Modern Day Prophetess
I’ve often admired the spiritual gifts of my family and friends. Some people just seem to have an ability to speak in tongues, or have faith, or the ability to heal. Identifying my own spiritual gifts has been difficult for me, especially as I’ve seen my faith decline in some of the teachings of the church.
One spiritual gift that I am very much drawn to, is a gift that a few years ago I wouldn’t have really thought of as a feminine gift. I’m talking about the gift of prophesy, and while I know there are some references to prophetesses in the Old Testament, I’m more curious about it’s representation among women in today’s society.
In fact, the only two stories I really have about women with the ability to prophesy are from non-LDS sources. I don’t know why I haven’t heard more about this gift in Mormon arenas. Perhaps it’s the teaching that men are the only one’s authorized as prophets, to speak in God’s name, or some other teaching about the priesthood that has led to a lack of focus, or potentially, a lack of the existence of the gift of prophesy for women. It could also be that I’m just not in the loop with women who have the gift of prophesy.
My first experience with the gift of prophesy came out of the blue at dinner with another couple a few years ago. The wife is our hemophilia nurse, and we were at a hemophilia function chatting casually when she looks at me and says, “I had a dream last night that you were pregnant.” Then her husband interrupts and says, “Trust her, she’s never wrong about these things.” I looked at Mark sideways and we both laughed. It was a few hours before that I had invited Mark home for a “hot lunch” because I was ovulating. (I had miscarried a few months earlier, so I was very impatient to be pregnant). Of course I wanted her to be right, it was easy for me to believe that she was, even though I had been disappointed for several months previously. Nine months later, I gave birth to my second son, and this friend visited me in the hospital to hold and rock him.
So, I asked my friend, Amy, to tell me more about her dreams. She says it happens to her all the time. She will “know” that someone is pregnant and ask them how the pregnancy is going when they get a shocked look and say, “I haven’t told anyone!’ What’s even more amazing, is that she can also sense when someone is going to die. And, considering she works in the oncology department of the hospital, that happens occasionally.
Since then, I’ve asked her more details about her spiritual gift (I’m not sure she’d even call it that) and she’s revealed other aspects. Sometimes she can predict a phone call from a patient with a bleed in a specific joint or muscle. Another time, many years earlier she got a phone call asking if she’d seen her sister, and knew instantly that something horrible was happening (in fact, she started vomiting because the feeling was so strong). It turned out that she was right when everyone else thought that the sister was just out with some friends. They did find her sister, she had been kidnapped and severely hurt, but was still alive and has since recovered.
Her stories amaze me. She doesn’t seem proud of it, just matter-of-fact, as though it’s not unusual, though for her, I guess it isn’t.
Another story, at Mormon Mommy Wars, reminded me of my friend, Amy, only it happened to one of the bloggers there who had trouble conceiving, and she received a blessing of fertility from very complete stranger. (She does deny being a prophetess, but the story actually sounds like she could be one).
Other women I know seem to have a similar gift, that of discerning of spirits of someone who is not yet or no longer alive. I have friends who have felt the spirit (male or female) of their unborn child, and in that way knew before the ultrasound the sex of the baby. Others have felt the spirit of ancestors, like MRaynes, who sensed the spirit of her deceased grandmother during a time of crisis.
These gifts amaze me and honestly, make me a little envious. Is this something I can cultivate? Can I learn to be in touch with God in a way that I can have the gift of prophesy? Is it something I could or should pray for? In section 46 of the Doctrine and Covenants talks at length about spiritual gifts, encouraging us to pray for them, and use them for the benefit of others. It’s a very beautiful section, I especially like verse eight, “. . . seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given” and then in verse nine, “They are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments. . .”
I’d love to have a discussion of spiritual gifts, discerning of spirits, or the gift of prophesy.
Do you believe in these gifts?
Do women have an equal share, or should they?
Have you had experiences like this?
What do you think about someone who wants to acquire this type of spiritual gift?