This is going to be controversial.

But hey. (Gay) Mormon Guy already addresses the most volatile topic in modern culture - being Mormon and gay. What's some tangential controversy?

I was on Twitter during Conference this year, participating in the livetweeting with thousands of other members, when I learned about the protest that was staged by a handful of women outside Priesthood session. At first, I didn't really have time to think about it - when the prophets are speaking, nothing else really matters - but today I pulled up an article about the protest and actually looked up their site.

The focus wasn't getting into Priesthood meeting. (They didn't - just like Relief Society meeting is designed specifically for sisters in mind, Priesthood is designed for brothers. Seats at Priesthood to attend in person are reserved exclusively for them.) It was attracting public attention with the hope that women would be ordained to the Priesthood.

There's a lot of things I could write about this, but this afternoon, while researching doctrine for work, I found myself wondering about the doctrinal evidences that would preclude or support this issue. I think I found a few.

1. The first is resurrection. Christ taught, and we have supporting evidence in the form of modern interpretation of His word, that all ordinances must be completed before the resurrection. It was in the "neither are men married nor given in marriage" context of explaining issues to the Sadducees. I could look up talks that support this interpretation of His words, but I'm crazy busy. I know it's in Jesus the Christ.

The result is that, if, like claimed on their website, women need to be ordained to the Priesthood in order to return to God and be like Him, this would need to happen to all women before their resurrection. With men, Priesthood ordination is required even before the temple endowment can be given, which is required before a temple sealing can be performed. Even if we made the assumption that ordination was a higher ordinance than marriage (and hence would be performed after temple sealing... which is not an option in my mind, since temple marriage is said many times throughout scripture to be the crowning ordinance), or believed that it was part of a separate, non-linear track of required ordinances, it would still have to be done before the ordinance of resurrection.

Matthew, in his gospel, describes the resurrection and includes a part that explains:

"And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."

This was the beginning of the first resurrection, composed of the people who had completed all the necessary ordinances and had lived faithful lives... who were resurrected with Christ at His own Resurrection.

The same thing happened in the New World - and it was so important that Christ reproved Nephi for forgetting to include it in their record.

"And it came to pass that he said unto Nephi: Bring forth the record which ye have kept. And when Nephi had brought forth the records, and laid them before him, he cast his eyes upon them and said: Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so? 

And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled. And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?
And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written.

And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded."

We know that Priesthood ordination of women was not practiced during the time of the Nephites, and from history that it was not practiced among pre-Christian Jews in Jerusalem. If this was an essential ordinance, lacking such an ordinance would preclude their rising from the dead. The preclusion of female ordinance does assume that "many saints" includes both men and women, but, at least in my limited perspective, it would be grossly unfair for a God to make a wife wait extra thousands of years while her husband had been resurrected, only because God had not yet revealed an essential ordinance to salvation.

2. Since there is the potential that all the saints resurrected at the time of Christ and in the thousands of years since were, in fact, male (though I think that quite unlikely), the next issue is translation. This subsists upon the same basic principles as resurrection; both are physical changes in the body that take place under the influence of the Spirit that are required before an individual can permanently reside in the literal presence of God.

The City of Enoch was translated. Zion included men and women. The assumption, that essential ordinances would need to be completed before they could have physically been taken to Heaven to live forever in the presence of God, is pretty simple. That's the one with which I concur. There are doctrinal questions with this one, too - for example, we don't have specific evidence that children (who would not have had saving ordinances performed) were not included in the translation of the city, except in the case of Enoch's own progeny. On that note, we could use the reference that the people of Zion won't return to the earth until the Second Coming... and that all translated beings, if it has not happened sooner, will be resurrected at the time of the Second Coming... and if they haven't had essential ordinances, then they won't be resurrected. And exceptions usually become the rule if they are more than 50% (like in Zion - married women and children, if present).


So yeah. Those are my thoughts. Women play an essential, unique role in God's Plan as outlined in modern doctrine and supported by living prophets. I do not think that their ordination to the Priesthood is essential for their eternal salvation, or for the Church to accurately fill their needs as women.
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