Preside

Okay, here’s a question for you. If you’re LDS, in every lesson that includes “gender roles” it is mentioned that it is the husband’s role to preside in the home. So what does that mean? Until JP started pestering me about it, I never really thought about what it actually means to preside. So that’s what JP and I discuss in this episode. “The Family: A proclamation to the world states,  “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” That doesn’t give me a clear idea of what presiding should include. I think JP & I are each a ways out from forming our personal conclusions on the subject, but I think it’s good to at least discuss. After all, how can we follow a commandment if we don’t understand it?

After we recorded this one, I went home and talked to my wife about it. The conversation went something like this:

“So, wife, what does it mean for a husband to preside?”

“I don’t really know. I guess I’ve never really thought about it.”

“But if you had to guess.”

“I guess it means I choose to support you as head of the family… but I still get to be the neck.”

One Comment

  1. I just listened to the episode so these are my early thoughts – I’ll probably have more to say after thinking through a few things. First, about halfway through the episode JP described presiding in terms of having responsibility to make sure certain things happen and to lead out in doing those things, e.g. family prayer and scripture study. He then went on to say that that description of presiding isn’t very satisfying. I agree that accepting that responsibility and leading in those kind of family practices is very important but these practices are specific examples of presiding, not the actual concept itself.
    The later discussion on presiding really resonated with me, and I would describe it in these words: a father presides in council with his wife by seeking and advancing the Lord’s priorities and will for the family. A father leading the family in scripture study then is a specific example of him doing this.
    This definition of presiding also seems to fit well with holding the Priesthood because we need the power of God in order for our efforts to seek and implement His will to be effective. Family prayer isn’t a very useful habit if the power of God doesn’t consecrate it. There is also a nice tie to D&C 121 because if we seek our own will or “undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion” then we’ve stopped presiding and lost the power of the priesthood – we stop seeking God’s will and we lose His power.
    The way I see this in the situation of a single woman is that you don’t need the priesthood to seek God’s will or receive His power for yourself. But once a stewardship comes in (parents in a family, a Bishop in a ward, a Relief Society President, etc), presiding in that stewardship always operates or is intended to operate by the priesthood, i.e. the power of God.
    Again, these are early thoughts, but something feels very right about this definition even if it isn’t quite perfect yet.

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