following are some truths that are vital to understand and teach correctly.
The priesthood is the power and authority of God.
The priesthood is the power through which God accomplishes His great work of salvation, bring- ing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Both men and women have an important role in God’s work, and both men and women have access to His power to accomplish His work.
Women play an official and critical role in the work of salvation.
Bonnie L. Oscarson, for- mer Young Women General
President, declared: “All women need to see themselves as essen- tial participants in the work of the priesthood. Women in this
Church are presidents, counsel- ors, teachers, members of coun- cils, sisters, and mothers, and the kingdom of God cannot function unless we rise up and fulfill our duties with faith.” 2
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught: “God has given the women of this church a work to do in building his king- dom. That concerns all aspects of our great triad of responsibility
—which is, first, to teach the gospel to the world; second, to strengthen the faith and build the happiness of the membership of the Church; and, third, to carry forward the great work of salvation for the dead.
“Women in the Church are associates with their brethren in carrying forward this mighty work of the Lord. Women carry tre-
mendous responsibilities and they are accountable for the fulfillment of those responsibilities. They head their own organizations, and those organizations are strong and viable and are significant forces for good in the world. They stand in an associate role to the priesthood
[holders], all striving together to build the kingdom of God in the earth. We honor and respect you for your capacity. We expect leader- ship, and strength, and impressive results from your management of the organizations for which you are responsible. We uphold and sustain you as daughters of God, working in a great partnership to assist him in bringing to pass the immortality and the eternal life of all of the sons and daughters of God.”3
Both women and men (single and married) may be endowed with priesthood power in the temple.
In 1833 the Lord promised Joseph Smith that the Saints, both men and women, would be endowed with “power from on high” (Doctrine and Covenants 95:8). President Ballard clarified: “The endowment is literally a gift of power. All who enter the house of the Lord officiate in the ordinances of the priesthood. This applies to men and women alike.”10 All worthy members who have received their endowment and keep the covenants they have made in the temple have priesthood power. Thus, women, married or single, can have priesthood power in their homes regardless of a visit from a priesthood holder.
Sheri Dew, former counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, asked, “What does it mean to have access to priesthood power? It means that we can receive revelation, be blessed and aided by the ministering of angels, learn to part the veil that separates us from our Heavenly Father, be strengthened to resist temptation, be protected, and be enlightened, and made smarter than we are—all without any mortal inter- mediary.”11 What is the most important outcome of this power and how is it received? The Lord has revealed that “the power of godliness,” including the power to become like Him, is manifested through priesthood ordinances (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:20).