For the OW Crowd, OD2 Would Seem Like a Two-Edged Sword

It is common for those sympathetic to the cause of OW, to site the removal of the priesthood ban as an example of the church changing its practices as a result of continuing revelation.  It was while pondering this, that I decided to review Official Declaration 2  (OD2).  In doing so, I felt that the actual text of OD2 is in fact damaging to their cause.  OD2 is a fairly recent revelation regarding access to the priesthood, and is perhaps the most clear revelation that states that it is males who are to be ordained to the priesthood.  Here are a couple of highlights (emphasis mine):

In early June of this year, the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church.

Pretty clear.  And further:

Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God’s eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.

And further still:

He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color.

The clear statements in this revelation regarding the removal of the priesthood ban based on race, seem to make this example a two-edged sword.  One edge providing some hope for a desired change, and the other edge making the most clear, unambiguous statements regarding a male-only priesthood.  And while I am sure there are those who are determined and skilled enough to twist even these words into meaning whatever they want, there is probably a reason why the OW crowd point to the idea of OD2 rather than point to the text of OD2.

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10 Responses to “For the OW Crowd, OD2 Would Seem Like a Two-Edged Sword”


  1. 1 Jamie June 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    From what I have read, I think some in OW have interpreted 2 Nephi 26:33 – All are alike unto God, to define equality as meaning holding the same opportunities, positions, talents, and potential. I’m not sure if priesthood bans from the past were the result of social pressures turned tradition, or if there was some genuine inspiration and reasoning behind it, but it has made everyone cautious of accepting church policies that are not accompanied by a “thus saith the Lord” preamble, which is unfortunate as it makes everything that is ever said by any general authority suspect – is this revelation? Or is this just some person talking? Having just come from the temple, I have reinforced my belief that the current position of women is divinely guided though. The order in which men preside was instituted in the Garden of Eden at the fall, and covenants made within the temple reinforce this order. As a female, I can see the frustration of some of the women within OW, but I can also see the beauty in sentiments such as “the greatest among you shall be your servants” and “the last shall be first”. The difference between being “ in front of” others, and being “with” them. Not to put the “in front of” role down, leadership is needed and is a noble calling – but I truly do see women as having an honestly noble calling too, that of being “with” others, the nurturing, gentle, companion who helps is not perhaps honored in the world, but it is honored within Christianity.

    No matter what role we find ourselves in, or what opportunities we have, there is knowledge and wisdom to be gained. If I could compare the gift of the priesthood to the gift of the holy spirit – as a convert I did not always have the gift of the holy ghost, but that is ok, because I learned quite a lot without it, just as I am learning a different set of things with it. I am reminded that the greatest thing Jesus did was not to heal someone with the priesthood, it was not to make bread or to turn water into wine – it was not any of the miracles he probably did with the priesthood. The greatest thing Jesus did was to give all of that up, to give up his power, to give up his life, to walk in our shoes and be there with us. I therefore do not consider the greatest things in life to be holding the priesthood (although the priesthood is cool and it would be dishonorable to the priesthood to not be a little jealous of it ;) – the greatest things in life really are character, humility, kindness, selflessness, and of course the greatest commandment and the greatest gift of love. There are some things the Buddhists have right, there can be just as much value in not having something, as in having it.

    The sage wears rough clothing and holds the jewel in her heart.
    The more she does for others, the more she has.
    The more she gives to others, the greater her abundance.
    The sage knows herself, but makes no show,
    Has self-respect, but is not arrogant.
    The sage works without recognition.
    She achieves what has to be done without dwelling on it.
    She lets go of that…
    and chooses this….

    Dare to not be ahead of others.
    Accept being unimportant.
    Do not be concerned with loss or gain.
    Why is the sea king of a hundred streams?
    (Why does all water flow to the oceans?)
    Because it lies below them all.

    Empty yourself of everything.
    Empty and be full..
    Shape clay into a vessel;
    It is the space within that makes it useful.
    Cut doors and window for a room;
    It is the holes which make it useful.
    Usefulness (comes) from what is not there.

    She who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.
    She who grasps, loses.

    The sage.. though there are beautiful things to be seen,
    remains unattached and calm.
    If you try to hold it, you will lose it.

    LOL, poor Eric, another wall of words from that nagging sister-in-law. At least we agree on this one though? I enjoy your blog & all the research and thought you put into it.

  2. 2 Eric Nielson June 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Most of my posts are top of the head. You flatter me.

    I do think you have captured something of an irony I see in the OW movement. Or ironies. One irony is that the OW approach diminishes the very priesthood they seek. Not taking their answers, teachings, counsel, etc., and demanding their objectives through protests would destroy the thing they desire.

    Another irony is that to me, if women were to get the priesthood, it should go to the women who have been quietly supportive of the church, and not demanded priesthood ordination. And that the loudest protesters show that they do not understand what they seek.

    Anyway, thanks for the comment. Nice to hear from you.

  3. 3 Chris Henrichsen June 5, 2014 at 10:47 am

    OD2 only applied to males. Yep. But Ordain Women is not looking to it for textual reassurance. Instead, they are looking at it as an example of evolution and continued revelation on matters of inclusions when it comes to the priesthood.

    Prior to 1978, a lot of people said blacks would never have the priesthood. I think that is much of what female ordination proponents find inspiring about the glorious events of 1978.

    Why the use of “OW crowd”?

  4. 4 Eric Nielson June 5, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    You make a good point, race was the issue in OD2. Yet, from what we see from the ‘text’ males was part of it. I think you are just restating my point with the additional insight of race being the question at the time.

    My recollection is that it was always thought that blacks would eventually get the priesthood, just a matter of when. There may have been some individuals who thought it would never happen, but I think they would be a speculative minority.

    I am not sure why I use the word crowd. Is there a word you would prefer? I admit that I do not like their tactics or their tone. I am somewhat neutral about their cause, but I do not like their approach. I particularly think that lining up to individually ask for tickets to the priesthood session with the media watching is disrespectful and without class. If women do get the priesthood someday these women should be last in the line. Maybe I do know why I use the word crowd. It is not that negative of a term.

  5. 5 howarddirkson June 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Eric,
    OD2 was a wordless revelation.

  6. 6 Eric Nielson June 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    That is an interesting assertion. It may well have been. All we have is what was communicated about the revelation.

  7. 7 howard June 5, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Eric,
    Actually a great deal has been communicated about it: Spencer W. Kimball and the Revelation on Priesthood by Edward L. Kimball It’s a interesting read. https://byustudies.byu.edu/PDFViewer.aspx?title=7885&linkURL=47.2KimballSpencerb0a083df-b26b-430b-9ce2-3efec584dcd9.pdf

  8. 9 Eric Nielson June 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Howard. I read the linked article. It is fantastic. Thanks again.

  9. 10 howard June 5, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    I thought so too. You’re welcome Eric!


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