Welcome to Tigersue's Jungle. Here you may find a Jungle of thoughts and idea's. You may never know what you will find!
Yes, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I am a wife, a mother, a sister, and a friend.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Priesthood Symbolism

At "Exponent 2" A few weeks back, Janna made the following comment about a post on a RS lesson about the priesthood.

I'm curious about the feelings and thoughts of women who *are* completely comfortable with the traditional approach to this lesson. Why do they feel comfortable with and celebrate what Caroline describes as the God-Man-Woman hierarchy? How do they continue to function with a sense of self intact in this culture? I am asking these questions for understanding, not attack.

I have been pondering these today on several levels. I know I first wondered why she puts asterisks around the word are? I felt as if she is berating me for my ease with what she sees as a serious problem. I have taught lessons on the priesthood, and I approached in on a basis of understanding how the Priesthood functions and how the Priesthood blesses the lives of women. I did not and would not approach it as a feeling that some how I am inferior because I do not hold the priesthood.

Let me first explain that my father is a convert to the church and has never been particularly comfortable with openly practicing that gift. He has always doubted his worthiness for some reason. I have one brother and three sisters, I never felt that my brother was superior because he could hold the priesthood. Now there were several things he was given because he was the boy that I thought was unfair but the priesthood was not one of them. My mother also grew up in a home where there was some inactivity for years and she did not have any brothers. I don'tknow if that also impacted how I was raised but I imagine it did because there was nothing for her to look back and compare with either. My parents were working off a clean slate you could say.

Why am I comfortable with what they describe as the God-Man-Woman hierarchy? It is a simple thing really. I have come to understand that when I have a problem with something in the gospel, whether it is a function of governmentor a function of ordinance I need to figure out what God is trying to teach me and ultimately the church at large. Taking the above hierarchy lets take it apart and see what we have in terms of symbolism.

First and foremost is our Father in Heaven, God, the Supreme Being, our creator, we owe all we are to him. He has given us life and the opportunity to be like him. All he asks is that we be perfectly obedient. Kind of a hard task for us mere mortals isnt it? We can't do it, never will. He knew that would be the case and therefore he provided a Savior for us.

The Savior, Jesus Christ, the atoner, he is the intercessory for us with God. It is only through him that we can enter Gods kingdom and partake of the blessings we have. Therefore, he is the second step in that hierarchy. The Priesthood holder represents Jesus Christ in the capacity of priesthood function, no one else, not apostles, prophets, bishops, or even fathers. The priesthood's very gift and design is one of service. A priesthood holder cannot serve himself, only the people under his stewardship. Once I figured this out, everything else falls into place.God teaches by symbolism more than any other way and this is a perfect example of that form of instruction.

Now if we can place the Son of MAN in that second category then we come to women. Many times in the scriptures, we see women used to define the church as a whole. We become representative of the church and all people needto turn to Christ and our mediator. It is not that women are less than man, but rather as all mankind, we can only turn to that one ordinance that gives us all Eternal Life, the atonement. After all the Melchezidek priesthood is named after The Son of God.
It is not named for Adam, not named for Eve, and only carries the common form of a very righteous individual that did all that he could to follow Gods laws.

That is first off why I can celebrate this organization and function.
Now I would ask why is it that feminist LDS women find a lack of identity in NOT holding the priesthood. Why is their whole identity wrapped up in something they view as lacking? Why is it you view motherhood as less than the Priesthood.I function fine in this culture. I know God loves me for who I am and what I am. My self-esteem does not depend on my holding the priesthood. Rather I struggle more with not having many opportunities in leadership positions. I have come to doubt my capabilities from that, not with the lack of holding the priesthood.My identity is as a woman, a wife and a mother, a daughter of God. That is what I want to teach my daughter, that first and foremost she is a daughter of God, and her identity is not dependent upon her holding the priesthood. I am also teaching my son that he is not better because he holds the priesthood.

Until the time comes that God decides that women will hold the priesthood I will continue to be comfortable in this role. I have more important things to worry about than some contrived belief that I am some how less of a person because I can't pass the sacrament, or give a blessing or serve as a bishop.

(Note I have taught teachings of our times in RS, and have given a lesson on the priesthood.)

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