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Dear Gramps,
I have a 13 year old niece who posed this question to her Sunday School teacher who asked me to find out the following: Is the holy ghost male or female? If male why? If female why? Which led to the second question. Why can’t a female be the prophet? I think I have the answers to both, however I would sure like some back up on this one.
Robert, from, Temecula, California

Dear Robert,
We can find in the New Testament that the Holy Ghost is referred to as a male personage—

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26).

The Holy Ghost is a male personage because in the plan of our Heavenly Father only males participate authoritatively in priesthood functions, and of course that is why a female cannot be the prophet. Many of the female members of the kingdom of God–i.e., the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–have to work their way to an understanding of this doctrine, supposing that it dictates an inequality between the sexes, and often feeling themselves to be second class citizens. But as a true understanding of the doctrine of the kingdom is acquired that problem disappears. Women are in every sense equal partners with men in the eyes of the Lord. Perhaps that feeling of being a second class citizen on the part of the women comes more than anything else from a misunderstanding of the priesthood bearers that they, because of their position of authority, have the right to dictate their will to the women. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Such people should study very carefully the last half of Section 121 of the Doctrine & Covenants, that says in part—

that the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man (D&C 121:36-37).

So the domineering priesthood holder, by the very fact of being domineering, has no priesthood authority to use in commanding a spouse. In fact, in a few more verses of Section 121 we learn that—

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge D&C 121:41-42.


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