women’s ordination has been a hot topic among Mormons in 2013. This panel will discuss women’s ordination in early christianity, in other restoration churches, recent activism by the group ordain women, and what the path toward ordination might look like for ldS women.
Frances Lee Menlove, Susan D. (Skoor) Oxley, Natalie Kelly, Mary Ellen Robertson
Regardless of the joy and spiritual fulfillment experienced by women who claim to hold offices within the holy priesthood, the issue must always rest with the “Keys of the Kingdom” that makes or breaks the foundational claims of the Reorganization.
It is a well established fact that Joseph Smith conferred the requisite keys (the same ones Jesus passed on to the Twelve in his day). Each of the apostles present received those keys of authority under the hands of Joseph Smith. Since none of these men went with the Reorganization, there’s no way it can claim to have them today.
Joseph also gave the saints another figurative “key that will never rust.” If you follow the majority of the Quorum of the Twelve and the records of the church, he said, you will never be led astray. The authority resides in the apostles of Jesus Christ; meanwhile, the records are part of the essential books out of which we will be judged. For each baptism and ordination are duly witnessed and attested to, and each is done under the proper priesthood keys. Each baptism for the dead, each patriarchal blessing and every other ordinance is done in a house of order. If a bishop decides, on his own, that it’s time to begin calling and ordaining horses to the priesthood, he will not succeed because he will have cut the cords binding his authority to the Twelve himself! The RLDS can copy any aspect of priesthood authority they wish, but the leadership can never blaze the priesthood trail back to Jesus Christ, who is the author and arbiter of all authority to act in his name.
Let the RLDS explain how it got those keys. It can no more do it than any of the Protestant churches can — or Alexander Campbell, William Miller, Charles T. Russell or Herbert W. Armstrong (to name but a few). The priesthood keys (Keys of the Kingdom) cannot be given to two competing churches. It’s not possible. The LDS church can trace those keys back to Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow and others (and a majority of the Twelve may act as a functioning governing body when circumstances prevent a meeting of the entire quorum), and a majority followed Brigham Young. Not one of these men who were present that day ever took part in the ordination of Joseph Smith III.
One final note: Oliver Cowdery later rejoined the saints in Utah. And those closest to the prophet also joined the saints that moved westward. They knew about plural marriage, the temple ceremonies and understood to a degree what Smith was teaching. Those who joined the Reorganization, on the other hand, were those further removed; they were not his greatest confidents, nor were they his closest friends.
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