Women and the Mormon priesthood. As a singleton this is an interesting debate to observe because I keep waiting for someone to bring up the glaring fact that there are so many Mormon women who don't currently enjoy the blessings of the priesthood in their lives for various reasons (*hem* not enough worthy men *hem*). Haven't they ever heard the joke about the woman who throws her arms around her eternal companion and proclaims, "Look, I'm holding the priesthood!"
Back in February of this year (2013) a special segment ran on our local broadcast station directed to LDS Mid-Singles like you and me. Relationship coach Matt Townsend talked about the growing population of young single adults who just aren't dating, courting, and marrying like they used to. His remarks hit very close to home, like the many singles who've aged out of their Sunday church groups and feel like social outcasts, objects of pity, thrust among the married members who don't know what to do with them. "Oh, (you poor thing)" he says in the YouTube video on MormonTimesTV, "I wish you had all the blessings!"
Then, earlier this month, prominent female leaders of our faith got together for a panel discussion to address the growing movement of women demanding the same authority to lead and participate in priesthood ordinances as men. Sister Linda K. Burton, President of the Relief Society, the largest organization of Mormon women in the world, said that it's not the feminist authority to rise above their husbands that these women desire, "...most women, I think, are happy to have all the blessings."
All the blessings. What does that really mean to have "All the Blessings"? I don't want to get too pessimistic but with my biological father ex-communicated from the faith, my disengaged stepfather that I'm just not close to and my brothers all busy with their own lives, I am unable to name any Mormon priesthood holders in my life that I would feel comfortable asking so I could enjoy "all the blessings" like my happily married sisters. I'm a single, never married woman who lives alone. I've always told myself I don't mind, it doesn't matter. I've learned to be independent. I've never asked for a priesthood blessing in my life.Who needs men? Who needs temple marriage? Who needs the power of the priesthood anyway? I don't have any posterity. This is the age of women. I don't need help from anybody. I'm a threat to married women who are hesitant to share their priesthood holding husbands with single women like me and I understand that, so, whoever my home teacher is, it's OK, I'm not blaming anyone.
Just let me indulge in some self-pity for a paragraph or two. Because there was a time during the month of March and this last week when I was literally doubled over in pain, wondering if I would live long enough for the Midol to take effect, I started reconsidering that priesthood blessing I've never asked for. Yes, like the woman with the issue of blood in the Bible, if the call had come that a worthy priesthood holder was passing by outside in the street, I would've crawled out there on my hands and knees to touch his garments. I have faith that one priesthood blessing can trump a box of Midol any day. All female readers out there know exactly what I'm talking about. I'll be increasing the number of pain relievers I take next month, but still, a nine month break at age 38 would be nice. A priesthood holding husband or boyfriend would be nice also. I'm certainly old enough to have one, aren't I? The Mormon church is wonderful and I love being a member, as do all the widows and divorced mothers, but a shout-out from President Monson to single sisters, who yearn to have all the blessings of the priesthood in their lives and can't seem to find it, during the last general conference would've been nice too.
Yes, women don't want the power of the priesthood but I'd be happy to have all the blessings too. So, go tell a worthy priesthood holder in your life how grateful you are to have him and how much he's appreciated. I'll just keep waiting for mine to show up, if I don't die from dysmenorrhea first!