President Hinckley on women and the priesthood

I stumbled upon the following quotation from President Hinckley from a 1984 talk:

He then went on to say to Emma, “Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen.” (D&C 25:4.) He was speaking of the plates which her husband was translating, she serving at the time as his scribe. Evidently she complained because Joseph would not show them to her. The Lord is saying to her, “Murmur not. Complain not. Accept what must be in my eternal wisdom, and do not find fault.” There are a few women in the Church who complain because they do not hold the priesthood. I think the Lord would say to you, “murmur not because of the things which are not given thee.”

This is his work. Joseph did not set the rule about not showing the plates to others. He was instructed concerning it. Nor have we set the rule concerning those who should receive the priesthood. That was established by him whose work this is, and he alone could change it.

Emma was called, in the words of this revelation, to be “a comfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., thy husband, in his afflictions, with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness.” (D&C 25:5.) That is interesting language. She was his wife, his companion, his strength in his afflictions. She was to comfort with consoling words, given in a spirit of meekness.

I see in that the challenge to every woman who is a wife to set the tone of that which is spoken in the home. It was said of old that “a soft answer turneth away wrath.” (Prov. 15:1.) It is interesting to me that in this revelation the Lord spoke of consoling words in the spirit of meekness.

Here is the source:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/print/1984/10/if-thou-art-faithful?lang=eng&clang=eng

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

12 thoughts on “President Hinckley on women and the priesthood

  1. As a 53 year old lifelong LDS woman, I have never felt the need to hold the Priesthood, nor do I understand the women who do. Some months ago, I felt compelled to ponder and pray about the matter. Ultimately, the question I asked Heavenly Father was “Why don’t women hold the Priesthood?” The answer I received immediately was “It isn’t necessary for your spiritual development”, not meaning women are to be less spiritually developed than men. I found great comfort in this answer. I sometimes wonder if the women who want to hold the Priesthood are looking at the eternal perspective, or looking for worldly prestige. As for myself, I am content.

  2. Margaret, good comment. I think people often mistake the things of the world for things of the eternities. If men have something women don’t, then it must be “more important” or “more powerful.” If there is one lesson we can learn from the scriptures and the restoration, it is that in the Lord’s kingdom “more powerful” on the Earth is the exact opposite of what we should want.

  3. I think it would be wise for someone to do a post about “the lies of women advocating for priesthood.” One of which is claiming, “Women aren’t autonomous” and implying, men are somehow autonomous.

    I would write and submit a guest post, but because M* ignores them, it would be a waste of my time…

  4. Telling the bigwigs at the bloggernacle to “murmur not” (or quoting scripture or prophets to that effect) never seems to have the desired effect.

  5. Chris, I am having problems with the phrase “bigwigs of the bloggernacle.” It reminds me of “bigwigs of a kindergarten class” or “bigwigs of the playground.” :)

  6. I’m not sure how much the following thought accurate portrays things as they really are, but I wonder if it does provide some insight into a partial, but incomplete, understanding.

    God’s work his to exalt his children.
    The priesthood’s purpose is to empower (through ordinances as well as organization) his children toward that purpose.
    Men build up God’s kingdom by receiving the priesthood to organize that kingdom. In this sense, men bear the burden of becoming worthy and building up that kingdom (through so-called church government, ordinances, etc) and also to minister to others in addition to supporting their family.
    Women build up God’s kingdom by a combination of building up and families and supporting priesthood leaders. In this sense, the burden women bear is becoming personally worthy, nurturing their family, and supporting he priesthood organizing, and teaching efforts.

    In this sense you’d primarily have men responsible for the church-government aspect of building up the kingdom and women primarily responsible for the family raising aspect of building up the kingdom. Men bear up God’s kingdom, women bear up the families and men. Both are contributing to the kingdom. Without the support of women supporting families (and necessarily men) men could not support the kingdom. Both support God. Would it be argued the foundation supports the roof less than the wall and the wall supports the roof less than the truss?

    This description is lacking in that it’s not refined and overly simplified. Obviously women participate in preaching the gospel and men participate in raising families.

    But I can see a certain interdependent symmetry here.

    The irony is, that perhaps as have women have moved more and more away from focusing on, espousing, supporting, building up, promoting, etc. their perspective roles in the family they have diminished their own influence, power, and more importantly potential contributions in building up the kingdom.

    I’d submit the main reason this view is unacceptable is the corrupting influences of feminism in the 60s and 70s which has completely altered the way we value families.

    This is why we can have scripture, which without question by woman and the Relief Society has Emma’s important roll being the support of Joseph, and Joseph’s important roll the building of the kingdom.

    It wouldn’t be accurate to suggest Emma is not building up the kingdom, because JS can’t build the kingdom without Emma “building” JS. And naturally Emma contributed to the kingdom in otherways, and certainly JS to his family as well.

  7. Just a quick thought a women men and roles. I wonder if in April conference we will see the proclamation added to the new scripture edition. Hard copy editions aren’t due until August. Digital versions can be updated on the fly.

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