“How do women share the priesthood?” New Era, Nov. 1971, 7
Answer/Hortense H. Child
President Joseph Fielding Smith has said that the priesthood is the power and authority of God, delegated to man to act in all things for the salvation of men. It is for the benefit of all members of the Church, men and women, children and youth, married and single.
Latter-day Saint women have always shared in its glorious blessings and privileges. The following are some of the more apparent ways in which I have shared in the blessings of the priesthood (1) in my parental family, (2) with my husband, and (3) now that my husband is no longer living.
1. My ancestors were taught the gospel through the power and authority of the priesthood, and that made it possible for me to have the life in the Church I now live.
2. I received a name and a father’s blessing to identify and bless me throughout my life.
3. I was baptized for the remission of my sins, and thus the door to my Heavenly Father’s kingdom was opened to me.
4. I was confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost through which I can discern truth from error and be guided throughout my life.
5. Through the sacrament administered by priesthood bearers, I have the privilege of renewing my covenants with my Father in heaven and having his Spirit with me.
6. I received, at the hands of priesthood authority, a patriarchal blessing that, predicated on my faithfulness, gives me special knowledge as well as direction and comfort.
7. I have received counsel and advice from inspired priesthood bearers, such as my bishop and home teacher.
8. I have been blessed and comforted and even healed when I have been sick and sorrowing and suffering.
9. Through priesthood power, I can have my sins remitted with the sanction and blessing of God.
10. I have been called to serve God by priesthood authority, and my soul has been greatly enlarged by such opportunities.
11. I have witnessed the thwarting and dispelling of evil forces by priesthood power, and this gives me a reassuring peace and security.
12. My home is blessed by home teachers who give me special service as I live alone.
This is only a partial list of the many ways in which I have shared in priesthood blessings. All of these privileges and more can come equally to men and women, married or single. Marriage is not necessarily the only medium through which women share the priesthood. Celestial marriage and the establishment of eternal homes and families are, of course, the highest blessings of the priesthood on this earth, but marriage alone does not insure such blessings.
Women who are married to bearers of the Melchizedek Priesthood can and must look to their husbands to bless them and perform the necessary priesthood ordinances for them. Single women and those whose husbands do not have the authority to perform priesthood functions have the right to request such blessings from brethren who have authority—namely, their fathers, their home teachers, and their priesthood leaders.
Priesthood bearers are under solemn obligation to respond to such requests. What a responsibility for men to bear—to be worthy at any time to receive inspiration, for the “rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and … the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.” (D&C 121:36.)
Every girl looking forward to the time when all things will be perfected should prepare herself, take advantage of and be blessed by the sacred and holy priesthood functions.