A non-Mormon reading this might think we were talking about something different when referring to "endowed women".  Endowed women, are women who have gone through the Mormon Endowment ceremony in the Mormon Temples.  The ceremony is not open to the public.

Subject: Endowed women have the Mormon Priesthood (references)
Date: Dec 21 12:50
Author: Deconstructor

"All priesthood is Melchizedek; but there are different portions or degrees of it. The priesthood bestowed in the temple is the same priesthood given by the laying on of hands, but it is a fullness of that authority and embraces all other authorities, appendages, and offices."
- Prophet Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center, 1980, page 59

Women receive the priesthood in the temple

From the temple endowment:

PETER: We are instructed to clothe you in the Robes of the Holy Priesthood. Place the robe on your left shoulder. Place the cap on your head with the bow over the right ear, replace the apron, tie the girdle with the bow on the right side, remove the slippers from your feet, and put them in again as part of the temple clothing. You may now proceed to clothe.

As to the question of why women in the temple wear the Robes of the Priesthood, I think the answer is clear. Endowed women have the priesthood! Not only do they wear the priesthood emblems in the temple, but they also wear the priesthood garments outside of the temple.

The temple sealing ceremony also makes reference to the priesthood when it seals upon both the man and the woman "the blessings of kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions and exaltations, with all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob..". This power is the priesthood, as reference to all the blessings of Abraham indicates.

"It is a precept of the Church that women of the Church share the authority of the priesthood with their husbands, actual or prospective; and therefore women, whether taking the endowment for themselves or for the dead, are not ordained to specific rank in the priesthood. Nevertheless, there is no grade, rank, or phase of the temple endowment to which women are not eligible on an equality with man."
- James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1912), p. 94.

"If a woman is requested to lay hands on the sick with her husband or with any other officer holding the Melchizedek Priesthood, she may do so with perfect propriety. It is no uncommon thing for a man and wife unitedly to administer to their children, and the husband being mouth, he may properly say out of courtesy, 'By authority of the holy priesthood in us vested.'"
- Prophet Joseph F. Smith, Improvement Era 10 (February 1907), page 308.

Wilford Woodruff's namesake son, just ordained a priest, was about to begin his duties. The future Church president summoned his family on 3 February 1854. "His father and mother [Phoebe Carter Woodruff] laid hands upon him and blessed him and dedicated him unto the Lord" (Wilford Woodruff Jr. Journal , 4:244) On 8 September 1875, George Goddard recorded a similar incident about his sixteen-year-old son, Brigham H. On his birthday, "his Mother and Myself, put our hands upon his head and pronounced a parents blessing upon him."

John Taylor on "The Order and Duties of the Priesthood" reaffirmed that women "hold the Priesthood, only in connection with their husbands, they being one with their husbands"
- Apostle John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 21:368

Women have joined men in giving priesthood blessings to men:

In 1873, Apostle George A. Smith, then a member of the first presidency, travelled with a party of Mormons, including Lorenzo Snow, his sister Eliza, Feramorz Little and others, to the Holy Land. At a stopover in Bologna, Italy, he felt ill. "I became fatigued and dizzy," he wrote in his diary. "I got into a carriage and returned to the hotel. On arriving at the hotel I found myself so unwell that I requested Bros. Snow and Little and Sister Eliza to lay hands on me."
- George A. Smith, Diary, 9 January 1873, holograph, CA.

Women also used to give priesthood blessings to women, using consecrated oil:

In 1849 Eliza Jane Merrick, an English convert, reported healing her sister: "I anointed her chest with the oil you consecrated, and also gave her some inwardly .... She continued very ill all the evening: her breath very short, and the fever very high. I again anointed her chest in the name of the Lord, and asked his blessing; he was graciously pleased to hear me, and in the course of twenty-four hours, she was as well as if nothing had been the matter."
- Jane Merrick Journal and Letters 1849, page 205

If women do not receive the priesthood in the temple, why then were black women banned from the temple until until 1978 when blacks were allowed to receive the priesthood? Until 1978 Black men were not allowed to receive their endowments because they could not receive the priesthood. Interesting to note that this ban also included black women. It wasn't until after blacks could receive the priesthood were female blacks allowed to enter the temple, receive their endowments and be sealed to white or black men. Again, this is because church leaders recognized that women receive the priesthood in the temple.

The important thing to understand here is that endowed women have the priesthood power, but have no office in the priesthood in which to exercize it.

In the past, endowed women could administer priesthood healing blessings to the sick. They also placed their hands on the heads of sick children along with their husbands during priesthood blessings. But these practices have been discontinued.

Without office in the priesthood it's not clear what good the priesthood has in today's modern Mormon church, so women don't think they have it. But doctrinally speaking, endowed women have the priesthood.


Subject: The way I see it...
Date: Dec 21 13:15
Author: Stray Mutt

...(and I could be wrong) it's like in ages past when the wife was considered lady of the manor and joint proprietor with her husband, but at the same time, being a woman, she technically didn't own the property. If her husband should die, ownership would pass to a male heir. Similarly, endowed women can't get into the highest levels of the celestial kingdom unless attached to a man. Whatever priesthood LDS women might have, it's limited, conditional and comes channeled through men.

Subject: Oh, and...
Date: Dec 21 13:23
Author: Stray Mutt

...the belief that men can/must have more than one wife in the afterlife further demonstrates that the priesthood of women is only an extension of male priesthood, not an independent power. Otherwise, you could have one woman with many husbands.

Subject: Every one of his quotes demonstrates that
Date: Dec 21 15:36
Author: Suzanne

women share their husband's priesthood, but do not hold any priesthood in their own right. Here are the specific phrases : women of the Church share the authority of the priesthood with their husbands; woman is requested to lay hands on the sick with her husband or with any other officer holding the Melchizedek Priesthood . . . and the husband being mouth; his father and mother (never his mother alone); women "hold the Priesthood, only in connection with their husbands." In no instance does it say that women hold priesthood power on their own or exercised priesthood power without being under the direction of a man.

As for the women administering to other women, that does not require priesthood power, and nowhere does it say that it was done by the power of the priesthood. It was done in the name of the Lord. Women have always administered to their children in the same way, in the name of the Lord, not by the power of the priesthood.

I think it's quite clear that women wear the robes of the priesthood for the same reason that men do. Men receive the priesthood through ordination, not through wearing temple clothing. Wearing the clothing does not endow them with anything. It is a sign that they are participants in the rituals that are about to take place, just as all rituals clothing is in every culture. The endowment is the giving of the signs and tokens and the swearing of obedience -- men to the Lord, women to men. Men are given power from the Lord, women are given power through men.

Black women were banned from the temple because they were banned from the presence of god and the celestial kingdom.

The important thing to realize is that you have shown definitively that women have power only through their husbands. In the past, women ONLY administered in conjunction with the hubands, while men did and do administer on their own.

Doctrinally speaking, women without men have no power of any kind.

Subject: Is God an equal-opportunity employer?
Date: Dec 21 15:50
Author: Deconstructor

Suzanne said:

The important thing to realize is that you have shown definitively that women have power only through their husbands. In the past, women ONLY administered in conjunction with the hubands, while men did and do administer on their own.

Doctrinally speaking, women without men have no power of any kind.

I think you are absolutely right about this Suzanne. Nothing in my study has shown that Women have priesthood power apart from men. Even when they annointed people with oil, it had to be consecrated by men.

I've never seen any official explanation for why black women were banned from the temple along with black men until the priesthood ban was lifted. You suggest a different interpreation that could be just as valid as the one I offered. The fact that the female temple ban was lifted in conjunction with the priesthood announcement could indicate some link, especially since the 1978 announcement didn't mention women and was strictly about priesthood. But your explanation also makes sense in light of the history of racist teachings by church leaders.

I think the big question in not if women have the priesthood or not. The big questions is, is God an equal-opportunity employer? If you're a TBM who believes the church structure is divinely inspired and perfect, then what does that say about God?

Church leaders say men have priesthood and women have motherhood. But the male equivalent to motherhood isn't the priesthood, it's fatherhood.

There's more to this than meets the eye, don't you agree?


Subject: More ---- and less.
Date: Dec 21 16:12
Author: Suzanne

Since it's all nonsense anyway. I think it pushes my buttons because this was one of the pathetic little crumbs that were offered to us as "intellectual Mormon women" to keep us quiet and obedient, the idea that some day we'd have the same kind of power as Eliza R. Snow had, but only if we remained faithful. Dangled in front of us, as you said. And there was always the implication that if the U.S. Government hadn't been so wicked as to force the Mormons to stop practicing polygamy, we women would still have that power today.

Eventually, though, I saw through the con for what it is, by doing my own research. Those women had no power; they were just pawns of the men in their lives.

I remember being told that a white man would be allowed to lead his black wife into the celestial kingdom, but only if she earned it by living faithfully as a second class citizen in this lfe. She was not allowed into the temple in this lifetime because she was one of those less than valiant spirits who was not worthy to stand in the presence of God. If she proved her worthiness in this life first, then she would be forgiven in the next. Pretty sick, but is that a surprise.

Maybe you can verify a related rumor? I'm pretty sure I remember a story of a black woman saying how hard it was for her to wait in the anteroom for her white husband to go through a session, and how she was living so as to merit that blessing in the next life. Any documentation for that, or was it just another racist and demeaning story made up to illustrate a point?


Subject: women and priesthood
Date: Dec 21 13:52
Author: edy

As usual, by offering carefully selected quotes, you have made your case. You neglected to mention that it would have been easier to find and offer quotes that seem to "prove" that only men have the mormon priesthood.

This is one of the earliest issues I remember with scripture based religions. The followers picked and chose that which they would follow, ignoring that which they chose to ignore.

The same goes with following the counsel and advice of prophets and other high profile leaders of the mormon church. Hinckley said that we don't need much revelation, we need to pay more attention to following the teachings of past leaders. Yet because of inconsistencies you can't do this unless you selectively choose that which merits adherence. There is no way to know what to follow and what to discard. Then you come to realize that if these were men of God, this problem would not exist and eventually you understand how stupid it is to accept any of it for what they claim it to be.


Subject: You can argue any side with Mormonism
Date: Dec 21 15:04
Author: Deconstructor

"As usual, by offering carefully selected quotes, you have made your case. You neglected to mention that it would have been easier to find and offer quotes that seem to "prove" that only men have the mormon priesthood."

Right you are! Along with quotes suggesting women have the priesthood, there are also quotes showing that women do not have the priesthood. It all depends on what prophetic pronoucnement or doctrinal explanation you chose to look at. Mormonism is full of contradictions and ambiguities, asI hope my post has pointed out. Everything in Mormonism allows for different interpretatons.

Women could just as easily say they have the priesthood as deny it, depending on what you look at. Mormon Prophets and history have made the case for both positions.

I don't believe in priesthood or in any other Mormon authority. As far as I'm concerned, the whole thing is absurdity and manipulation. Church leaders say and do whatever they chose that is most convenient to themselves.

Joseph Smith dangled the priesthood in front of the women in order to ensnare them into polygamy. Brigham Young tolerated the women practicing priesthood blessings. Then at the turn of the century, a new crop of church leaders came in and started slapping down the women. Then in the 1970's, church correlation completely gutted the Women's organizations. Women have less influence and respect in the church now than before. Yet the old remains of empowered women still exists in parts of the church record.

Ultimately, women are much better off outside of the church. On that I think all of us can agree.


Subject: My only disagreement
Date: Dec 21 15:46
Author: Suzanne

is that women ever had any real power under Mormonism. As you say yourself, they were tolerated, but only as long as they were not threats to the establishment. My own research, using primary documents, such as diaries, journals, minutes, etc., shows that women had no more power in the 19th century than they do today. Polygamy gave some women more freedom and independence than others, but then as now, it was the wives of the wealthy and powerful. Those women who became doctors and lawyers and legislators at that time did so in obedience to the men in their lives. Read the journal of Ellis Shipp or Annie Tanner Clark or Mary E. Woolly Chamberlain if you want a real look into the minds of strong women.

There was never any pretense that what the women had was equality with men. Mormons were as Victorian as the next person is defining separate spheres for men and women, and always placing the male sphere above the female. Women were given limited power within their sphere; they were never given any power outside of it, and even within it, men could always overrule.

You might want to look into 19th century spiritualist beliefs to understand exactly what it was the women thought they had as priestesses and queens. Also into the Kabbalah. They did believe that they held a spiritual power, but not the same power as men hold. It was a power they received by virtue of being women and mothers, not through an authoritative channel. It came directly from God, and was to be used in their roles as wives and mothers.


Subject: Absolutely you can argue any side.
Date: Dec 21 15:59
Author: edy

Deconstructor wrote:
> Mormonism is full of contradictions and ambiguities, asI hope my post has pointed out. Everything in Mormonism allows for different interpretatons.

Well said. In many cases it isn't even open to interpretation, it is just arbitrary selective assignment of that which is currently godly and that which is currently of the devil. Then over time there is a switcheroo. That which was divinely required suddenly is damnable (polygamy, death oaths, blood atonement and racial discrimination jump to mind).

Keep the posts coming, Deconstructor. How is the progress on the web site?


Subject: Deconstructor, I love your posts
Date: Dec 21 13:57
Author: Deet

I have read and studied just about all I can find about mormon history, so your informatoin is not new to me but I love the way you compile the info, and it is always fun to brush up on the facts. Thanks


Subject: Black women weren't allowed in the temple before 1978
Date: Dec 21 16:34
Author: daily

because then they (the women) would have more power than their husbands. Notice too that it's only relatively recently that women married to non-morgs were allowed to receive the endowment. Marriage of an endowed woman to a non-endowed or non-morg man has always been highly discouraged for just that reason, IMO.


Subject: Possibly,
Date: Dec 21 20:14
Author: Suzanne

but a black woman could not marry a white man in the temple, either, so that can't be the only reason.

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