Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Joseph Smith on women healing the sick and laying on hands

Just reading the Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes. It is interesting. It seems pretty clear that Joseph Smith considered the society ordained to do a work by officially organizing it and ordaining its leadership. I mention that because some of our apostate members that are trying to ordain women like to misrepresent his teachings on the matter.

Now it is also pretty clear that he references temple ordinances that will be forthcoming a number of times, e.g. he is quite clear that there all the signs that follow them that believe are to be had by both male and female. He teaches elsewhere that those signs require the gift of the Holy Ghost. That is an important distinction - he does not say they require the priesthood. But he does say they require the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Oh jeesh. As I type that I imagine someone is going to accuse me of being apostate. I'm really just recalling Joseph's very clear discussion of the matter which can be found in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith which was compiled mostly by Joseph Fielding Smith and has been the standard reference of Joseph Smith's teachings since the great depression and still is. There is nothing apostate about it. Joseph Smith said there could be no harm in a female laying on hands to heal the sick,or annointing with oil, and even pointed out that it was fitting that women, who naturally nurture, should administer to the sick. We read:

 "President Smith then gave instruction respecting the propriety of females administering to the sick by the prayer of faith, the laying on of hands, or the anointing with oil; and said it was according to revelation that the sick should be nursed with herbs and mild food, and not by the hand of an enemy. Who are better qualified to administer than our faithful and zealous sisters". 

Joseph Smith also said that the gift of the Holy Ghost was necessary to heal the sick, as well as to cast out devils, etc... But he was extremely clear that all the signs that follow them that believe are to be exhibited by both male and female.

What Joseph Smith didn't say was that the priesthood was necessary for any of those signs. We do like to invoke the Melchizedek priesthood for many of those signs, and there is certainly nothing wrong with doing so.

Actually, this all fits with D&C 84, D&C 107, and D&C 132 description of the priesthood as being necessary for saving ordinances to be valid. But it makes no mention of the priesthood being required for signs or healings. Instead, as Joseph Smith himself pointed out, the scriptural phrase is that these signs will follow those that believe, with no regard to being male or female.

Joseph Smith does make reference to things the sisters will receive in the temple when it becomes available to them he references women becoming priestesses (he uses the term priests, but we can figure out what it corresponds to in the modern vernacular easily enough), and there is also a reference to queens that I think the note taker flubbed, thinking it was a reference to queens of the earth, instead of being a reference to the restoration of the temple ordinances and to queens and priestesses being among them.

Anyway, before anyone yells either "Apostasy!" or claims that I am saying women are supposed to have the Melchizedek or Aaronic priesthood, please know neither of those is true. Read the discourses yourself. Joseph Smith's language was quite plain on the matter.

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