I remember the day very well. I was sitting in young women’s listening to a lesson about the priesthood. I was fourteen, and while I was a very thoughtful fourteen-year-old I didn’t really have a firm handle on what life was all about.
I was listening to the teacher talk about a man’s role in the church and I wondered why women are given such a different role. I wondered why women don’t hold the priesthood or high leadership positions. I felt troubled and confused.
For the next couple of weeks I thought and prayed about my questions, hoping for an answer. One day, while I was sitting on the bus a friend who was a member of another church asked me why women didn’t hold the priesthood. He wasn’t being antagonistic, and he was genuinely concerned for me as a woman. I told him I didn’t really know, but that women have a special place in the church, that they hold many leadership positions in the church, and that I never felt treated like I was less than the men in church. I believed what I told him, and as we talked, I knew what I was telling him was true, but I still didn’t feel completely at peace with my questions.
I went home and sat in the living room where I prayed again about my question. I felt like I should look in the scriptures. I picked up the large, ornate Book of Mormon my parents keep on their coffee table and began to flip the pages. Something caught my eye, and I stopped and began to read Alma 56 and 57, the stripling warriors. I stopped on 56:48
And that’s when it hit me. I don’t need to hold the priesthood. As a woman I have the ability to influence others in a motherly way, and I can do miracles. When I tap into the divine nature planted in me by my Heavenly Father I can make a huge difference at church, at home, and in the world. I didn’t know the details of everything but I finally felt peace, a powerful peace that I still feel when I think about the order of the church today. I knew, and still know that the Lord is at the head of this church and it’s set up how he wants it at this time.
I was only fourteen, I didn’t know where my life would go, I didn’t know that I would have the opportunity to marry and have children, but I knew that I would have the opportunity to mother (for are we not all mothers?), and that was enough for me.
I’m not suggesting that this answer will satisfy everyone’s questions, but I write this post hoping that it can help someone. Elder D Todd Christofferson said, “In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship,”. Wow. That’s powerful. And as a woman, I feel like I am powerful… just as powerful as my wonderful priesthood holding husband. I have the power to teach, to feed (literally and spiritually), to kiss boo-boos, to build others confidence, to notice when someone needs a motherly hug or phone call.
We have different roles and responsibilities but we’re on the same side. We use our different gifts with the same goals in mind, to create and strengthen families, to exert our power for whatever is virtuous and lovely and good. This is not meant to be THE answer for anyone. This is just MY answer to peace on the subject. I hope and pray that other women can find that same peace and feel as powerful as I do.
Disclaimer: I’m not an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Everything here is my opinion. I’m just a normal Mormon mommy hoping what I post can help myself and others as we seek to reach our potential :)