This month, our Relief Society Visiting Teaching message has been on the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. Taking Sis. Burton’s challenge, I read and studied it and was really happy to learn some wonderful things.
Simply put, the oath and covenant of the priesthood (found in D&C 84:33-44) is a two-way promise; that when ALL faithful members willingly receive the priesthood (and all its responsibilities) Heavenly Father will, in turn, give us ALL that He hath. Read on to discover how this involves women.
It’s true! Celebrating our Relief Society’s 175 years renews our conviction. We are all daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. As Julie B. Beck said, the Lord is counting on His daughters to
“… do our part as women under the Lord’s plan, we must stand strong and immovable in faith, strong and immovable in family, and strong and immovable in relief. We must excel in these three important areas which set us apart as the Lord’s disciples. Through Relief Society we practice being disciples of Christ. We learn what He would have us learn, we do what He would have us do, and we become what He would have us become. When we gather with this focus, the work of Relief Society is relevant whatever your circumstance—whether you are 18 or 88, single or married, have children or not, or whether you live in Bountiful, Utah, or Bangalore, India.” 
We are God’s Female Army. So,
Russell M. Nelson really means that “the kingdom of God is not … complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them. 
Sheri Dew really feels that by “unleash[ing] the full influence of covenant-keeping women, the kingdom of God would change overnight.” 
Jeffrey R. Holland really believes that “something is going to be asked of this dispensation that’s never been asked before.” 
Relief Society sisters need to step it up. As Sister Dew put it eighteen years ago,
“This is a call to arms, it’s a call to action, a call to arise. A call to arm ourselves with power and with righteousness. A call to rely on the arm of the Lord rather than the arm of flesh. A call to ‘arise and shine forth, that [our] light may be a standard for the nations’ (D&C 115:5). A call to live as women of God so that we and our families may return safely home.” 
Sisters, our power comes from priesthood power. Our early sisters understood it, lived it, and set the standard for it. Now, it’s our turn to understand how the priesthood works through us. Consider these suggestions made by President Linda K. Burton:
“Two sections have been especially revelatory to me. I recommend them to you for your careful and prayerful consideration. First, the oath and covenant of the priesthood, which can be found in D&C 84:33–40. I invite you to memorize those eight verses, sisters. By doing so, I promise you that the Holy Ghost will expand your priesthood understanding and inspire and uplift you in wonderful ways.
Secondly, I would invite you to ponder Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–46 [the doctrine of the priesthood]. Look for the principles in these verses that govern the righteous exercise of priesthood power. Look for warnings and promises from the Lord, and apply them to yourself.” 
In 2011, I was given a Priesthood blessing that promised I would be able to stay home with my children, my only true desire. I held onto that promise. I was pregnant at the time of the blessing and Jared had started his own flight school in Spanish Fork, Utah. A few months later, Max, our second son was born in June. However, financially, we knew that winter time was coming and there was less opportunity to fly, therefore a decrease in income. An option was decided that I would work. In my heart, I still held to the promise of the priesthood blessing that I would be a stay at home mom, even though on the outside, it was going contrary. I applied for jobs and accepted a job as a certified Nurse’s aide, which I just had become certified as. I had a 3-month-old and a 3-year-old at the time.
On Oct 4th, I received a phone call that Jared had been in an accident and had passed away. Here I was, a 29 year old with 2 small children, ages 3 and 3 months, and with very little money. From the moment that Jared died, Christ was at my side for a while, giving me strength and support to face the things I needed to. But, over time, the shock wore off. I was left here on earth and my husband in heaven. My world was changed in an instant. The grief of his separation was intense. There were many times it was too unbearable that I would cry out to Christ and in and at that instant that I prayed, the deep pain and sorrow was taken from me. I felt nothing, no pain. Then the next day, the pain would slowly come back again and gradually become heavier and heavier until I couldn’t bear it and would plead again and the pain would be taken from me. Christ was literally carrying my pain. This happened for a long time, months. My pain was deep and heavy. I cannot imagine what the Savior suffered. Continue reading →
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women’s general president shared historic news affecting the women of the Church’s visibility, value and voice within the highest councils of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Mormon)
I still vividly remember President Thomas S. Monson announcing the lowered missionary age for young women. Today I witnessed another significant moment – I received an invitation to participate as a member of the Missionary Executive Council. I am honored. This is one of three key councils of the Church, each led by members of the Twelve. Sister Linda Burton will now serve on the Priesthood and Family Executive Council and Sister Rosemary Wixom will be on the Temple and Family History Executive Council.
What a great time to be a woman in the Church where our voices are needed and valued more than ever. I am grateful for the opportunity to add my perspective and experience to this council as we work together to spread the message of the restored Gospel.
Of this breaking and historic news, Tad Welch from the Deseret News reports:
Many don’t understand the majesty of which the Relief Society organization was founded. Over the years, we have lost the significance of the Relief Society. We have forgotten that we were organized “under the priesthood, after the pattern of the priesthood.” That gives us a power unlike any other women’s organization in the world. What exactly does under the priesthood, after the pattern of the priesthood mean? Continue reading →
All year our Stake President, under the direction of L. Tom Perry, has worked with our Area Seventy, Craig B. Terry, to teach about the priesthood to the men in each of the wards in our stake. They’ve taken the two hours after our Sacrament Meeting to talk about better training for the Aaronic Priesthood; allowing our boys to perform more of their responsibility.
These meetings with the men and boys have gone so well, it was suggested they have a similar meeting with all the women in each ward. This too has proven quite successful as women have gathered to learn about the priesthood and its value in all our lives. Plus, it is always a welcome bonus for Primary workers, Young Women workers, and Young Women to gather as an entire Relief Society unit.
I was happy with how the discussion went. First of all, the Stake President stated that priesthood and motherhood go together. I know feminists have argued against this idea before. They hate to think of women being “relegated” to motherhood, but the reality is that God depends on women to give birth to his children. His plan cannot work without us doing this most glorious work. And I truly believe it is mothers who have the most influence in the home to raise these heavenly children. So, as the discussion opened— Continue reading →
If you happen to be a feminist outside of the Mormon faith, it’s very likely that you believe one of the strongest critiques levied against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon): that its theology wreaks with gender inequality and the membership dominated by a chauvinistic male hierarchy – the priesthood. I’ll even go one further… I bet the original source of that misguided understanding is a Mormon feminist.
The reason I can say that with such confidence (and no ill-will intended, just a fact) is that the majority of LDS women do not share that misperception or experience; I am among that majority. Not that we don’t see room for improvement in general male/female interaction within the Church, subject to human weakness – we do. But, we don’t confuse occasional abuses with doctrinal teachings — the expectation. Important distinction.
I greatly appreciate section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The Lord straight up exposes the tendency of every man, when given authority, to use unrighteous dominion in its administration. He also warned that to do so would be the end of a man’s priesthood power. Sadly, the natural man, in so many ways, chooses to ignore this admonition, and the tender hearts of the Lord’s daughters are the frequent recipients of such ignorance. However, this is not the way the Lord intended it to be, but rather, knowing full well this was going to be a problem, called it out. Continue reading →
There has been a swirl of talk in the blogging world about inequality in the LDS Church. As an LDS woman, this makes me chuckle. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has one of the the largest women’s organizations in the world. I have served in many callings in the Church, and have only been treated with respect by my counterparts in the priesthood. All of those callings came with responsibility—some of them with more responsibility than I felt capable of handling. Inequality in the LDS Church? No way!
When I was Relief Society President in my ward, I remember making a decision which was extremely unpopular with the sisters under my care. The Bishop could have told me to back off and stop making waves. Instead, he met with me, asked me my reasons for making the decision, and then backed me 100 percent. As a matter of fact, he came into Relief Society and basically reminded the sisters that I was in charge. He told them that they were going to have to change their ways and listen to my counsel. The Bishop was a federal prosecuting attorney and when he spoke, people knew he meant business. It was another year before the sisters began to understand the reasons and wisdom behind the decision. They also came to the understanding that it wasn’t my decision at all, but Heavenly Father’s decision through inspiration.
At the 2013 BYU Women’s Conference, Sister Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President, gave a talk about the priesthood. She states, “We hope to instill within each of us a greater desire to better understand the priesthood. I testify that the Lord is hastening His work, and it is imperative for us to understand how the Lord accomplishes His work so that we may receive the power that comes from be aligned [sic] with His plan and purposes.”
Understanding the priesthood means also comprehending the complimentary role of women, and that inequality does not exist in God’s Church. Understanding the priesthood and its role in the lives of women is important; it helps us to serve better and to sustain our leaders—both male and female—more fully. All organizations have a division of labor and have clearly defined roles for their members; this alleviates confusion, gives everyone a clear purpose, and helps the purposes of the organization to be met in an efficient manner. God’s plan for His children also includes clearly defined roles. None of these roles is more important than another, but they are different in the tasks required. They have the same value and privileges.
The Relief Society Declaration says that we are women who sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth. Right out of the bag, I’m going to say that I personally sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on the earth. I stand with the prophet and the rest of the General Authorities. I am a covenant daughter of God, and I will not deny eternal truths.
My parents were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the same night that I was baptized. I was ten years old. Unfortunately, they did not stay active in the Church, so I was not raised with the priesthood in my home. However, there were men in our ward who were wonderful examples of stalwart priesthood holders. An older couple became our home teachers, and we all looked up to them and admired them. She was the perfect example of a faithful sister in Zion; he was the epitome of a faithful son of God who respected and honored the priesthood.
I was not an active member when I married my husband. Although I did not attend church, I always took comfort in the priesthood that he held, and I admired the way he honored the priesthood. We had wonderful home teachers through the years, who helped teach my children the gospel. They were also men who honored the priesthood which they held, and who were good examples to my children.