The Priesthood of God

Summary: Under the law of Moses, there were two priesthoods – the Levitical and the Aaronic – but in the book of Hebrews we learn of another one called the Melchizedek priesthood. Although all students of the Bible are familiar with the first two, they know virtually nothing about the third one because the Bible tells us very little about it. This article examines the various priesthoods of God in relationship to how they help us gain eternal life.

The writer of Hebrews explained, “If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron?” (Hebrews 7:11).

Nearly all Christians understand that under the law of Moses, all males who belonged to the tribe of Levi were ordained to be priests who served as official representatives of God. These were called Levitical priests. However, the Lord gave Aaron, the brother of Moses and who was also from the tribe of Levi, and his descendants a special form of service. They were not just priests but were to be high priests who served primarily in the temple.  These men were called after the order of Aaron which was known as the Aaronic priesthood as opposed to those Levites who held the Levitical priesthood. The main difference between these two priesthoods was in the sacred duties and ceremonies they were allowed to perform.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that those who held these two priesthoods administered or saw to it that the children of Israel properly observed performing the various sacred ordinances that the Law of Moses prescribed. However, for all its sacrifices of animals and grain, the law of Moses didn’t have the power to save anyone.

In order for that to happen there had to be another priest come along but not one who was after the order of Aaron or of the Levites. Instead, he had to be of the order of Melchizedek.  However, this is where nearly all Christians lose their understanding of this scripture because the Bible tells us nothing about this order.

The book of Hebrews tells us that there was a man by the name of Melchizedek who lived at the time of Abraham and yet, as highly favored of God as Abraham was, Melchizedek appears to be someone who was superior to Abraham. We know that he was not only a great priest but that he was also the King of Salem and that Abraham paid tithing to him, but other than that the Bible tells us nothing more.

In the book of Hebrews we read: “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrew 5:5-6). Jesus was not a descendent of either Aaron or Levi so he was not eligible under the law of Moses to hold the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood, but here we see that God, the Father, ordained his Son, Jesus Christ, to the Melchizedek priesthood.

The unanswered question we are left with is, what is the Melchizedek priesthood and why must salvation come through someone who is from this order? What saving power does this priesthood have that the Aaronic and Levitical priesthoods lack? The Protestant world has no answer to this question.

However, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does. In a revelation to the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord explained, “There are in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood… The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency and has power and authority over all the offices in the church… to administer in spiritual things” (D&C 107:1,8).

 The Aaronic priesthood administers the temporal or earthly ordinances such as animal sacrifices and baptism, but the Melchizedek priesthood administers the spiritual ordinances such as giving the gift of the Holy Ghost, blessings the sacrament, and all the temple ordinances. But from what we learn in the book of Hebrews, it was necessary for Jesus Christ to hold this “higher” priesthood in order to perform the greatest spiritual ordinance of all, which was atoning for the sins of the world.

Even now, as in the days of Moses, the priesthood is what authorized someone to perform sacred ordinance that God will accept in behalf of people. For example, an animal sacrifice was not considered valid unless it was performed by a Levite priest. A sacrifice that was performed by a priest of a different religion or by an Israelite who was not a Levite priest was not accepted by the Lord. In the same way, baptisms today are only recognized valid by God when performed by a priest who has been authorized by God, and that authorization comes with being properly ordained to the Aaronic priesthood.

 When a young man in the LDS church becomes 12 years old they are chosen by the bishop to come in for an interview concerning their worthiness to receive the Aaronic priesthood. If the bishop determines they are worthy and they understand the duties and responsibilities that go along with it, they are offered the opportunity to have that priesthood conferred upon them and be ordained to the office of a Deacon. If they accept this calling, a time is arranged for this ordination to be performed. Hence, there is a three-step process where they chosen, called, and ordained.

This same procedure happens when a young man turns 14 years old and are eligible to be ordained to the office of teacher in the Aaronic priesthood, when they turn 16 years old and are eligible to be ordained to the office of priest in the Aaronic priesthood, and when they turn 18 years old and become eligible to receive the office of an elder in the Melchizedek priesthood. In other words, the timing of when a young man is considered for advancement in the priesthood is based on their age and worthiness. However, when an adult male joins the LDS church, their advancement in the priesthood is based solely on when their priesthood leader and bishop feel they are ready to hold the priesthood, rather than making that determination more on their age or length of time in the church.

Each office in the Aaronic priesthood grants the individual the right to perform additional duties than the previous or lower office. The Melchizedek priesthood allows an individual to exercise all the duties performed by a priest in the Aaronic priesthood plus more, therefore it is appropriate to say that when an Aaronic priesthood holder is given the Melchizedek priesthood that they are being “advanced” in the priesthood. It is literally a promotion or a step upward. However, this is not true when someone is ordained to the various offices within the Melchizedek priesthood, such as being made a high priest, a bishop, stake president, an apostle, or even the President of the Church. Each of these offices or positions are merely different assignments within the Melchizedek priesthood.

This means that the President of the Church doesn’t hold any more priesthood authority than a newly ordained elder. For example, a deacon cannot bless the sacrament but a priest can. Thus, a priest has more priesthood authority than a deacon. But a priest cannot give a blessing upon the sick while an elder can, thereby showing that an elder has more priesthood authority than a priest. But the President of the Church doesn’t have any more authority in the use of his priesthood than does the newest elder. Instead, he only has different duties, responsibilities and assignments within the Melchizedek priesthood.

The term we use for distinguishing between these duties is “keys.” Keys are given primarily for administrative purposes, that allow those holding keys the right to exercise their priesthood authority in certain areas. For example, when someone is called to be a bishop they are given the keys or the right to preside over a particular ward. If every elder had the same authority to preside over their ward there would be chaos, but a bishop doesn’t have any more priesthood than an elder. Instead, he merely has different priesthood duties assigned to him.

In the same way, when someone is called to be the Young Men’s president or ward mission leader, or Elder’s Quorum president, or high councilman, they are not being advanced in the priesthood but are being assigned certain, specified duties to perform. And the same is true of an apostle and the president of the church.

However, although there are specific keys given with each calling in the priesthood, there are also general keys that all priesthood holders are given at the time when they receive either the Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthood. For example, when someone is ordained as a priest, they automatically receive the keys or the right to bless the sacrament. When someone is ordained an elder, they automatically receive the keys to give blessings. It is when someone receives additional general keys that it can be said that they have advanced in the priesthood because those additional keys give them greater priesthood authority.

But there is a priesthood that is higher in authority than the Melchizedek priesthood  and that is the priesthood that our Father in heaven holds. It is known as the priesthood of God or simply godhood, and it is held only by those who have become exalted beings. When someone has this priesthood conferred upon them, they advance in the priesthood in the same way that an Aaronic priesthood holder advances to the Melchizedek priesthood, and it is an advancement because they receive more general keys than those holding the Melchizedek priesthood.

The way someone receives this priesthood is the same way someone receives the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood. When a church authority feels someone is worthy and ready to receive their exaltation, that person will be chosen to be interviewed. If found worthy they will be extended the call to accept this higher priesthood, and if they accept it, a time will be set for them to be anointed or have conferred upon them the priesthood of God.

When we speak of someone being a “church authority” it refers to someone who holds the keys to make the judgment of worthiness. Since no one has the right to confer a priesthood that is greater than the one they hold, then it is clear that when it comes to determining someone’s worthiness for exaltation and conferring this higher priesthood onto someone else, that church authority will have to be someone who is already an exalted being themselves. Furthermore, since only eternally married couples can receive exaltation, therefore this interview will be conducted with both the husband and wife who are being considered for exaltation. This means that neither one of them will be chosen for advancement in the priesthood if one of the spouses is not yet ready or worthy of exaltation.

The Lord has revealed that before it was called the Melchizedek priesthood it was called “the Holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God” (D&C 107:3), however I think that name is more significant than people realize. To understand why, we need to understand something about the role of Jesus in the Father’s plan of salvation.

There has been a question about how Jehovah/Jesus can be God — meaning an exalted being — before he was born in mortality, tested, married for eternity, died, and was resurrected. Since those are the requirements needed for someone to become exalted, and the LDS church teaches that even our Father in heaven had to fulfilled all of those same requirements before he became a God, then how did Jesus become a God before going through that process himself?

The answer is found in the pattern of leadership we see in the church.

Every priesthood leader presides by virtue of the keys he holds, but he presides with two counselors. However, neither of them hold any keys, which means they serve under the direction and by the authority of their presiding priesthood leader.

Even so, they are also called by the title of president. For example, there is only one stake president in each stake but his counselors are also called by the title of president, even though they are not actual presidents. And the same is true of the president of the church and his two counselors.

And the same is true of our Father in heaven. He alone is the president or leader or presiding authority over his children, but he presides over us with two counselors – the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Just like in the church, these two counselors serve under the direction of our Father in heaven and he has given each one of them a different assignment to accomplish. And because they are counselors to the only true God, who is the Father, his counselors are also referred to as God. Thus, there is God, the Father, who presides, his first counselor, who is known as God, the Son, and his second counselor, who is known as God, the Holy Ghost.

However, his counselors are not exalted beings like our Father is. In that case they can’t hold the same priesthood that he does because it is that priesthood that gives him the right to be an exalted being and thereby hold the true office of godhood. Therefore, the only priesthood they can hold is what we call the Melchizedek priesthood. But, before Melchizedek came along this was known as the Holy Priesthood after the order of the SON of God – not of God the Father!

This clearly tells us that when Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the Israelites worshipped Jehovah, and even when Jesus walked the earth, he only held the Melchizedek priesthood because he was not an exalted being yet. But after Jesus had lived in mortality (and presumably was sealed to a wife), was tested, died, and was resurrected, God (who is an exalted being) exalted his Son to sit on his right hand (Acts 2:33; 5:31; Philippians 2:9). It is at this point that Jesus received the priesthood of God, which holds all the rights and privileges of the Melchizedek priesthood plus those of godhood.

Although Jesus still serves in the capacity as his Father’s first counselor, today he now does so as an exalted being like his Father. This would be similar to a former stake president serving as a counselor to the current stake president.  But just because the Son has the same priesthood as the Father doesn’t mean he no longer has to obey his Father. As the first counselor in the Godhead, or First Presidency of heaven, Jesus still serves under the direction of his Father.

As Jesus told Mary on the day he was resurrected, “Go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father [in heaven] and [who is also] your Father [in heaven]; and to my God, and [to him who is also the same being who is] your God” (John 20:17).  Jesus refers to our Father in heaven, whom we worship as God, as being his God as well And, just as we are to be obedient to God, the Father, Jesus is likewise obedient to him.

This subservience to the Father is shown in Paul’s writings when he said, “Then cometh the end when he (Jesus) shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power… and when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God [the Father] may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:24,28 see D&C 76:107).

The New Living Translation renders it this way: “After that the end will come, when he (Jesus) will turn the kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power… Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.”

Just as the Father exalted his Son, the apostle Peter tells us to “humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God [as Christ did], that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6), and the way we will become exalted is a time will come when we will be chosen by those in heavenly positions of authority to be interviewed for advancement in the priesthood, and if we are found worthy, we will be given the calling to receive the greatest gift that God has to offer us which is eternal life. But the only way we can receive that gift is to be anointed with the priesthood of God.

 

 

Related articles can be found at The Nature of the Priesthood

Being Faithful and Righteous

Summary: When members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sick, they often call for the elders of the church to come use their priesthood to heal them, and in the LDS Church, only men hold the priesthood. This practice raises the questions of why is the priesthood needed to heal the sick and why are women not allowed to hold the priesthood? This article explains what the priesthood is and what it is used for.

 The apostle James wrote, “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14).

When members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints read this verse of scripture they automatically think this refers to holders of the Melchizedek priesthood placing their hands on the head of a sick person and giving them a blessing of health.

However, among Christian churches, this is a unique practice. There are people in other faiths who are ordained priests but even so, very few of them use their priesthood to heal the sick. In some churches they have people who are called by the title of “elder” but they don’t refer to themselves as holding a priesthood and when they are asked to help the sick, all they do is simply pray for them.

To many Christians, a priest is someone who is primarily a preacher, whose main job is to proclaim the good news of Christ’s salvation. In the past, this role was exclusively given to men but in our day more and more women are being ordained as priests, with the reasoning that a woman is just as capable as a man in understanding and peaching the word of God. However, although in the LDS Church, women are allowed to preach, yet they are not given the priesthood, and only those who hold the priesthood are allowed to serve in certain leadership positions. For example, a woman can be a leader in the woman’s Relief Society program but she cannot become a bishop.

This practice has led to a number of questions. Among them are: What is the priesthood and why does someone need to hold it, especially to heal the sick? The scriptures say that “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16), and, in fact, many people have been healed through the prayers of righteous people, therefore we see that praying for the sick is an effective way to heal them. In addition to this, since the sick can be healed by doctors through the use of medicines, then what is the purpose in calling for the priesthood elders when someone is sick?

Another question that has been asked is: Why are women not allowed to hold the priesthood in the LDS Church which then denies them being appointed to important leadership positions? However, these and other questions come about because of not understanding the purpose of the priesthood.

The definition of the priesthood is: The authority of God delegated to man to act in things pertaining to the salvation of man. What this means is that the priesthood is what God uses to save and exalt his children. It is God’s power that he uses to create worlds, to control the universe, and the means by which he is able to redeem us from our sins, all of which he does for the express purpose of enabling us to inherit eternal life. Without this priesthood God could do none of these things.

Although this priesthood is something God possesses, he delegates some of its authority to man so that we can act as his authorized representative in doing those things that he would do for our salvation if he were here. Thus, the priesthood we hold is not ours but is something we are allowed to use under the direction of God. When we say that the priesthood is not ours, that means we cannot use it any way we want. Rather, we are to use it for the purposes and in the way that God directs.

This is similar to an older teenager who wants to go on a date and asks if he can use his father’s car. Although the teenager is driving a car, it doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to his father and he can only use it according to the purpose for which his father has approved. In the same way, the priesthood belongs to our Father in heaven, and he allows us to use it but only to accomplish those things for which he approves. Thus, when someone holds the priesthood, whenever they use it they do so according to the will of God for the simple reason that they are acting for and in his behalf.

The Lord has explained that “The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency and has power and authority over all the offices in the church in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things” (D&C 107:8).

From this we learn that the priesthood has two components to it. It has both power and authority, but these two aspects of the priesthood are not the same. For example, a person can have authority but no power to enforce their authority, as can someone have power but no authority to use it. To understand this principle, we can look at a number of different examples.

Authority is generally associated with someone who has the right to tell someone else what to do, such as a king, or a president, or a supervisor. In the military, someone who holds a higher rank than someone else, has the authority to tell those of a lower rank what to do. On the other hand, the word “power” means the ability to accomplish some sort of action. Thus, in order for someone’s priesthood to be effective they must have both authority given to them from God and the power to exercise that authority.

It is the priesthood that gives man the authority to act in the name of God, and it is God who confers the priesthood upon man through his delegated representatives. Thus, when a man holds the priesthood he has the right to do certain things in behalf of the Lord, meaning that he is acting as a representative of God. Likewise, when someone does not hold the priesthood, they have no authority to act for the Lord.

 As we look at the verse just quoted, the Lord explains that the priesthood gives someone the “right of presidency,” or in other words, they have the right to preside over someone, and it is that right that authorizes them to exercise authority over others. But how do they acquire that right? If everyone had the same rights there would be chaos as multiple people seek to hold the same authority over everyone else therefore, it is obvious that someone with greater authority has to give that right.

Although there are many people who hold the priesthood, they don’t all have the same authority or the same rights. For example, when people are called to preside over a designated area such as what happens with a bishop, stake president, mission president, Elder’s Quorum president, etc., they are given the “right of presidency,” meaning that they have the right to preside over their specified area of responsibility.  This is what having the authority of the priesthood means.

But, as we have already seen, the priesthood not only confers its holder with the authority or the right to do certain things but the priesthood carries with it certain powers to act. The Lord has explained that although the priesthood can be conferred upon someone, if they exercise it “in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves, the Spirit of the Lord is grieved, and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the… authority of that man” (D&C 121:37).

What gives the priesthood its power is the righteousness of the person holding it. Thus, someone may have the authority to act in the name of the Lord but because of unrighteousness, they may not have the power to implement their authority. In the same way, although someone may be very righteous, yet without the priesthood they have no authority or right to use that power to act in the name of the Lord.

This is why baptisms performed by ministers, pastors, or priests of other faiths are not recognized by God. Even though these people might be living a righteous life, righteousness, in and of itself, is not enough to authorize someone to act for God. Yet, just because someone has been given that authorization doesn’t automatically give their priesthood any power.

But if that is true, then what are we to make of the story where “a woman who was diseased with an issue of blood [for] twelve years, came behind him (Jesus) and touched the hem of his garment, for she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But when Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her he said, Daughter, be of good comfort, they faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour” (Matthew 9:20-22).

There are a number of stories in the New Testament where Jesus said that people were healed, not because of some power he used but simply because of their faith. And, in fact, many people have been healed simply through the power of prayers uttered in faith. If that is true, then why do we need the priesthood to heal people?  More than that, if people are healed because of their faith, then why is it necessary to have an authorized priest in order to heal someone?

To understand the answer to that question we have to remember what the definition of the priesthood is. It is the authority – not the power – that God delegates to man to act in things pertaining to the salvation of man. Although healing someone who is sick or infirmed is certainly a blessing to them, it does nothing to save them, therefore the power to heal someone comes from the faith of the sick person or the faith of the priesthood holder.

The primary function of the priesthood is to act in things pertaining to the salvation of man and is what authorizes or gives someone the right to perform the ordinances of salvation in the name of God. To illustrate this point, in the scriptures we read where Jesus taught, “Except a man be born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven” (John 3:5). In order for someone to be saved and enter into heaven they must be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. That is an absolute requirement. No matter how righteous someone may be, or how much faith in Christ they have, without doing those two essential things, they will never inherit eternal life.

But God doesn’t recognize a baptism performed by just anyone. That ordinance has to be performed by someone who is authorized by God to do it. And the same is true of giving someone the Holy Spirit. That too is done by an ordinance by someone who is authorized to perform it, as is the blessing of the sacrament, and the ordinances of salvation that are made in the temples of the Lord. Thus, it is by the authority of God’s priesthood, that he has delegated to man, that makes the performance of any of these essential ordinances valid.

In addition to this, the purpose of the church is to “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry (i.e., preaching the gospel), for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13).

The church is an essential part of our salvation because it is needed to oversee the preaching of the gospel both among the unsaved as well as the saved. The church is also needed to help us come to a correct knowledge of Christ and to help us become perfect, as God the Father and his Son are. Therefore, in the church the authority of the priesthood is needed to oversee the work of salvation which it does under the direction of God through his authorized representatives.

But what about using the priesthood to heal the sick?

This term is a misnomer because a priesthood holder doesn’t “heal” anyone. Notice that James 5:14 doesn’t say, “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and they will heal you.” What a priesthood holder does is gives a blessing and that blessing comes from the Lord, not the priesthood holder. Again, the priesthood is the authority to act in the name of God, therefore when a priesthood holder places their hands on the head of someone who is sick, they become God’s mouthpiece, giving voice to whatever the Spirit prompts them to say.

Priesthood holders don’t go around offering their services to heal people. Instead, they come in response to someone’s request, and that request isn’t to be healed so much as it is to receive a blessing from the Lord. And because they have asked in faith that the Lord will bless them with health, God uses his authorized representative as the instrument through whom he gives whatever blessing he is inclined to give.

But that’s not to say there is no power in the priesthood. The scriptures tell us that God made all things and that it was through faith that God created the world (Hebrews 11:3). Jesus said that if we had the faith the size of a mustard seed “ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root and be thou planted in the sea, and it should obey you” (Luke 17:6). That is real power! And that power comes from our faith.

Because of his priesthood God is sovereign over all things because he has authority over all things, but it is because of his great faith that he has the power to do all things and he exercises that power through the authority he has. In other words, he not only has the power to create worlds, but he has the right to do so. But without the priesthood that gives him that right, his great power of faith would be useless. On the other hand, without faith, he could do nothing, despite all the authority he has. Thus, it takes both authority and power for the priesthood to be effective.

This is what the scriptures mean when it says that whenever we use the priesthood in any degree of unrighteousness, amen to the authority of that priesthood holder, notwithstanding the fact that he’s had the priesthood conferred upon him. But if that is so, then what is the relationship between faith and righteousness?

First of all, we have to understand that the faith spoken of here is not in ourselves, or in material things, or in institutions, or in governments or people. The faith spoken of in the scriptures specifically refers to our trust, reliance, belief, devotion, commitment, and loyalty to God. As such, it is impossible to have faith in God without becoming righteous, and it is impossible to be truly righteous without having faith in God because the two are inseparable from one another. As the apostle Paul said, our “faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5; 10:6).

It is this kind of faith and righteousness that gives the priesthood its power, and when used in conjunction with the authority of the priesthood, it allows someone the right and power to do great things. But someone doesn’t need to hold the priesthood in order to have access to its power. Throughout history there have been women of great unwavering faith in God who have lived a steadfast life of righteousness who have had great power in shaping the destiny of men and nations, and who have been a tremendous blessing to those around them such as Ruth, Queen Ester, Hannah, the mother of Samuel the prophet, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, just to name a few of the countless number of other women who could be cited.

Everyone can have access to this great power without needing the authority to act in the name of God. It doesn’t take permission from God to have faith in him and someone doesn’t need to be a representative of God to enjoy the benefits of faith or of living righteously.

The woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years was healed, not by the power of the priesthood, but because of the power of her faith in Christ, which is the same dynamic force that gives the priesthood its power. There was “a woman of Canaan [who] came out of the coasts and cried unto [Jesus] saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David.; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil… Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Matthew 15:22,28).

It was Noah’s faith in God and not the priesthood that saved him and his family when he obeyed God by building a boat when there was no sign he needed one. It was Peter’s faith in Christ that allowed him to walk on the water and it was when his faith faltered that he began to sink.

What the scriptures show is that women have as much access to the same power of faith that men in the priesthood have. As such they are not denied any of its blessings and neither are they dependent on someone else to provide them with that power. The purpose of the priesthood is to grant men the authority to act for God in performing the ordinances of salvation, therefore the need for authority in using the power of the priesthood is when we are exercising it to help the Lord save his children. However, the power of faith and righteousness can do much more than just be the means of salvation.

Yet, despite this, there are those who complain that because women cannot have the same authority in the church as men that somehow this means they are being denied a great privilege and that they are being treated unfairly, unequally, and made to feel inferior. But if that is true, then shouldn’t men feel the same way when they are not called to be a bishop or a stake president, or an apostle? Isn’t it just as unfair that there should only be fifteen men who hold the position of an apostle at any one time when there are so many other men who are just as righteous and diligent in serving God? Shouldn’t they feel like they are being denied a great privilege, being treated unfairly, and being made to feel inferior?

However, nowhere in the scriptures or in the teachings of the LDS Church is salvation dependent upon a person’s position or on them holding the priesthood. Instead, the scriptures tell us that we “are kept by the power of God through [our] faith unto salvation” (1 Peter 1:5). It is our faithfulness in keeping the commandments of God and the righteousness of our lives that determines whether or not we are saved.

In that regard, women have the same equal opportunity to inherit eternal life as do the prophets and apostles. As such, holding the priesthood offers no one an advantage nor helps improve their chances of being saved in the kingdom of God. Therefore, rather than complaining about what we don’t have, and spending our time worrying about things that don’t matter, it is in our best interest to focus on doing what is most important and that is being faithful and righteous.

 

Related articles can be found at The Nature of the Priesthood