In this week’s Come, Follow Me, readers learn about the priesthood in Alma 13 and how priesthood holders are “called and prepared from the foundation of the world” (Alma 13:3). While the topic of men and the priesthood has long been taught by prophets and apostles, the subject of women and the priesthood has recently garnered more attention.
In this week’s episode of the Sunday on Monday study group, and in a free bonus episode of Sunday on Monday, host Tammy Uzelac Hall and Barbara Morgan Gardner, author of The Priesthood Power of Women, answer questions submitted by Sunday on Monday listeners about women and the priesthood.
The bonus episode and the first segment of the Sunday on Monday podcast are embedded below, or you can access the full study group discussion through the Deseret Bookshelf app. Here are some of our takeaways from this week’s discussion.
1. Women should feel comfortable asking questions about the priesthood and their access to priesthood power.
Gardner notes that several of the women who submitted questions about women and priesthood asked to remain anonymous. She noted that women should feel like they can talk about this subject. In fact, in the last two years, more talks have been given on the topic of women and the priesthood than have been given since the days of Joseph Smith.
“I think it's just been kind of a taboo topic that if women talk about priesthood, somehow they want to be ordained to a priesthood office,” Gardner said. “A woman talking about priesthood just simply means she's following the prophet. That's what that means. The prophet has asked, so she's being obedient.”
2. Accessing priesthood power requires effort.
One of the questions submitted by an Instagram follower asked how a woman can access priesthood power. Gardner pointed to President Nelson’s October 2019 general conference address where he encouraged women to pray and read specific scriptures. President Nelson promised that “your power will increase as you serve others. Your prayers, fasting, time in the scriptures, service in the temple, and family history work will open the heavens to you.”
“The Lord does have the handbook of instruction for every individual person,” Gardner says. “Through the Spirit, you can be taught how to call upon God's power. I know we want somebody to say, ‘What you do is you hold your right arm up to the square and then you use the following words...’ Well, that doesn't exist, but what does exist, is the prophet's instruction on how to find out for yourself. If we're willing to pay the price—as the prophet has said, ‘The Lord loves effort,’—then [the Spirit] really will tell us, if we pay the price to learn it.”
3. The priesthood is God’s power, and its purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Gardner explains, “Every person in the Church who has made covenants with the Lord has been given, in a sense, the responsibility to use their priesthood to fulfill God's purpose, to help each other have exaltation.”
4. Men and women use priesthood power to prepare the world for the Savior’s Second Coming.
In order to help us understand our responsibility as women and as men, Gardner shares a powerful quote by President Jean B. Bingham’s talk from the 2019 BYU Women’s Conference address, “Endowed with Priesthood Power”:
“To all of us who have daughters and sons, nieces and nephews, young women and young men—will you teach them this? Teach them that in Church callings, temple ordinances, family relationships, and quiet, individual ministry, Latter‐day Saint women and men go forward with priesthood power and authority. Teach them that the interdependence of men and women in accomplishing God’s work through His priesthood power is central to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and will help prepare the world for the Savior’s Second Coming.”
Find more insights on women and the priesthood by listening to the free bonus episode of Sunday on Monday, this week’s episode of Sunday on Monday, or through Gardner’s book, The Priesthood Power of Women.
In The Priesthood Power of Women, author Barbara Morgan Gardner explores teachings of the living prophets and scriptures to increase our understanding of God's power as it operates in the temple, the Church, and the family. Her well-documented research demonstrates that women have more authority and power in all those settings than they may have previously supposed. Available at DeseretBook.com.