Elder Dallin H. Oaks: ‘Keys and authority of the priesthood’

April 6, 2014

Elder Oaks’ talk has seen the most reaction from the bloggernacle. Since the church takes a while to transcribe these, I have decided to transcribe his talk from yesterday. You can also see it on the official church website by clicking below. What are your thoughts?

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/watch/2014/04?lang=eng&vid=3436246697001&cid=3

At this conference, we’ve seen the release of some faithful brothers, and we have sustained the callings of others. In this rotation, so familiar in the church, we do not step down when we are released, and we do not step up when we are called. There is no up or down in the service of the Lord. There’s only forward or backward, and that difference depends on how we accept and act upon our releases and our callings. I once presided at the release of a young stake president who had given fine service for nine years and was now rejoicing in his release and in the new calling he and his wife had just received. They were called to be the nursery leaders in their ward. Only in this church would that be seen as equally honorable.

While addressing a women’s conference, President Linda K. Burton of the Relief Society said, “we hope to instill within each of us a greater desire to better understand the priesthood. That need applies to all of us, and I will pursue it by speaking of the keys and authority of the priesthood. Since these subjects are of equal concern to men and to women, I’m pleased that these proceedings are broadcast and published for all members of the church. Priesthood power blesses all of us. Priesthood keys direct women as well as men, and priesthood ordinances and priesthood authority pertain to women as well as men.

President Joseph F. Smith described the priesthood as “the power of God, delegated to man by which man can act within the earth for the salvation of the human family.” Other leaders have taught us that the priesthood is the consummate power on this earth. It is the power by which the earth was created. The scriptures teach that this same priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also. Thus the priesthood is the power by which we will be resurrected and proceed to eternal life.

The understanding that we seek begins with an understanding of the keys of the priesthood. Priesthood keys are the authority God has given to priesthood holders to direct, control, and govern the use of his priesthood on the earth. Every act or ordinance performed in the Church is done under the direct or indirect authorization of one holding the keys for that function. 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.”

In controlling the exercise of priesthood authority, the function of priesthood keys both enlarges and limits. It enlarges by making it possible for priesthood authority and blessings to be available for all God’s children. It limits by directing who will be given the authority of the priesthood, who will hold its offices, and how its rights and powers will be conferred. For example, a person who holds the priesthood is not able to confer his office or authority on another, unless authorized by one who holds the keys. Without that authorization, the ordination would be invalid. This explains why a priesthood holder, regardless of office cannot ordain a member of his family, or administer the sacrament in his own home without authorization from the one who holds the appropriate keys.

With the exception of the sacred work that sisters do in the temple under the keys held by the temple president, which I will describe hereafter, only one who holds a priesthood office can officiate in a priesthood ordinance. All authorized priesthood ordinances are recorded on the records of the church.

Ultimately, all keys of the priesthood are held by the Lord Jesus Christ, whose priesthood it is. He is the one who determines what keys are delegated to mortals, and how those keys will be used. We’re accustomed to thinking that all keys of the priesthood were conferred to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple. But the scripture states that all that was conferred there were “The keys of this dispensation.” At General Conference many years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that there are other priesthood keys that have not been given to man on the earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection. The divine nature of the limitations put upon the exercise of priesthood keys explains an essential contrast between decisions on matters of church administration, and decisions affecting the priesthood. The First Presidency, and the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, who preside over the church, are empowered to make many decisions affecting church policy and procedures. Matters such as the location of church buildings, and the ages for missionary service. But even though these presiding hold and exercise all of the keys delegated to men in this dispensation, they are not free to alter the divine decreed pattern that only men will hold offices in the priesthood.

I come now to the subject of priesthood authority. I begin with the three principles just discussed. One, priesthood is the power of God delegated to man to act for the salvation of the human family. Two, priesthood authority is governed by priesthood holders who hold priesthood keys. Three, since the scriptures state that all other authorities and offices in the church are appendages to this Melchizedek Priesthood, all that is done under the direction of those priesthood keys is done with priesthood authority.

How does this apply to women? In an address to the Relief Society, President Joseph Fielding Smith, then president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles said this: “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 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 men who hold the priesthood.”

In that notable address, President Smith said again and again that women have been given authority. To the women he said you can speak with authority because the Lord has placed authority upon you. He also said that the Relief Society has been given power and authority to do a great many things. The work that they do is “by divine authority.” And of course, the church work done by women or men, whether in the temple, or in the wards or branches, is done under the direction of those who hold priesthood keys. Thus speaking of the Relief Society, President Smith explained, “the Lord has given to them this great organization where they have authority to serve under the direction of the bishops of the wards, looking after the interests of our people, both spiritually and temporally.”

Thus, it is truly said that the Relief Society is not just a class for women, but something they belong to, a divinely established appendage to the priesthood. We’re not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their church callings. But what other authority can it be? 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. The same is true when a woman is set apart to function as an officer or teacher in a church organization under the direction of one who holds the keys of the priesthood. Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys, exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties.

Whoever exercises priesthood authority should forget about their rights and concentrate on their responsibilities. That is a principle needed in society at large. The famous Russian writer, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn is quoted as saying, “it is time to defend not so much human rights, as human obligations.” Latter-day Saints surely recognize that qualifying for exaltation is not a matter of asserting rights, but a matter of fulfilling responsibilities. The Lord has directed that only men will be ordained to offices in the priesthood, but as various church leaders have emphasized that men are not the priesthood. Men hold the priesthood with a sacred duty to use it for all of the children of God.

“The greatest power God has given to His sons cannot be exercised without the companionship of one of his daughters, because only to his daughters has God given the power to be a creator of bodies so that God’s design and the great plan might meet fruition.” Those are the words of J. Reuben Clark. He continued, “This is the place of our wives and of our mothers in the eternal plan. They are not bearers of the priesthood, they are not charged with carrying out the duties and functions of the priesthood, nor are they laden with its responsibilities. They are builders and organizers under its power and partakers of its blessings, possessing the complement of the priesthood powers and possessing a function as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the priesthood itself.”

In those inspired words, President Clarke was speaking of the family. As stated in the Family Proclamation, the father presides in the family and he and the mother have separate responsibilities, but they are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Some years before the family proclamation, President Spencer W. Kimball gave this inspired explanation. “When we speak of marriage as a partnership, let us speak of marriage as a full partnership. We do not want our LDS women to be silent partners, or limited partners in that eternal assignment. Please be a contributing and full partner.”

In the eyes of God, whether in the church or in the family, women and men are equal with different responsibilities. I close with some truths about the blessings of the priesthood. Unlike priesthood keys and priesthood ordination, the blessings of the priesthood are available to women and to men on the same terms. The gift of the Holy Ghost and the blessings of the temple are familiar illustrations of this truth. In his insightful talk at BYU Education Week last summer, Elder M. Russell Ballard gave these teachings. Our church doctrine places women equal to, and yet different from men. God, our master does not regard either gender as better or more important than the other. 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 blessings of the priesthood is available to all of God’s children.”

I testify of the power and blessings of the priesthood of God, available to his sons and daughters alike. I testify of the authority of the priesthood which functions throughout all of the offices and activities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I testify of the divinely directed function of the keys of the priesthood, held and exercised in their fullness by our prophet president Thomas S. Monson. Finally, and most important, I testify of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose priesthood this is, and whose servants we are, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

37 Responses to Elder Dallin H. Oaks: ‘Keys and authority of the priesthood’

  1. ji on April 6, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    I appreciate his teachings.

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  2. Mormon Heretic on April 6, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Let me post a few comments I’ve seen so far on Facebook. Note that I am not the author of any of these comments. These are all plagiarized from Facebook.

    *How can two persons be EQUAL partners if one PRESIDES over the other?

    *I just want to take a baseball bat to Oak’s head, not that I’m a violent person….

    *Separate but equal is inherently unequal

    *”Separate but equal”. It has ALWAYS worked in the past, right? Right? Hello?

    *Separate but equal has now become “equal, but different”

    *The quote is absolutely true. In God’s eyes, men and women are equal. Not so much in the church.

    *I found Elder Oaks’s talk very patronizing of women. Under his argument — i.e., that women already have “authority of the priesthood” when they teach and serve in the Church — a 4-year old giving his/her first talk in Primary also has “authority of the priesthood.” Just silly.

    *Just so I’m clear, they’ll let a ExMormon like me into the Priesthood Session but they won’t allow ANY women in? That don’t seem right.

    *BARF

    *”We love the idea of continuing revelation… but hate the very thought of it”

    *Now that LDS church leaders have admitted that their historic denial of priesthood to black men resulted from racism and not revelation, how can church members be sure that the denial of priesthood to women is not a result of their church leaders’ misogyny and male chauvinism? In fact, how can church leaders be relied upon ever to tell members when and if official pronouncements are revealed or inspired? The issue is not whether LDS church leaders are perfect or perfect, but whether or not they can ever be trusted.

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  3. MB on April 6, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    I think that knowing what priesthood keys, priesthood authority and priesthood power are is extremely important for anyone who is ordained to priesthood office or who hopes to be. So I appreciate that part of the talk very much.

    OW’s mission statement says:
    “Based on the principle of thoughtful, faith-affirming strategic action, Ordain Women aspires to create a space for Mormon women to articulate issues of gender inequality they may be hesitant to raise alone. As a group we intend to put ourselves in the public eye and call attention to the need for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood. We sincerely ask our leaders to take this matter to the Lord in prayer.”

    If Elder Oaks’ talk is the outlining of what the prophets felt they have received in response to taking this matter to the Lord in prayer, then the next move is in OW’s court.

    I hope they are able to craft that wisely as I think that the tenor of their response will be crucial in determining their future efficacy.

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  4. Daniel Smith on April 6, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    All authorized priesthood ordinances are recorded on the records of the church.

    Is he claiming that blessings and anointings of the sick, father’s blessings, home and grave dedications, concecrating oil, and the sacrament are not “authorized priesthood ordinances”? None of these are recorded by the Church. Is this an invitation to those without office in the priesrthod to participate in these non-” authorized priesthood ordinances”?

    The theory of the priesthood presented in this talk strikes me as both internally inconsistent and wholly foreign to it’s actual exercise.

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  5. Ken on April 6, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    I liked Eldet Nelson’s talk on obedience and Elder Uchdorf’s and Sister Stevens talks on gratitude. From the comments presented by MH, both of these virtures are needed and should be heeded.

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  6. MB on April 6, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Elder Zwick on kindness and civility in communication, a soft answer turneth away wrath, speak the truth calmly, clearly and with goodwill and brotherly love, speak from a point of empathy, seeking to understand and compassionately listening before responding.

    Key for all sides of this issue.

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  7. The White Stone on April 6, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    OW women should disband if they truly are faithful Saints who sustain the leaders of they church. Like it or not, they got their answer, it is by God’s decree that the offices and keys of the priesthood are reserved for men. To continue to agitate and protest would put them in the territory of rebellion.

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  8. The White Stone on April 6, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Daniel Smith: if I give a father’s blessing, I don’t require authorization from the church as I hold the key for that ordinance myself (likewise blessing the sick, conscrating oil etc.). If I am to baptized my child, I do need authorization from the church. The baptism is recorded by the church, the father’s blessing is not. That is what he was saying.

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  9. KT on April 6, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    ““The greatest power God has given to His sons cannot be exercised without the companionship of one of his daughters, because only to his daughters has God given the power to be a creator of bodies so that God’s design and the great plan might meet fruition.’ Those are the words of J. Reuben Clark. He continued, ‘This is the place of our wives and of our mothers in the eternal plan. They are not bearers of the priesthood, they are not charged with carrying out the duties and functions of the priesthood, nor are they laden with its responsibilities. They are builders and organizers under its power and partakers of its blessings, possessing the complement of the priesthood powers and possessing a function as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the priesthood itself.”

    This entire talk, I really only get the sense that he wants members to forget about the ‘rights’, or what men ‘get to do’ because of the priesthood. Because…..those acts aren’t special, sacred, etc? No wait, they are. Because leadership doesn’t require ‘priesthood’, which then entitles them to make decisions and call the shots….? Oh wait, it does. No matter how much he talks about how men and women have different ‘roles’ that are ‘equally important’, he doesn’t really define or elaborate. And I suspect anyone in a leadership position is going to shy away from specifically defining or elaborating because they have realized getting too specific can work against them down the road when something changes or when they have to release an essay essentially saying a past leader was wrong.

    He talks about how women partake of priesthood blessings, how women and men are to help each other, how women have their own ‘roles’. However, he totally shys away from defining what a woman’s ‘role’ specifically is, although he hints that it lays it out in the proclamation. I think he doesn’t want to say because he knows he’ll get flak. He knows that it just doesn’t logically make sense that the opposite of priesthood is motherhood, and that women are just as capable to ‘provide’, and men are just as capable to ‘nurture’.

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  10. Kristine A on April 6, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    YAY! This is further light and knowledge – the first time I have ever heard taught that women have been endowed with priesthood power and receive priesthood authority by those who hold the keys. I am so grateful for people who asked hard questions so we could receive this further light and knowledge.

    We were living below our privileges by not understanding the women have and hold and act in authority and power of the priesthood.

    I look forward to further light and knowledge we receive as truth is revealed line upon line.

    (ps and I don’t mind OW to continue to ask or exist, they obviously were effective thus far – and God will bring about His will regardless)

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  11. Kristine A on April 6, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    I do believe this was a leap forward in beginning to understand the relationship between women and the priesthood.

    I do believe the whole women’s roles of procreation are a step back in the discussion. (p.s. procreation is ONE of the roles of women, not THE role of women.)

    Although, a baby step forward for negating the point that women are special-er. Neither male nor female spirits are innately more spiritual, so let’s lay that part to rest.

    ALSO: with the emphasis on responsiblity – I look forward to the future as expanded responsibility is offered to women as we come to understand the increased capacity of women and increase their responsibility in the Kingdom of God.

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  12. hawkgrrrl on April 6, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    If we imagine a matriarchal world, one in which women held all decision making power, what male attributes would be valued? First and foremost they would be valued for their procreative abilities, because that’s the one thing we can’t do for ourselves without them. Men valuing women for their ability to bear children just underscores their privilege and ignores the fact that there are a brain and personal talents attached to the uterus. I suppose second we would value men for their usually larger stature and strength, immediately devaluing men who are neither tall or muscular. Sounds about right.

    Of course, the fact of the matter is that women and men have more in common than we don’t.

    E. Oaks’ talk is an interesting exploration of this topic and has some conciliatory points to it. However, women are not specifically set apart to do priesthood ordinances in the temple nor have female temple workers ever been told it is under the power of the temple president before now. He also rightly said the PH is God’s to give but carefully didn’t claim that the Q12 have asked for a revelation in this matter.

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  13. spandangly on April 6, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    I found it very interesting that he blatantly said that not ALL the keys had been restored. So, perhaps what women need to agitate for is more keys from God. In my mind, it leaves the issue open for the future.

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  14. Howard on April 6, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    After establishing Q15 as the deciders he points out “priesthood keys both enlarges and limits”. Apparently it limits females because they are the “creators of bodies” but good news females can access priesthood blessings through marriage, not only this but they have “something they belong to”. “…let us speak of marriage as a full partnership. We do not want our LDS women to be silent partners, or limited partners.”. Our women? “Our”? Reminds me of the southern (non)endearment ” our blacks”.

    This is Elder Oaks’ version of the priesthood and the roles of men and women and it restores those things to the 1950s pre ERA pre feminist era the Q15 seem to revere. In doing so he generates a lot of questions. What is the role of infertile women? Empty nest women? Single women? Etc, etc. It’s as if he is oblivious that these questions have been repeatedly raised and that they are the source of pain and dissonance for many women, but apparently none he knows of course! Also if women can perform ordinances in the temple under the priesthood of the temple president why can’t single unmarried childless female missionaries baptize converts under the priesthood of the mission president? Etc, etc.

    God being God can’t change this arrangement? Of course he can but we must seek it first. For those who want to believe that this talk is the delivery of God’s answer to the question of ordaining woman please read up on the work SWK went through to receive an answer to the ban on blacks question and if you’re honest with yourself I think you will find this talk an improbable answer from God concerning the question of ordaining females.

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  15. Daniel Smith on April 6, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    The White Stone: Elder Oaks was altogether to careless in this talk to be sure that is what he meant. Yes it would be possible to administer an ordinance that you yourself held the keys to administer. In this frame work you would be the officer of the church granting the authorization. The question then become when did you receive those keys. Unfortunately, priesthood keys are explicitly not given during ordination according to the current handbook.
    I should have been more explicit in my comment but I was trying to focus on ordinances that are administered without the church keeping record of them.

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  16. MB on April 6, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    Cliff notes version

    OW: We want to have priesthood extended to women.

    DO: Priesthood keys, priesthood authority or priesthood power?

    OW: All of them.

    DO: Whether or not you realize it when you work with God in his kingdom you may act with priesthood authority and with priesthood power. But you don’t have priesthood keys.

    OW: But if we don’t have priesthood keys delegated to us we can’t be equal.

    DO: Yes you can. I tried to explain that.

    OW: Now we can’t. We tried to explain that.

    DO: Yes you can. But consider this: it’s God’s priesthood not ours. After prayerful consideration we don’t sense that He’s directing us that way right now. To make a change when we sense that the answer we receive from Him is that now is not the time would be irresponsible.

    OW: But this is really important. We don’t have anything against you, but we think you aren’t asking hard enough or understanding God’s perspective well enough.

    Me: I have a feeling this conversation is going to be a long one.

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  17. katie88 on April 6, 2014 at 9:53 PM

    My mother was a ward clerk in the 1920’s. My grandmothers anointed women and gave them blessings with the authority and permission of their priesthood leaders. Returning to some of the past practices of the Church would be a place for Church leaders to start a path that includes women in the Church. As a former ward (twice) and stake RS president, I have learned that too often women in the Church are treated as slaves to the bishops and SPs. Until women sit on church councils with the full authority of men (with or without the priesthood), they will be nothing more that servants ordered around by men who too often tend to abuse their authority in Church and family settings.

    There is a also great deal of spousal abuse in the Church, and as I counsel with women, I learn that too many men believe because they are given the right to preside in the home, they believe they have the right to bully and abuse their wives. This is a widespread problem in the Church, and too many men who hold positions of power in the Church are abusing their wives.

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  18. Heber Frank (@heberdeber) on April 6, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    Here is what the Second Book of Commandments says in Section 205:

    27 And I say unto you that according to the laws of Heaven, men are not without the woman, and women are not without the man in the LORD.
    28 For women can hold the priesthood through the man when she becomes one with him in serving their God.
    29 For if they desire to reside in the Celestial spheres they must be united as one in purpose and unity, upholding the laws and purposes of God throughout the eternities.
    30 For if men or women try to receive these gifts in a separate state, behold I say unto you, that this is impossible, and their desires in these matters shall come to naught.

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  19. Heber Frank (@heberdeber) on April 6, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    Some things that needs to be brought out concerning Priesthood is that it is a brotherhood of men that are to esteem all other brethren in the Priesthood as themselves. (D&C 38:24-25) All the Keys of the Priesthood restored for this dispensation are given to the entire body of Priesthood members. It is like if I give you a physical key and you take it with your hand. Your hand is the only member that HOLDS the key, but your entire body HAS the Key. If your hand fails and is cast off, then the key is not lost by the body. Another member is called and he is given the key to be a servant for the body to exercise that key. In other words, the General Authorities HAVE no more authority or keys than any faithful member of the Melchizedek Priesthood. The real key of power is revelation, because offices to exercise these keys can only be delegated correctly by revelation. So who has the gift today that Joseph had to receive oracles from the Lord? There is no evidence any church leader has had this gift for over 120 years.

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  20. Hedgehog on April 7, 2014 at 1:17 AM

    What hawk said (#12)

    I get tired of the implication that women somehow *do* this procreation thing – a) it doesn’t arise spontaneously, men are involved and b) it’s a biological process over which we have very little or no control after that point.

    Otherwise, I guess the talk was a sort of creeping movement forward – the authority women have in callings was described as being priesthood authority. So we’ve gone from women have (or have access to) priesthood power, but no priesthood authority, to women have priesthood authority and power, but not keys or office.

    And apparently most offices don’t have keys either, but office is required to perform ordinances, except in the temple when women do it, so still some logical inconsistency.

    Still, with only one speaker attempting to address the topic this time around, noone else contradicted him. Unlike last October conference emphasis on power not authority, but then, hey power comes from authority.

    Like Kristine (#10) I’m hoping this means there’s more to come.

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  21. Jeff Spector on April 7, 2014 at 6:50 AM

    Heber,

    “All the Keys of the Priesthood restored for this dispensation are given to the entire body of Priesthood members. ”

    Not true. All keys of THIS dispensation were conferred upon Joseph Smith. He passed them along to the body of the Quorum of the Twelve. When the First Presidency was re-organized with Brigham young as President, he then held all the keys of this dispensation. And this pattern has repeated to this day.

    All keys are delegated down from the President of the Church. The entire Q of 12 holds all the keys collectively, but each only hold keys pertaining to their office. That is why Apostles can re-organize Stakes without needing delegation from the President, while Seventies need the authority delegated to them by the President of the Church.

    And Bishops. Stake Presidents, Temple Presidents, Mission Presidents and Quorum leaders are given Keys only for the time they serve in that capacity.

    Priesthood holders are given rights, powers and authority pertaining to their office, not keys

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  22. Kristine A on April 7, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    From the outset I’ve seen the timeline for these changes as 10-15-20ish years. Just like the last time a drastic move was taken, and I believe the members will have to be ready for the change. I don’t believe all of our leadership are in agreement but we have to wait until there is a body of men in there who is more open to this topic, or until circumstances and opinions of members help them to be more open. Change comes slow as molasses here (see: 2014 to put a RS portrait up) and we have to be willing to adapt to the slower timeline.

    12 years ago I worked for (Elder) Pres. Bednar as he was Pres of RC/BYUI. I was the receptionist for 2 years. After the public relations letter from the Church I was in a tailspin, and I wrote him a letter (I know, I know, stupid). One part, I specifically asked questions and used the term I wasn’t seeking for sameness . . . but I was seeking to be treated equitably. I’m convinced he didn’t see the letter but it’s been bounced back to my Stake Pres, but I still listened intently to his talk.

    So about 11.5 minutes into his talk I was heard him say the “Atonement is for pains, anguish, weakness, short, fear, frustration, disappointments, discouragement, regrets, remorse, despair, desperation, **injustices and inequities**, and emotional distress. No anguish of soul or heartache . . . that the Savior did not experience first. In weakness we may cry out that no one knows or understands – but the Son of God does. He has perfect empathy, and is extending His arm of mercy.”

    I know Elder Bednar, and I have never heard him acknowledge “inequities” – he’s sort of the type who would always say you’re not a victim so don’t play that card, just own your choices, ya know? I heard several between the lines messages of, yes there are inequities and injustices in your life — but stay the course.

    I’ll add: the changes will come, hopefully in my lifetime, but how we respond to this weekend will help determine if we can continue to move the conversation forward in love and patience. Let’s mourn and recover, and then shoulder the burden, use the atonement, and put your shoulder back to the wheel. Since I have a lengthened perspective for change I can rejoice in this step — and I’ll try to rejoice in every single baby step forward that will help usher in the next step.

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  23. Blake Jackman on April 7, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    As a priesthood holder, I can say with absolute conviction that it is a real power, not just an imaginary club with an exclusive membership. In respect to the women of the OW movement, I appreciate that they seem to understand that. But why they would want to assume the power and the subsequent responsibility of the priesthood escapes me; it is certainly NOT some kind of magic that makes life easier. On the contrary.
    However, if they have a witness of the reality of priesthood power, then how is it that they don’t recognize that that power derives from Heavenly Father and particularly, from Jesus Christ, the savior of this world? The church presidency would only act on a change in the manner of priesthood ordination if it were initiated via the Holy Ghost (that is, unanimous promptings to the Council of Twelve), or via direct communication from Christ. They don’t have the authority to act on this without His express approval first. They also know better than to pester the Lord with their own pet issues without first having confirmation from the Spirit that their appeal is a righteous one (refer to D&C Sections 9 & 10).
    The impatience these women feel is a normal human characteristic, and the Lord is quite aware of their human weaknesses, having overcome all. But their actions (of becoming increasingly vocal, demanding, and ultimately trying to focus attention on church leaders in an attempt to force change) go beyond innocent human longing. They are calculated actions, rooted in rebellion. These efforts are destined to fail, and may ultimately lead to apostasy or disciplinary action if not reined in. How unfortunate and unnecessary.
    I hope the women of the OW movement decide to change their tactics and send their pleas directly to the Lord via the avenues already available, instead of continuing on the dangerous path they now tread. I hope they’ll recall that the Lord knows their desires, and can’t be fooled. I hope they then decide to trust Him to consider and deal with their requests if and when (or whether) He deems it appropriate, and then accept His answer.
    I wouldn’t bet money that that’s what they’ll do, but I sure hope so.

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  24. […] has been pointed out already by many, the bloggernacle is atwitter with comments regarding this talk. And, in my personal life, I’ve had a number of my wonderful family and friends ask me if […]

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  25. Howard on April 7, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    Blake Jackman,
    Here’s the problem. We have 15 living prophets, seers, and revelators who DON’T! But the gospel and the priesthood was restored by one who did! Today it’s apparently an honorary title. The (so called) faithful try to defend this by implying or spinning that it goes on today we just don’t know about it. But by definition that’s impossible because the job of a revelator is to reveal so if it were going on we would know it!

    Both OD1 & 2 fall far short of “thus saith the Lord revelation qualifying as group inspiration at best. Group inspiration isn’t dialog. It basically amounts to the brethren conceiving of and asking a yes or no question so it is largely limited to their creativity rather than God’s! While Joseph’s dialogs with God amount to a conversation providing soooo much more information. Revelation is more God than man, inspiration is more man than God and group inspiration is more men than God!

    This is the single biggest problem the church faces!!! And it accounts for the church having been led astray with the ban on blacks and given that it took place it strongly suggests that we may have been led astray on other issues as well. So why not this issue?

    Is Elder Oaks claiming revelation with this explanation? No. Is Is Elder Oaks authorized to receive revelation on this issue for the church? No.

    Jesus Christ was progressive and inclusive and he was not pleased with the Pharisees so how is it possible for today’s church to be led by Jesus Christ yet it is a pharisaical conservative organization that excludes? Did Jesus reverse his politics postmortem?

    Moses was a great Prophet, Seer, and Revelator who made himself available to listen and provide revelatory services for the daughters of Zelophehad without taking offense or pushing back with his Public Relations or Security Departments. He simply asked God and reported back with God’s answer. I think part of the problem here is that it isn’t so simple for TSM (and Co.) to ask and the rest of the problem is they don’t want to!

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  26. Greg on April 8, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Elder Oaks has the gift of knowledge as well as wisdom, and a great ability to clearly communicate them. It’s out there now – those who want to know by the Spirit if it is true, can. He will certainly take flack for speaking contrary to the wisdom of the world on a sensitive topic, but I for one will stand with him.

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  27. Roger Doger on April 9, 2014 at 2:07 AM

    Funny how those wanting long discussions on this topic forget that in no prior dispensations were women ordained with the priesthood. Why now? Has the plan changed? Instead of pushing back and straining over rights rather than responsibility, wouldn’t this energy be better spent supporting the plan? I stand with Elder Oaks. Those who sincerely feel that they are being misled and that the counsel given in not from God, should step away and organize a matriarchal organization that suits their designs.

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  28. Howard on April 9, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    A fimiliar message. My church right or wrong, love it or leave it!

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  29. […] I expected some sort of backhanded comments from the speakers about the Ordain Women action, but I was utterly unprepared for what followed. Dallin H. Oaks, one of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was the first to speak, and he made no pretenses about his subject. His talk was directly aimed at Ordain Women and their supporters, and everyone knew it. As of my writing this post, the official transcript has not yet been released on LDS.org, but an unofficial one can be found here. […]

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  30. Roger Doger on April 10, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Hello Howard and The Heretic,

    Am I missing something in your links? To which priesthood and which priesthood office were these women “ordained” as they wore priesthood garments, blessed others with priesthood power and married men who held the priesthood and actually were ordained to priesthood offices? History can be so confusing to those of us who were not there and have to depend on those who record the events, worse when someone rewrites history to fit an argument. Although your viewpoint is entertaining, I think that the correct perspective comes from 47 West Temple. And how about you and Howard? Members? Active? Why on earth would you belong to a church that you don’t believe in? As for me: active member, standing with Elder Oaks.

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  31. Mormon Heretic on April 10, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    Apparently you missed a lot there Roger Doger. I know it was a lot to read, so I can understand why you missed some things, but let me point out a few highlights, mostly from the Women in Ancient Christianity post.

    She references Romans 16:7, which references Andronicus and Junia. Some translators changed the name Junia (female) to Junis (male.) Clearly Junia was an apostle. Early Christian Father John Chrysostum (who lived from 347-405 AD) is quoted as saying, “how great the wisdom of this woman must have been that she was even deemed worthy of the title of apostle.” (In ep. ad Romanos 31.2)

    Female Deacons are found in Romans 16:1-2 and 1 Tim 3:8-11.

    In the 5th century, Testamentum Domini 2:20 states that if pregnant women could not attend church on Sunday, deaconesses could take the Eucharist to their home. She also notes that in 511 AD, 3 Gallic bishops were chastised for allowing women to assist with the Eucharist. This obviously indicates that women were involved in the practice. Canonical Resolutions 24 (6th century) states that deaconesses could distribute the Eucharist to their female companions who lived in convents in Edessa.

    An ancient book called Acts of Paul and Thecla (2nd century) depicts the woman Thecla performing a self-baptism (similar to the story of Alma in Mosiah 18:13-14.) Early church Father Justinian said it was acceptable for women to baptize as long as they met certain requirements. In several texts as early as the first half of the third century, female deacons are described as assisting with baptisms and anointing the bodies of the female converts with oil before or after baptism. In others, it is the women themselves performing the baptisms.

    So, it seems like YOU are the one that has “forget[ten] that in … prior dispensations were women ordained with the priesthood”, not us. It appears that the great apostasy includes that women can’t participate in priesthood ordinances, despite evidence in the bible that women were ordained as deaconnesses, and likely performed baptisms, anointed with oil, to which only modern LDS men, ordained to the Aaronic and/or Melchizedek priesthood can do now. And certainly Joseph and Brigham allowed women to anoint with oil OUTSIDE the temple. Why is this practice no longer allowed from 47 West Temple (as outlined in my post on Mormon Women Giving Blessings)?

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  32. Mormon Heretic on April 10, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    One other thing Roger Doger, I won’t list my resume, but I am an extremely active member, having served in various callings, and I served a mission and was married in the temple. I am sure you were asking that to discredit me and/or Howard, as if people’s activity somehow negates whether the point they make is correct. But I doubt that you are “more active” than me if that even matters. So please take the beam out of your own eye before trying to tackle the mote in my eye. If you want more information, click http://mormonheretic.org/about-2/

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  33. Roger Doger on April 11, 2014 at 4:59 AM

    Not so fast with these loose references MH.

    As confident as you are that I want to discredit you, I just do not think that your point is correct. I am simply trying to understand. I hold no illusion that my opinions will change your mind. I readily admit to being an imperfect soul trying to do what is right and may actually have many beams in my eyes. Help me identify the beam that you see in my eye.

    From my perspective, standing with Elder Oaks sure feels like safe ground and the perspective of 47 West Temple has a huge advantage over your blog which suggests that they are not trustworthy because of your interpretation of history and scriptural references. Please help me here. Why should we not trust our church leadership and why are you extremely active in a church that you don’t believe in? Does your blog bring you closer to or away from the Great Plan of Happiness? It seems that you are grasping at interpretations of a history that is subject to debate.

    For example, it looks like the women holding priesthood offices is only referenced if you go beyond the Standard Works.

    Here is the copy/pasted reference to Romans where you identified Phebe as a deacon. She is actually identified as a servant of the church on LDS.org.

    1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:

    2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

    MH, you were using another Bible and didn’t tell us. Who to believe? Servant or deacon? Big difference. I wasn’t there. My record says servant.

    When you served a mission, you may recall teaching discussions about a great apostasy and that the Church had to be restored. By 511 A.D. the priesthood was no longer on the earth and no one, man nor woman, was a priesthood holder no matter what they called themselves.

    So many perspectives, so little time. May you find a way to remove this thorn from your flesh.

    Still haven’t heard from Howard.

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  34. Mormon Heretic on April 11, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Beam #1: Why should we not trust our church leadership and why are you extremely active in a church that you don’t believe in?

    I DO BELIEVE IN THIS CHURCH!!!! WHY DO YOU KEEP ASKING ME A QUESTION WITH A FALSE PREMISE? Why do you beat your wife and children? Why do you visit with prostitutes? Stop asking stupid questions based on bad assumptions.

    I also believe that our leaders are not infallible. I’m sure you believe that our church leaders are fallible, but I dare you to tell me one example of fallible leadership. The Bible is full of fallible leaders, and we view them as inspirational. Noah got drunk, but was still a prophet. Abraham tried to kill his son, but was still a prophet. Israel stole Esau’s birthright. Just because past leaders weren’t perfect doesn’t mean that they weren’t inspiring people. So quit trying to pretend these leaders are different from ancient leaders. EVERYONE makes mistakes, and I have every right to point them out, yet still call them inspired leaders.

    Beam #2: Does your blog bring you closer to or away from the Great Plan of Happiness?

    Actually much closer to God. This blog is an oasis for me, where people with unorthodox beliefs can thrive. I’d go crazy if I couldn’t talk about this stuff. I certainly can’t talk about it at church, and it is mentally healthy for me to have this place. It makes my church-going bearable. (Next you’ll ask me why I go to church. I answered that for people like you several years ago. Once again, it sounds like another attempt to discredit, and is not a nice question. Why do you visit prostitutes?)

    Beam #3: MH, you were using another Bible and didn’t tell us. Who to believe? Servant or deacon?

    Roger Doger, “We believe the Bible to be the Word of God so far as it is translated correctly;” As a Mormon, we love to claim that there are mistranslations in the King James Bible. That’s why we have the JST after all, right? We also know that Joseph didn’t correct every single translation error, right?

    This may surprise you, but there ARE better translations out there than KJV. Yet Mormons are loathe to use them. Why is that? If there is a more accurate translation than KJV, why wouldn’t a Mormon embrace truth? We do we persist in perpetuating a bad translation? Oh yeah, it is because the men at 47 South Temple tell us this is our official bible.

    But the men at 47 South Temple use other bibles on occasion. If you listen to General Conference closely, you will notice this, and the list includes not only Elder Oaks, but Elder Holland as well. There are better translations out there than KJV. It seems absolutely silly to me that we close our eyes to better translations in light of the article of faith I just quoted. So Roger Doger, why would you hold to a bad translation when we have so many better translations out there? It’s not a subject of which translation to believe, we know which translation is better. Are you saying you don’t actually want to study it out in your mind? You’d rather pretend confusion where there doesn’t need to be any?

    Would you rather drive a 400 year old car, or the latest model? Sure, the 400 year old model is an antique, and might have some cool features, and even cool to drive on occasion. But the latest model has a lot of updates, is a smoother ride, has air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, etc. But you’d rather drive across the country in a Model T with the windows down on a hot day without shock absorbers, and is a bear to control in the snow. Is that right? You’d rather not understand the words of Isaiah, is that right?

    I’ve always said that the Great Apostasy was a process, not an event. Nearly all Christians believe Jesus was crucified and died on the cross, so the ancient church has always had truth mixed with error. That’s always been the problem now isn’t it? What is truth and what is error? Denominations believe differently, yet all have some truths mixed with error (even ours.) I’m sure you’d admit that our church is in apostasy regarding consecration. We don’t live the United Order like Brigham Young did. So even we have some apostasy. But one day, we’ll stop the apostasy and live the higher law of consecration, right?

    But other churches have correct truths. For example, the Baptists, despite all their errors, did find that baptism must be performed by immersion. On that point, the Baptists are right. Yet the Catholics are sprinkling, so they are in apostasy on that topic, right?

    So there, I have some questions for you. Please answer them. And quit baiting Howard, like you’re baiting me. It’s not very nice. “May you find a way to remove this thorn from your flesh.”

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  35. Roger Doger on April 26, 2014 at 5:48 AM

    Those fighting and praying for freedom and truth will have their prayers answered. Inner conflicts can be replaced with angelic peace by losing ourselves in the service of others.

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  36. […] talk was by far the discussed talk of last conference–for both its content and timing (there was no hidden meaning this time). […]

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