This topic has just about been beaten to death but I have one more thing to add. I recently came across a great blog post by Katie Liff entitled “To My Brothers and Sisters in the Ordain Women Movement.” Katie (if I may be so personal — we haven’t been formally introduced) makes note of a comment made by one of the Ordain Women members: “We don’t want to just nurture.”
Well, let me flaunt the high-profile, important jobs that we priesthood holders perform. For most of the past 35 years, since 1979, I have been called to the Young Men’s organization. From 2000-2013 I served continuously in the YM, holding such lofty positions as Scoutmaster (by the way, BSA doesn’t allow female Scoutmasters, though they do allow co-ed Venture leaders in co-ed Venture crews); Venture adviser; Varsity coach; etc. What did I do? I taught them to cook, to wash their hands before eating, to set up tents so when it rained it didn’t swamp them. I took them on camping trips and outings, resolved disputes, counseled boys who weren’t sure where they were going in life, helped them back on track, prayed for those who wavered and fell away, attended mission farewells and homecomings and tried, with varying success, to make them into men who would be worthy priesthood holders, good husbands and fathers and contributing members of society. In my dictionary, that qualifies as “nurturing.”
I can count on one hand the number of times I “used” my priesthood in the sense Ordain Women wants. Twice I gave blessings to young men who requested them. The rest of the time I was not “using” the priesthood as these women visualize it. The rest of the time I was doing exactly what these dissatisfied nurturers don’t want to do anymore.
Since 2013 I have been in the High Priest group leadership in our ward. I visit other High Priests and single, elderly sisters in the ward. I help them when I can, I listen to their concerns, I pray for them, I put their names on the lists at the temple. Occasionally I take a meal that my wife has prepared to someone’s home. It is true I have given more blessings in the past year than I have in the previous 13 but only because the group that I am nurturing is older. That still sounds pretty much like nurturing to me.
I have never been in a bishopric, stake presidency, mission president or other high-profile position. Whenever it’s time for a new bishopric to be called in our ward I take an extended vacation. I’ve thought about leaving a beer can or two on my front lawn during these times (just kidding about that part). I do not aspire to any such position and I daresay very few bishops, stake presidents or other high-profile officials ever did either.
Service in the church is mostly nurturing. That’s the whole point of mortality. We’re all here to help each other gain exaltation. If that isn’t nurturing I don’t know what is.