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Why don’t women hold the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? How do Mormon women lead in the Church?

Official Answer

Gordon B. Hinckley, prior President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said:

“Women do not hold the priesthood because the Lord has put it that way. It is part of His program. Women have a very prominent place in this Church. Men hold the priesthood offices of the Church. But women have a tremendous place in this Church. They have their own organization. It was started in 1842 by the Prophet Joseph Smith, called the Relief Society, because its initial purpose was to administer help to those in need. It has grown to be, I think, the largest women’s organization in the world... They have their own offices, their own presidency, their own board. That reaches down to the smallest unit of the Church everywhere in the world...

“The men hold the priesthood, yes. But my wife is my companion. In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.”

  • Women don't hold the priesthood in the church, as this is a teaching that has come from Jesus Christ. However, women have such a significant role to play in the church that personally I have never felt that this is an issue I am concerned with or even think about. My husband and I are equal partners in our family, and the church has such respect and reverence for women and their role in the world. Women in the church also belong to what is called the 'Relief Society' it is one of the largest women's organisation in the world, and fills me with such a desire to serve and do good that when we meet together wherever I am in the world I feel so proud to be apart of it. Show more

  • As a primary president in my ward, I share in the direction and leadership of our ward. I don't feel secondary in any way. Whether you have the priesthood or not, you are still responsible to listen to the direction of the Savior. The priesthood is a tool and power that is the same power of the Savior. It allows the human authority to do work on earth, particularly perform ordinances, and bless others. As if the Savior was here in person during His ministry accounted for in the New Testament. I would use an analogy to compare the priesthood as a car. A car is an amazing tool allowing you to get you from here to there. I don't mind my husband driving and I can offer some navigation or work the radio, as long as we and our children get there. Show more

  • Family is very important in the church for more reasons than can be explained here. Holding the priesthood is just one of these reasons. Husbands act and bless their family with their priesthood, but wives benefit and honor the priesthood through their husbands. It is a symbiotic relationship. As I have participated in the church in various activities I have come to understand my importance as a woman in the church. There cannot be one without the other. Show more

  • The place of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is as equally important as the place of priesthood holders. Men, by nature, are not nurturers. Women are. I have seen how badly men act in the absence of women over a four month period. It gets very ugly. Women serve a vital role in the world, that men simply cannot serve. They give birth to children and nurture those dear ones to perpetuate the the human race. As beings who existed in the spirit world before we were born, we longed for a body of flesh just as our Heavenly Father has. His plan has allowed that to be possible, but it would not be possible without the sisters of the Church. I watched my wife labor for 18 hours with our first and only child, a daughter. Because of modern medicine, she was able to do so without dying. The fact is, all mothers enter into the valley of the shadow of death while birthing a child. While some think of them as the weaker sex, this is empirical evidence that they are the stronger sex. Show more

  • God has set the church up this way, and it works beautifully. I think the main thing to recognize or understand about this issue is that having the priesthood is not about wielding power and authority over other people, it is in fact a weighty responsibility placed on the shoulders of the holder. Women reap the blessings of the priesthood by supporting our priesthood leaders, supporting and working side by side with them and with our husbands. A sister missionary that I knew a while back said that women in our church have more responsibility and "power" than in most churches: we preach/teach from the pulpit pretty much every Sunday, we hold major leadership roles within the church, and we are respected and honored by the men around us. I was not active in the LDS church for 9 years of my life, but I've never felt more free and liberated as a woman than I do now as an active, contributing member of the church. Show more

  • I feel that men and women both have different but equally important roles in getting us back to God. In God's eternal plan we were spirits in His presence before this life. To progress we needed to get bodies on this earth, then perform specific ordinances (eg baptism, marriage) to return to God after this life. Women were given the godly power to bring spirits into this world and give them bodies, then nurture and raise these children with God's inspiration and guidance. The men were assigned the responsibility (through the God's Priesthood power) to serve others and administer the ordinances that will bring God's children back to His presence after this life. Both roles are necessary and equally important to God's plan for us. I don't think women need the Priesthood to be powerful influences and to do God's work in their homes and in the church. I see men grow spiritually, and their characters become more godly when they act in God's name through using the Priesthood. I have never felt the need to hold the Priesthood myself. I can still receive all the blessings offered by the Priesthood, my prayers can be just as powerful, and I still have access to the inspiration of God in my life. Show more

  • The Lord has not inspired the leaders of the Church to extend that specific opportunity to women, nor the women in the Church to seek it. Though not ordained to the priesthood, women are an essential part of leadership councils at every level in the Church. In several areas of the Church they lead with same level of autonomy as men. Women "preach, teach, expound, exhort . . . and invite all to come unto Christ” as do men (D&C 20:46, 59). They are sanctified by the power of the Holy Ghost and all the gifts of the Spirit are available to women (D&C 46:9-26). Women are the beneficiaries of priesthood power. They receive authority to act and speak in the name of Jesus Christ. As with men, the power to do so comes through personal faith, sanctification, and priesthood covenants. Through this power and authority women fulfill responsibilities as significant and sacred as do men who are ordained priests, elders, bishops, seventy, etc. From the beginning, and by design, women have been included in the inner circle of discipleship. Anciently women were among the Savior’s most trusted disciples. So it is today. The pathway to experience "life eternal" (John 17:3) is for both men and women. Not one ahead of the other, but side by side in this life and in the afterlife. Show more

  • Women don't hold the priesthood because that is they way the Lord has instructed us to organize His Church. Nevertheless, all people - even non members - may be recipients to the blessings of the Priesthood. Everyone on earth may receive priesthood blessings of healing and comfort, and all can be served by those who hold the Priesthood. Those who choose to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ may participate in ordinances such as baptism which are only made possible through the Priesthood. Women are still important and necessary - they hold callings and positions of leadership in the Church and serve faithfully as supportive spouses and mothers. Women are still very much essential to the success of the Church and God's plan for us. Show more

  • As a young girl I remember asking my Mom out of simple curiosity why Women didn't have the Priesthood. She told me an answer I have never forgotten. She immediately asked me why Men don't have babies?! As silly as it sounded, it made complete sense to me. My Mom then explained that we each have roles in life. She answered in a way that a young child would understand & yet as an adult now, remains a truth that I hold dear to my heart. I have never, ever felt any "less" important to anyone, including my Father in Heaven because I don't hold this calling of the Priesthood. Having the Priesthood does not mean you are a "better" person than the next person, but it is simply a calling that one is willing to take on. It is the power of God here on Earth & I am so glad that Heavenly Father is willing to entrust those who are worthy with it. It should be honored, respected and used when appropriate or it is simply taken away. The Priesthood is something that I am very grateful to have in my life and in my home. I am blessed to have so many family members, neighbors, and friends that are willing in the blink of an eye to stop what they are doing and give a priesthood blessing to me, my children or anyone who desires one. As Women, we have so much going on in our lives as we are continually serving. Helping others comes more naturally to us. I love how having a Priesthood calling pulls Men in the direction of service as it is required of them to serve as Christ would. Show more

  • I think it is SO interesting that there are some who have the idea that LDS women are suppressed in some way. I think we are the most liberated women anywhere. We are loved, and cherished by our leaders, and they speak of women with incredibly respect. women don't hold the priesthood because they don't need to. They already have a divine role to take part in the creation of man, the Lord granted us the ability to grow life inside us, WHAT A MIRACLE. Mother's intuition that people speak of, this is a direct link to Heavenly Father, this is how he works through us to raise up future generations. There is a talk by Gordon B. Hinckley titled "The Women In our Lives". You can find it on LDS.org, or by Google. It is an amazing talk. I LOVE the priesthood, and I am a living testimony of the power of it. I had Leukemia when I was 19 years old. I didn't have very good chances at the time, but was blessed to have a perfect match with my sister who donated her marrow to me. Through two significant Priesthood blessings, we knew I would live, and I would feel well again. Through a priesthood blessing, I was made whole, and assured that the direction I desired in my life would come. We are blessed to have it on this earth, and I am grateful to the men that live worthy of holding it. I'm grateful for the allegiance it brings out in men, it softens them, and makes them service oriented. What a gift. Show more

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