ALL IN – Episode 23

This is amazing. There is very very little I can add to this SUNDAY SABBATH STUDY. I will primarily use Wendy Ulrich’s words from her interview on All In.

“What is priesthood power and how do we access it? … I think it’s a question we all struggle with at some level or another, and wonder, what is our role in this? How do we fit in it?”

Let’s really look at this. First, I think it is very important for us to understand that:

“Priesthood is not just what priests do, it’s what God does.”

And there are many ways we, as women, participate in God’s work – in “what God does”. And Wendy touches on a handful. But I am going to limit my blogpost today to four ways in which I, a woman in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, use the power of the Priesthood.

ONE.

“Oh God, the Eternal Father, who dwells amid the sky, in Jesus name we ask thee to bless and sanctify this bread, and this cup of wine that we may all remember.”

O God the Eternal Father, Hymn 175

We sing this Sacrament hymn in preparation for the blessing and the passing of the Sacrament. “We” sing the song. And “we” ask in the name of His Son.

“We are participating in this prayer – we’re not just listening to it, we are able to be part of the ‘we’ that the priest uses! He doesn’t just say ‘I’ do this, he says ‘we’ do this. And maybe he just means him and the other priests that are there at the sacrament table. But that hymn makes me feel like we’re all included, praying that prayer. And his job is to officiate and make sure that the prayer is said correctly and done properly, which is the role of the priesthood in the church, in large measure, I think… But we are all participating.

It dawned on me one day, the deacons aren’t the only ones passing the sacrament (either). I pass the sacrament every single Sunday. Everybody around me is passing the sacrament. It’s the job of the deacons to make sure everyone receives, but everyone participates in passing the sacrament.”

Today, as I received and passed the Sacrament trays down our row, I thought of the power to do so. In passing the Sacrament, I am taking advantage of the opportunity to show the Lord, as well as the person sitting next to me, that I accept His grace in my life, and I offer the same to everyone.

TWO.

Temple Work.

“Joseph Smith said he was going to make of the Relief Society ‘a kingdom of priests’… We function as priests in the temple in a real way, in providing the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all who have lived on this earth. And we are vested with that priesthood power and authority when we go to the temple ourselves. And then when we return, we are acting in a priestly role for others who are waiting for those ordinances to be done for them.”

THREE.

The same work of temples, but performed by me outside of temples – sealings.

“There are only two ways that a child gets sealed to their parents. One is through a sealing ordinance in the temple, and one is through birth. When a woman, who has been sealed in a covenant relationship, gives birth to a child, she is in essence, providing for that child, something that can only be provided in another way through a sealing ordinance in the temple…

There are lots of ways that women participate in many aspects of the work of the priesthood, even and including the sealing ordinances that are held so closely.”  

FOUR.

“Joseph Smith said to the women of the Relief Society, ‘If you live up to your privileges, angels cannot be restrained from being your associates. And if (you) are pure and virtuous, (you) can enter into the presence of God.’ What struck me about that is that the privileges associated with the Aaronic Priesthood are the ‘ministering of angels’, and the privileges that are associated with the Melchizedek Priesthood are ‘entering into the presence of God’. And he was in essence, offering them those same privileges – if you live up to your privileges, you cannot be restrained from having those blessings given to you that have been offered through the priesthood to all.”

The ministering of angels. Entrance into the presence of God.

AND, FINALLY, A QUESTION.

Without advancement in the Priesthood, from Deacon to Teacher to Priest to Elder to High Priest etc etc. Without those obvious advancements, how do we, as women, know that we’re progressing?

“That is a great question. It’s a larger question even than just priesthood. We have to learn how to get feedback on how we’re doing in ways that are not as accessible as to people who are for example, in a workplace setting. A woman (in the work place) may get lots of feedback about how she’s doing, whether she’s succeeding, does she get a promotion, does she get a raise? She will get that feedback. And men who are in a work setting will get that kind of feedback. But parents who are home with little kids don’t get a lot of feedback, you don’t get a lot of information about am I doing the right thing? Is this working, is this not? You know, am I making any progress? It’s just kind of figuring it out as you go. And so I think, in some ways, maybe we’re getting a little extra training in learning how to get that feedback from the Lord and from our ability to live our own values, from our own study of the scriptures and our own study of the work of God in the world, to save the human family, and are we participating in that, and how is it going for us? Because ultimately, the feedback we get from the world isn’t particularly important anyway, meeting those milestones is pretty much proforma in the church – you turn 12, you get the priesthood, and that’s the end of the story. And, yes, there’s a worthiness requirement but it’s a basic worthiness requirement that goes with having a temple recommend, and women are given that opportunity from the time that they are at that same age to find out if they are worthy to go to the temple, which is basically the same set of requirements. So we can still use them as a gauge for our basic worthiness and the status of our faith. But we and men both have to learn how to get (that feedback) from the Lord – where we really stand with Him. And that’s what matters.”

I need to close there. I am grateful for the authority of God, and for the power of God, and for His trust and His love and His vision, in sharing these with us.