Women and the Priesthood

209 Primary Sources

1831 - 1832

Joseph's revision to John 12:7 possibly contains the earliest written mention of doctrinal foundation of the second anointing.

Sep 26, 1833

In a letter to Silas Smith, Joseph provides an early hint to the idea of "the more sure word of prophecy."


Washing of feet and anointing mentioned in verse 4 of hymn "The Spirit of God," published in Church's first (1835) hymnal.

Jul 14, 1837

Joseph Smith, Sr. gave a patriarchal blessing where he said that Sister Rogers can lay her hands on her children's head when her husband is absent.

Jun 26, 1839 - Aug 4, 1839

Willard Richard's record of a discourse where Joseph speaks of being sealed to eternal life.

Jun 26, 1839 - Aug 4, 1839

Joseph gives a discourse on the theme of being sealed to eternal life.

Jun 26, 1839 - Jul 2, 1839

Joseph describes the doctrine of election and the Second Comforter who he identifies as Jesus.

Mar 17, 1842

In the first Relief Society minutes book, Eliza R. Snow records Joseph ordaining Emma Smith and her counselors to the Presidency.

Mar 30, 1842

Joseph is recorded in the first Relief Society minutes book instructing the Society that they "should move according to the ancient Priesthood. . . separate from all the evils of the world."

Apr 28, 1842

Joseph is states "the female laying on hands" is "no sin" and that sisters who heal others act "in that authority which is confer’d on them."

Sep 1, 1842

Times and Seasons article discusses the importance of obeying Church leaders who are endowed with authority.

Feb 1, 1843

Joseph, in a poem to W. W. Phelps, explains that authority is needed to seal up people to eternal life.

May 16, 1843

Joseph defines the unpardonable sin as shedding innocent blood.

May 21, 1843

Joseph defines the "more sure word of prophecy" as a promise from God that one will have eternal life.

May 21, 1843

Joseph discusses Second Comforter and More Sure Word of Prophecy in a May 1843 discourse.

Jun 11, 1843

Joseph maintains that ordinances of salvation, "instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the World," should not be altered.

Aug 6, 1843

Wilford Woodruff records Brigham's description of the "fullness of the Melchisedec Priesthood."

Aug 13, 1843

William Clayton's audit of Joseph's sermon on calling and election.

Aug 13, 1843

Joseph is reported by William Clayton as teaching that when a seal is put upon the father and mother it means their children cannot be lost.

Aug 13, 1843

Joseph addresses second anointing; those who have not transgressed are "secured by the seal" of God.

Aug 13, 1843

Joseph's sermon of August 13, 1843, addressing salvation of children of parents who have been sealed.

Aug 27, 1843

Joseph, when discussing the Priesthood of Abraham and Melchizedek, teaches that, unlike of Levi's, they have the sealing power.

Sep 28, 1843

Joseph's Journal Entry; Second Anointing given for first time.

Oct 1, 1843

Second Anointing administered to Joseph et al.

Oct 8, 1843

Second Anointing administered to group.

Oct 19, 1843

William Clayton records that Joseph and Emma Smith had been anointed.

Oct 22, 1843

Joseph's journal contains report of second anointing being administered to William Marks and Rosannah Robinson Marks.

Oct 27, 1843

Second Anointing administered.

Nov 1, 1843

Willard Richards, in Joseph's journal, reports on second anointing being administered to Merc Fielding Thompson, Jennetta Richards, Leonora Cannon Taylor, Mary Ann Angell Young, and Vilate Kimball.

Nov 1, 1843

Vilate Kimball receives second anointing from Emma Hale Smith along with "menny feemales."

Nov 12, 1843

Willard Richards reports that Reynolds Cahoon & Thirza Stiles Cahoon receive second anointing.

Nov 15, 1843

Willard Richards reports that Alpheus Cutler and Lois Lathrop Cutler receive Second Anointing.

Nov 22, 1843

Willard Richards records in Joseph's journal Brigham Young and wife Mary Ann Angell Young receiving second anointing.

Nov 22, 1843

Joseph's journal entry describing second anointing of Brigham and Mary Ann Angell Young on November 22, 1843.

Dec 2, 1843

Wilford Woodruff explains that first anointing is preparatory for further blessings.

Dec 9, 1843

Wilford Woodruff records that W.W. Phelps, Levi Richards, and Cornelius Peter Lott received the second anointing.

Jan 20, 1844

Wilford Woodruff reports that Heber C. Kimball and Vilate Kimball received the second anointing.

Jan 21, 1844

Wilford Woodruff records Parley P. Pratt receiving the second anointing.

Jan 25, 1844

Wilford Woodruff records the administration of the second anointing to Orson Hyde.

Jan 26, 1844

Wilford Woodruff, records administration of second anointing to Orson Pratt.

Jan 27, 1844

Wilford Woodruff reports administration of the second anointing to Willard Richards and Jennetta Richards.

Jan 28, 1844

Wilford Woodruff & Phebe Woodruff receive Second Anointing.

Jan 30, 1844

Wilford Woodruff reports that John Taylor and Leonora Cannon Taylor received their second anointing anointing and sealing.

Jan 31, 1844

Willard Richards, in Joseph's journal, reports on the administration of the second anointing to George A. Smith and Bathsheba W. Bigler by Brigham.

Feb 2, 1844

Second anointing re-administered to W. W. Phelps and Sally Phelps.

Feb 3, 1844

Joseph Young and William Clayton received Second Anointing.

Feb 4, 1844

Wilford Woodruff records Cornelius Peter Lott and Permelia Lott receiving the second anointing.

Feb 26, 1844

John Smith and Clarissa Lyman Smith received Second Anointing.

Feb 26, 1844

Wilford Woodruff reports that John Smith, Clarissa Lyman Smith, Isaac Morley, and Lucy Morley receiving the second anointing.

Mar 10, 1844

Joseph on the "doctrin of Election" and Elijah, also how to break one's election.

Mar 10, 1844

Joseph Discourse March 10, 1844; Bullock account.

Mar 10, 1844

Joseph's discourse on mission of Elijah, sealing, and unforgiveable sin as recorded by James Burgess.

Mar 10, 1844

Franklin D. Richards records Joseph teaching on the power of Elijah, "calling and election sure," and which sins break the promise.

Mar 10, 1844

Willard Richards' account of Joseph's Discourse on subject of Spirit of Elias, Elijah, and Messiah.

Apr 1, 1844

Heber C. Kimball describes wife (Vilate Kimball) washing his feet.

Apr 7, 1844

Joseph comments on the unpardonable sin; no one can commit such until one receives the Holy Ghost.

May 5, 1844

Wilford Woodruff describes wife, Phebe Woodruff, washing his feet as second part of second anointing.

Jan 28, 1845

Letter indicating Second Anointing was given in Nauvoo.

Apr 18, 1845

Heber C. Kimball records A. Lemon and wife receiving second anointing.

Aug 9, 1845

Brigham states that women "never can hold the keys of the Priesthood apart from their husband."

Dec 21, 1845

William Clayton records Amasa Mason Lyman's sermon on temple symbolism, including second anointing.

Dec 26, 1845

Brigham discusses the second anointing and "fullness of the Priesthood."

Jan 1846

Description of washing of feet in Lewis D. Wilson's autobiographical sketch.

Jan 8, 1846

Heber C. Kimball's second anointing blessing in Book of Anointings.

Jan 11, 1846

Heber C. Kimball administers Second Anointing to Brigham.

Jan 12, 1846

Book of Anointings records Elizabeth Ann Whitney and Newel K. Whitney receiving the second anointing.

Jan 13, 1846

George A. Smith records second anointing administered to him and wife by Orson Hyde.

Jan 17, 1846

Abraham O. Smoot received second anointing.

Jan 19, 1846 - Jan 20, 1846

David Fullmer provides an account of the second anointing.

Jan 19, 1846 - Jan 20, 1846

Rhoda Ann Fullmer describes second anointing and washing of feet.

Jan 22, 1846

Phinehas Howe Richards describes receiving his second anointing with his wife Wealthy Richards; Phinehas and Wealthy are anointed king and queen, priest and priestess, etc.

Jan 22, 1846

William Hyde received Second Anointing.

Jan 22, 1846 - Feb 1, 1846

Phinehas Howe Richards records learning about ordinance of washing of feet in his journal.

Jan 24, 1846

Noah Packard records receiving the second anointing with his wife; they are anointed king and queen.

Jan 28, 1846

Joseph C. Kingsbury received his Second Anointing with two of his wives.

Feb 3, 1846

Joseph Hovey received second anointing.

Sep 16, 1846

Joseph Hovey's records that the blessings promised in the second anointing are conditional.

Nov 20, 1846

Orson Hyde's story of Joseph correcting Francis Bishop on the need for earthly vs. heavenly priesthood administrators.

Jan 15, 1847

Millennial Star publishes a diagram of the kingdom of God and references the "fulness of the priesthood."

Apr 7, 1855

Orson Pratt discusses enduring to the end after being sealed.


Heber C. Kimball offers sermon on theology of being sealed to eternal life.

Dec 18, 1857

Wilford Woodruff mentions instructions from Joseph on how to perform the second anointing.


Heber C. Kimball teaches that there will be further ordinances required "till we pass through the veil into the other world" and receive our exaltation.

Dec 25, 1874

George A. Smith discusses origins and significance of the second anointing.

Mar 2, 1876

Mary Ann describes washing and anointings of women.

May 15, 1880

Daniel Tyler summarizes significance of the fullness of the priesthood and temples being the places to receive such.

Oct 15, 1881

Helen Mark Kimball Whiney relays Vilate Kimball's vision of polygamy.

Jun 15, 1882

Anonymous eulogizer describes Mary Isabella Horne as administering to sick children when her husband was away.

Aug 12, 1883

George Q. Cannon teaches being sealed up to eternal life is conditional.

Apr 13, 1885

ERS expresses her love for the doctrine of polygamy.


Parley P. Pratt discusses what he learned from Joseph Smith, alludes to temple ordinances.

Oct 1888

LWK recalls JS saying women would have a choice in eternity.


John Doyle Lee recalls receiving the second anointing.

Mar 1, 1892

An article in the Women's Exponent says that a woman, Susanne Smith Adams, was set apart to "wait upon her sex in sickness."

Jan 15, 1896

The Juvenile Instructor states that all members, "even sisters" of the church can lay hands on the sick.

Jan 27, 1899

EDPY says that she accepts the "pure and sacred principle" of polygamy.


A. Jenson records A. Johnson endorsing the principle of plural marriage.

Apr 8, 1901

Thomas A. Clawson records sermon by Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith on second anointing.

May 2, 1901

Emmeline B. Wells records that President Lorenzo Snow directs that women should confirm blessings rather than seal.

Sep 16, 1901

Ruth May Fox records that Elmina Shepard Taylor states that women could seal blessings for the sick.

Dec 17, 1902

LW wrote that she had a testimony of the doctrine and principle of polygamy.

Apr 1903 - Oct 1911

Benjamin F. Johnson recalls being sealed to his wife for eternity and was given Martha Ann Hale Johnson to be his plural wife by Joseph.


Benjamin F. Johnson discusses Joseph's teachings concerning sealing and second anointing in his autobiography.

Jan 11, 1905

ZDHJ says that she will be married to JS for eternity.

Jan 1, 1912

James E. Talmage mentions second anointing given in Holy of Holies in Sale Lake City Temple.

Nov 11, 1917

F. W. Otterstrom recorded Joseph F. Smith saying two of his wives assisted in a priesthood blessing.

Apr 1921

Charles W. Penrose says that women are not ordained to the priesthood and that healings ought to be done by elders.

Apr 16, 1924

President McMurrin reports that women are still performing washings and anointings in his mission.

Apr 7, 1929

Orson F. Whitney teaches that wayward children of sealed parents will be saved.


Joseph is reported by William Clayton as teaching that when a seal is put upon the father and mother it means their children cannot be lost.


William Clayton reported that Joseph taught that when a seal is put upon the father and mother it means their children cannot be lost.


Walter Everton reports that Pearl Knowles Everton was set apart to perform blessings in her ward to expectant mothers.

Jul 26, 1946

Joseph Fielding Smith says that washing and anointing by women should not be encouraged.


Joseph W. Musser states that second anointing is a prerequisite for reception of the Second Comforter.

Aug 1955

Joseph Fielding Smith says that women and men without the priesthood may participate in blessings.


Joseph Fielding Smith states that women "do not hold the priesthood with their husbands" but if exalted, it is implied that they will hold the priesthood.


Joseph Fielding Smith teaches that the "fulness of priesthood" is required for exaltation.


Bruce R. McConkie discusses theology of calling and election in his book Mormon Doctrine.

Jan 1959

Joseph Fielding Smith speaks to the Priesthood authority women are given to "certain things in the Church" such as temple ordinances.

Oct 25, 1966

David O. McKay says not all members o the Quorum of the Twelve in 1966 had second anointing.

Nov 9, 1966

David O. McKay: Quorum of the Twelve members who did not yet have it to receive second anointing.


Bruce R. McConkie on 2 Peter 1, Calling and Election Made Sure, More Sure Word of Prophecy, Second Comforter.

Jun 9, 1974

Russell M. Nelson recounts receiving the second anointing.

Oct 1977

Bruce R. McConkie discusses the blessing of having our calling and election made sure and discusses "the more sure word of prophecy."


Bruce R. McConkie: Priesthood prepares men to see God.


Boyd K. Packer discusses initiatory ordinance in his book on the temple.


Andrew F. Ehat describes the "more sure word of prophecy" as the most precise explanation of making one's calling and election sure.


Andrew F. Ehat describes a more limited sense of being sealed up to eternal life.

Dec 1982

Andrew F. Ehat's thesis on temple ordinances.


David John Buerger's article on the second anointing in Dialogue.


John A. Tvedtnes records in personal journal Harold B. Lee saying 2nd Anointing is not necessary for exaltation.

Nov 29, 1983

M. Russell Ballard taught that women should pray to become good Relief Society leaders.


Verse in 1985 Hymnal urges Saints to be told by God they have eternal life, similar to making one's calling and election sure.


Hymn #21 from the 1985 Church Hymnal relating to Second Anointing, Calling and Election Made sure.


Hymn #134 from the 1985 Church Hymnal relating to Second Anointing, Calling and Election Made sure.

Apr 1992

Boyd K. Packer's application of statements by Orson F. Whitney and Brigham about the salvation of wayward children through the marriage sealing blessings of their parents.

Oct 1996

James E. Faust states that, "For the daughters of God, doing the Savior’s work does not, of course, include the use of priesthood keys, authority, or powers."

Oct 1996

Gordon B. Hinckley states that "It was the Lord who designated that men in His Church should hold the priesthood."


Definition of ἀποστολός (apostolos) in the BDAG.


The definition of ἀποστολή (apostole) from A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature.


Official Church publication, Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, contains a comprehensive list of the duties related to each office in the Priesthood.


The Church-published "Preparing for an Eternal Marriage" student manual defines the differences between men and women with quotes from Church leaders.


Eldon Jay Epp argues that Junia, mentioned by Paul in Rom 16, was a woman and had some apostolic authority or leadership role in the early Church.


Devery S. Anderson and Gary J. Bergera's documentary history of Joseph's anointed quorum.


Devery S. Anderson and Gary J. Bergera's documentary history of Nauvoo Temple ordinances from 1845 to 1846.

Oct 2007

Boyd K. Packer discusses and summarizes the initiatory ordinance in the Ensign; reprint of portion of his 1980 book on the temple.

Nov 30, 2007

Post on Zelophehadsdaughters.com claims that the Church subordinates women to men, but then shies away from fully claiming that is the Church position; the term coined in the article for this concept is chicken patriarchy.


Denver Snuffer argues that knowledge rather than priesthood prepares one for the Second Comforter.

Jan 21, 2008

Tom Phillips provides a contemporary account of the second anointing.


Official Church manual Gospel Principles states that the Church is governed by the Priesthood, and that such governing positions can only be held by male members.


Church-published manual Gospel Principles teaches about Priesthood power and authority and that God has delegated His power to male members of the Church.


Church-published manual Gospel Principles discusses the conferral of Priesthood and ordination to an office for male members of the Church.


Jonathan A. Stapley and Kristine Wright give a comprehensive history of Latter-day Saint women performing healings.


Denver Snuffer writes that ordinances have no real value.


Bonnie Ricks states that the women she interviewed uniformly felt they were second-class citizens as women in the Church.

Jan 17, 2012

Sister Beck says that the Relief Society and Elder's Quorum need to work in tandem.


Official Church-published essay states that "women continue to officiate in sacred ordinances in temples much as they did in Joseph Smith’s day."


The Ordain Women organization argues that LDS theology supports the ordination of women in their mission statement.


The Ordain Women organization explains why they feel that the ordination of women is necessary.


Anthony W. Ivins reports hearing that Joseph F. Smith taught that "no man receives a fullness of the Melchisedec Priesthood till he has recd his second anointings."

Feb 19, 2013

Paul B. Pieper said that the fullness of the priesthood is found in the marriage relationship.

Mar 6, 2013

M. Russell Ballard speaks to women in Europe and states that their voices are needed, but that they shouldn't "talk too much... just straighten the brethren out."

May 3, 2013

Linda K. Burton explained that men and women both have equal but different roles in priesthood.

Aug 28, 2013

M. Russell Ballard suggests that while the Lord designated men as holders of the Priesthood, it has not been revealed "why He has organized His Church as He has."

Aug 28, 2013

M. Russell Ballard explains that women are "integral" to Church governance and hold many leadership positions.

Oct 2013

Neil L. Anderson quotes "I do not know the meaning of all things" from 1 Nephi 11:17 when addressing the question of why only men administer the ordinances of the Priesthood.

Oct 8, 2013

Pew Research claims that 90% of women and 84% of men disagree that women should be ordained to the Priesthood.

Mar 2014

David A. Bednar's correction of common misinterpretation of Joseph's teachings on salvation of children of sealed parents.

Apr 2014

Dallin H. Oaks suggests that men and women are equal "in the eyes of God", despite having different responsibilities at home and in the Church.

Apr 2014

Dallin H. Oaks states that women are delegated Priesthood authority to serve in the Church by key-holding Priesthood leaders.

Apr 2014

Dallin H. Oaks states that Church leaders "are not free to alter the divinely decreed pattern that only men will hold offices in the priesthood."

Jun 5, 2014

Gordon B. Hinckley suggests in an interview with Larry King that it would "take another revelation" to bring about the Priesthood ordination of women, and he "[doesn't] anticipate it."

Aug 20, 2014

Sharon Eubank claims that what women are "hungry for" and "want most" is in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


The Joseph Smith Papers discussion of "second anointings" in the context of Joseph's 1843–44 Journal entries.

Aug 2015

Parley P. Pratt alludes to temple ordinances in saying what he learned from Joseph.

Aug 15, 2015

A Church Newsroom press release announces new appointments for several female leaders to sit on high level governing councils in the Church.

Nov 11, 2015

Sheri Dew explains why she feels the Church is good and ennobling for women.


The Joseph Smith Papers provides a discussion of "second anointings" in the context of the minutes of the Council of Fifty.

Jun 2016

Church manual states "more sure word of prophecy" is being "sealed up unto eternal life."


Online 2017 Book of Mormon Seminary manual states that less active individuals are not guilty of the unpardonable sin.


Hudson argues that the "restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the strongest and most progressive force for women in the world today."


Hans H Mattsson provides an account of second anointing in 2000.

Oct 2018

Russell M. Nelson comments on temple rites being of ancient origin.

Dec 14, 2018

Church Leadership announces changes that allow male members of the Church to be ordained to the Priesthood starting at age 11.

Mar 2019

Barbara Morgan Gardner said that both men and women operate under priesthood keys and can have priesthood authority.

May 2, 2019

Sister Aburto teaches that women receive priesthood authority in callings.

Oct 2, 2019

Russell M. Nelson announces policy change allowing girls and women to serve as witnesses to baptisms and and temple sealings, for both live and proxy ordinances.

Dec 29, 2019

Valerie Hudson suggests that the Church has "the most revolutionary and feminist doctrine."


Church Handbook directs members to seek priesthood blessings, not other spiritual healing.

Apr 2020

Dallin H. Oaks says that women do not hold priesthood offices, but that they do administer priesthood ordinances.

Oct 2020

Yii-Jan Lin suggests that Paul considered Junia an apostle in the same way he was by referencing their joint imprisonment and that Junia was "in Christ before [he] was."


Sheri Dew shares her views about women and priesthood.


Church website briefly overviews initiatory and endowment ordinances.


The General Handbook states that certain leadership roles in the Church, such as RS presidency, WM presidency, and Primary presidency, are given exclusively to "adult women."


Joseph Smith Papers volume introduction briefly mentions and discusses the origins of the second anointing.


Official "Church History Topics" entry on healing discusses the role of women in healing rituals during the 19th century.


Paul's introduction to his letter to the Galatians.


Paul introduces himself as an apostle in his letter to the Romans.


Strong's Concordance citations for ἀπόστολος in the New Testament.


Paul describes his vision on the road to Damascus to Herod Agrippa.


Paul and Barnabas are called on a mission by the Holy Spirit.


Definition of ἐν in Strong's Concordance.


Paul's introduction to his letter to the Corinthians.


List of translations of Romans 16:7.


Church Handbook discusses ordinances of salvation and the role of the Priesthood and male priesthood bearers who can perform saving ordinances.


The chart of callings in the Handbook of Instructions establishes that all callings and positions of authority in the Church are decided and delegated by men.


Editors of the Joseph Smith Papers Project mention the "quorum of anointing" in Documents volume 14.

Jan 23, 2023

Jana Reiss describes the ecclesiastical structure of the Church as patriarchal, as well as the perceived lack of power and decision-making for women in the Church.

Jul 6, 2023

The Church describes the roles and privileges of women as Church members in an official article.