Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Are Mormon Women Dominated by the Men?

This video is the reflections of President Gordon B. Hinckley, our last prophet, after his wife, and partner of many years, had died a few months before. I met Margaret Pay Hinckley. She was an incredible woman. I can understand why he would miss her so much.

One woman informed me that married Mormon women's "main responsibility is to procreate and be a companion to her husband." Isn't that also man's main responsibility to have a family and be a good husband?  She also stated that though Mormon women "can contribute to decisions, men still make the decisions".

I'm glad she told me this because after 45 years as a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), I would have never guessed that I was a second class citizen dominated by my husband. What I have seen is
many, many strong, loving, capable women trying to further the Lord's work upon the earth. Women have different roles, but are full partners with men in this great work. Women give talks in church, teach lessons (yes, even to men), lead the women (Relief Society organization) , young women (ages 12 to 18), and children; manage activities for the ward (about 400 people), do family history and humanitarian work, and serve as missionaries.

We, both men and women, are fully engaged in doing good. Personally, I'm glad that men have leadership responsibilities. Women have enough to do.

This woman claims that since women do not hold the Priesthood, we are in submission to men.
Here is what an Apostle of God has to say about that:

"We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be? When a woman—young or old—is set apart to preach the gospel as a full-time missionary, she is given priesthood authority to perform a priesthood function. The same is true when a woman is set apart to function as an officer or teacher in a Church organization under the direction of one who holds the keys of the priesthood. Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties."
—Dallin H. Oaks, "The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood"

Men are not "The Priesthood". Priesthood is the power from God to do His work on this earth. Of course all things that are done in the Church are under the authority of Christ and through His power. When I have been "called" to teach, do communications, or be a missionary as I am now, I have been given the power of the Priesthood to do this work. I couldn't do it without the Lord helping me. I also appreciate the men who have been called of God to assist me fulfill my assigned work.

Men have Priesthood administrative responsibilities. Women are more involved in work of ministering to those in need. This suits our different natures. Must men and women do exactly the same things to be equal? We have complementary roles in the Kingdom of God.

Does this mean that men make all the decisions while women go around helping people?  Of course not!  First of all, Priesthood is not a right to rule, but a responsibility to serve. Throughout history most of the world has been under the domination of men. Often this has been abusive to women. The Church is trying to show the way to a more Christlike life. As Elder Oaks, an apostle of God, says;  "To help its members all over the world, the Church teaches us to give up any personal or family traditions or practices that are contrary to the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ"

As stated by Elder Bednar, an Apostle of God; "A boy or a man may receive priesthood authority by the laying on of hands but will have no priesthood power if he is disobedient, unworthy, or unwilling to serve."

Elder Bednar goes on to share some feedback from Mormon women:

“Please help my husband understand his responsibility as a priesthood leader in our home. I am happy to take the lead in scripture study, family prayer, and family home evening, and I will continue to do so. But I wish my husband would be an equal partner and provide the strong priesthood leadership only he can give. Please help my husband learn how to become a patriarch and a priesthood leader in our home who presides and protects.”

Isn't this what most women want-- a man who will take the lead. We don't want to have someone who will boss us around, but we don't want to have everything dumped on us either. Sure there are some men who use any excuse such as, "I hold the Priesthood," to exercise unrighteous dominion.  When I was in college, I knew a young woman who was told by a young man that since he held the priesthood and felt it was right, she had to marry him. She didn't!  She chose instead a loving, supportive man who truly understood that Priesthood means to serve. She has been happily married now for over forty years.

Men who are trying to order and control women will be held accountable to the Lord for their actions, and may be called to repentance by their Church leaders. Women long to have a good man; a real partner. My husband would never think of giving me orders. Decisions are made in a spirit of unity within the Church. The conformation of the Spirit can only come when there is unity. Opinions are honestly expressed and discussed. If my husband and I can not agree, we wait and discuss it some more and we pray about it, but we do not take action unless we are both agreed. (another key to a good marriage!)

I believe that the Lord fully understands both men's and women's needs, and this is why He has set up a Patriarchal order in His Church. This is a system which not only gives women the support they need, but it helps men to grow. Men are never greater than when they take the responsibility to love, protect, and serve their families and others.

I think that some older women weren't really full partners in their marriages, in society, or in the Church.  Their awareness of their dependency on men to provide for them and their natural tendency to want to avoid confrontations, kept them from being appropriately assertive. I remember my grandmother who was not a Mormon. My grandfather gave her an allowance to purchase groceries, and he managed all finances. She kept the house and cooked. That was her life. Grandpa took care of her and she let him. When he died she was lost. In many ways, she had not grown and was still a child.

Times have changed. The younger women with their high education level, and their impressive occupational accomplishments are so confident and are at last taking their place as full partners, not only with their husbands, but in the ward councils (decision making local Church group).

Council members are encouraged to speak honestly, both from their personal experience and from their positions as organization leaders. Both men and women should feel that their comments are valued as full participants. The bishop seeks input from Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary leaders in all matters considered by the ward council. The viewpoint of women is sometimes different from that of men, and it adds essential perspective to understanding and responding to members’ needs. (Handbook 2: Administering the Church) 

This is an exciting new time where Church leaders are calling women to rise to their potential.
We need more of the distinctive, influential voices and faith of women. We need them to learn the doctrine and to understand what we believe so that they can bear their testimonies about the truth of all things—whether those testimonies be given around a campfire at a Young Women camp, in a testimony meeting, in a blog, or on Facebook. Elder Russel M. Ballard, an Apostle of Jesus Christ

I find this both a demanding and fulfilling time to be a Mormon woman.


For the entire talk by President Hinckley

for more information see

I really enjoy these comments by Sheri Dew

But there is one privilege LDS women likely overlook—the privilege of having access to priesthood power.7 Too many of us think we don’t have this privilege.But that is not true. Women who have been endowed in the temple have as much access to priesthood power for their own lives as do ordained men.
Four key points underscore this truth: First, priesthood keys are the manner through which the Lord authorizes the use of and distributes His power—for both women and men.
Second, there are distinctions between priesthood keys, priesthood authority, and priesthood power. Priesthood keys are required to authorize ordinances, priesthood authority is required to perform ordinances, and priesthood power is available to all who worthily receive ordinances and keep the associated covenants.
Third, both men and women who serve under the direction of priesthood keys serve with divine authority.8 Elder Dallin H. Oaks (BS ’54) has explained: “We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be? . . . Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties.”9
And fourth, men and women have equal access to the Lord’s highest spiritual privileges. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the house of the Lord. Elder M. Russell Ballard declared that “when men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which by definition is priesthood power. . . . Access to the power and the blessings of the priesthood is available to all of God’s children.”10
Though women are not ordained to an office in the priesthood, in the temple we are endowed with priesthood power and with knowledge of how to use that power.
Women have other privileges as well. We aren’t required to be ordained to enter the house of the Lord and officiate in priesthood ordinances there, though men are. Further, when women serve in any capacity under the direction of those who hold priesthood keys, we have full access to the power that flows through those keys, just as men do. Covenant women never lack for divine authority.
Further still, God’s highest ordinances are available only to a man and woman together. In this single doctrinal provision, God indicates His respect for the distinctive but vitally interconnected roles of both men and women.
And finally, women have claim to all blessings that emanate from the priesthood. Again, from Elder McConkie: “Where spiritual things are concerned, as pertaining to all of the gifts of the Spirit, with reference to the receipt of revelation, the gaining of testimonies, and the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness . . . —in all these things men and women stand in a position of absolute equality before the Lord.”11
Most important, we live in the dispensation of the fulness of times, when no spiritual blessings are being withheld from the earth (see D&C 121:27–29). No women living anytime, anywhere have had greater access to divine power than we do. If we seek for a lifetime, we won’t plumb the depth of power and breadth of spiritual privileges the Lord has given us. Through His grace, He has made His highest spiritual privileges available to us. That is our doctrine. That is the truth.

This article is adapted from a BYU Women’s Conference address given May 1, 2014, by Sheri L. Dew, president and CEO of Deseret Book Company. The full text andvideo of the address are available at

1. Bible Dictionary, s.v. “grace,” p. 697; emphasis added.
2. David A. Bednar, “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease,” Ensign, May 2014, pp. 89–90.
3. Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), p. 149.
4. Jeffrey R. Holland, For Times of Trouble, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013), p. 45; see also Ps. 18:36 and 94:18–29.
5. “Great Indignation Meeting,” Deseret Evening News, Jan. 15, 1870, p. 2.
6. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that spiritual gifts “are infinite in number and endless in their manifestations because God himself is infinite and endless” (New Witness, p. 270).
7. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said that the “doctrine of the priesthood—unknown in the world and but little known even in the Church—cannot be learned out of the scriptures alone . . . . The doctrine of the priesthood is known only by personal revelation” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Doctrine of the Priesthood,”Ensign, May 1982, p. 32).
8. See Sheri L. Dew, Women and the Priesthood (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013), especially chapter 6.
9. Dallin H. Oaks, “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 2014, p. 51.
10. M. Russell Ballard, “Let Us Think Straight,” BYU Campus Education Week devotional address, Aug. 20, 2013 (available at; see also D&C 109:15, 22.
11. Bruce R. McConkie, “Our Sisters from the Beginning,” Ensign, January 1979, p. 61.
12. Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, November 2000, p. 32.
13. See Howard W. Hunter, “Fear Not, Little Flock,” BYU devotional address, March 14, 1989 (available at

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