I know I may have missed the “golden moment” of the priesthood topic, but here’s just one more point to consider and then I promise I’m done. At this point, I’m not offering up my own personal opinions on the matter, but I am giving a voice to people who have a fresh perspective that hasn’t already been beaten to death by other bloggers.
This is a guest post from my brother-in-law. As a recent convert, and a man, he wrote his perspective of why the Priesthood might be reserved for men alone in the Mormon church. We understand that this is only interesting speculation, and do not speak for the LDS church or their leaders. Without further adieu, here’s George Scott.
From age 22 to about age 34 I was a regular attendee at the local First United Methodist Church. I had been pretty involved in church from running the Sunday School program for children, being on the Board of Trustees, and holding other leadership positions in church. I also was involved with outside Christian activities like the Walk to Emmaus program put on by the First United Methodist printing house called the Upper Room.
How I came to join the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints.
When I was in grade school I joined the Cub Scout program which was held at the school. It just happened (and I didn’t know this) was put on by the LDS church while their church building was building built. Through this I gained a number of LDS friends and saw firsthand just how much better their family life was than mine. It took a number of years to figure out what was behind it but I realized it was the church they attended. I planned on joining but didn’t because church went on for 3 hours each Sunday and then they expected you to go on a 2 year mission. Needless to say, I thought that was far too much work and didn’t end up joining till years later, after I figured out that I had made a mess of my life. I wanted to finally take up the way I know works although I didn’t really know how the LDS church worked beyond the one church service I attended!
Thoughts on the Priesthood.
Why do Men have the “Priesthood” and women don’t? It all about getting people into church. Let’s break it down:
All other Churches (Methodist, Protestant, etc).
Men go to church to please their wife. To support the wife in getting men to attend the following must happen. Have a good praise band, nice church building, a pastor who gives good, short, funny sermons, end the service on time, offer activities for kids, offer lots of classes which women mostly attend on gospel subjects. The end result of this you get the man to go to 1 hour of church a week sometimes even on SuperBowl Sunday if they really love their wife a lot. That one hour of church attendance and hopefully a donation is what you get.
Example: The Rock Church in San Diego has stadium style seating, charismatic pastor, praise singers who are likely professional singers, a fog machine! Cameras that fly across stage capturing the performance putting it on a large projector and so much more. I went once just to see it in person and it was pretty amazing.
Men are given a responsibility in church and to their family called the “Priesthood”. Men still go to church to please their wife but there is no praise band, no charismatic pastor, church service lasts 3 hours, you do “small groupings” called Home Teaching with multiple families during the month, you help members move in and out of their homes as they come into your church area, watch a 2 day “General Conference” of short talks on various subjects twice a year and be expected to remember some of it, and the list goes on this is just a small part of it.
Example: Church service 1st hour all of the kids are in their with you, crying, moving about, lay speakers talking on serious subjects, not a lot of humor interjected, a few worship songs. 2Nd hour Sunday School (adults and kids off to separate areas), 3rd hour men and women split off and do a bible study separately. Men are divided into three age groups (teens, men 18 to 45(ish), and the rest).
How this works for attendance, donations, and community:
So why the big difference? Couldn’t your standard church on the corner do the same thing that the LDS church does? Couldn’t the Methodist church just expand their church service to 3 hours, give the men 5 home teaching (small groupings) assignments a month, etc etc? If they did, the men would escape and never come back.
It all comes down to a feeling of one responsibility that women cannot perform therefore as the male, you must go. Men respond to this responsibility. Do the men love God, yes of course. Do they really want to sit in church for 3 hours, no way. What causes them to do this great feat… it’s that they have a responsibility that cannot just thrown upon to their wife like they try to do for most other responsibilities.
What happens when you do the men a favor and give women the Priesthood. There is an example!
The RLDS / Community of Christ are essentially the “Mormons” who stayed behind and didn’t want to leave the community to follow Brigham Young. The RLDS decided to give women the Priesthood in 1984. Church attendance and donations dropped 50%.
Photo of women in the Priesthood