I had an insight last night that I think I personally needed to think about. Whenever there is talk of women and priesthood, I at some point think about the responsibility of giving blessings and listening to the Spirit to know what to say. and that’s a bit intimidating. For whatever reason, last night I had this train of thought: Yah, but that’s a matter of listening to the Spirit. God would help you. And you’ve had lots of times where you needed to listen to the Spirit to know what to say. Isn’t that what you studied before – teaching by the Spirit? And that’s for men and women. And sometimes you feel guided in prayers as to what to say. Wait a minute. Perhaps I’ve never realized before that a Priesthood blessing is a combination of two parts: 1, the priesthood authority to bind on earth and heaven, and 2, the gift of prophecy and revelation. Or, 2, the gift of healing. That’s fascinating. It’s a combination of the gifts of the Spirit with the Priesthood. How often have those been equated! But perhaps it’s rather a combination. Let’s see, where else do we see this. Healing, I just thought of. Healing is a gift of the Spirit, and in D&C 46 etc. there is no specific limitation on gifts to men, or even to the Priesthood. I bet even the gift of discernment and administration go along with what we see as Priesthood positions of leadership. How much these go together!!
Why? I guess we’ve often seen, or I have seen, these Priesthood positions as automatically empowering one with those spiritual gifts. On the other hand, Moroni (& D&C 20) seem to say we could ordain people to offices based on spiritual gifts.
Also, I think I can finally think more clearly about blessings and why they’ve confused or even bothered me over the years. I have often wondered when I hear a baby blessing or a setting apart blessing whether or not the man is really listening to the Spirit or just saying what they hope or think should be said. I can tell that my husband does listen to the Spirit, for all sorts of reasons. I often feel like it’s easy to tell in baby blessings if someone is listening or not, though I thought it was probably horrible of me to try to judge. But it did make me second-guess some blessings I’ve received not by my husband and whether or not they were “really” blessings. But now I wonder if what I have been seeing is this: the person was worthy to hold the priesthood, the person did all the necessary steps for the ordinance or blessing or setting-apart to take place, but when it came to extra counsel and prophecy, well, that person didn’t have the gift of prophecy and revelation given to them. So perhaps in some sense I was right? That person wasn’t speaking with the gift of the Spirit — but, even if I am right, that doesn’t mean that the ordinance wasn’t valid or done in honesty. Perhaps there are two separate things being combined here: the priesthood act, and the gift of the Spirit. The second can and perhaps ought go along with it, but even if the second isn’t there, there can still be a righteous priesthood holder trying to perform a priesthood act. Or maybe they have to go together: can you give a blessing of healing without the gift of healing?
Of course, as I always seem to be saying, there’s a lot more to think about here! I’m glad for the beginning of a longer-term study ahead of me!