Elder Dallin H. Oaks: Gender roles and the priesthood

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Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at the priesthood session of General Conference April 5, 2014. (Photo Courtesy of Mormon Newsroom)

Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke during priesthood session of General Conference about the importance of understanding gender roles and the priesthood.

He said while all members of the Church have access to priesthood power, the Lord has set limits for who can hold the keys and the authority. He said these divine limitations set upon the priesthood keys explain the difference between decisions regarding Church administration and decisions affecting the priesthood.

“(Even) though … presiding authorities hold and exercise all of the keys delegated to men in this dispensation, they are not free to alter the divinely decreed pattern that only men will hold offices in the priesthood,” Elder Oaks said.

Elder Oaks also explained that access to priesthood power applies equally to women as it does to men. He cited women serving missions, working in the temple and serving in Relief Society positions as examples of accessing that authority.

“We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their church callings, but what other authority can it be?” he said.

Elder Oaks encouraged the members to focus more on responsibilities in the priesthood rather than rights to its authority.

He went on to emphasize while men and women have different responsibilities in the Church, they are equal in the eyes of God.

“Unlike priesthood keys and priesthood ordinations, the blessings of the priesthood are available to women and men on the same terms,” he said.

Elder Oaks closed his talk by testifying of the divine authority of the priesthood and reminded the members that the keys of the priesthood ultimately belong not to men, but to the Lord Jesus Christ.

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