Taught by Jeanine M.
Relief Society general president Linda K. Burton said, “We hope to instill within each of us a greater desire to better understand the priesthood.”
Let’s define a few terms:
Priesthood Keys: “(it is) the authority God has given to priesthood holders to direct, control, and govern the use of His priesthood on earth. Every act or ordinance performed in the Church is done under the direct or indirect authorization of one holding the keys for that function.” - Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Priesthood Authority: This is given to given to both men and women under the direction of those who hold the keys.
Men who are ordained and receive authority from those who hold the keys can perform the necessary saving ordinances. In the temple, women have also been authorized “ to do certain things in the Church that are binding and absolutely necessary for our salvation,” (President Joseph Fielding Smith). All who have been given responsibility from those who hold the keys can function with Priesthood authority.
“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.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Priesthood Power: Both men and women are endowed with the same priesthood power. The roles in which this power are used are different but equal.
Just as three teaspoons are equal to a tablespoon, men and women measure equal in the sight of the Lord. Our responsibilities however are very different. Consider the Garden of Eden. Eve’s role was to open the way for spirits to come to earth. She literally ‘saved us’ and started us on the path to eternal life. Adam’s role is to ‘save us’ by administering in the ‘saving ordinances’ necessary to return back to our Heaven Father. We need each other to be exalted.
Blessings of the Priesthood: “When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which is priesthood power. … Access to the power and the blessings of the priesthood is available to all of God’s children.” Elder Ballard
Putting it all together: Paraphrasing Sister Dew: If a woman desires to go to the temple, she receives authorization from both her Bishop and the Stake President, both of whom have priesthood keys. She then receives priesthood ordinances from those who have authority to administer them (both men and women). Having received these ordinances, she has direct access to priesthood power for her own life and responsibilities. As she continues on the path of personal worthiness, this power blesses her life and those she is responsible for.