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Hi there! Welcome to my corner of the internets. I'm a 26 year old therapist, photographer, and shop owner currently living in Seattle, Washington. My online spaces are educational and lifestyle accounts dedicated to educating, engaging, and empowering women through digital art, home design, and travel.... with a touch of humor and personality sprinkled throughout. Stay a while!

Ask A Mormonish Girl: Women and the Priesthood & Priesthood Blessings

Monday, February 1, 2021

Happy Sunday! We're back for another "Ask A Mormon-ish Girl" post! 


Intentions:


For anyone new, this is a series where I talk about my feelings on being an *unorthodox* member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka "Mormon"). My goal of these posts is to help you know you're not alone with your questions and concerns AND to actually talk about them and create some conversation past "just have faith and it will work out". Overall, I believe in imperfect relationships: both with people and institutions. This series documents my very imperfect relationship with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  


Question directory/past questions:


You can see a directory of past questions on my "Mormon Q+A" Instagram highlight. My handle is @emmycoletti. 


Submitting questions:


You can submit questions to be answered on my Instagram account (@emmycoletti) where I will post a question box on my stories at some point in the week. You can also comment down below, or email me at emmycoletti@gmail.com. If you don't see your question answered , please keep submitting it! I will get to all of them eventually! 


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Priesthood blessings: Do you ask for them personally?

I have a lot to say about this, so I'll break it down paragraph by paragraph. I'll first say in short TL;DR - I don't rely/value them to the extent I see a lot of other women in the church value them. I am not against them, but they have never been my go-to source of comfort. I tend to lean more towards personal prayer. I don't think God is like, "Oh, sorry, you could have gotten help with this if it were a priesthood blessing, but since you prayed about it it's not going to happen." lol. 

Ok, so first of all, I obviously have some feminism/sexism beliefs that probably affect how much I value/rely on priesthood blessings. First and foremost, I find it extremely interesting that women are able to administer blessings in the temple, but not outside of it






Second, I think the church history of women at the beginning of the church administering healing blessings is interesting as well.



 
If you want to do a deep dive like I did, this academic journal article is really interesting. TL;DR - When The Church of Jesus Christ was first organized, women were able to give healing blessings. Also at this time, church rituals and teachings were mainly passed on orally, so there was a lot of variability in how the rites and rituals were performed. Heber J. Grant (Joesph Smith's successor) worked to create written instructions about rites and rituals in the 1920s, and that's where women giving healing blessings started to be faded out. This was thought to be partially impacted by advancements in the medical/scientific communities at the beginning of the 20th century, and how "folk" type remedies (therapeutic use of oils, etc.) started to be looked down upon. 

So, they removed male and female "healers" from the temple. However, a lot of local wards still had women performing healing blessings. AND when the first presidency was asked about it, they were like, "We'll refer to the Relief Society". Some women were performing healing blessings all the way into the 1940s!!!

Anyway, I linked everything above if you want to read more about it, which I would encourage you to! It's absolutely WILD to me that being a lifelong member, I never heard about this part of Mormon history. And cynically, I have to ask myself why. We heard so much criticism of the "Ordain Women" movement, but we never once heard how their arguments do have some validity based in church history.

I am so sick of people shutting down ideas about what the future of the church could hold based on this weak argument that: "The way the doctrine is written... that could never happen." Just look at how much has changed in the past! 100 years ago we supported multiple wives. 80 years ago women were performing healing blessings. 50 years ago we weren't giving black people the priesthood. And even just 5-10 years ago children of LGBTQIA+ parents couldn't be baptized, church was was 3 hours, and the mission age for women was 21. 

Are we really so arrogant to assume that the way the church is today is how it will continue to be? Are we so scared of change that we are unable to entertain the idea that the "doctrine" as it is being interpreted today will be interpreted differently in the future? (As apologists now argue with the "skin of blackness" curse.)

So, no. I don't value priesthood blessings above my own power of prayer, because I'm not yet convinced that the healing power of a priesthood blessing only being accessed by men isn't just another product-of-the-culture-at-the-time rule set in place to give men power women don't have access to.

XOXO,
Your Mormon-ish Internet Friend,
Emmy Coletti

P.S. If you haven't already listened to it, this podcast episode about the priesthood power of women is amazing. 

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