D&C 107 and Ordaining Women

There has been a ton of discussion and debate on the topic of ordaining women to the priesthood within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  With my inactivity in the bloggernacle I would normally not add anything to this debate, yet in almost all of the discussions I have observed, there has been little to no attention paid to what I would consider the money scripture on the subject – D&C Section 107, and this has confused me enough to speak up.

In a recent post at FMH, the author gives what they claim are the most common arguments against ordaining women to the priesthood.  My opinion is that these reasons are very superficial – which I believe is the point that the author is making.  Whether these reasons are superficial because the author intended to create a straw man who could be easily dismissed, or if there are only superficial arguments available – I suppose will be left up to the reader.  As near as I could tell section 107 was not mentioned nor referenced in the post or the comments (although I do not read FMH regularly nor carefully).

Another recent post at Peculiar People suggests reasons why ordination will not happen.  Reasons include the church being run by old, conservative, white men, bureaucracy, correlation, etc.  Again, no mention of section 107.

I realize that some of my more ‘liberal’ friends would say that the reasons most of the arguments go the way they do is because ‘that’ the Mormon Church does not ordain women to the priesthood is not being debated, but ‘why’.  And I feel that strikes at the heart of the disagreements we sometimes have.  In my view, church leaders can only act on what revelation has been given, and what is currently being given.  Questions of why are somewhat academic.  They may be interesting, but academic nonetheless.

A recent talk given by Elder Ballard is helpful in reviewing what one of the apostles has to say about some of the ‘why’ questions.  Although I suspect those who are committed to their own cause will not find anything new or satisfying for themselves.  And I do not remember seeing Elder Ballard reference section 107 either.

Reading section 107 as a whole, with this topic in mind is important in understanding the position church leaders find themselves in.  This section addresses ordination to the priesthood at length, and uses terms like ‘man’, ‘men’, and ‘he’ throughout.  I know that sometimes ‘man’ might refer to mankind, but I do not feel this can be the case here.  The examples given in this section are exclusively male, and the exclusive male pronouns seem to complete the case for a male only priesthood quite powerfully.  It seems it would take a significant clarifying revelation to overturn what seems the only reasonable interpretation of this important section.

Again, I am certain some will still demand ‘why?’  And I feel the real answer is that current practice is consistent with the scriptures and revelation received.  And why section 107 is not a more significant part of the discussion on either side baffles me.

13 Responses to “D&C 107 and Ordaining Women”

  1. 1 hjisha September 26, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Aren’t most scriptural pronouns male?

  2. 3 Dave K. September 26, 2013 at 8:08 am

    The greatest charge in scripture is that we are to become like God. The actual words say we should become like “him.” Does that mean that women cannot fulfill this command because the scripture used a male pronoun?

    Perhaps a better way to read the scriptures is to understand the context of who is being spoken to. We should never presume the scriptures intend to exclude anyone merely because that group is not addressed in the particular scripture. Exclusion must be explicitly expressed. While section 107 does not include female pronouns, it also (like the rest of scripture) does not expressly address female ordination. The scriptures are silent on the issue. Let’s not presume otherwise and risk being closed off to additional revelation.

  3. 4 Vader September 26, 2013 at 10:55 am

    To me, the money scripture is not D&C 107, but Abraham 1. Count how many times the word “father” or “fathers” appears in the first few verses of this chapter. To Abraham, priesthood was closely tied to fatherhood. I suggest this is still in force.

  4. 5 Dave K. September 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Sure, but as “patriachy” evolves to mean parent-child rather than father-son, that language will not be seen as an impediment to female ordination.

  5. 6 Vader September 26, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    You seem to be suggesting that father-son and father-daughter and mother-son and mother-daughter are relationships that do not differ in very significant ways. Have I misunderstood you?

    Because I think that’s one of those ideas you have to really work at to convince yourself that it makes any sense.

  6. 7 Eric Nielson September 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    David K.,

    I suspect that you know that your example/question is absurd. Of course women can become like God the Father in meaningful ways. And of course we know that there is a mother in heaven. We also know that gender is an essential part of our premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

    The context of 107 is revelation on the priesthood, and particularly the ordination thereof to a modern day prophet. If there were to have been revelation regarding the ordination of women it would have been there. It is the most relevant and recent scripture on the subject, in a perfect context for the subject.

    While you may feel that the scripture is not explicit enough, it is the best we have (maybe also Abr. 1). It is amazing how people can set nearly impossible standards for things they do not like.

  7. 8 Eric Nielson September 26, 2013 at 4:07 pm


    Thanks for the Abraham reference, I will have to review.

  8. 9 Eric Nielson September 27, 2013 at 7:42 am

    A brilliant post that exposes that the Ordain Women movement ultimately delegitimizes the very priesthood which it seeks by an appeal to intellectualism rather that authority can be read here.

  9. 10 Dave K September 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Section 107 is only the best source until the heavens speak again. Or perhaps the minutes of the first RS meetings are canonized.

  10. 12 JennyP1969 October 22, 2013 at 8:25 am

    I, for one, feel it would be very worthwhile to accept the Savior’s counsel to ask, nothing wavering, believing that ye shall receive to heart. I hope Pres. Monson will earnestly do so. When section 107 and Abraham 1 were given, the confines of women were vastly different than today. At that time, women were property, they were not educated, they were literally viewed as the weaker sex and incapable of administration or leadership. We believe that God will reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God. It would be lovely to seek the Savior’s will for women today. The scriptures are full of promises to the sons of men and sons of God. But very, very little is spoken regarding the promises to the daughters of men or the daughters of God. I can envision the 4-fold mission of the church surging mightily forward by ordaining women.

    But it isn’t what I envision or what any of us think. It’s what the Savior envisions and thinks. And to know His current will, only the prophet can do as all prophets have done — ask, seek, and knock. The Lord waits for that. Until our prophet is willing to do so, section 107 and Abraham 1 will be the standard. And perhaps if the prophet does seek revelation, the Savior will not yet have women ordained. But it would be wonderful if the prophet would earnestly try. It would strengthen us as people and strengthen our church in many glorious ways.

  11. 13 Eric Nielson October 22, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Why do you assume that he does not?

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