“Elder Taylor offered an amendment, that it be called The Nauvoo Female Benevolent Society which would give a more definite and extended idea of the Institution.” – Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book
Just as the Lower Priesthood for those identifying as male is associated with Moses’ brother Aaron and the Levites (thus it is called the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood), the Sisterhood of Miriam is associated with Moses’ sister; Miriam.
“I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” – Micah 6: 4
The Sisterhood of Miriam is a place for Young Women to enter the ministry; to help the grow closer to Chrsit, and be taught how to help run the Fellowship. In addition, it uses the Lower Priesthood both in its endowments and its responsibility. Thus, it is an appendage to the High Priesthood, the Sisterhood of Magdalene, and has power in administering outward ordinances such as preparing, blessing, and passing the sacrament of Communion; and assisting the Fellowship.
There are minimum age requirements for each level in this Society, however and one must be called of God to enter the Society, regardless of age.
- Deacon: 12
- Teacher: 14
- Priestess: 16
A woman under the age of 18, heeding the call from the Lord, would start in the Society as a deacon, regardless of age. She would only advance as prompted by the Spirit. If she is over 18, she would heed the call to be a deacon or a priestess. She would require one year’s training in the Sisterhood of Miriam before joining the Sisterhood of Magdalene.
As a High Priestess of the Society, the Elect Lady has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices, ordaining as directed by the Holy Spirit. Typically, her two councilors will be the heads of deacons and teachers (the Deaconess), and the priestesses (the Prioress or Head Priestess). The power and authority of the Lower Priesthood used in the Sisterhood of Miriam is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, agreeable to the covenants and commandments (See D&C 107: 13-20 LDS edition)
While much of the work of the Society is to administer to the poor and needy, and helping the sick and afflicted, the full extent of the roles of the Benevolent Society mirror those of the Aaronic Priesthood. These include witnessing of Christ, teaching the Gospel, and performing ordinances, including the Sacraments of baptism and communion.
If you have a question, or feel the call of the Holy Spirit to join the Benevolent Society, please contact us:
Learn more about the Benevolent Society using the links below: