Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Teaching Girls about the Priesthood, 1955: Part Three

Teaching Girls about the Priesthood, 1955: Part Three

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 20, 2012

Earlier installments in this series: Part one, Part two

Home Builder Lessons
Lesson 7: October 3rd Week



For Your Inspiration

As unto the bow the cord is
So unto the man is woman.
Though she bends him, she obeys him,
Though she draws him, yet she follows,
Useless each without the other.

– Longfellow

For Your Instruction

The purpose of this lesson is to make the girls feel that even though men and women each have a distinct and an important calling, they are each dependent upon the other for the completion of that calling in its fullest sense. A man and a woman must work together as a unit, each making his or her separate contribution, but united in purpose and in spirit.


Small pot of dirt
Package of seeds
Blackboard and chalk
Posting chart and strips
New Testaments, bookmark, and red pencil for each girl


To make the girls feel that they share in the responsibility of the priesthood, just as men share in the responsibility of the home.


Have the girls repeat Articles of Faith nos. 8, 9, and 10. (Use pictures.) As the girls repeat an Article, hold up the Articles of Faith picture pertaining to that article. It will help the girls in memorizing the articles if they associate the Article of Faith with the picture. Use charts only if necessary.

Show the pot of dirt and the package of seeds to the class, and ask:

Which is the more important, the soil or the seeds?

What would happen if either the soil or the seeds were separated entirely from the other? Neither would produce. Each is necessary to the production of the other.)

The same thing is true of men and women. In the New Testament Paul says:

Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. – I Cor. 11:11

Let us open our New Testaments to I Corinthians11:11 and underline this passage. (Put reference on the blackboard.)

Men and women must work together if they would accomplish the work that the Lord has assigned to them. Men must share in the responsibility of the home, and women must share in the responsibilities of the priesthood.

How do women share in the responsibilities of the priesthood? (Give the girls ample opportunity to express themselves, then sum up what they say by putting the following points in the posting chart.)

(1) Encourage men and boys to do their duty.
(2) Work in the different auxiliary organizations.
(3) Sustain and pray for those in authority.

Encourage Men and Boys to Do Their Duty


The boys and girls in a certain ward planned a canyon party for Saturday evening. The arrangements for a chaperone, lunch, and transportation were all made, and everyone was anticipating a wonderful time. Then came the bishop’s announcement that a special priesthood conference would be held that Saturday night and every member was expected to attend. The boys in the group were active members of their priesthood quorums, and they knew that they should go to the meeting. They hated to disappoint the girls because they were all so enthusiastic about the party. But they did not have to worry because the girls got together and decided that the boys should go to their meeting. They planned that after the meeting they would all meet at the home of one of the girls, eat the lunch they had planned to take up the canyon, play games, and have a good time. When the girls told the boys about their idea, the boys were relieved and happy that the girls had made it easy for them to do their duty. The party went off as planned, and everyone had a wonderful time. (This is a true story told by Blanche Stoddard.)


How did these girls share in the responsibility of the priesthood?

Sometimes those holding the priesthood do not recognize the true value of what they have. They are much like the shopkeeper in Europe who had two very old paintings. A young artist came into his shop and asked how much money he wanted for the paintings. The shopkeeper turned them over with his foot, for they were lying on the floor, and told the young man that he could have them for the equivalent of twenty-five cents American money. The young man paid the shopkeeper what he asked, took the paintings, cleaned them up and resold them for the equivalent of $125,000. Then he came back to the shopkeeper, told him what he had done and gave him a fair share of the money. The shopkeeper had something very precious, but he did not see the value of it. It took someone else to recognize the value.

Girls and women can very often help men and boys to see and recognize the value of the priceless gift they have in the priesthood of God. It is their responsibility to encourage them to go to meetings and do their church duty even though they would rather have them stay at home. Sister David O. McKay learned this lesson very early in married life.


January 2, 1901, marked the beginning of a new century and a new life for Ray and David. How proud Ray had felt riding beside David on their way to the Salt Lake Temple. Inside the carriage she was snug and warm with the robes David had carefully tucked about her. And so Ray and David were married in the temple of God for time and eternity. The beauty and the solemnity of that wonderful ceremony was something to be cherished forever.

“Ray and David decided that they would gratefully receive as many choice spirits as God would see fit to give them. it was with joy, therefore, that they awaited the birth of their first child. Like all mothers then, she had her baby at home. They had engaged a nurse, but the first night that the nurse left them alone, David had to go to a meeting. As he started to put on his hat and coat, Ray thought, ‘Surely you aren’t going to a meeting tonight.’ As if reading her thoughts, David turned and looked at her for a moment and then said, ‘Have you forgotten that it is Sunday School board meeting tonight?’

“There was no warmth in her kiss as she bade him good-bye. The closing door awakened the baby. Still weak she sat and rocked the baby while feelings of weakness and frustration and hurt filled her mind. Suddenly Ray was ashamed of her pettiness. David had a job to do, and he was doing it. She had a job to do too, and she would do it without complaint. No matter how long David left her again to act in the service of God, Ray never felt any resentment toward him or toward the Church that occupied so much of his time.” – Zella Farr Smith

Another example of a wonderful woman who encouraged her husband to do his duty was Sister Charles A. Callis.


Sister Callis accompanied her husband, Elder Charles A. Callis, while he was still a young man, on a mission to the Southern States. While there, twins were born to them. One day these twins became very ill. Brother Callis administered to them, but since he did not feel inspired to say that they would get well, he was greatly troubled. He went over to the little church where they held their meetings, and while there he got down on his knees and prayed that the twins might get well. he reminded the Lord that he was there on a mission – in his service – and almost demanded that he wave the lives of his children. When he arrived home, he told his wife what he had done.

“You did wrong,” she said. “We, the children of our Father in heaven, are here on this earth to take instruction from him, not give instruction to him. All we are entitled to do is to present our problem to him and say, ‘Thy will be done.’ I will go back with you to the little church where you prayed and together we will ask the Lord’s forgiveness for this thing that you have done, and tell him that we are willing to accept his will.”

This they did, and as they prayed the spirit of peace came into their hearts. The children died, but Brother Callis knew it was the will of the Lord, and he never ceased to thank his wife for helping him see his duty.

Work in the Different Auxiliary Organizations

To teach the gospel is the responsibility of the priesthood. The different auxiliaries were organized to help the priesthood with this assignment. They are called auxiliary organizations because the word auxiliary means help or aid. When women work in these organizations they are helping the priesthood members do the work that they have been assigned to do. Always they work under the direction of the priesthood.

Sustain and Pray for Those in Authority

The men who hold the priesthood have a great responsibility. They deserve every help we can give them. There is one way that everyone can help and that is by sustaining them in their office. This means to support them in all they do, and not criticize them when they are doing the best they can. Another thing we can do for them is to pray for them. We should pray for the President of the Church, for his counselors, for the Council of the Twelve Apostles, for all the General Authorities, for all the stake authorities, and for the ward authorities. There are over a million members of the Church; if each one would pray for these men what a great power for good it would be. When President David O. McKay became the President of the Church, he said:

“We all need your help, your faith and your prayers.”

And then he told this story:

“A neighbor in my old home town was milking his cow when the word came over his radio that President Smith had passed. He sensed immediately what this would mean to me and went to the house and told his wife. They called in their little children and there in that humble home knelt down as a family and offered prayer in my behalf.”

This is one very important way that women share in the responsibility of the priesthood – by praying that those who have it will be guided and directed by our Father in heaven.


How does your father share in the responsibility of your home? (Allow the girls to talk freely and then summarize what they say by putting the following headings in the posting chart.)

(1) Provides food, clothing and shelter.
(2) Watches over the mother and children with loving care.
(3) Brings the priesthood into the home and presides over the home.

Provides Food, Clothing and Shelter

Only those girls who have lost their fathers know what a great blessing it is to have a father who provides for the necessities of life. Our fathers spend long hours away from home when they would rather be with us, just so that we may have those things that make us comfortable and happy.

Watches Over the Mother and the Children with Loving Care

No matter what the danger, you are not afraid when your father is around. That is because you know he loves you and will protect you, even at the risk of his life. He works hard to help you see what is right and wrong so that when you grow to adulthood you can be happy and well adjusted.

Brings the Priesthood into the Home and Presides over the Home

Men who honor the priesthood bring peace and love into the home. They have the power to know what the will of our Father in heaven is and can give advice and help that we can get in no other way. They have the power to know how to act in times of distress and trouble.


Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Johnson and their two children, Pat and Rey, were going to Salt Lake City from Evanston, Wyoming. It was mid-winter and the roads were slick and dangerous. They were coming down a steep dugway when the car right in front of them met a car coming in the opposite direction towing a house trailer. The car with the house trailer began to skid, and the man who was driving it put on the brakes. This made the car skid even more and the trailer jack-knifed directly across the road. This made it necessary for the two cars coming in the opposite direction to stop quickly, which was very difficult on that icy road. The first car swerved to the right and was able to stop just a few feet from the trailer, and the car which Mr. Johnson was driving swerved to the left and stopped just a foot or so from the edge of the cliff.

Before the children could get out of the car, the strong wind that was blowing caused the car to start skidding sideways toward the edge of the cliff. Rey was panicky and started to cry, but Pat said, “There is nothing to worry about, didn’t we have prayer before we left home this morning, and doesn’t our father hold the priesthood of God? he will know exactly what to do to get us out of this trouble.”

Immediately Mr. Johnson jumped out of the moving car and quickly grabbed some burlap sacks which he had in the trunk and placed them as close under the wheels as he could, and then sprinkled some salt all around them. This stopped the car from skidding and the children were able to get out.

The problem then was to know how to get the different cars straightened around so that one could pass another, and they could continue on their way. No one seemed to know what could be done.

Finally Mr. Johnson said, “Let us just sit and wait. None of the cars coming from either direction can pass until we get them straightened around and when enough cars are stalled, we will have enough men to push these cars into any position we want them.”

And so the people waited in their cars. In about thirty minutes there were enough men gathered there to get the cars into position to pass each other.

When Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and Pat and Rey were finally on their way, Pat turned to Rey in the back seat and said, “Didn’t I tell you that our father would know what to do, and that everything would be all right?”

Rey answered and said, “It is funny none of the other men could figure out what to do. Do you suppose it was because our father held the priesthood that the Lord was better able to inspire him?”

Pat did not answer, but Rey could tell by the look on her face that she was thinking that the greatest blessing in the world was to have a father who held the priesthood of God.


Would you like to tell of an incident in your own home when you have been grateful that your father held the priesthood? (Encourage each of the girls to tell of some blessing of the priesthood she has received in her own home.)

Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve Apostles said:

“The Saints in Europe taught me a new appreciation for the priesthood of God. I heard them bear testimony of their gratitude for the priesthood in their homes. Many families who had been isolated from other representatives of the priesthood during the bombing, and during sickness, told of their gratitude that they had in their homes the authority and the power to lay their hands upon members of their families and under the inspiration of heaven invoke God’s healing power upon them. I heard them speak of their gratitude that in their homes, while isolated from the rest of the members of the mission, they were able to administer the sacred emblems of the sacrament.” – General Conference Report, October, 1952.

You will notice by the strips in the posting chart that the ways that men share in the responsibility of the home are just about equal with the ways that a woman shares in the responsibility of the priesthood. Each has been given a separate responsibility, it is true, but each can do his or her work better if he has the companionship and help of the other. Sharing in the responsibilities of the priesthood is just another way to “Serve Gladly.”

Sing “My Seagull Code Song.”



  1. I think that lessons like this are part of why I have always felt that the way the church teaches about priesthood authority is skewed. For those of us who grew up in homes where unrighteous dominion was except used and where abuse is the norm, the lack of discussion, or even mention, of how authority can and is abused and how to distinguish between righteous and unrighteous fathers and priesthood holders sets up a false view and a haven for those who are not worthy.

    As someone who never wanted my father to “excersize” the priesthood because it always meant being told that I had to do what my father wanted because God agreed with my father, I always felt alienated during lessons like this about perfect marriages and perfect families.

    I still don’t attend church on Father’s Day. I was asked to speak on Father’s Day once. I was asked 6 or 7 weeks early. The first councilor wasn’t taking no for an answer so I suggested I write my talk and give it to him the following Sunday to look over. The topic was “How my father and the priesthood changed my life.” After reading my talk I was asked to speak in July, and tithing, instead of giving a talk on Father’s Day.

    I don’t want to sound like I am against fathers and the priesthood. I hold good fathers and righteous priesthood leaders. In fact, I think we need many more of them than we have in the church, and lessons that aren’t clear about what it is that makes a righteous father and priesthood holder, rather than someone who contributes sperm and had a ordination ceremony is not discussed often enough, and seems to be left out of most primary and YW lessons. I have some hope that the new curriculum will do a better job of helping both YW and YM to learn the difference between someone who righteously administers the priesthood and unrighteous dominion.

    (And just to be a little snarky, if someone said something like this, I would be likely to tell them to stop being self righteous and smug.

    When Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and Pat and Rey were finally on their way, Pat turned to Rey in the back seat and said, “Didn’t I tell you that our father would know what to do, and that everything would be all right?”

    Rey answered and said, “It is funny none of the other men could figure out what to do. Do you suppose it was because our father held the priesthood that the Lord was better able to inspire him?”

    Pat did not answer, but Rey could tell by the look on her face that she was thinking that the greatest blessing in the world was to have a father who held the priesthood of God.

    I am not sure I could do a big enough eye roll to express my disgust with that kind of self satisfied smugness. It is the same thing I see when women tell me that none of their children have been sexually assaulted or raped because they had parents who “raised them right.” I even had someone use that expression while telling me that her children would not be allowed to play with mine when she found out I led rape support groups, because she didn’t want her children around people whose minds were filled with “the filth that those kind of people talk about.”

    As you can tell, this hit several nerves. I went back and forth, almost hoping someone else would comment with something that I could just agree with. Then I realized that I was being hypocritical. My blog post today is about how important it is to follow promptings to share things, even when they are difficult. If I can share that, then certainly I should be able to give honest feedback.

    (If you are interested in that post you can go to )

    Comment by Julia — November 21, 2012 @ 5:06 am

  2. Let me get this right…the car is skidding toward the cliff…the father jumps out of the moving car, opens the trunk, gets burlap bags, puts them under the wheels which are continuing to skid, goes back for salt, salts the still moving wheels, and VOILA!

    Give me a break.

    Comment by Jean — November 22, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

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