Friday, August 20, 2010

Acting in the Name of God Is Not Exclusively for Men Who Are Ordained - or for Mormons

I often wonder if very many members truly understand the nature of baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost as a bestowal of access to the power of godliness - which is one definition we use to describe the Priesthood. After all, the commands are to "take upon us the name of Christ" and “receive the Holy Ghost” - with the understanding that such a reception can provide access to the Holy Ghost (a member of the Godhead) continually. Thus, although we often say that holding the Priesthood means being able to act in the name of God, in reality all who are baptized, at the very least, are authorized to be called Christ's own and act in his behalf and name - and all who are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost are challenged to live in such a way that they act according to the promptings of a member of the Godhead.

I am NOT saying that all members who receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost “hold the Priesthood” in the classic sense of being able to perform Priesthood ordinances. I’m just saying most of us don’t realize how expansive “the power to act in the name of God” really is. Priesthood administration of ordinances is important, but it’s only one aspect of acting in the name of God - and it's the only aspect that currently is exclusive to men who have been ordained to offices in the Priesthood. In fact, even that isn't totally correct, since women perform Priesthood ordinances in the temple; the exclusivity only exists in the "lone and dreary world".

I also believe it is important to reiterate that, according to Mormon theology, ALL who ever have been born into this world are spirit children of Heavenly Parents - and, as such, have the same right to receive personal revelation as a result of that heritage as any member of the LDS Church. If they receive personal revelation from God and act on it, they are acting in the name of God every bit as much as I am when I do so - and, although different in function, every bit as much as I do when performing Priesthood ordinances. We are acting in different spheres, if you will, with different responsibilities, but we are acting equally as individual sons and daughters of God within our respective spheres.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was about to say that your are missing the point,that it's the right to administer within that power that is the problem for so many of us.

But on examination I guess there's a fundamental assumption that those who administer are better in some way than those who are administered to,and that is problematic thinking for all concerned.

Largely,I don't buy that,but I think the sense of entitlement around this is beginning to affect me,and maybe I need to distance myself from this sense of grievance which is based on seeing priesthood in a mistaken light.It does belong to me,and I exercise it every day,as well as being blessed by it's ordinances.

I appreciate that my husband does not exercise priesthood power with any degree of compulsion or dominion,nor would he,but that is the point here.He was never meant to do anything but bless us and the world with that power,which is entirely contingent upon love to have any potency.