The family is central to God’s plan for His children. On September 23, 1995, President Gordon B. Hinckley, in his message at the General Relief Society Meeting, read The Family, A Proclamation to the World. In that proclamation are these words:
“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners…We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.” (emphasis added)
I do not need to be ordained to the priesthood to enjoy the blessings of the priesthood, because my husband has that role and responsibility. Priesthood used as God commands does not belittle me, or make me a “second class citizen.” Indeed, it lifts me up. No man or woman may receive the greatest blessings from the Father alone. Exaltation requires the joint efforts of both man and woman. The blessings available for me and for my husband are the same. Only the requirements and responsibilities along the way are different, as defined in the Proclamation.
Early this year, I was asked by a young mother about the question of ordaining women. She wanted to know how a woman could feel the need to receive the priesthood. I, too, had had that question. I studied the scriptures, went to the temple, and read about both sides of the question. As I read, I received a greater understanding of my role as a woman, and a testimony that I can do everything in this life the Father wants me to do without being ordained to the priesthood. Indeed, to aspire to the priesthood would be to counsel my God. His plan is perfect.
In her book, Women and the Priesthood, Sheri Dew said:
“There are four key truths related to women and priesthood that are crucial for both men and women to understand.
- The Father’s plan and the Savior’s Church are designed to qualify all of us – both men and women – for exaltation.
- Priesthood keys are the manner through which the Lord authorizes and disperses His power and authority throughout the Church for both men and women.
- In the temple, both men and women are “endowed with the same power, which by definition is priesthood power.” (M. Russell Ballard, “Let Us Think Straight,” BYU Campus Education Week devotional address, 20 August 2013; see also D&C 109:15)
- Neither a man nor a woman may receive the highest ordinances of the priesthood or be exalted alone. “
I am not a second class member of the Church. I pray, teach, expound scripture, and serve in a presidency of women leading the children of the Church. I am entitled to seek and receive revelation within the realm of my stewardship, just as the Prophet receives revelation for the entire Church – which is his stewardship. Without me, my husband cannot receive all the blessings available within the Church, nor can I without him. We are equal partners, with different, but equally vital, responsibilities. Women are at the center of His plan for His children. No individual has been born on this earth, except through a woman.
My view, my goal, my purpose is eternal. What do I get, as a “Mormon” woman? I get all the blessings promised by my Heavenly Father to those who faithfully complete their mortal probation. I get everything – everything the Father will give those who qualify to be joint heirs with His Son.