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Apparently there's been a fuss about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints asking those who support the group "Ordain Women" to not protest a session of the church's semi-annual General Conference which will be happening in a couple of weeks.

The members of this group are (mostly as far as I know) female and members of the LDS church as well. I am also female, single, and a member of the LDS church. So, let me break it down here.

Our General Conference consist of five meetings that take place within two days (Saturday and Sunday) in the fall and spring of each year. There are two meetings, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, lasting about two hours a piece on each day. And on Saturday evening, there's the third meeting for that weekend which is generally called the Priesthood Session. And that means that all worthy members of the priesthood are asked to attend. Meaning the men who are ordained priesthood holders, usually from the age of twelve and up.

The Priesthood Session is what "Ordain Women" plan to protest, as I understand it. Makes sense, as their goal is to have the LDS church allow women to be ordained with the priesthood as well.

Women don't go to this session of General Conference. However, they, and anyone else, have access to read and watch the talks from that session in the church's published magazines or on the church website lds.org later on. So to be clear, the Priesthood Session is not a super secret meeting between just the men of the church. Everyone can find out exactly what goes on in there by just opening up their internet browser.

And, interestingly enough, there is also a Women's Session that happens twice a year in the same fashion. It usually happens a couple of weeks before the weekend of General Conference. It's just for the women. This year they are making it open to girls and women ages eight and up. You can also go onto the website or look in the church magazines for all that is covered in that session as well.

Now, for the priesthood itself. I can tell you with complete honesty I believe a woman should be treated with respect and appreciation in her every day life. I believe that women should be paid as much as men are for the same job. I believe that women have a right to as much education as they need/want whether they plan to be a mother, or CFO of Nike. Personally, though, I never have wanted to be ordained to hold the priesthood.

Holding the priesthood is an enormous responsibility. Yes, with it you can be given leadership roles in the church, which are even more of a responsibility. To be a worthy priesthood holder, you have to constantly work at what you know is right. Keep your pride in check, know that it is only to serve God, your family, and your fellow man (and woman). I've seen men buckle under this responsibility. I've seen and heard stories of men, leaders of their congregation even, fail at keeping this up. It has proven to me that Satan works even harder to bring down those men God has called to be priesthood holders and leaders in the church. Sometimes, sadly, he is successful.

But to me, that is also why the responsibility of the priesthood is given to men.
If you look at recent statistics of the LDS church there are more female members than male. Women are more receptive to the teachings than men are when investigating the church and its gospel.

I've been a member of the LDS church my whole life and now, in my thirties, I still continue to learn about it. This is not any official doctrine or standpoint of the church itself, this is my opinion only. I believe that there is a special Priesthood session because the men need specific counsel from the leaders of our church that focuses purely on them as men and priesthood holders. I also believe it is the same for the Women's Conference. I have watched and read talks given in the Priesthood sessions, and I've attended many Women's Conferences. It still amazes me at how poignant and specific the speakers are to each group they are speaking.

I know it may not seem like it but I do understand the motivations behind "Ordain Women". It is about equality. Allowing women into more leadership roles in the church, giving them an opportunity to hold the priesthood as other churches have done. It makes sense from the point of view of equality, which I am usually in favor of.

The sisters who are pushing for this kind of equality in the church - and I say sisters because that's what they are as we are all children of God - may want to think a little harder about their motivations, though. Equality is usually all well and good, but when it comes to being a worthy, ordained priesthood holder you need a little more than that. Remember what I said about keeping your pride in check? Wanting the priesthood just to say that you have it is not what having it is about. If you're willing to serve God, your family, and so forth what's great about being a woman in the church is that you don't need to have the priesthood in order to accomplish that. There are so many other ways to serve that are just as important as serving using the priesthood.

To me, women are equal in the church. We just have different things to do. It is our job to support our priesthood holders whether they are our brothers, fathers, husbands, or crazy uncles. I know that sounds like a very old fashioned thing to say, but just remember that the support goes both ways - equally.

As women in the church we are incredibly special. Our male leaders have said as much and more. We are here specifically to help the men. Because even our leaders know that they would not get very far without us.

And if you still are skeptical about just that one responsibility I have listed for women in the church, I'd like to introduce you to my mother, Kathleen. Mother of seven children, supporter of six missionaries (Five boys, one girl. Two of them overseas.) and married to the same man, a priesthood holder, for forty-three and a half years. She's a musician and taught Sunday school until very recently when she had surgery, and they decided to call her to teach one of the children's classes once she is recovered. All my life she has reminded me how important my role is in supporting priesthood holders. Now that I am older I understand more of what she was talking about. It is super important.

As for other responsibilities for women, there are many. And I'm not only talking about becoming a mother, which is an enormous responsibility within itself. I'm single and in my thirties, as I've said. I also teach a primary Sunday school class. (Eight year old children.) That in itself is daunting enough. There is also helping support the missionaries (sisters and elders), fulfilling your calling whether that is primary teacher or Relief Society President, helping other sisters and families in your congregation.

For each woman her responsibilities are a little different, but they are all so very important to the whole that is the church, no matter where in the world she may be. And that's why wanting more, wanting the priesthood as well seems silly to me. There is so much on our plates already.

The focus of the LDS church is charity, which we are taught is love in its purest form. We strive to become more like Christ, who's love was and is perfect, flawless and told us that "Charity never faileth". Striving for goals that serve to only fulfill your personal pride is the opposite of all of that.

Equality is important. But to those women who are fighting to have the priesthood given to women as well as men, I ask them and whoever is reading this: On top of everything else we do, do you really want it?

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