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Women and priesthood

Published April 19, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In "Priesthood for men" (Forum, April 12), Jon Montgomery argues that "traditionally, the priesthood represents a rite of passage for men that was created to mimic rites of passage that naturally occur for women. In Mormonism, boys receive the Aaronic priesthood at the same age that girls reach menarche (womanhood). Young men receive the Melchizedek priesthood near the same age that most young women achieve motherhood."

While that is true of the contemporary 20th-century Mormon arrangement of priesthood, it's not "traditional." It's not the way Joseph Smith arranged the priesthood.

For Smith, both Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthood offices were held by adult males; the progression of offices through teen years is a relatively late innovation based on need and experience — around the same time Scouting was adopted.

If such a radical change in priesthood organization could be made to help young men in the 20th century, why not a similar radical change for women in the 21st century?

Tradition is a poor argument. When all you can say to justify a practice is that it's always been done that way, you're gonna lose either the argument or intelligent members.

Matt Smith