Sunday, May 29, 2016

Come Follow Me: How does the priesthood bless women and mothers?

In my current ward, my time has been focused primarily in serving among the youth. My first calling was to teach the 14-15 year old young men and women in Sunday School. My current calling is as the Beehive Adviser, a youth leader to the 12 and 13 year old girls of my congregation.

Today, we had a lesson on the Holy Ghost. After discussing the difference between the Light of Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost, we had a lengthy discussion about spiritual gifts. It was a discussion made all the more meaningful after the confirmation of a laurel we had in our ward earlier this morning.

As part of this conversation, I wanted to address a particular point that was inspired by a question from the Come Follow Me curriculum. As I sat down to prepare a lesson in April answering the question How was the priesthood restored?, one particular question in the Learn Together section struck me as one I wanted to address in detail with the class:

How does the priesthood bless women and mothers?

I ultimately ended up creating an entire lesson that addresses this question instead. It was important to me to differentiate between the authority of the priesthood, and the power of the priesthood. Because while men alone are ordained to the authority of the priesthood, hold keys, and officiate in the offices, there is no gender restriction on the power of the priesthood in any way. The power of the priesthood, in its most fundamental sense, is the power of God. And women of faith access and exercise the power of God every day in their lives.

As an example of this point, I wanted to specifically outline how women exercise spiritual gifts. These gifts are not limited by type, gender, or priesthood ordination, and are instead a manifestation of the gift of the Holy Ghost in our lives. I could think of no better way to illustrate this than via the scriptures, which is how I came up with this chart.

By outlining the spiritual gifts listed in Moroni 10: 9-16, and challenging the young women to think of examples of each that deal either primarily or solely with women, we were able to think of examples for each of the gifts without much difficulty. Not only that, but it became abundantly clear that many of the accounts involving women are manifestations of more than one gift.

While I came prepared with my own examples, the young women did not need my assistance to think of them. They were able to complete the chart on their own, faster than I was able to write in the names or descriptions of these women. They also came up with other examples that hadn't come to mind as I was preparing my chart, including when Mary (mother of Jesus) spoke with the angel Gabriel.

In fact, I've already decided that I want to expand this chart to include a more thorough survey of women in the scriptures. And because I know it will be a blessing to the young women to read the experiences of women in the scriptures, I think it would be a great Personal Progress project in which to have them participate.


Verse from
Moroni 10
Spiritual Gift
Example of Woman from the Scriptures
V: 9
Spirit of  God to teach
the word of wisdom
Emma Smith: D&C 25: 7-8
V: 10
Teach the word of knowledge
Eve: Moses 5: 11-12
V: 11
Exceedingly great faith
Esther 4: 14, 16; 5: 1-2
V: 11
Healing/being healed
Woman with issue: Mark 5: 27-29, 33-34
Daughter of Jairus: Mark 5: 41-42
V: 12
To work mighty miracles
Stripling Mothers: Alma 56: 46-48
V: 13
To prophesy
Deborah: Judges 4: 6-7
Mary and Women at Pentecost: Acts 2: 17-18
V: 14
Beholding of Angels and Ministering Spirits
Mary Magdalene and Women at the Tomb: Matthew 28: 5-6
V: 15
Gift of Tongues
Mary (Mother of Jesus) and Women at Pentecost: Acts 2: 4
V: 16
Interpretation of Tongues
Queen of Lamanites: Alma 19: 29-30


As we conversed about the women of the scriptures, it became obvious that they weren't just women of faith, but also women of great power. Or perhaps I should say, that to be a woman of great faith means inherently to be a woman of great power. You simply cannot have one without the other.

It was a wonderful lesson, one that I felt privileged to give. And it was an enriching change of perspective not only for me, but for the counselor in the Young Women presidency who sits in with us every week. She was so excited, she copied my references and scriptures right from my notes. 

Next time, I should just come prepared with a handout!

I know that Heavenly Father loves, treasures, and empowers his daughters. He has done so in the past, does so in the present, and will continue to do so throughout the endless reaches of the future. While the methods of access to the priesthood are different for men and women, the end result for women who cultivate the access they are given is equal, in every respect, to men in the Church.

I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is my Savior and Redeemer. I rejoice at the thought of spending the rest of my life as his disciple. There is no part of that future to which I do not look forward with great anticipation. I know that he calls prophets and presidents--including women of great power and influence--to lead his restored church. He sustains them, and we are all blessed and empowered together. In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.