It has been a big topic in the church and media recently regarding women and the priesthood. There have been a lot of women fighting for more equality within the church, and with Sheri Dew being such a strong exemplar for women in the church it would seem fit to have her discuss the topic of women and our roles. She just came out with a new book called "Women and The Priesthood" and I am excited to say it has been added to my to read list! ;)
In "The Beginning of Better Days: Divine Instruction to Women from The Prophet Joseph Smith", Sheri Dew explains how women of the church have complete access to the priesthood.
I first want to highlight what Sister Dew explains in "The Beginning of Better Days" as the proper way to define the priesthood. She explains that the priesthood is God's power which heals wounds, cleanses from sin, comforts, heals the sick, and so on. At one time or another all of us women have prayed for these things and have received answers to those prayers.
Also, think of the power which comes in the gifts we have been given. The gifts our patriarchal blessings talk about and the gifts that others say that we have. We have been given so many and to each of us different ones.
Bruce R. McConkie states, "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, the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness and which are brought to pass as a result of personal righteousness-in all these things men and women stand in a position of absolute equality before the Lord."
Aren't those gifts from God? Gifts that work within God's power? And if the priesthood is literally "the power of God Himself", then aren't we working with the powers of the priesthood?
Joseph Smith taught, "While the sisters have not been given the Priesthood,...that does not mean that the Lord has not given unto them authority. Authority and Priesthood are two different things. A person may have authority given to him, or a sister to her, to do certain things in the Church that are binding and absolutely necessary for our salvation, such as the work our sisters do in the House of the Lord."
Sister Dew goes on explaining how it is incorrect to say, "We would like to thank the priesthood for setting up the chairs" or "I'm so grateful to have the priesthood in my home". She says these statements do not do the priesthood justice, for the priesthood is not the men in our church, it is the power of God. We need to keep this in mind.
Just think, every man in the church has to hold the priesthood in order to have a calling, attend the temple, etc. Women do not. Us women have been blessed with other enate gifts such as charity, love, and a natural need to nurture. Most of these gifts come so naturally for us and they benefit us and others in so many ways.
Boyd K. Packer said, "however much priesthood power and authority the men may possess-however much wisdom and experience they may accumulate-the safety of the family, the integrity of the doctrine, the ordinances, the covenants, indeed the future of the church, rests equally upon the women."
And to end, all I can do is quote Sister Dew because she says it so beautifully: "Gender is not, and has never been, a qualifier for receiving the blessings of priesthood power."
"Neglect not the gift that is within thee." 1 Timothy 4:14
"For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby." D&C 46:11-12