Women and Authority
Edited by Maxine Hanks

Chapter 17
Mormon Women Have Had the Priesthood Since 1843
D. Michael Quinn

[365] For 150 years Mormon women have performed sacred ordinances in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every person who has received the LDS temple endowment knows that women perform for other women the “initiatory ordinances” of washing and anointing.1 Fewer know that LDS women also performed ordinances of healing from the 1840s until the 1940s.2 Yet every Mormon knows that men who perform temple ordinances and healing ordinances must have the Melchizedek priesthood. Women are no exception.3

Two weeks after he organized the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith announced his intention to confer priesthood on women. He told them on 30 March 1842 that “the Society should move according to the ancient Priesthood” and that he was “going to make of this Society a kingdom of priests as in Enoch’s day—as in Paul’s day.”4 In printing the original minutes of the prophet’s talk after his death, the official History of the Church omitted Joseph’s first use of the word “Society” and changed the second “Society” to “Church.” Those two alterations changed the entire meaning of his statement.5 More recently an LDS general authority removed even these diminished statements from a display in the LDS Museum of Church History and Art which commemorated the sesquicentennial of the Relief Society.6

On 28 April 1842 the prophet returned to this subject. He told [366] the women that “the keys of the kingdom are about to be given to them that they may be able to detect everything false, as well as to the Elders.”7 The keys “to detect everything false” referred to the signs and tokens used in the “true order of prayer,” still practiced in LDS temples.8 Then Joseph Smith said, “I now turn the key to you in the name of God, and this society shall rejoice, and knowledge and intelligence shall flow down from this time …”9 For nineteenth-century LDS women, Joseph’s words were prophecy and inspiration to advance spiritually, intellectually, socially, professionally, and politically.10

Mormon women did not request priesthood—Joseph Smith would soon confer it on them as part of the restoration of the gospel. His private journal, called the Book of the Law of the Lord, specified the priesthood promise in his instructions to the women on 28 April 1842: “gave a lecture on the pries[t]hood shewing [sic] how the Sisters would come in possession of the privileges & blessings & gifts of the priesthood & that the signs should follow them. such as healing the sick casting out devils &c. & that they might attain unto these blessings. by a virtuous life & conversation & diligence in keeping all the commandments.” Joseph clearly intended that Mormon women in 1842 understand their healings were to be “gifts of the priesthood,” not simply ministrations of faith.11

Apostle Dallin H. Oaks observed in a 1992 general conference talk, “No priesthood keys were delivered to the Relief Society. Keys are conferred on individuals, not organizations.” The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve as organizations are not even exempt from the limitation he describes for the Relief Society. Elder Oaks noted, for instance, that “priesthood keys were delivered to the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, not to any organizations.”12

The conferral of priesthood on individual women occurred through what Joseph Smith and associates called the “Holy Order” or “Anointed Quorum” (men and women who had received the priesthood endowment). On 4 May 1842, six days after his remarks to the Relief Society, Joseph introduced nine men to the endowment.13 The following year, on 28 July 1843, Presiding Patriarch Hyrum Smith, an original member of the Holy Order, blessed Leonora Cannon Taylor: “You shall be blesst [sic] with your portion [367] of the Priesthood which belongeth to you, that you may be set apart for your Anointing and your induement [endowment].”14

Two months earlier Joseph Smith and his wife Emma were the first couple to be “sealed” in marriage for time and eternity on 28 May 1843.15 Then in September the Presiding Patriarch blessed Olive G. Frost, one of Joseph Smith’s plural wives, that “you shall be blessed with a knowledge of the mysteries of God as well as the fullness of the Priesthood.”16

The men who received the Holy Order endowment in 1842 did not constitute a fully organized “quorum” until a woman was initiated in 1843. At 7 p.m. on 28 September 1843, Joseph Smith was “by common consent and unanimous voice chosen president of the Quorum” by eleven other previously endowed men. Next, Emma Hale Smith became the first woman to receive priesthood and its fullness.17 Willard Richards had referred to the men as “the quorum” in their prayer meeting of 11 September 1843, but Joseph did not officially become the Anointed Quorum’s president until the day he admitted the quorum’s first woman.18

As newly sustained president of the Anointed Quorum, Joseph administered the initiatory ordinances and priesthood endowment to his wife in an upper room of the Nauvoo Mansion.19 The record of “Meetings of the Anointed Quorum” shows that at this same meeting, Joseph and Emma also became the first couple to receive the “second anointing” or “fullness of the priesthood.” By this ceremony they were each “anointed & ordained to the highest & holiest order of the priesthood.”20 Later church historians in Utah deleted Emma’s name from the 1843 description of the prophet’s “second Anointing of the Highest & Holiest order.”21

However, church historians were more direct about the second anointing for Hyrum and Mary Fielding Smith. Apostle and Church Historian Wilford Woodruff specifically called the ordinance a “second anointing,” and the History of the Church describes the ordinance as: “My brother Hyrum and his wife were blessed, ordained and anointed.”22

Even in the nineteenth century church publications usually called the second anointing by such euphemisms as “fulness of the priesthood,” “higher ordinances,” “higher blessings,” or “second blessings.” However, LDS publications in both the nineteenth and [368] twentieth centuries sometimes identified the ordinance by its actual name: second anointing.23

Of the relationship between the endowment’s initiatory anointing and the second anointing, Heber C. Kimball explained: “You have been anointed to be kings and priests [or queens and priestesses], but you have not been ordained to it yet, and you have got to get it by being faithful.”24 In the second anointing, the husband and wife are ordained “King and Queen, Priest and Priestess to the Most high God for Time and through out all Eternity.”25

Thus Emma Smith began the fulfillment of the prophet’s promise to make the Relief Society “a kingdom of priests.” She was anointed to become a “queen and priestess” in the initiatory ordinance of the endowment and was ordained to the fulness of those offices by the second anointing.26 First counselor Sidney Rigdon later commented on this event: “Emma was the one to whom the female priesthood was first given.”27

A common misunderstanding claims that women receive priesthood only through temple marriage or through the second anointing—both of which a husband and wife must receive together.28 However, such was not the view expressed by many of the Anointed Quorum’s original members, who learned about the endowment directly from Joseph Smith.

Brigham Young’s 1843 diary associated the endowment of women with receiving priesthood. On 29 October 1843, for example, he noted that Thirza Cahoon, Lois Cutler, and Phebe Woodworth were “taken into the order of the priesthood.” That was the day those three women individually received their endowment. They did not join with their husbands to receive the second anointing until 12 and 15 November 1843, respectively. When his own wife received the endowment on 1 November 1843, Brigham Young wrote: “Mary A. Young admitted in to the hiest [highest] orderer [order of] Preasthood [sic].” She did not receive the second anointing with him until three weeks later.29

On 3 February 1844, William Clayton’s diary noted that he “was permitted to the ordinance of washing and anointing, and was received into the Quorum of Priesthood.” On that same occasion, Jane Bicknell Young was also endowed and received “into the Quorum of the Priesthood.” The prophet’s secretary later noted: “All [369] the first quorum with one or two exceptions were present both male and female.”30

Joseph Smith’s uncle John Smith subsequently pronounced a patriarchal blessing on Maria Turnbow which specified that it was through the endowment ceremony that a woman receives the priesthood: “Thou shalt have an Endowment in the Lord’s house [and] be clothed with the Power of the Holy Priesthood [to] be able to redeem thy fathers house …”31

Bathsheba W. Bigler Smith shared this view. She entered Joseph Smith’s Anointed Quorum in December 1843. “I have always been pleased that I had my endowments when the Prophet lived. He taught us the true order of prayer. I never like to hear a sermon without hearing something of the Prophet, for he gave us everything, every order of the priesthood,” Bathsheba remarked. “He said he had given the sisters instructions that they could administer to the sick and he wanted to make us, as the women were in Paul’s day, ‘A kingdom of priestesses.’”32

In February 1844 stake patriarch John Smith told an LDS woman that she had a right to priesthood from her birth. “Thou art of the blood of Abraham thru the Loins of Manasseh & lawful heir to the Priesthood,” he said to Louisa C. Jackson. She was not among the elite Mormon women who received the endowment before the opening of the Nauvoo temple in December 1845.33 Referring to her eventual sealing and second anointing, the patriarch added that this woman “shall possess it [priesthood] in common with thy companion.” Louisa’s blessing showed that any Mormon woman had a birthright to priesthood which depended on no man.34

John Smith’s blessings to Maria Turnbow and Louisa Jackson clearly show that a Mormon woman receives the priesthood for herself through the endowment. A Mormon woman and a Mormon man receive the higher priesthood blessings only as a couple through the sealing of marriage and through the second anointing (or “fullness”). As Apostle James E. Talmage wrote: “True, there are certain of the higher ordinances to which an unmarried woman cannot be admitted, but the rule is equally in force as to a bachelor.”35

Uncle John Smith’s church standing and experience make it difficult to regard him as misinformed when he affirmed that there is a female birthright to priesthood. A special counselor in the First [370] Presidency since 1837, John Smith became a member of the Anointed Quorum on 28 September 1843, the same day his nephew Joseph received the second anointing. From then until he blessed Louisa Jackson, John Smith received four months of private instruction from the prophet about the Holy Order of the Priesthood during the frequent meetings of the Anointed Quorum.36

In fact after his ordination as patriarch to the church in 1849, John Smith also described the ancient dimension of this female birthright to priesthood. In his blessing to Caroline Cottam in March 1853, he referred to the “Priesthood which Abraham sealed upon his daughters.” He also blessed Elizabeth Bean in May 1853: “I seal upon you all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and all the priesthood that was sealed upon the daughters of Joseph in the land of Egypt …” He made a similar statement in a blessing to another LDS woman in November 1853.37 According to the presiding patriarch, a female priesthood continued throughout the centuries until the sojourn of the twelve tribes in Egypt.38

According to first counselor Heber C. Kimball in 1857, Jewish women continued to have priesthood in the early Christian era. “Was every woman qualified to raise that child [Jesus]?” Kimball asked. “No. You will find that Mary was of the Royal Priesthood, which is after the order of God …” 39 Like her ancestors among the Hebrew women of ancient Egypt, Mary of Nazareth also held the “Royal Priesthood” which is now called Melchizedek.

On 7 December 1845 Apostle Kimball had recorded the names of twenty-three men and nineteen women who “are members of the Holy Order of the Holy Preasthood [sic] having Recieved [sic] it in the Life time of Joseph and Hirum, the Prophets.” Of these nineteen women, three had not yet received the second anointing.40 In the temple a week later, Kimball’s diary noted that Brigham Young “appointed W. W. Phelps and P. P. Pratt to instruct the brethren and sisters … more fully into the nature and importance of the blessings and powers of the Holy Priesthood which they had received …”41 Kimball’s observations that women received the priesthood through the endowment are significant because he usually expressed misogynous views.42

That same month Patriarch John Smith made it clear that a woman did not need a man to receive and use the priesthood. To a [371] woman whose husband was a non-Mormon, the patriarch said on 16 December 1845: “thou hast a right to the Priesthood by inheritance from thy Fathers, and if thy companion refuses to take his place and receive the gospel and you abide faithful you shall not be deprived of the privilege of haveing [sic] it sealed upon you in fullness in due time.” Eleven days later, he told Mehitable Duty that she would use her priesthood to bless both her non-Mormon husband and children: “the Priesthood in its fullness shall be confer[r]ed upon thee in due time [—] thou shalt have pow[e]r ov[e]r thy relatives & friends & thy husband & children to lead them whethersoever [sic] thou wilt in as much [sic] as you seek faithfully & truly to preserve them in the bonds of the new & ev[e]rlasting covenant.”43 When he gave these blessings in December 1845, John Smith was serving as the church’s presiding patriarch after Patriarch William Smith’s excommunication two months earlier.44

In a published 1845 sermon, Apostle Orson Pratt also spoke of women receiving priesthood, but he did not specify how it was conferred. “You too, my sisters, will take a part therein,” the Times and Seasons reported, “for you will hold a portion of the priesthood with your husbands, and you will thus do a work, as well as they, that will augment that glory which you will enjoy after your resurrection.”45

Another member of Joseph Smith’s Anointed Quorum, Joseph Young, also affirmed that LDS women received the Melchizedek priesthood when they were endowed—not through the sealing or second anointing with their husbands. He gave this blessing to Zina Young Card in 1878: “These blessings are yours, the blessings and power according to the holy Melchisedek Priesthood you received in your Endowments, and you shall have them.”46 Young had been senior president of the First Council of Seventy since 1837 and an ordained patriarch since 1873. Zina was his niece and Brigham Young’s daughter. In 1877, Edward Tullidge’s Women of Mormondom reflected the view expressed by general authorities for thirty-five years: “The Mormon women, as well as men, hold the priesthood.”47

Several other early LDS general authorities held similar views about women and priesthood. However, they were more tentative than Joseph Smith and those who received the prophet’s personal instruction about the endowment. “They have the Priesthood,” [372] Presiding Bishop Edward Hunter preached in 1877, “a portion of priesthood rests upon the sisters.”48 With even greater reserve, in 1888 Apostle Franklin D. Richards asked of the men “present who have received their endowments” the following question: “Is it possible that we have the holy priesthood and our wives have none of it? Do you not see, by what I have read, that Joseph [Smith] desired to confer these keys of power upon them in connection with their husbands?”49 However, Joseph Smith’s 1842 promise, Hyrum Smith’s patriarchal blessings in 1843, Brigham Young’s 1843 diary, William Clayton’s 1844-45 diary, Heber C. Kimball’s 1845 diary, and patriarchal blessings by John Smith from 1844 on and by Joseph Young in 1878 all show that LDS women receive the Melchizedek priesthood through the endowment alone.

Local patriarchs in pioneer Utah also referred to women’s priesthood rights. For example, stake patriarch Charles W. Hyde blessed a woman in 1875 that she was “a daughter of Ephraim and [had] a right to the fullness of the Priesthood and thy children to the fourth generation.” Hyde was the last man admitted to Nauvoo’s Anointed Quorum and had given similar blessings to women since his ordination as a patriarch in 1853.50 Patriarch Ola N. Liljenquist indicated that this female birthright to priesthood was by premortal foreordination. He told Mary Ann Dowdle that she “was chosen in the eternal worlds to receive the fulness of the holy Priesthood with crowns and principalities and powers. Thou art of the lineage of Ephraim and an heir to all the blessings by birthright and election.”51

Patriarch Liljenquist made explicit what is implied in Mormon theology—that women were also forechosen to priesthood authority before birth. In 1844, Joseph Smith made that specific claim regarding LDS men: “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before the world was.” This reflected Old Testament and Book of Mormon statements about foreordination of men to priesthood office and to an “order” of the priesthood (such as Melchizedek).52 However, Mormon scripture’s most detailed view of the premortal world did not differentiate between men and women in this forechoosing to authority: “Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these [not just the male ones] there were [373] many of the noble and great ones; and God … said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits [not just male spirits], and he saw that they were good …” (Abr. 3:22-23). This includes females among “all” God’s intelligences and spirits who were noble, good, and forechosen (or foreordained) to be leaders and to receive authority.

Currently for males this foreordination to authority is fulfilled in LDS priesthood office. For females this foreordination is fulfilled in their receiving the priesthood endowment and opportunities for church service. This foreordination is the theological basis for Patriarch John Smith’s blessings during Joseph Smith’s lifetime that women have a “birthright” to priesthood.

For those who marshal other proof-texts that women do not hold priesthood separate from their husbands,53 the earliest example came from Brigham Young. LDS women “have no right to meddle in the affairs of the Kingdom of God,” he preached in March 1845. “Outside the pale of this they have a right to meddle because many of them are more sagacious & shrewd & more competent [than men] to attend to things of financial affairs.” Then he added, “They never can hold the keys of the Priesthood apart from their husbands.”54

This earliest limitation on women’s ecclesiastical authority did not deny that endowed women receive a conferral of Melchizedek priesthood. Instead Brigham Young first denied that women had any claim to administrative authority within the church, “to meddle in the affairs of the Kingdom of God.” Second, he denied that a woman “can hold the keys of the Priesthood” by herself, for the reason that this right of presidency comes to women only through the second anointing.

These were not denials that Mormon women receive priesthood through the endowment, as indicated by President Young later. In January 1846, he wrote of “the anxiety menifested [sic] by the Saints [not just men] to recieve [sic] the ordinances of the Endowment & no less on our part to have them get the Keys of the Priesthood …” In 1867 he preached that God was “bestowing upon His sons and daughters, who are worthy, this priesthood, and kingly power to increase subjects and obtain territory, to extend the greatness of their kingdom forever …” In an 1874 sermon he also said: “Now brethren, the man that honors his Priesthood, the woman that [374] honors her Priesthood, will receive an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of God.”55

As indicated in Brigham Young’s 1843 diary and the Nauvoo blessings by Hyrum Smith and John Smith, women receive priesthood through the endowment. Women receive the keys of presidency with their husbands through the second anointing. This “fullness of priesthood” confers on women the right to rule and reign as eternal queens and priestesses.56

The historical evidence that women hold priesthood is also consistent with the definition of priesthood “keys” in the LDS church’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism. “The keys of the priesthood refer to the right to exercise power in the name of Jesus Christ,” explains the article and then adds, “or to preside over a priesthood function, quorum, or organizational division of the church.”57 In the previously cited, uncensored minutes of the Nauvoo Relief Society, Joseph Smith promised “keys of the kingdom” to women in 1842. As indicated, Brigham Young and Franklin D. Richards reaffirmed the conferral of priesthood keys upon women through the temple ordinances.

In concert with the Encyclopedia of Mormonism‘s first definition of priesthood keys, Apostle Richards also affirmed the right of women to “exercise power in the name of Jesus Christ” (see below). Joseph Smith’s wife Emma presided over the Relief Society, but the record does not indicate whether he promised women the keys of priesthood presidency within the church, which is the second part of the Encyclopedia‘s definition.58

As in Brigham Young’s 1845 statement, church administrative power is the real context for all subsequent denials that women have priesthood. If women have priesthood, the often unexpressed fear goes, they might challenge the administrative powers of males who have been ordained deacons, teachers, priests, elders, seventies, high priests, and apostles. Conversely the argument is that since women have not been ordained to one of those offices, they do not have priesthood. First Presidency counselor Charles W. Penrose made this argument specific in 1921: “Sisters have said to me sometimes, ‘But I hold the Priesthood with my husband.’ ‘Well,’ I asked, ‘what office do you hold in the Priesthood.’ Then they could not say much more. The sisters are not ordained to any [375] office in the Priesthood …”59

However, such reasoning ignores Joseph Smith’s earliest revelation defining the priesthood in Doctrine and Covenants 84. Ordained offices are not the priesthood but only “appendages” to the priesthood: “And again the offices of elder and bishop are necessary appendages belonging unto the high priesthood. And again, the offices of teacher and deacon are necessary appendages belonging to the lesser priesthood which priesthood was confirmed upon Aaron and his sons” (D&C 84:29-30). According to an 1835 revelation, even the apostleship is an appendage to the Melchizedek priesthood, for “all other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood” (107:5).

Priesthood exists independently of church offices, but church offices are appendages which cannot exist without the priesthood. As church president Joseph F. Smith told general conference, “If an Apostle has any authority at all, he derives it from the Melchisedek Priesthood.” He added that “all the offices in the Church are simply appendages to the Melchisedek Priesthood, and grow out of it.”60

A woman does not need an appendage to have priesthood. According to Joseph Smith’s teachings to the Relief Society and to the Anointed Quorum, a woman receives Melchizedek priesthood when she receives the endowment. The confusion of priesthood office with priesthood has characterized many contemporary discussions of women and priesthood.61

However, just as counselors in the First Presidency were “ordained” by Joseph Smith, Emma Smith was “ordained to expound the Scriptures,” and her counselors were ordained to preside over the Nauvoo Relief Society.62 In the nineteenth century the word “ordain” was also used for appointing persons to proselyting missions and to heal.63 However, I find no evidence that Mormon men ever ordained a woman to a specific priesthood office of the church.

Nevertheless, every endowed Mormon woman has received the Melchizedek priesthood from 1843 to the present. In 1912, Apostle James E. Talmage affirmed: “It is a precept of the Church that women of the Church share the authority of the Priesthood with their husbands, actual or prospective; and therefore women, whether taking the endowment for themselves or for the dead, are not ordained to specific rank in the Priesthood. Nevertheless, there is no [376] grade, rank, or phase of the temple endowment to which women are not eligible on an equality with men.”64

For the above reasons, the relationship of women to priesthood should not be compared to the LDS church’s pre-1978 denial of priesthood to anyone of black African ancestry. In that case Joseph Smith authorized the ordination of one African-American, Elijah Abel, to the offices of elder and seventy. Brigham Young reversed this and taught that it was contrary to God’s will for anyone of black African ancestry to hold priesthood. This became doctrine and all persons of black African descent were denied priesthood and the temple endowment. A subsequent prophet had to obtain new revelation allowing ordination of blacks to priesthood.65

In contrast the documents and leaders of early Mormonism affirm that women receive priesthood through the endowment. New revelation would only confirm this reality not create it.66 However, unaware of the female priesthood theology in Joseph Smith’s Anointed Quorum, current LDS presidents and apostles regard new revelation as necessary to change a twentieth-century definition that is now regarded as doctrinal. For example, President Spencer W. Kimball announced in June 1978: “We pray to God to reveal his mind and we always will, but we don’t expect any revelation regarding women and the priesthood.” This was just after his announcement of the revelation authorizing the priesthood to men of black African descent.67

Without an appeal to new revelation about female priesthood office, Eliza R. Snow, Zina D. Young, and Sarah M. Kimball presumed to organize the Relief Societies of pioneer Utah wards with women as “deaconesses,” “teachers,” and “priestesses.”68 Existing records do not show precedent in Joseph Smith’s teachings for ordaining women to church offices of deacon, elder, priest, bishop, or high priest, or for feminizing those titles.69 However, Eliza R. Snow held the honorary title of “Presidentess” as president of the Relief Society. Some women called Eliza, Zina D. Young, and Bathsheba W. Smith by the less appropriate title of “Presiding High Priestess.” This referred to their role as “president of the women’s department” of female ordinance workers in the Salt Lake Endowment House and Salt Lake temple.70

The endowment anoints Mormon women to become queens [377] and priestesses. From 1843 to the 1920s, thousands of women also received confirmation as eternal queens and priestesses through the second anointing. Currently some women have received this “fullness of the priesthood” with their husbands. In the Salt Lake temple, the second anointing still occurs in the “Holy of Holies” room which James E. Talmage wrote “is reserved for the higher ordinances in the Priesthood …”71 The second anointing for both men and women is distinct from ordination to church priesthood offices.

Like Miriam of the Old Testament and Anna of the New Testament, any LDS woman may have the gift to be a prophetess. That personal relationship with God has nothing to do with church office. It was not uncommon in the nineteenth century for patriarchs to promise a Mormon woman that “thou shalt be a natural Prophetess in the house of Joseph …”72

One church president even maintained that a Mormon woman could be a revelator for the entire church. Concerning the hymn “O My Father,” President Wilford Woodruff told the April 1894 general conference: “That hymn is a revelation, though it was given unto us by a woman—Sister Eliza R. Snow. There are a great many sisters who have the spirit of revelation. There is no reason why they should not be inspired as well as men.”73 This hymn-revelation from Eliza R. Snow to the church is one of the earliest statements in Mormon theology about a supreme goddess, the “Heavenly Mother.”74

A church president continued to affirm the role of women as prophetesses into the twentieth century. “I believe that every mother has the right to be a prophetess and to have the gift of sight, foreseeing prescience, to foresee danger and evil and to know what to do in her family and in her sphere,” Joseph F. Smith affirmed in 1913. “They are prophetesses, they are seers, they are revelators to their households and to their families …”75 Without ordination to specific offices of priesthood, women have avoided aspirations and abuses common to church offices reserved for men (D&C 121:34-40).76

For a hundred years after Joseph Smith said “I now turn the key to” LDS women, their most common and well-known priesthood activity was in performing the ordinances of healing. The focus on healing may have resulted from Brigham Young’s distrust of nineteenth-century medical practice combined with the fact that Mormon women received gynecological and obstetrical care from midwives [378] and female physicians.77 These two factors spared LDS women the questionable treatment which the male medical establishment inflicted on women throughout the rest of Victorian America.78

It is essential to recognize that nineteenth-century Mormon women performed healing ordinances by virtue of the priesthood they held, not simply as an act of faith.79 For example, in the previously cited blessing to Caroline Cottam in March 1853, the presiding patriarch sealed on her “the blessings and Priesthood which Abraham sealed upon his daughters, with power to heal the sick in your house …” In the patriarchal blessing to Elizabeth Bean two months later, John Smith also said that her priesthood gave “you the power to heal the sick and to understand all the principles of the priesthood, and mysteries that have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world.”80 Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Young wanted to limit the exercise of healing ordinances to women who had received the endowment because they believed that endowed women had received priesthood.81

LDS church leaders continued to authorize women to perform healing ordinances even after the hierarchy stopped affirming that women received priesthood through the endowment. Two factors guaranteed the continuation of these healing ordinances by LDS women. First, consecrated oil was applied directly to the affected part of the body. Second, the Victorian era’s attitudes (despite their repressiveness toward women)82 enhanced Mormon women’s role as healers. It was unthinkable for LDS leaders to allow men to touch any private region of a woman’s body to accomplish healing, especially in connection with pregnancy, childbirth, or a “female problem.”

In 1878, the Salt Lake stake president both undercut and reaffirmed the priesthood authority of women. “Women could only hold the priesthood in connection with their husbands; man held the priesthood independent of woman,” Angus M. Cannon began, then he concluded: “but women must be careful how they use the authority of the priesthood in administering to the sick.” Aside from being president of the central stake, Angus was also brother of first presidency counselor George Q. Cannon.83

His counselor in the Salt Lake stake presidency acknowledged in 1884 what he saw as the only reason that women performed [379] healing ordinances for women: “There are often cases when it would be indelicate for an Elder to anoint, especially certain parts of the body, and the sisters are called to do this and blessing follows, but in each instance let her act by request of the Priesthood.” The stake counselor next expressed his own discomfort with “sisters who claim they have been blessed and set apart by the authority of God to anoint the sick of their own sex.” He emphasized that each LDS woman “holds Priesthood in connection with her husband, but not separate from him.” He concluded with a tirade against the “vain ambition” and “grave mistakes some of our sisters have made in seeking to raise herself [sic] to an equality with man in all things.”84 This was a significant retreat from the confident affirmations of female priesthood by the men in Nauvoo’s Anointed Quorum. These 1884 statements by the Salt Lake Stake counselor were symptoms of a growing misogyny in the guise of male priesthood superiority.

By the early 1880s death had taken all the general authorities who had specifically stated that the endowment conferred priesthood upon women. Joseph and Hyrum Smith died in 1844, and John Smith joined them a decade later. Heber C. Kimball died in 1868, and Brigham Young in 1877. Sidney Rigdon had been excommunicated in 1844 but continued to affirm Nauvoo’s “female priesthood” until his death in 1876. In 1881, both Orson Pratt and Joseph Young died.

By 1888 Mormon misogyny was linked with denials of women’s authority, and this resulted in a public comment by Apostle Franklin D. Richards. He said: “Every now and again we hear men speak tauntingly of the sisters and lightly of their public duties, instead of supporting and encouraging them.” Apostle Richards added: “There are also some who look with jealousy upon the moves of the sisters as though they might come to possess some of the gifts, and are afraid they [LDS women] will get away with some of the blessings of the gospel which only men ought to possess.” Because of this “envy and jealousy,” Apostle Richards said some Mormon men “don’t like to accord to them [Mormon women] anything that will raise them up and make their talents to shine forth as the daughters of Eve and Sarah.”85 Franklin D. Richards is the only general authority to publicly acknowledge that jealousy and fear are the basis for the opposition of some Mormon men against the spiritual growth of all [380] Mormon women.86

As late as April 1896 Apostle Richards reaffirmed the independent source of women’s authority to perform healing ordinances. This senior apostle and church historian instructed LDS women that they have “the right” to say these words in administering to the sick: “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ & by virtue of the Holy Anointing which I have received.” Until 1900 the First Presidency also authorized women to use the word “seal” in this ordinance.87

Although church president Joseph F. Smith endorsed the role of women in performing healing ordinances, he diminished the basis on which they did so. President Smith and his wives jointly performed healing administrations for church members. In 1903, for example, Alice Kimball Smith anointed a stake president’s daughter and then President Smith sealed the ordinance.88 Beginning in 1908, however, Joseph F. Smith instructed that it was not necessary for a woman to be endowed to perform anointings and blessings for the sick.89 That statement removed for the first time the ordinance of healing from the priesthood conferred upon women by the endowment.

From the 1890 Manifesto ostensibly banning polygamy to the early 1900s, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve redefined many LDS doctrines. The relation of women to the priesthood endowment was only one of these redefinitions.90

However, the First Presidency continued to authorize women to anoint women for healing—only because of the church practice of using consecrated oil directly on the affected parts of the body. In December 1935 the Presiding Bishopric and First Presidency discussed a report that Apostle John A. Widtsoe had instructed missionaries in Europe to “anoint the head only.” The presidency disagreed with this change and decided that “if the sick person desires to be anointed by the elders on the afflicted part, this may be done and the sick person [be] allowed to drink some of the consecrated oil.”91

Consequently when men stopped anointing various parts of men’s bodies with consecrated oil for healing, it became possible to exclude women from anointing and blessing the sick. That policy change did not become final for another decade. In 1946 Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith informed the Relief Society general presidency [381] that it was no longer approved “for sisters to wash and anoint other sisters.” Instead, he said that women should “send for the Elders of the Church to come and administer to the sick and afflicted.”92 Thus a century of Mormon women’s sacred ordinances no longer had the approval of the church’s hierarchy. An era had officially ended.

However, some LDS women had been undermining their own priesthood ordinances by questioning whether their gift of healing had institutional approval. As early as 1913 Relief Society general president Emmeline B. Wells expressed hope that “the blessing will not be taken from us” by disapproving general authorities. And in 1935 a woman asked if it was “orthodox and sanctioned by the Church today” for women to perform such healing ordinances. Relief Society general president Louise Y. Robison replied that “it is our earnest hope that we may continue to have that privilege, and up to the present time the Presidents of the Church have always allowed it to us.”93 Female blessings and healings could not long survive such tentativeness expressed from top to bottom in the Mormon women’s ranks.

The Book of Mormon warned that gifts of the spirit such as healing would die only through unbelief (Moro. 10:8, 11, 19, 26). LDS women have the same access to gifts of the spirit as men and can exercise their faith in healing. Anciently the apostles tried to circumscribe the exercise of spiritual gifts by condemning a person who healed the sick but who was not a follower of Jesus. Jesus answered their objection with the words, “Forbid him not; for he that is not against us is for us” (Luke 9:50). Mormon men need this biblical reminder updated, “Forbid her not, for she that is not against us is for us.” No woman needs a man’s permission to lay her hands on her child’s head and utter a blessing. Whether by priesthood endowment or spiritual gift, an LDS woman may give a blessing to anyone, in or out of her family, in or out of the church.94

To some LDS men this is a frightening prospect. Several even reportedly threatened to kill a devoted Mormon who recently suggested that women should have the opportunity for ordination to every priesthood office.95 A death threat has no bearing on what God confers on women, but it is unfortunate evidence of misogyny in modern Mormonism.

Such death threats are also an extreme version of the attitude [382] about women expressed in a well-publicized statement by a current general authority. If the female portion of humankind were to receive the priesthood, he wrote, then “the male would be so far below the female in power and influence that there would be little or no purpose for his existence [—] in fact [he] would probably be eaten by the female as is the case with the black widow Spider.”96 Perhaps if persons with that view learn that every endowed LDS woman already has the priesthood, they will not feel threatened by women who desire to exercise the gifts of God to them in faith, power and humility.

In any event the contemporary cliché “Women hold the priesthood only when they hold their husbands” is as demeaning as it is untrue. Neither should priesthood-endowed women be limited by the condescension of one church leader: “We can hold it [priesthood] and share it with our wives.” Nor constrained by his claim that every Mormon husband “needs to feel dominant … Young sisters, if you take that role from him, the one he needs, you reduce his manhood …”97 That is very close to the other general authority’s view of independent women as man-eating spiders. In the contemporary LDS church, there are uncomfortable evidences for Apostle Franklin D. Richards’ century-old observation that jealousy and fear motivate LDS men to limit LDS women. (See above.)

In fact, LDS church president Spencer W. Kimball spoke against gender condescension. “Our sisters do not wish to be indulged or to be treated condescendingly; they desire to be respected and revered as our sisters and our equals,” he told general priesthood conference. “I mention these things, my brethren, … because in some situations our behavior is of doubtful quality.”98 President Kimball also wrote a foreward to the Brigham Young University publication of Hugh W. Nibley’s discourse on the ideal of marriage in God’s Eden: “There is no patriarchy or matriarchy in the Garden; the two supervise each other … and [are] just as dependent on each other.”99

In effect, nearly all authoritative statements by modern apostles have been inaccurate concerning the matter of women holding the priesthood. Church historian and apostle Joseph Fielding Smith juxtaposed such an inaccurate perception with its actual contradiction: “Women do not hold the priesthood, but if they are faithful and true, they will become priestesses and queens in the Kingdom [383] of God, and that implies that they will be given authority.”100 As indicated by the earlier quotes from Elder Smith’s own relatives in the Mormon hierarchy, it is through the temple ordinances that women receive priesthood on earth in training for their role as queens and priestesses in eternity.

In 1958 Elder Smith highlighted this contradiction between the official denial that women have priesthood and the actual authority they have through the temple endowment. He began with the unambiguous declaration that “the sisters have not been given the Priesthood.” However, he immediately undercut his argument by describing women’s role in the temple: “And you sisters who labor in the House of the Lord can lay your hands upon your sisters, and with divine authority, because the Lord recognizes positions which you occupy … because the Lord has placed authority upon you.” He added that temple ordinances performed by women are “binding just as thoroughly as are the blessings that are given by the men who hold the Priesthood.” His only resolution for the paradox between modern denial and temple experience: “Authority and Priesthood are two different things.”101 That distinction works only because contemporary Mormon theology gives two meanings to the word “authority.”

“Authority” means both power and permission. In the first sense authority is the priesthood power of God. Through the endowment both men and women receive God’s authority or power of the Melchizedek priesthood. Men also receive priesthood power through ordination to specific office. The second sense of authority is the permission of the church. Neither males nor females can exercise their priesthood without permission of the church.102 However, both males and females have received such permission from the church in various ways.

For LDS males conferral of power and the permission to exercise priesthood in the church come in stages. First, males are ordained to priesthood office which is defined in terms of administering to others. The priesthood that they receive in the endowment is the same priesthood power conferred on them in stages by ordination to office.103 The offices of “king and priest” come provisionally to men through the endowment and in fullness through the second anointing. As Brigham Young preached in 1843, “For any person [384] to have the fullness of that priesthood, he must be a king and a priest … A man may be anointed king and priest [in the endowment] long before he receives his kingdom [in the second anointing].”104 Second, males receive formal permission from the church to exercise their priesthood in behalf of others.

There are two ways in which the LDS church gives formal authority for males to exercise the priesthood they receive by ordination and the endowment. First, through the ordinance of being “set apart”—as a missionary, temple ordinance worker, or church presiding officer such as stake president or auxiliary president. Second, church leaders give verbal “authority” for males to use their priesthood for specific occasions or ordinances such as administering the sacrament, baptism, confirmation, and administering to the sick through anointing, sealing the anointing, and blessing. This applies to Mormon males from the age of twelve onward.

For LDS women Melchizedek priesthood does not come in stages of ordination but in the temple endowment. Historically LDS women also have received church authority to exercise their Melchizedek priesthood power in behalf of others. Like LDS boys and men, females receive the ordinance of being set apart as missionaries, temple ordinance workers, and presiding officers such as auxiliary presidents.105 And as already discussed LDS church leaders have given verbal and written authority for LDS women to perform priesthood ordinances including blessing and healing. Church policy revoked that permission in 1946 but could reinstate it at any time. In addition LDS church leaders could extend permission for endowed women to administer the sacrament, baptize, confirm, and confer the gift of the Holy Ghost, since those ordinances are within the powers of anyone who has received the Melchizedek priesthood.

In today’s church a woman who has received the temple endowment has more priesthood power than a boy who holds the office of priest. However, the priest has more permission to exercise his priesthood than does the endowed woman to exercise hers.

The temple endowment has not changed in fundamental ways since its introduction. The endowment gives today exactly what it conferred from 1842 to 1846. During those four years Joseph Smith and those he endowed all affirmed that women receive the Melchizedek priesthood when they receive the endowment. The docu[385]ments of nineteenth-century Mormon history also indicate that women have been heirs and recipients of the Melchizedek priesthood since the days of biblical patriarchs. Melchizedek priesthood conferral has always been independent of the offices of the LDS church.

Mormon women already have God’s priesthood of spiritual power. Without asking permission they may draw on the power of the Melchizedek priesthood that is theirs by birthright and by divine endowment. However, it is necessary for endowed women to receive permission of the church to use their priesthood in church settings to administer the sacrament, baptize, confirm, or administer temple ordinances. Without ordination to priesthood offices, each endowed LDS woman already has the opportunity to fulfill in her life the prophet’s promise: “I now turn the key to you in the name of God.”106


D. Michael Quinn holds a Ph.D. in history from Yale University. He resigned in 1988 from Brigham Young University as full professor and director of the graduate history program. Since then he has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and the Huntington Library. His recent publications include “Religion in the American West,” in Under An Open Sky: Rethinking America’s Western Past, and “Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism,” in Fundamentalisms and Society: Reclaiming the Sciences, the Family, and Education. He lives in Salt Lake City. “Mormon Women Have Had the Priesthood Since 1843” is an expansion of his “Response,” Sunstone 6 (Sept.-Oct. 1981): 26-27.

1. Carol Cornwall Madsen, “Mormon Women and the Temple: Toward a New Understanding,” in Maureen Ursenbach Beecher and Lavina Fielding Anderson, eds., Sisters in the Spirit: Mormon Women in Historical and Cultural Perspective (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987), 87-88. See also Alma P. Burton, “Endowment,” and Allen Claire Rozsa, “Temple Ordinances,” in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism: The History, Scripture, Doctrine, and Procedure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5 vols. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992), 2:454-56, 4:1444.

2. Claudia Lauper Bushman, “Mystics and Healers,” in Bushman, ed., Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah (Salt Lake City: Olympus Publishing Co., 1976), 1-23; Linda King Newell, “A Gift Given, A Gift Taken: Washing, Anointing, and Blessing the Sick Among Mormon Women,” Sunstone 6 (Sept.-Oct. 1981): 16-25, reprinted in D. Michael Quinn, ed., The New Mormon History: Revisionist Essays on the Past (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1991); Linda King Newell, “Gifts of the Spirit: Women’s Share,” in Beecher and Anderson, Sisters in Spirit, 111-50; Betina Lindsey, “Woman as Healer in the Modern Church,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 23 (Fall 1990): 39-61, 63-76. Martha Nibley Beck, “Women, Roles of Historical and Sociological Development,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4:1574, briefly acknowledges that early Mormon “women received personal revelation, healed the sick, prophesied future events, and performed various other actions that required spiritual gifts.”

3. Discussion of this issue has appeared in Carol Cornwall Madsen, “Mormon Women and the Struggle for Definition: The Nineteenth Century Church,” Sunstone 6 (Nov.-Dec. 1981): 7-11, reprinted in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 14 (Winter 1981): 40-47; Margaret M. Toscano, “The Missing Rib: The Forgotten Place of Queens and Priestesses in the Establishment of Zion,” Sunstone 10 (July 1985): 16-22; Jill Mulvay Derr, “An Endowment of Power: The LDS Tradition,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 16 (Autumn 1984): 17-21; Linda King Newell, “The Historical Relationship of Mormon Women and the Priesthood,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 18 (Autumn 1985): 21-32; Madsen, “Mormon Women and the Temple,” in Sisters in Spirit, 80-110; and Paul James Toscano and Margaret Merrill Toscano, Strangers in Paradox: Explorations in Mormon Theology (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990), 179-97.

4. Joseph Smith statement, 30 Mar. 1842, in microfilm copies of original minutes of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, Joseph Smith Collection, at the following locations: Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; the Archives, History Commission, The Auditorium, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Independence, Missouri; and in transcript copy in Linda King Newell papers, Western Americana, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City; Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980), 110; Jill Mulvay Derr, Janath Russell Cannon, and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, Women of Covenant: The Story of Relief Society (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 43, 53.

In citing manuscript sources, I give priority to locations which are available to the general public. For sources to which access is restricted, my verbatim typescripts are also available.

5. Nauvoo Relief Society minutes, 30 Mar. 1842. Compare with the altered version of these minutes in B. H. Roberts, ed., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978), 4:570. See Ehat and Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, 137n4 for their comment on the censorship of this entry in HC.

Only three scholars have examined the significant problem of unannounced changes within original documents as they appear in the official History of the Church. Cited here as HC, this official history has the nickname elsewhere as “Documentary History of the Church” or “Joseph Smith’s History.” See Dean C. Jessee, “The Writing of Joseph Smith’s History,” Brigham Young University Studies 11 (Spring 1971): 439-73; Jesse, “The Reliability of Joseph Smith’s History,” Journal of Mormon History 3 (1976): 23-46; Howard C. Searle, “Early Mormon Historiography: Writing the History of the Mormons, 1830-1858,” Ph.D. diss., University of California at Los Angeles, 1979; Jessee, “Authorship of the History of Joseph Smith: A Review Essay,” Brigham Young University Studies 21 (Winter 1981): 101-22; Jessee, “Return to Carthage: Writing the History of Joseph Smith’s Martyrdom,” Journal of Mormon History 8 (1981): 3-19; Jessee, Has Mormon History Been Deliberately Falsified? (Sandy, UT: Mormon Miscellaneous, 1982); Van Hale, “Writing Religious History: Comparing the History of the Church with the Synoptic Gospels,” Restoration Studies 3 (1986): 133-38; Jessee, “Priceless Words and Fallible Memories: Joseph Smtith as Seen in the Effort to Preserve His Discourses,” and Searle, “Willard Richards as Historian,” Brigham Young University Studies 31 (Spring 1991): 19-40 and 41-62 (esp. 56-60); Searle, “History of the Church (History of Joseph Smith),” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:648. Jessee, Searle, and Hale all emphasize the conscientious efforts of early church historians to recontruct sermons and narrative accounts from sketchy originals.

However, these authors have generally ignored the more essential problems in the seven-volume History of the Church. First, HC deleted sigiificant entries in “The History of Joseph Smith” as first published by Times and Seasons, Deseret News, and Millennial Star. Despite their polemics, Jerald and Sandra Tanner have produced the only extensive comparison of HC with those published versions in their Changes in Joseph Smith’s History (Salt Lake City: Modern Microfilm, [1964]).

Second (and more important), the officially published History of the Church also deleted evidence, introduced anachronisms, even reversed meanings in manuscript minutes and other documents which were detailed and explicit in their original form. My forthcoming book on the LDS hierarchy discusses how some of these changes create problems for understanding developments in LDS history before 1835.

In 1835 the Doctrine and Covenants began a policy of retroactive editing by reversing previous meanings, adding concepts and whole paragraphs to the texts of previously published revelations. The official alteration of pre-1835 revelations is the more fundamental context for the later pattern of editing in the History of the Church. For analysis of changes in revelatory texts, see Melvin Joseph Peterson, “A Study of the Nature and Significance of the Changes in the Revelations as Found in a Comparison of the Book of Commandments and Subsequent Editions of the Doctrine and Covenants,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1955; Richard P. Howard, Restoration Scriptures: A Study of Their Textual Development (Independence, MO: herald House, 1969), 196-263; Robert J. Woodford, “The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants,” 3 vols., Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1974; Milton V. Backman, Jr., The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830-1838 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983): 214-15; Woodford, “The Story of the Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign 14 (Dec. 1984): 32-39; and Woodford, “Doctrine and Covenants Editions,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1:242.

6. “LDS Women’s Place? New Conflict Emerges,” Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Apr. 1992, A-10. President of Seventy Loren C. Dunn “had the quotations removed, saying he could not justify them to his superiors.”

7. Minutes of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, 28 Apr. 1842, 38; Ehat and Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, 117. This passage was also changed in HC 4:604.

Derr, Cannon, and Beecher, Women of Covenant, 47, delete the “as well as to the Elders” reference in the original minutes. This deletion leads to the claim on page 447n80 that the original minutes are unclear as to whether “the Prophet was referring to Relief Society or priesthood leaders ‘placed at the head to lead.’” The authors do not explain if this use of the manuscript minutes was their decision or was part of the “counsel” they received from “members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and the Quorum of Seventy” (xii).

8. For explanation of “signs and tokens” and “true order of prayer,” see Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (Liverpool and London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-86), 2:31, 18:132, 19:250; Heber C. Kimball diary (written by William Clayton), 11, 21 Dec. 1845, in George D. Smith, ed., An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton (Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1991), 205, 208, 221, 226, 228; Hugh W. Nibley, “The Early Christian Prayer Circle,” and D. Michael Quinn, “Latter-day Saint Prayer Circles,” Brigham Young University Studies 19 (Fall 1978): 41-78, 80-81; George S. Tate, “Prayer Circle,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism 3:1120-21; Sheri L. Dew, Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987), 190.

9. Minutes of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, 28 Apr. 1842, 40; Ehat and Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, 118; Sheri L. Dew, “’Something Extraordinary,’” Ensign 22 (Mar. 1992): 52. This passage was also changed in HC 4:607. Derr, Cannon, and Beecher, Women of Covenant, 47, quote the unaltered minutes, and pages 49, 74 refer to the alteration of this quote in official history.

10. Jean Bickmore White, “Gentle Persuaders: Utah’s First Women Legislators,” and Raye Price, “Utah’s Leading Ladies of the Arts,” Utah Historical Quarterly 38 (Winter 1970): 31-49, 65-85; Leonard J. Arrington, “Blessed Damozels: Women in Mormon History,” and Dixie Snow Huefner, “A Survey of Women General Board Members,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 6 (Summer 1971): 22-31, 61-70; Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, “Three Women and the Life of the Mind,” Utah Historical Quarterly 43 (Winter 1975): 26-40; all essays in Vicky Burgess-Olson, Sister Saints (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1976); all essays in Claudia L. Bushman, ed., Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah (Salt Lake City: Olympus Publishing Co., 1976), esp. Judith Rasmussen Dushku’s “Feminists,” 177-97; Jill Mulvay Derr, “Eliza R. Snow and the Woman Question,” Brigham Young University Studies 16 (Winter 1976): 250-64; Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, “Under the Sunbonnets: Mormon Women with Faces,” Brigham Young University Studies 16 (Summer 1976): 471-84; Jill C. Mulvay, “The Liberal Shall Be Blessed: Sarah M. Kimball,” Utah Historical Quarterly 44 (Summer 1976): 205-21; Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, “The Eliza Enigma: The Life and Legend of Eliza R. Snow,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 11 (Spring 1978): 30-43; Beverly Beeton, “Woman Suffrage in Territorial Utah,” and Miriam B. Murphy, “The Working Women of Salt Lake City: A Review of the Utah Gazetteer, 1892-93,” Utah Historical Quarterly 46 (Spring 1978): 100-20, 121-35; Chris Rigby Arrington, “The Finest of Fabrics: Mormon Women and the Silk Industry in Early Utah,” Utah Historical Quarterly 46 (Fall 1978): 376-96; Jill Mulvay Derr and Ann Vest Lobb, “Women in Early Utah,” and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher and Kathryn MacKay, “Women in Twentieth Century Utah,” in Richard D. Poll et al., Utah’s History (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1978); Leonard J. Arrington, “Persons for All Seasons: Women in Mormon History,” Brigham Young University Studies 20 (Fall 1979): 39-58; Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, “Women’s Work on the Mormon Frontier,” Utah Historical Quarterly 49 (Summer 1981): 276-90; Carol Cornwall Madsen, “Mormon Women and the Struggle for Definition: The Nineteenth Century Church,” Sunstone 6 (Nov.-Dec. 1981): 7-11, reprinted in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 14 (Winter 1981): 40-47; Jill Mulvay Derr and C. Brooklyn Derr, “Outside the Mormon Hierarchy: Alternative Aspects of Institutional Power,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 15 (Winter 1982): 21-43; Carol Cornwall Madsen, “Emmeline B. Wells: ‘Am I Not a Woman and a Sister?'” Brigham Young University Studies 22 (Spring 1982): 161-78; Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, “The ‘Leading Sisters’: A Female Hierarchy in Nineteenth-Century Mormon Society,” Journal of Mormon History 9 (1982): 25-39, reprinted in Quinn, New Mornmon History; Carol Cornwall Madsen, “Emmeline B. Wells: A Voice for Mormon Women,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 2 (1982): 11-22; Kenneth W. Godfrey, Audrey Godfrey, and Jill Mulvay Derr, Women’s Voices: An Unwritten History of the Church, 1830-1900 (Salt Lke City: Deseret Book, 1982); Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, “Women in Winter Quarters,” Sunstone 8 (July-Aug. 1983): 11-19; Joan Iversen, “Feminist Implications of Mormon Polygyny,” Feminist Studies 10 (Fall 1984): 505-22; Carol Cornwall Madsen, “A Mormon Woman in Victorian America,” Ph.D. diss., University of Utah, 1985; Michael Vinson, “From Housework to Office Clerk: Utah’s Working Women, 1870-1900,” Utah Historical Quarterly 53 (Fall 1985): 326-35; Anne Firor Scott, “Mormon Women, Other Women: Paradoxes and Challenges,” and Carol Cornwall Madsen, “Mormon Missionary Wives in Nineteenth Century Polynesia,” Journal of Mormon History 13 (1986-87): 3-19, 61-85; all essays in the previously cited Beecher and Anderson, Sisters in Spirit (1987); Leonard J. Arrington, “Modern Lysistratas: Mormon Women in the International Peace Movement,” Journal of Mormon History 15 (1989): 89-104; Leonard J. Arrington, “The Legacy of Early Latter-day Saint Women,” Tom Morain, “A Review,” and Imogene Goodyear, “A Feminist Critique,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 10 (1990): 3-17, 18-20, 21-23; Lola Van Wagenen, “In Their Own Behalf: The Politicization of Mormon Women and the 1870 Franchise,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 24(Winter 1991):31-43.

For the contrast with the twentieth-century condition of LDS women, see Lawrence Foster, “From Frontier Activism to Neo-Victorian Domesticity: Mormon Women in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” Journal of Mormon History 6 (1979): 3-21; Nola W. Wallace, “The Contingency of Woman,” Sunstone 13 (Apr. 1989): 7-10.

11. Book of the Law of the Lord, 28 Apr. 1842, in Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith, Vol. 2 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 378-79. This emphasis on “gifts of the priesthood” is absent in the HC 4:603 version of the prophet’s remarks on women healing the sick and casting out devils.

12. Dallin H. Oaks, “The Relief Society and the Church,” Ensign 22 (May 1992): 36. In quoting from Nauvoo Relief Society minutes, Elder Oaks does not cite the prophet’s promise “to make of this Society a ‘kingdom of priests’ as in Enoch’s day.” On the same page, Elder Oaks also describes Joseph Smith’s instructions about women “laying on hands to bless one another” as though this referred to the initiatory ordinances of the endowment without acknowledging that healing was the actual context of the prophet’s remarks. Then with no mention that Mormon women performed healing ordinances from the 1840s to the 1940s, Elder Oaks continues: “During the century that followed, as temples became accessible to most members, ‘proper order’ required that these and other sacred practices be confined within those temples.” See discussion of healing ordinances below. Undoubtedly, the above were unintentional mistakes in the use of historical evidence.

13. For discussion of this see HC 5:1-2 and 2n; Robert Bruce Flanders, Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965), 271-73; Quinn, “Latter-day Saint Prayer Circles”; Andrew F. Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Mormon Succession Question,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1982; David John Buerger, “’The Fullness of the Priesthood’: The Second Anointing in Latter-day Saint Theology and Practice,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 16 (Spring 1983): 10-44; Beecher, “Women in Winter Quarters,” 15; Buerger, “The Development of the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 20 (Winter 1987): 44-52. The first endowed men were Joseph Smith, James Adams, Hyrum Smith, William Law, Newel K. Whitney, George Miller, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, and William Marks. See Book of the Law of the Lord, 4 May 1842 in Jessee, Papers of Joseph Smith, 2:380; Heber C. Kimball diary, entry after 19 Oct. 1843, in Stanley B. Kimball, ed., On the Potter’s Wheel: The Diaries of Heber C. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1987), 55-56; Heber C. Kimball sermon, 21 Dec. 1845, in George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 222 (Smith identifies George J. Adams, instead of James Adams, as one of the first endowed men; George J. Adams never received the endowment). Because of their later disaffection, HC 5:1-2 omitted the names of Law and Marks who were included in the original entry in the Book of the Law of the Lord, 4 May 1842.

14. Hyrum Smith patriarchal blessing to Leonora Taylor, 28 July 1843, archives, Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter LDS archives); Madsen, “Mormon Women and the Temple,” 101.

15. Scott H. Faulring, ed., An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1989), 381.

16. Hyrum Smith patriarchal blessing to Olive G. Frost, 17 Sept. 1843, LDS archives.

17. “Meetings of anointed Quorum [—] Journalizings,” 28 Sept. 1843, original title of loose sheets beginning 26 May 1843, Joseph Smith papers, microfilm at Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, and at RLDS Archives, The Auditorium, Independence, Missouri; also slightly different entry in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 416. The “Meetings of anointed Quorum [—] Journalizings” shows that in six meetings from 26 May to the morning of 28 September 1843 the endowed men were consistently called a “Council.” This document’s first reference to “Quorum” is for the evening meeting on 28 September. The endowed men who voted for Joseph Smith as president of the Anointed Quorum were Hyrum Smith, George Miller, Newel K. Whitney, Willard Richards, John Smith, John Taylor, Amasa Lyman, Lucien Woodworth, John M. Bernhisel, William Law, and William Marks. See next note.

18. Willard Richards diary, 11 Sept. 1843, LDS archives; the “quorum” reference for 28 September was in “History of Joseph Smith,” Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star 22 (31 Mar. 1860): 198, but was deleted in HC 6:31. See previous note.

19. Derr, Cannon, Beecher, Women of Covenant, 55.

20. “Meetings of anointed Quorum [—] Journalizings,” 28 Sept. 1843; also slightly different entry in Joseph Smith diary, 28 Sept. 1843, in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 416. Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinance,” 76-96; Buerger, “The Fullness of the Priesthood,” 10-44; Buerger, “The Development of the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony,” 44-52; Madsen, “Mormon Women and the Temple,” 102.

21. Wilford Woodruff, “Historian’s Private Journal,” 26 Feb. 1867, LDS archives, introduced the phrase “second Anointing” into the quote from the prophet’s diary for 28 September 1843. Apostle Woodruff did this after consultation with Church Historian George A. Smith. HC 6:39 dropped Elder Woodruff’s addition and then altered the wording and meaning of the 1843 quote.

22. Woodruff, “Historian’s Private Journal,” 26 Feb. 1867; Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star 22 (7 Apr. 1860): 214; HC 6:46.

23. Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star 37 (2 Feb. 1875): 66; Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith to presidents of stakes and bishops of wards, 6 Nov. 1891, LDS archives; Young Woman’s Journal 5 (Aug. 1894): 11; Hyrum L. Andrus, Joseph Smith, the Man and the Seer (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1961), 125n; Nels B. Lundwall (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1962), 272; Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff … (1909; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1965), 198; James R. Clark, ed., Messages of the First Presidency, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-71), 3:228.

24. Heber C. Kimball diary, 21 Dec. 1845, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 227.

25. Phinehas Richards diary, 22 Jan. 1846, LDS archives, gives this description the day he receives the second anointing. Daniel Tyler, “Temples,” Juvenile Instructor 15 (15 May 1880): 111, used the term “fullness of the priesthood” and said that this ordinance makes them “kings and priests, queens and priestesses to God …” First Presidency counselor George Q. Cannon edited the Juvenile Instructor at this time.

26. Concerning the corresponding ordinances for males, first counselor George Q. Cannon stated on 2 August 1883: “Brother Nuttall whispers to me a thing with which you are no doubt all familiar; that in the washing that takes place in the first endowment, they are washed that they might become clean from the blood of this generation—that is, I suppose, in the same way they are ordained to be Kings and Priests—that is, that ordinance does not make them clean from the blood of this generation any more than it makes them Kings and Priests. It requires another ordinance [the second anointing] to make them Kings and Priests.” See Merle H. Graffam, ed., Salt Lake School of the Prophets: Minute Book, 1883 (Palm Desert, CA: ULC Press, 1981), 14, emphasis in original.

27. Sidney Rigdon to Stephen Post, [June] 1868, LDS archives (it should be noted that Rigdon had left the LDS church more than twenty years earlier); Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinances,” 103; Buerger, “The Fullness of the Priesthood,” 23; HC 6:363, 392. Also Ian G. Barber, “The Ecclesiastical Position of Women in Two Mormon Trajectories,” Journal of Mormon History 14 (1988): 63-79, analyzes priesthood promises and activities of women within two post-1844 Mormon groups: Rigdon’s “Children of Zion” and Alpheus Cutler’s “Church of Christ.” Rigdon did not enter the Anointed Quorum to receive the endowment until 11 May 1844. Joseph Smith might have been willing to allow him to receive the second anointing, but Rigdon’s wife was in Pittsburgh and Rigdon left Nauvoo in June. By the time he returned in August, he was a rival to Brigham Young, who was in charge of all temple ordinances. Therefore Rigdon never received the second anointing before his excommunication in September 1844.

28. See Buerger, “The Fullness of the Priesthood”; Barber, “Two Mormon Trajectories,” 72.

29. Brigham Young diary, 29 Oct., 1 Nov. 1843, copies in Donald R. Moorman [sic] papers, Archives, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, and in H. Michael Marquardt papers, Western Americana, Marriott Library, University of Utah; “Meetings of anointed Quorum [—] Journalizings,” 29 Oct., 1 Nov. 1843; Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 426-27; Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinances,” 102; Buerger, “The Fullness of the Priesthood,” 23.

30. William Clayton diary, 3 Feb. 1844, 7 Dec. 1845, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 125, 193; “Meetings of the anointed Quorum”; Joseph Smith diary, 3 Feb. 1844, in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 444; Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinances,” 103; Buerger, “The Fullness of the Priesthood,” 23.

31. John Smith patriarchal blessing to Maria Louisa Turnbow, 7 Nov. 1845, in William S. Harwell, The Matriarchal Priesthood and Emma’s Right to Succession as Presiding High Priestess and Queen (Salt Lake City: Collier’s Publishing Co., 1991), 7.

32. Bathsheba W. Smith statement, 9 June 1905, Pioneer Stake Relief Society minutes, LDS archives, quoted in part by Derr, Cannon, and Beecher, Women of Covenant, 53-54; Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinances,” 103. As previously quoted from the minutes of 30 March 1842, Joseph Smith’s original words were that he wanted to make the Relief Society “a ‘kingdom of priests’ as in Enoch’s day—as in Paul’s day.”

33. Here is a chronological list of all women who received the endowment and second anointing in the Anointed Quorum prior to the opening of the Nauvoo temple. A parenthesis gives the surnames of their marriage relationships which existed before these temple ordinances.

Name Date Anointed and Endowed Second Anointing
Emma Hale (Smith) 28 Sep. 1843 28 Sep. 1843
Jane Silverthorne (Law) 1 Oct. 1843 did not receive
Rosannah Robinson (Marks) 1 Oct. 1843 22 Oct. 1843
Elizabeth Davis (Brackenbury, Durfee, Smith) 1 Oct. 1843 in Nauvoo temple
Mary Fielding (Smith) 1 Oct. 1843 8 Oct. 1843
Harriet Denton (Adams) 8 Oct. 1843 in temple
Elizabeth Ann Smith (Whitney) 8 Oct. 1843 27 Oct. 1843
Clarissa Lyman (Smith) 8 Oct. 1843 26 Feb. 1844
Lucy Mack (Smith) 8 Oct. 1843 12 Nov. 1843
(with dead husband)
Lois Lathrop (Cutler) 29 Oct. 1843 15 Nov. 1843
Thirza Stiles (Cahoon) 29 Oct. 1843 12 Nov. 1843
Phebe Watrous (Woodworth) 29 Oct. 1843 in temple
Mercy R. Fielding (Thompson, Smith) 1 Nov. 1843* in temple
Jenetta Richards (Richards) 1 Nov. 1843 27 Jan. 1844
Leonora Cannon (Taylor) 1 Nov. 1843 30 Jan. 1844
Mary Ann Angel (Young) 1 Nov. 1843 22 Nov. 1843
Vilate Murray (Kimball) 1 Nov. 1843 20 Jan. 1844
Lucy Gunn (Morley) 23 Dec. 1843 26 Feb. 1844
Permelia Darrow (Lott) 23 Dec. 1843 4 Feb. 1844
Fanny Young (Carr, Murray, Smith) 23 Dec. 1843 in temple
Phoebe W. Carter (Woodruff) 23 Dec. 1843 28 Jan. 1844
Bathsheba W. Bigler (Smith) 23 Dec. 1843 31 Jan. 1844
Catherine Curtis (Spencer) 23 Dec. 1843 bef. 7 Dec. 1845
Sally Waterman (Phelps) 23 Dec. 1843 2 Feb. 1844
Hannah Greenwood (Fielding) bet. 23 Dec. 1843 and 3 Feb. 1844 in temple
Agnes Coolbrith (Smith, Smith) bet. 23 Dec. 1843 and 3 Feb. 1844 in temple
Thankful Halsey (Hand, Pratt) by proxy before 21 Jan. 1844 proxy 2d. anoint.,
21 Jan. 1844
Jane A. Bicknell (Young) 3 Feb. 1844 12 Jan. 1845
Marinda N. Johnson (Hyde, Richards, Smith) 18 Feb. 1844 in temple
Mary Catherine Fry (Miller) by 27 June 1844 (probably bet. 23 Dec. 1843 and 3 Feb. 1844) 15 Aug. 1844
Sarah M. Bates (Pratt) accepted 22 Dec. 1844, but not end. until Nauvoo temple in temple
Ruth Moon (Clayton) accepted 22 Dec. 1844 but not end. until 29 Mar. 1845 in temple
Mary L. Tanner (Lyman) 22 Dec. 1844 18 Apr. 1845
Mary A. Frost (Stearns, Pratt) accepted 22 Dec. 1844 but not end. until 26 Jan. 1845 in temple
Louisa Be(a)man (Smith, Young) 26 Jan. 1845 in temple
Sarah Ann Whitney (Smith) 26 Jan. 1845 21 Mar. 1845
Lucy Decker (Seeley, Young) 26 Jan. 1845 21 Mar. 1845
Eliza R. Snow (Smith, Young) 26 Jan. 1845 in temple
Helen M. Kimball (Smith) 26 Jan. 1845 in temple
Olive G. Frost (Smith, Young) 26 Jan. 1845 by proxy only
Mary Judd (Page) 26 Jan. 1845 did not receive
Zina D. Huntington (Jacobs, Smith, Young) 30 Jan. 1845 in temple
Mary Elizabeth Rollins (Lightner, Smith) 30 Jan. 1845 (prob.) at Parley Pratt’s in temple
Sylvia P. Sessions (Lyon, Smith, Kimball) bet. 30 Jan. and 20 Mar. 1845 (?) 26 Apr. 1845
or in temple
Harriet Page Wheeler (Decker, Young) bet. 30 Jan. and 20 Mar. 1845 in temple
Mary A. Be(a)man (Noble) bet. 30 Jan. and 20 Mar. 1845 in temple
“E.B.” (probably Elizabeth Brotherton [Pratt] or Emmeline B. [Woodward, Whitney]) 25 Mar. 1845 in temple
Margaret Moon (Clayton) 29 Mar. 1845 in temple

*Historians have assumed that the “Sister Fielding” initiation reference on this date was Hannah Greenwood (Fielding). Nevertheless, when both husband and wife were members of the Anointed Quorum, the woman never entered first. Hannah Fielding had no special status that would have given her an initiation date five weeks before her husband’s. However, Mercy Fielding was Hyrum Smith’s secret plural wife, and the widow of Joseph Smith’s private secretary.

Sources: “Minutes of the anointed Quorum[—]Journalizings”; Joseph Smith’s diaries in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record; Brigham Young diaries; Newel K. Whitney diary (1833-46), Archives, Lee Library, Birgham Young University; Willard Richards diary, esp. 21, 25 Mar. 1845; Zina D. Huntington Jacobs diary, 30 Jan., 3 July 1845, in Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, ed., “‘All Things Move in Order in the City’: The Nauvoo Diary of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs,” Brigham Young University Studies 19 (Spring 1979): 302, 315; John Taylor diary, 3 July 1845, in Dean C. Jessee, “The John Taylor Nauvoo Journal, January 1845-September 1845,” Brigham Young University Studies 23 (Summer 1983): 1-96; Scott G. Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, 9 vols., plus index (Murray, UT: Signature Books, 1983-85, 1991); Wilford Woodruff’s Historian’s Private Journal (1858-78); Heber C. Kimball diary, 26 Jan., 21 Mar., 18 Apr., 26 Apr. 1845, in Kimball, On the Potter’s Wheel; William Clayton diary, 20 Sept., 22 Dec. 1844, 26 Jan., 14, 31 Mar. 1845, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle; Mary E. Lightner to Emmeline B. Wells, [summer] 1905, Lee Library, Brigham Young University; Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinances,” 102-103; Buerger, “The Fullness of the Priesthood,” 23.

34. John Smith patriarchal blessing to Louisa C. Jackson, 6 Feb. 1844, RLDS archives.

35. James E. Talmage The House of the Lord: A Study of Holy Sanctuaries, Ancient and Modern (Salt Lake City: “By the Church,” 1912), 94. This requires acknowledgement that Wilford Woodruff’s diary says the following men received the second anointing alone, since their wives had not yet been endowed and were not present: Parley P. Pratt on 21 January 1844, Orson Hyde on 25 January 1844, Orson Pratt on 26 January 1844, and William Clayton on 3 February 1844. Joseph Smith’s diaries indicate the same thing. The reference to Clayton is incorrect and arose from his name having appeared immediately after the second anointing for Joseph and Clarissa Young. Clayton’s diary shows that he received only the first anointing in 1844, and Heber C. Kimball’s diary in December 1845 listed Clayton among the Anointed Quorum’s members who had not yet received “thare Last [or second] Anointing.” However, there is no mistake in the “second anointing” references to the Pratt brothers and Orson Hyde. (See Kenney, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 2:340, 343, 348; Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 442-43; Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 125; Heber C. Kimball diary, 7 Dec. 1845, in Kimball, On the Potter’s Wheel, 164.)
There were reasons why these men’s legal wives did not receive the second anointing at this time. Parley P. Pratt’s wife Mary Ann wanted to be sealed to her deceased husband; Orson Hyde’s legal wife Marinda was one of Joseph Smith’s plural wives; and Orson Pratt’s wife Sarah was still under the stigma of her previous association with John C. Bennett.

If Joseph Smith allowed these three apostles to receive the second anointing without a wife in 1844, they were the only exceptions from September 1843 to the present. The only other possible explanation for the entries in Woodruff’s and the prophet’s diaries is that Parley P. Pratt, Orson Hyde, and Orson Pratt received the fullness of the priesthood in connection with a deceased woman. That is my conclusion, which squares with the fact that Lucy Mack Smith received the second anointing on 12 November 1843 with her deceased husband. Since Parley’s deceased wife had been an LDS church member, I believe she received the second anointing with him by proxy. I feel this interpretation is correct in view of the doctrine on which the second anointing is based. However, there is no evidence to identify the deceased women with whom Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt would have been correspondingly anointed in 1844.

36. Deseret News 1991-1992 Church Almanac (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1990), 46; HC 6:173; Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 416; “Meetings of the anointed Quorum,” 28 Sept. 1843; Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinances,” 102; Buerger, “The Fullness of the Priesthood,” 23.
37. John Smith patriarchal blessing to Caroline Cottam, 26 Mar. 1853, LDS archives; John Smith blessing to Elizabeth Bean, 1 May 1853, George Washington Bean journal, Book 1, 79-80, Archives, Lee Library, Brigham Young University, and his blessing to Sophia Pollard, 9 Nov. 1853; all are quoted in Irene May Bates, “Transformation of Charisma in the Mormon Church: A History of the Office of Presiding Patriarch, 1833-1979,” Ph.D. diss., University of California at Los Angeles, 1991, 281-82.

38. For female priesthood in biblical times, see Toscano and Toscano, Strangers in Paradox, 167-78; Anthony A. Hutchinson, “Women and Ordination: Introduction to the Biblical Context,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 14 (Winter 1981): 58-74; Melodie Moench Charles, “Scriptural Precedents for Priesthood,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 18 (Autumn 1985): 18-20; Savina J. Teubal, Sarah the Priestess: The First Matriarch of Genesis (Athens, OH: Swallow Press, 1984); Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza, “Women in the Early Christian Movement,” in Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow, eds., Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1979), 84-92.

39. Journal of Discourses 6:125. A year earlier Heber C. Kimball made a statement to one of his wives which seems to contradict his sermon about the mother of Jesus: “I accordingly asked Mr. [Heber C.] Kimball if women had a right to wash and anoint the sick for the recovery of their health or is it mockery in them to do so. He replied inasmuch as they are obedient to their husbands, they have a right to administer in that way in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ but not by authority of the priesthood invested in them for that authority is not given to woman. He also said they might administer by the authority given to their husbands in as much as they were one with their husbands” (Mary Ellen Abel Kimball diary, 2 Mar. 1856, LDS archives).

40. Heber C. Kimball diary, 7 Dec. 1845, in Kimball, On the Potter’s Wheel, 164. The three were Marinda Hyde, Agnes Smith, and Mercy Rachel Thompson. Kimball’s list referred only to those present on the occasion. See note 33 above.

41. Heber C. Kimball diary (written by William Clayton), 14 Dec. 1845, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 214-15

42. In a private notebook for February 1852, Heber C. Kimball wrote that God had freed him from “the law of Lawless women” (see Kimball, On the Potter’s Wheel, 174). For his public expressions of misogyny, see Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981), 234-36.

43. John Smith’s patriarchal blessing to Nancy Howd, 16 Dec. 1845, in Jesse Perse Harmon papers, Archives, Lee Library, Brigham Young University, and his patriarchal blessing to Mehitable Duty, 27 Dec. 1845, RLDS archives, also quoted in reverse order in Bates, “Transformation of Charisma in the Mormon Church,” 283-84. However, I have found one statement by John Smith which was more limiting of women’s priesthood rights than his other blessings from 1844 to 1853. To Emily Jacob on 26 January 1846, John Smith said: “I place my hands upon your head in the name of Jesus of Nazareth and seal upon thee the Priesthood with all the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant, which was sealed upon the children of Joseph, for this [is] thy lineage, the same as thy companion. Thou has a right to all the blessings which are sealed upon his head, for a woman can have but little power in the Priesthood without a man.”

44. HC 6:173. Two months after the general conference dropped William as Presiding Patriarch, Apostle Kimball referred to John Smith as “our patriarch” in Heber C. Kimball diary, 7 Dec. 1845, in Kimball, On the Potter’s Wheel, 164. However, John Smith was not officially sustained as Presiding Patriarch until December 1847 and was not “ordained” to that presiding office until 1 January 1849. See discussion of Patriarchal priesthood and the patriarch’s office in my Mormon Hierarchy (forthcoming).

45. Times and Seasons 6 (1 June 1845): 920 (emphasis added).

46. Patriarchal blessing by Joseph Young, 28 May 1878, in Zina Young Card papers, Archives, Lee Library, Brigham Young University.

47. Edward W. Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom (New York: Tullidge and Crandall, 1877), 487.

48. Woman’s Exponent 6 (1 Dec. 1877): 102.

49. Woman’s Exponent 17 (1 Sept. 1888): 54; reprinted as Franklin D. Richards, “Women and the Priesthood,” in Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses Delivered By President Wilford Woodruff, His Two Counselors, the Twelve Apostles, and Others, Vol. 5 (Woodland Hills, UT: B.H.S. Publishing, 1992), 19.

50. Charles W. Hyde blessing to Mary Ann Dowdle, 22 Nov. 1875, in John Clark Dowdle journal, Archives, Lee Library, Brigham Young University, also quoted in Bates, “Transformation of Charisma in the Mormon Church,” 282. Also Charles W. Hyde blessing to Sarah Ann Turnbow on 12 Feb. 1862, quoted in Harwell, “Matriarchal Priesthoood,” 8; Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinances,” 103; Buerger, “The Fullness of the Priesthood,” 23; Deseret Evening News, 17 Dec. 1891, 8.

51. Ola N. Liljenquist patriarchal blessing to Mary Ann Dowdle, 22 July 1889, John Clark Dowdle journal, 73-74.

52. HC 6:364; also Jer. 1: 4-5; Alma 13: 2-3; Brent L. Top, “Foreordination,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism 2:522; Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 290-92.

53. For example, John Taylor in Journal of Discourses 21:367-68. Also Patriarch Elisha H. Graves told a woman in 1856: “Thou shalt be connected with a man of God, thru whom thou shalt receive the priesthood, exaltation, power and eternal glory, [and] become a mother in Israel.” See “Life of Lucy Hannah White Flake,” 4-5, Utah State Historical Society.

54. First Council of Seventy minutes, 1844-47, 9 Mar. 1845, 78, LDS archives; see also Jill Mulvay Derr, “Woman’s Place in Brigham Young’s World,” Brigham Young University Studies 18 (Spring 1978): 377-95.

55. Brigham Young diary, 12 Jan. 1846; transcript of Brigham Young unpublished sermon, 27 Aug. 1867, LDS archives; Journal of Discourses 17:119.

56. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 425, 482, 594, 599, 613.

57. Alan K. Parrish, “Keys of the Priesthood,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:780. This Encyclopedia of Mormonism is an official product of the LDS church. At the outset it expresses gratitude (lxiii) to “the General Authorities of the Church for designating Brigham Young University (BYU) as the contractual Author of the Encyclopedia.” Apostles Neal A. Maxwell and Dallin H. Oaks supervised the endeavor, with “special assignments” by four other general authorities. Despite an insistence that the encyclopedia’s “contents do not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” church hierarchy had ultimate control over the project. In fact church headquarter’s role was so extensive that Daniel H. Ludlow (formerly an officer of LDS church correlation) felt it necessary to conclude his editorial preface with this disclaimer: “In no sense does the Encyclopedia have the force and authority of scripture.”

58. See discussion of key(s) in Madsen, “Mormon Women and the Temple,” 97, 99.

59. April 1921 Conference Report, 24-25.

60. October 1903 Conference Report, 87.

61. Grethe Ballif Peterson, “Priesthood and LDS Women: Six Contemporary Definitions,” in Beecher and Anderson, Sisters in Spirit, 249-68; Cheryl Lynn May, “The Mormon Woman and Priesthood Authority: The Other Voice,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 6 (Summer 1971): 47-52; Nadine Hansen, “Women and Priesthood,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 14 (Winter 1981): 48-57; Charles, “Scriptural Precedents for Priesthood,” 18-20; Meg Wheatley-Pesci, “An Expanded Definition of Priesthood? Some Present and Future Consequences,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 18 (Autumn 1985): 33-42; Melodie Moench Charles, “Charles Replies” and “Charles: Not Facile,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19 (Winter 1986): 7, 11; “LDS Doctrine Can’t Justify Ban on Women Priests, Firmage Says,” Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Mar. 1989, B-1; Blake T. Ostler, “Speculation, Myth, and Unfulfilled Expectations,” Sunstone 14 (Dec. 1990): 58; “Y. Sociologist Ponders Prospect of Priesthood for LDS Women,” Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Sept. 1991, A-8. For an insightful essay about the over-emphasis on ordination to an office, see Kathryn H. Shirts, “Priesthood and Salvation: Is D&C 84 a Revelation For Women Too?” Sunstone 15 (Sept. 1991): 20-27.

62. Book of the Law of the Lord, 17 Mar. 1842 in Jessee, Papers of Joseph Smith 2:371; Nauvoo Relief Society minutes, 17 Mar., 28 Apr. 1842; Derr, Cannon, Beecher, Women of Covenant, 29, 49; Ehat and Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, 119; Journal of Discourses 21: 367-68; Vella Neil Evans, “Woman’s Image in Authoritative Mormon Discourse: A Rhetorical Analysis” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Utah, 1985), 56, 183. For examples of early Mormon use of the word “ordained” for offices now restricted to setting apart by the contemporary LDS church, see Joseph Smith statement, 8 March 1832 in Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Joseph Smith’s Kirtland Revelation Book [photocopy of original manuscript] (Salt Lake City: Modern Microfilm Co., 1979), 10-11; Lyndon W. Cook, The Revelations of Joseph Smith: A Historical and Biographical Commentary of the Doctrine and Covenants (Provo, UT: Seventy’s Mission Bookstore, 1981), 171; HC 1: 334; D&C 124:91; Manuscript History of the Church, Book A-1, p. 11, 5-6 Dec. 1834, microfilm, Brigham Young University; Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, 2d ed., rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1899), xxiv-xxvii, s.v. William Law, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams.

63. Dennis L. Thompson, “Setting Apart,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 3:1300; Evans, “Woman’s Image in Authoritative Discourse,” 132-33, 186-87.

64. Talmage, House of the Lord (1912 ed.), 94 (emphasis added); also James E. Talmage, “The Eternity of Sex,” Young Woman’s Journal 25 (Oct. 1914): 602-603. This 1912 quote restates the view expressed by Apostle Franklin D. Richards in Woman’s Exponent 17 (1 Sept. 1888): 54.

65. Ronald K. Esplin, “Brigham Young and the Denial of the Priesthood to Blacks: An Alternative View,” Brigham Young Univeristy Studies 19 (Spring 1979): 394-402; Newel G. Bringhurst, “Elijah Able and the Changing Status of Blacks within Mormonism,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 (Summer 1979): 13-21, 22-36; Armand L. Mauss, “The Fading of the Pharoah’s Curse: The Decline and Fall of the Priesthood Ban against Blacks in the Mormon Church,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 14 (Fall 1981): 10-45; also various essays in Lester Bush and Armand Mauss, eds., Neither White Nor Black: Mormon Scholars Confront the Race Issue in a Universal Church (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1984). For the role of this modern president in the dramatic change of policy, see Edward L. Kimball, ed., The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball … (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), 449-52.

66. This requires mention of women and priesthood within the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, headquartered at Independence, Missouri. Although it shares the LDS church’s heritage until Joseph Smith’s death in June 1844, the RLDS church specifically rejected the endowment ceremony. Therefore, RLDS women could receive priesthood only through ordination to a priesthood office. In 1984 a revelation allowed women to receive priesthood through ordination to offices in the RLDS church. This revelation was canonized, yet dissident congregations at the 1986 RLDS world conference unsuccessfully attempted to rescind the revelation. Women presently hold every office of the RLDS church except general authority offices. See L. Madelon Brunson, “Stranger in a Strange Land: A Personal Response to the 1984 Document,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 17 (Autumn 1984): 11-16, reprinted in Restoration Studies 3 (1986): 108-15; Velma Ruch, “To Magnify Our Calling: A Response to Section 156,” Restoration Studies 3 (1986): 97-107; Richard P. Howard, “Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism 3:1215. This development in the Reorganization has been cited by some Mormons as a precedent for ordaining women to priesthood offices of the LDS church.

67. “Kimball Says No Women in Priesthood,” Salt Lake Tribune, 13 June 1978, D-1.

68. Newell, “Gifts of the Spirit: Women’s Share,” 116; Evans, “Woman’s Image in Authoritative Mormon Discourse,” 163, 187; Derr, Cannon, Beecher, Women of Covenant, 446n65.

69. Derr, Cannon, Beecher, Women of Covenant, 446n65. However, that is exactly what Sidney Rigdon did with respect to the “female priesthood” of his organization. See Barber, “Two Mormon Trajectories,” 70. There is no evidence for the ordination of women to priesthood offices in my examination of the following sources from Nauvoo and Utah: the sermons and diaries of Joseph Smith and of general authorities instructed by him in the Anointed Quorum, The Book of the Law of the Lord (1841-1842), the diaries of the prophet’s private secretary William Clayton, the “Journalizings” of the Anointed Quorum (1843-44), the minutes of the Nauvoo Relief Society, the minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1835 on, the minutes of the First Council of Seventy from 1835 on, the Nauvoo High Council minutes (1839-45), the Church Historian’s Office Journal from 1844 on, patriarchal blessings given to women from 1843 on, or in the Nauvoo temple records of initiatory ordinances, endowment, adoption, and second anointing.

However, Joseph Smith made a statement to the Nauvoo Relief Society on 17 March 1842 which could have been misremembered by Utah leaders of the Relief Society. “If any officers are wanted to carry out the designs of the [Relief Society] Institution,” the minutes quote the prophet, “let them be appointed and act apart, as Deacons, Teachers &c. are among us.” Ending the quote at “&c.” allows the appointment of female officers with the same titles of the priesthood offices. However, the last three words of the quote show the intent of parallel function of Relief Society visiting teachers and building custodians which were the Nauvoo activities of the priesthood offices of teacher and deacon. See Nauvoo Relief Society minutes, 17 Mar. 1842; Newell, “Gifts of the Spirit: Women’s Share,” 115.

70. M. Elizabeth Little, “A Welcome,” Woman’s Exponent 9 (1 Apr. 1881): 165; Madsen, “Mormon Women and the Struggle for Definition,” 10; Madsen, “Mormon Women and the Temple,” 90, 104; Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, “The Eliza Enigma,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 11 (Spring 1978): 31, 38; Evans, “Woman’s Image in Authoritative Mormon Discourse,” 187; early records of Salt Lake Endowment House, St. George temple, Logan temple, Manti temple, Salt Lake temple, LDS Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. In the twentieth century this position was renamed “temple matron” (see David H. Yarn, Jr., and Marilyn S. Yarn, “Temple President and Matron” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism 4:1445). Emmeline B. Wells, “Pen Sketch of an Illustrious Woman: Eliza R. Snow Smith,” Woman’s Exponent 9 (15 Oct. 1880): 74, said that each female temple worker was “officiating in the character of priestess.”
71. Talmage, House of the Lord (1912 ed.), 194. For example, President Spencer W. Kimball’s heart surgeon and his wife received their second anointing in the Salt Lake temple on Sunday, 9 June 1974. See Russell M. Nelson, From Heart to Heart: An Autobiography (Salt Lake City: By the author, 1979), 360. Nelson is now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The second anointing occurs while the Salt Lake temple is closed to regular temple work. Located in the center of the Celestial Room’s south wall, the interior of the Holy of Holies was described on pages 192-94 of the 1912 edition of Talmage’s House of the Lord which featured a photograph of the exterior of the Holy of Holies on page 282 (Plate 21) and its interior on page 294 (Plate 27). These photographs were reprinted in [C. Mark Hamilton], The Salt Lake Temple: A Monument to a People (Salt Lake City: University Services, 1983), 122, 128-29. Although similar to adjacent sealing rooms, the Holy of Holies in the Salt Lake temple has two distinctive architectural features. First, opposite the doorway is a large stain-glass mural, backlit, of Joseph Smith’s first vision, inscribed with the words: “This is my Beloved Son; hear Him.” Second, the Holy of Holies has an unusually high ceiling which extends through the floor above, so that its circular dome can be seen by the First Presidency and apostles as they leave their council room on the floor above the Celestial Room. Aside from the second anointing ceremony, the altar in the Holy of Holies is sometimes used by the church president for the true order of prayer. In the Holy of Holies in early 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball petitioned God to end the church’s priesthood ban against those of black African descent. See discussion above.

72. Derr, Cannon, Beecher, Women of Covenant, 12.
73. G. Homer Durham, ed., The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff … (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969), 61-62. Seven years after this reprint, G. Homer Durham became an LDS general authority.

74. “My Father In Heaven,” Times and Seasons 6 (15 Nov. 1845): 1039; “Motherhood of God,” Latter Day Saints’ Millennial Star 34 (27 Feb. 1872): 140; “Our Mother in Heaven,” Juvenile Instructor 29 (15 Apr. 1894): 263-64; Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund, “The Origin of Man,” Improvement Era 13 (Nov. 1909): 78; John Herren, Donald B. Lindsey, and Marylee Mason, “The Mormon Concept of Mother in Heaven: A Sociological Account of Its Origins and Development,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 23 (Dec. 1984): 396-411; Rick Branch, “Our Mother Which Art in Heaven”: The Study of Mormonism’s Mother God Doctrine (Marlow, OK: UMI Books, 1984); R. Clayton Brough and Ethel M. Brough, Divine Motherhood: Teachings About Our Mother in Heaven and the Eternal Opportunities Through Motherhood (Springville, UT: Art City Publishing, 1985); Allen W. Litchfield, “Behind the Veil: The Heavenly Mother Concept Among Members of Women’s Support Groups in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1987; Linda P. Wilcox, “The Mormon Concept of a Mother in Heaven,” in Beecher and Anderson, Sisters in Spirit, 64-77; Margaret Merrill Toscano, “Beyond Matriarchy, Beyond Patriarchy,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 21 (Spring 1988): 39-53; Melodie Moench Charles, “The Need for a New Mormon Heaven,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 21 (Autumn 1988): 82-86; Alison Walker, “Theological Foundations of Patriarchy,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 23 (Fall 1990): 81-84; Gordon B. Hinckley statement in Ensign 21 (Nov. 1991): 100.

75. Joseph F. Smith sermon, 14 Nov. 1913, at the residence of Alfred W. McCune, Salt Lake City, LDS archives; also Journal of Discourses 1:312, 6:45, 11:240-41, 18:171; Evans, “Woman’s Image in Authoritative Mormon Discourse,” 187.

76. Eugene England, “On Being Male and Melchizedek,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 23 (Winter 1990): 78; Hugh W. Nibley, “Priesthood,” Sunstone 14 (Dec. 1990): 10-11.

77. Robert T. Divett, “Medicine and the Mormons: A Historical Perspective,” and Linda P. Wilcox, “The Imperfect Science: Brigham Young on Medical Doctors,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 (Autumn 1979): 16-25, 26-36; Susan Sessions Rugh, “Patty Bartlett Sessions: More Than a Midwife,” Ann Gardner Stone, “Dr. Ellen Brooke Ferguson: Nineteenth-Century Renaissance Woman,” Christine Croft Waters, “Dr. Romania Pratt Penrose: To Brave the World,” Gail Farr Casterline, “Dr. Ellis Reynolds Shipp: Pioneer Utah Physician,” Jean Bickmore White, “Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon: Doctor, Wife, Legislature, Exile,” and Vicky Burgess-Olson, “Dr. Margaret Ann Freece: Entrepreneur of Southern Utah,” in Burgess-Olson, Sister Saints, 303-22, 325-39, 341-60, 363-81, 383-97, 399-413; Chris Rigby Arrington, “Pioneer Midwives,” and Cheryll Lynn May, “Charitable Sisters,” in Bushman, Mormon Sisters, 43-65, 228-29.

78. Ben Barker-Benfield, “The Spermatic Economy: A Nineteenth-Century View of Sexuality,” Feminist Studies 1 (Summer 1972): 45-74; Ann Douglas Wood, “’The Fashionable Diseases’: Women’s Complaints and Their Treatment in Nineteenth-Century America,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 4 (Summer 1973): 25-52; Carroll-Smith Rosenberg and Charles Rosenberg, “The Female Animal: Medical and Biological Views of Woman and Her Role in Nineteenth-Century America,” Journal of American History 60 (Sept. 1973): 332-56; John S. Haller, Jr., and Robin M. Haller, The Physician and Sexuality in Victorian America (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974); G. J. Barker-Benfield, The Horrors of the Half-Known Life: Male Attitudes toward Women and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Harper and Row, 1976); the Wood and Smith-Rosenberg articles also appear in Judith Walzer Leavitt, ed., Women and Health in America: Historical Readings (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984).

79. However, Derr, Cannon, Beecher, Women of Covenant, 44, 68, 114, 220, claim that Mormon women regarded their healing ordinances as acts of faith only. In view of the evidence presented in this essay, it seems clear that Women of Covenant imposes current church definitions on very different nineteenth-century perceptions.

80. John Smith patriarchal blessing to Caroline Cottam, 26 Mar. 1853, and his blessing to Elizabeth Bean, 16 May 1853, quoted in Bates, “Transformation of Charisma in the Mormon Church,” 281.

81. Woman’s Exponent 13 (15 Sept. 1884): 61; Woman’s Exponent 17 (15 Apr. 1889): 172; Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 4: 316; Newell, “Historical Relationship of Mormon Women and Priesthood,” 25.

82. The classic essay on this is Barbara Welter, “The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860,” American Quarterly 18 (Summer 1966): 151-74, which she reprinted in her Dimity Convictions: The American Woman in the Nineteenth Century (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976). For other views, see Carl N. Degler, At Odds: Women and the Family in America from the Revolution to the Present (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980); Mabel Collins Donnelly, The American Victorian Woman: The Myth and the Reality (Westport, CT: Greenwood-Praeger Press, 1986).

83. Woman’s Exponent 7 (1 Nov. 1878): 86.

84. Joseph E. Taylor remarks in Salt Lake Stake historical minutes, 30 Jan. 1884, LDS archives.

85. Woman’s Exponent 17 (1 Sept. 1888): 53, reprinted as Franklin D. Richards, “Women and the Priesthood” in Brian Stuy, Collected Discourses 5:16.

86. In 1842, Joseph Smith told Relief Society women about the tendency of Mormon men “to consider the lower offices in the Church dishonorable and to look with jealous eyes upon the standing of others—that it was the nonsense of the human heart …” This statement from the original Relief Society minutes of 28 April 1842 allowed the conclusion that the jealousy was also directed toward women. However, HC 4:603 removed even that possible interpretation by making an unacknowledged addition (emphasized here): “… with jealous eyes upon the standing of others who are called to preside over them; that it was the folly and nonsense of the human heart…”

87. Franklin D. Richards diary, 3 Apr. 1896, LDS archives; Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Mar. 1900, 1, Microforms, Marriott Library, University of Utah; Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 4:314-17; Deseret News, 8 Apr. 1901, and response in Louisa L. Green Richards to Lorenzo Snow, 9 Apr. 1901, LDS archives.

88. Edward J. Wood diary, Sept. 1903, in Olive Wood Nielson, A Treasury of Edward J. Wood (Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1983), 290.

89. Joseph F. Smith to Nephi Pratt, 21 Dec. 1908, LDS archives; General Relief Society minutes, 17 Dec. 1909, LDS archives; Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, and Charles W. Penrose circular letter, 3 Oct. 1914, in Newell, “A Gift Given,” 21-22, and Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 4:312.

90. Gordon Irving, “The Law of Adoption: One Phase of the Development of the Mormon Concept of Salvation, 1830-1900,” Brigham Young University Studies 14 (Spring 1974): 291-314; D. Michael Quinn, “The Practice of Rebaptism at Nauvoo,” Brigham Young University Studies 18 (Winter 1978): 226-232; Thomas G. Alexander, “The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine: From Joseph Smith to Progressive Theology,” Sunstone 5 (July-Aug. 1980): 24-33; Grant Underwood, “Seminal versus Sesquicentennial Saints: A Look at Mormon Millennialism,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 14 (Spring 1981): 32-44; David John Buerger, “The Adam-God Doctrine,” and Blake Ostler, “The Idea of Pre-Existence in the Development of Mormon Thought,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 15 (Spring 1982): 14-58, 59-79; Grant Underwood, “Millenarianism and the Early Mormon Mind,” Journal of Mormon History 9 (1982): 41-51; Keith E. Norman, “How Long O Lord? The Delay of the Parousia in Mormonism,” Sunstone 8 (Jan.-Apr. 1983): 49-58; Jan Shipps, “The Principle Revoked: A Closer Look at the Demise of Plural Marriage,” Journal of Mormon History 11 (1984): 65-77; John Herren, Donald B. Lindsey, and Marylee Mason, “The Mormon Concept of Mother in Heaven: A Sociological Account of Its Origins and Development,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 23 (Dec. 1984): 396-411; Thomas G. Alexander, Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890-1930 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985), 272-306; Boyd Kirkland, “The Development of the Mormon Doctrine of God,” Thomas G. Alexander, “The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine,” Vern G. Swanson, “The Development of the Concept of the Holy Ghost in Mormon Theology,” Linda P. Wilcox, “The Mormon Concept of a Mother in Heaven,” and Blake T. Ostler, “The Idea of Preexistence in Mormon Thought,” in Gary James Bergera, ed., Line Upon Line: Essays on Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989); Thomas G. Alexander, “The Odyssey of a Latter-day Prophet: Wilford Woodruff and the Manifesto of 1890,” Journal of Mormon History 17 (1991): 169-206; B. Carmon Hardy, Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 338-40.

91. Presiding Bishopric minutes of meeting with First Presidency, 17 Dec. 1935, LDS archives.

92. Joseph Fielding Smith to Belle S. Spafford, Marianne C. Sharp, and Gertrude R. Garff, 29 July 1946, in Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 4:314; also Derr, Cannon, Beecher, Women of Covenant, 220-21.

93. Martha A. Hickman to Louise Y. Robison, 28 Nov. 1935, LDS archives; Louise Y. Robison to Martha A. Hickman, 5 Dec. 1935, LDS archives; Newell, “A Gift Given,” 23, and Newell, “Gifts of the Spirit,” 133, 137.

94. Joseph Smith affirmed: “Respecting the females laying on hands … it is no sin for anybody to do it that has faith, or if the sick has [sic] faith to be heal’d by the administration.” See Nauvoo Relief Society minutes, 28 Apr. 1842; Ehat and Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, 116; HC 4:604. For faith healings performed by women during the decade before they began receiving the priesthood endowment in 1843, see Evans, “Woman’s Image in Authoritative Mormon Discourse,” 128-29.

95. “Firmage Threatened After Suggesting Priesthood for Women,” Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Mar. 1989, 1, 2.

96. Hartman Rector, Jr., a president of the First Quorum of the Seventy, to Mrs. Teddie Wood, 29 Aug. 1978, photocopy in MORMONS FOR ERA NEWSLETTER, Jan. 1981, 5, copy in Utah Women’s Issues, 1970s-80s, Western Americana, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah; and quoted in Sonia Johnson, From Housewife to Heretic (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981), 138, and in Robert Gottlieb and Peter Wiley, America’s Saints: The Rise of Mormon Power (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1984), 212. Gottlieb and Wiley mistakenly give 1979 as the date for Rector’s statement which capitalized “Spider” in the original.

97. Boyd K. Packer, “Come All Ye Sons of God,” Ensign 13 (Aug. 1983): 68; Packer, “Eternal Marriage,” Speeches of the Year (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1970), 5.

98. Ensign 9 (Nov. 1979): 49, quoted in Ensign 22 (May 1992): 37.

99. Hugh W. Nibley, “Patriarchy and Matriarchy,” in Blueprints for Living: Perspectives for Latter-day Saint Women … Foreword by President Spencer W. Kimball (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1980), 48; reprinted without the foreword in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Volume 1: Old Testament and Related Studies (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1986), 93.

100. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-56), 3:178.

101. Joseph Fielding Smith, “Relief Society: An Aid to the Priesthood,” [delivered 8 Oct. 1958] Relief Society Magazine 46 (Jan. 1959): 4. Derr, Cannon, Beecher, Women of Covenant, 49, quote the first and last phrases cited here.

102. This discussion is an elaboration of John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “compiled under the direction of the Council of the Twelve” (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1965), 74-75, 78-79.

103. Joseph Smith taught: “All Priesthood is Melchizedek; but there are different portions or degrees of it.” See William Clayton’s private book, 5 Jan. 1841, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 515; Ehat and Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, 59; Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1938), 180.

104. HC 5:527; also statement of Charles W. Penrose in April 1921 Conference Report, 198.

105. Ensign 22 (May 1992): 36.

106. For recent essays on this prospect from different perspectives, see Hand Carre, “Women Retreat for Support, Strength,” Sunstone 13 (Oct. 1989): 46-48; Paul James Toscano, “Priesthood Concepts in the Book of Mormon: Insights on Church Leadership and Organization,” Sunstone 13 (Dec. 1989): 8-17 (esp. 14-17); Marie Cornwall, “Women: Changing Ideas and New Directions,” Sunstone 14 (June 1990): 53-55; Toscano and Toscano, Strangers in Paradox, 209-20; “Panel Discusses Praying to Mother in Heaven,” Sunstone 15 (Oct. 1991): 60-61. For first counselor Gordon B. Hinckley’s response, see Ensign 21 (Nov. 1991): 100.