AS some women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are apparently pushing to be ordained to the priesthood; and as Sister Missionaries are now on the way to making up half or more of all full-time missionaries in the field, I found this intriguing lecture by the Prophet Joseph Smith from May 26, 1842, warning that women in the church may have "overmuch zeal."
Joseph Smith was speaking to the Relief Society at the time.
The context of his talk (and it should be read in its entirety) not only cautions women against excessive zeal, but also encouraged the spirit of forgiveness and guarding the use of the tongue.
Here, I will just quote the essence of the zeal section.
First, the Prophet cautioned that righteous persons can only deliver their own souls.
Then he stated:
"There is another error that opens a door for the adversary to enter. As females possess refined feelings and sensitiveness, they are also subject to overmuch zeal, which must ever prove dangerous and cause them to be rigid in a religious capacity -- (they) should be armed with mercy notwithstanding the iniquity among us."
(Joseph Smith, Documentary History of the Church 5:19-21; also in "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith," pages 237-239.)
Joseph Smith ended that lecture with this key sentence:
'"Fret not thyself because of evil doers.' God will see to it."
So, there you have it -- a danger with women in the church, that Joseph Smith outlined.
Women should certainly have more input, if they are now making up so much of the missionary force.
Each full-time mission will now have a "Mission Leadership Council," which will include not only Elders, but Sister missionaries too.
These "Sister Training Leaders" will serve on the new council.
There is little doubt that Sister Missionaries may find and teach some investigators that the Elders of the Church can't.
Fine, but have women changed some 170-plus years later?
Do they have a danger of over zeal today too?
If so, is that factored into how Sister missionaries are trained/supervised?
It likely comes down to this: probably too much zeal for women in the church and likely not enough for men.
(Hometeaching vs. Visiting Teaching statistics clarify that women are more eager to do their duty than men.)
I think the Prophet's lecture also outlines a key difference between men and women.
--AND, I will also stress that women do not RULE in the LDS Church in mortality and likely never will.
"Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to rule; but to be under obedience, as also saith the law." (Joseph Smith's Inspired Translation of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 14:34).
To me, this means women do not directly hold the priesthood. It is not their role and any women in the church who have taken out their own temple endowments should understand that -- they even agreed to it.
If not, they either do not understand what the Gospel teaches, or they want to change doctrine.
This is not a "policy," like Blacks not holding the priesthood in decades past was -- this is a "doctrine" of women not holding the priesthood directly.
This is also NOT about the worldly view of "equality," it is about men and women having different, likely eternal roles.
You can't argue against the eternal.