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Modern Day Prophetess

by Jessawhy
“And to others it is given to prophesy; And to others the discerning of spirits.” Doctrine and Covenants 46:22-23

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?

Jessawhy

Jessawhy is a wife, mother, community volunteer, activist and student. She is currently working towards a Physician Assistant degree.

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  1. gladtobeamom says:

    Great article and very interesting. Among my 7 siblings there are several different spiritual gifts. They have had some pretty neat experiences. I will not share them here because I don’t feel I have the right but I have sisters and a brother who have dreams that come true or that point them in certain directions. I have a brother and two of my sisters who have had interactions with spirits.

    I am like the author. I do have some things that come easy but not the things listed above. I have been jealous of my siblings gifts and wondered why not me. I like that scripture as well I am just not so good at prayer and recognizing the spirit on a regular basis. I have a few experiences that I hold on to but I can count them on one hand.

    One I will share of my own is one very bad day I sat in my car and just said out loud that I couldnt do it any more. I had done all I could do and just was exhausted mentally, physically and spiritually. Immediately I felt this incredible feeling overcome me that took away the pain, anger etc. It sounds corny but it reminded me of that foot steps poem and for a few moments I was carried. It helped me to continue on. How I have longed for that again. For the clarity and comfort.

    Maybe I wouldnt use them wisely or maybe I don’t strive or pray for them enough. They would sure be helpful though when it comes to raising teenagers. Especially when I don’t have all the answers.

    As far as women having an equal share I say absolutely at least in things pertaining to our responsibilities. I don’t plan on getting revelation for the church but I can certainly get it concerning my calling, my family, for those around me in my care. I just have to work harder at recognizing them as they come.

    I do find that women are more spiritual then men though it is hard for me, I know many women who have a much easier time when most men I know struggle with spirituality.

  2. Keri Brooks says:

    Great post. I definitely believe in the gifts of prophecy and discerning of spirits. My patriarchal blessing specifically mentions the discerning of spirits as one of my gifts, although I haven’t experienced it in the way you mention in this post. Sometimes I can “see”, for lack of a better term, people’s hidden motives or agendas.

    I think women can and should have an equal share of these gifts. The gifts are not listed as being gendered in the scriptures, and Joel specifically says that in the last days “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy”.

    I think part of why we don’t see more women with the gift of prophecy is out of fear. Over the past few years, I have spontaneously been blessed with this gift, mainly in the form of being able to “see” alternate futures that would result from certain choices, but I’m often hesitant to talk about it because I’m worried it would get me in trouble if the wrong people get wind of it. (I know I’m not explaining myself well.) Basically, there are probably many women who have this gift, but keep it to themselves and their close friends/family.

    If someone wants to acquire this type of spiritual gift, go for it, as long as you’re acquiring it for a righteous purpose. My only warning is if you get it, sometimes you’ll know things you wish you didn’t.

  3. Kelly Ann says:

    Jessawhy, thank you for this post. It is very interesting.

    I do think people have many gifts of all types, but are afraid to talk about it, because they could be perceived as a bit wacky.

    But I would also like to propose that a gift of premonition is not the same as the gift of prophesy.

    And I have a friend (not-a-member) who has the most random dreams. They tend to be on the absurd side – including me getting pregnant out-of-wedlock and moving in with a boyfriend (both of which I promise have no chance of happening). But they are really detailed and often have some minor applications. I joke that she needs to figure out who this mystery guy is.

    Anyhow, so what I am saying is that dreams don’t have to be directly transferable – I don’t think my friend would share them with me, if they were. And I feel like that way about some of the dreams I have personally. Maybe it says something that I seem to be taught by the absurd …

    As for identifying gifts, my patriarchal blessing specifically states a couple. But I really think there are lots of personality characteristics that are gifts. And I think there is nothing wrong with praying for them, as long as they are for righteous purposes as mentioned.

  4. Violet says:

    Definitely I believe in these gifts and I do think women share equally in these gifts, but with the current structure in the church women may have a harder time sharing a gift such as this.

    I think there are certain gifts that are more associated with men such as prophecy and healing although D&C doesn’t say for men only, which is unfortunate.

  5. Caroline says:

    I have a friend who was told she had the gift of healing in her patriarchal blessing. Very cool.

    I know some very talented Mormon women who feel they have spiritual gifts but don’t feel they have much room within Mormonism to practice them. Some of them have become chaplains so they can heal and bless outside the structure of the Mormon church.

    As for myself, I’ve never really pinpointed which, if any, gifts I have. Like you, Jess, I’m a bit jealous of those whose gifts are obvious.

  6. Bee says:

    This post is strangely coincidental. I’ve been reading a lot of books about mediums in the past few weeks. I believe there are people out there with the ability to communicate with the spirit world— sort of a Graduate Level discernment-of-spirits-type-thing. I have been wondering why there are no Mormon mediums. Why wouldn’t such a phenomenal gift that can help so many people be given to one of “God’s Chosen”? Our beliefs in the afterlife, and even the pre-existence, correspond quite well with what most of these mediums I’ve read about believe. Is it because it’s too closely related to soothsaying, and all that jazz that is so frowned upon by our culture? Is it because these mediums don’t really have a gift from God, instead it’s the power of Satan? (I know they’d strongly disagree!) Or is it that there really are Mormons with this gift, but they either don’t develop it because someone somewhere told them it was “bad”; or else they just don’t advertise it (and certainly don’t charge hundreds of dollars an hour and have TV shows and books about it…)

    I’d love to be able to do what John Edward or Allison DuBois does. As a genealogist, I am haunted by how useful talking to the dead could be (HAUNTED! Get it?). Can’t find great-great grandma Myrtle? Just ask her where she lived and died! Worried about which spouse to seal all those children to? Just ask them! It would be so damn cool.

    I’ve had a few experiences with prophesying, and I’ve felt spirits before. But I am not sure I would call these experiences A Gift that I have—more like, a once-a-year birthday present. They’ve happened because I begged for them. I can’t call upon it at will. Maybe I shouldn’t sell these experiences short, and go ahead and say I have this gift, but I’m just not so sure.

    One thing I know, one vivid experience of prophesying has helped me to be less bitter about the priesthood. I don’t have to be an Elder to be able to do that. (Though I still wonder if I had the priesthood, might I be able to do it more often, without the begging and pleading? Any thoughts?)

  7. Jessawhy says:

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. I’m glad we can have a conversation about these spiritual gifts. As I hoped, your comments have given me hope and encouragement that these gifts really do exist, but I’m just not aware of the extent they work in women’s lives.

    gladtobeamom,
    Having siblings with these spiritual gifts would probably be more difficult for me because, like you, I would wonder why I didn’t get them as well.
    But, I’m glad that you had the experience you described and that it is something that you can still hold on to. Clarity and comfort are feelings I wish I had more often as well.
    Keri Brooks,
    Thanks for your reference to Joel, it is always nice to see daughters mentioned specifically, instead of having to assume they are included in the generic, “man.”
    As far as “seeing” hidden motives, I think my father has that gift. It sounds like a type of discernment, but it seems different than the discerning of spirits.
    Thanks for your warning, as well. From what I can tell, the gift seems like a double-edged sword.

    Kelly Ann,
    Yes, the perception of wackiness could be a big part of keeping this gift under wraps, or perhaps not developing it by paying attention to it.
    When I did a google image search for prophetess, a lot of pictures of women come up, who are called prophetesses. I was a little surprised, but then I guess that people who are considered “psychic” could be called prophetesses in a religious setting. I hadn’t thought of that before.
    It’s funny that you mention inaccurate dreams. As I was preparing to write this post, I had a dream that my friend, Alisa, was pregnant and had a baby boy named Rabbi-hannah. It was very strange.
    I’m interested in this idea
    “But I would also like to propose that a gift of premonition is not the same as the gift of prophesy.”
    Can you tell me more about what you mean? It’s very intriguing.

    Violet,
    I agree that it is unfortunate that the structure of the church equates some of these spiritual gifts with holding the priesthood. I don’t think that’s how they were intended (or it would have said it in section 46, right?). I, for one, would love to hear a conference talk about women having and using these spiritual gifts, especially prophesy and discerning of spirits. I would find that very edifying.

    Caroline,
    You’re right, not only do women not have room to practice these gifts, but many of them aren’t really taught that it’s a possibility.
    I’m beginning to think that developing these gifts has to come from both prayer and a willingness to learn how to use them. If women in the church acknowledged these gifts and explained how best to develop them, perhaps we could seem them growing in the younger generations.

  8. Howard says:

    Great post Jessawhy. I know two single women with profound spiritual gifts.

    A’s mother dabbled in the occult when she was a little girl. She prayed a lot to avoid the dark side and was comforted by the Spirit. A is in her late 30s now and she is blessed with frequent revelation and occasional prophecy. She joined the church within 6 weeks of hearing the gospel. She taught several of the lessons to the missionaries because the lesions were revealed to her prior to their meetings.

    She was baptized on Saturday night, on her way to church for her confirmation the next day she received revelation that death is by divine appointment. In the lobby on her way to the chapel she met for the first time the women the revelation for. This woman had lost her son two weeks before in a car accident on his way to BYU and now believed that God had abandoned her. It was quite a tearful conversation.

    J is Catholic and a family practitioner in her early 50s. She enjoys the gift of discernment in her practice. She has shared many stories some of them life saving because she is spiritually guided during diagnosis, often ordering tests that would not be indicated by the presenting symptoms alone.

  9. Jessawhy says:

    Bee,
    Thanks for your comments. It’s cool that this post was timely to you, and even cooler that you’ve had some of these experiences before. (Begging hasn’t worked for me for anything, really. Perhaps I’m going about it wrong).
    I don’t think any of these gifts are from the devil, and it makes me think that they must be from God. As far as family history, it would be easier to be able to speak with people on the other side. Perhaps there’s a good reason to pray for the gift.

    Howard,
    Thanks for sharing your stories. I’d love to hear more stories like your first one printed in the Ensign. I feel sad that acknowledging these kinds of spiritual gifts is considered so outside of mainstream.
    Also, I’d love to have a doctor with a gift of discernment. She doesn’t live in Arizona by chance, does she? 🙂

  10. Stephen, Son of David says:

    The Doctrine & Covenants tells us: “And it shall come to pass that he that asketh in Spirit shall receive in Spirit… in order that every member may be profited thereby.” (Doctrine & Covenants 46:28-29)

    Joseph Smith wrote: “If any person should ask me if I were a prophet, I should not deny it, as that would give me the lie; for, according to John, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; therefore if I profess to be a witness or a teacher, and have not the spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus, I must be a false witness; but if I be a true teacher and witness, I must possess the spirit of prophecy, and that constitutes a prophet.”

    Point number one: We are promised that we can receive spiritual gifts simply by asking for them, if our desire is to use them to bless the lives of others.

    Point number two: The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

    Practical suggestion: In order to exercise your spirit of prophecy, bear your testimony in Fast & Testimony Meeting. Don’t give a “canned” presentation—say what you truly know for yourself, as far as the Holy Ghost has revealed to you. If you know God lives, say you know it. If you believe, say you believe it. If you only desire to believe, bear that testimony.

    If you speak the truth which God has revealed to you, and the Holy Ghost accompanies your testimony, then you are speaking as a prophetess. I mean this in the most absolute literal sense.

    As your gift expands, you will begin to recognize those same spiritual promptings inspiring you in those things which you are given stewardship over (husband, children, family, friends, Church assignments, etc.) and you will have truly become a prophetess in your own life.

  11. FoxyJ says:

    My mom has had several sacred spiritual experiences, often related to her marriage and childbirth, that she has shared with me. Her gift seems to be related to the ability to communicate with spirits. The Spirit speaks to me in dreams, however I often don’t remember them until much later. It’s usually a sort of “deja vu” feeling, and when I was a younger teen I was very freaked out by it. Then I received my patriarchal blessing and it specifically told me that the Spirit would speak to me in my sleep. It’s kind of hard to explain for me–I rarely have any actual details and I often have to seek for more knowledge. Most of the time it seems to be a form of comfort or assurance that I am on the right path and that God is aware of what I’m doing. I

    I see no reason why women cannot or should not have equal access to spiritual gifts. We are spiritual beings sent here by our Heavenly Father and meant to keep in touch with Him.

  12. Howard says:

    Jessawhy, sorry, Dr. J is in SoCal.

  13. Jessawhy says:

    As an addition, my cousin Michelle linked me to a blog by a woman who refered to herself as a doomsday prophetess. She’s been having recurring dreams about preparedness (food storage, 72 hr kits, etc.)
    You can read about it here
    http://soulofthemoon.blogspot.com/

  14. rk says:

    I think people tend not to talk about gifts like this because the are quite personal precious. The Lord can grant wonderful spiritual gifts, but He can take them away if we brag or become arrogant.
    A lot of impressions we receive are for the benefit of us and our family–not for public consumption.

    As for developing such gifts it if my opinion that oftentimes you have it or you don’t. Some impressions just come out of the blue. I would only try to seek the most important ones that will aid your spiritual and physical welfare.

    I feel like the gift of discernment is a gift that can be developed and should be sought. There are people out there who should not be trusted and a person man or woman should seek to discern who these people are. I will share my advice for better developing your gift of discernment.
    #1. Use good sense. Don’t automatically trust people because of how they look or what they say. Be street smart. Beware of anyone who is too good with words or who is manipulative.
    #2. Trust your first impression. If there is something you really don’t like about someone and you don’t know why–BE CAUTIOUS and take a mental note of them. I often times get a neutral impression of people. I usually don’t worry about them so much. I know a lot of people ignore this thinking, “I shouldn’t be judgmental.” When it comes to the safety of you and your family yes you should be judgmental. You usually don’t have to go out of your way to be impolite to them, but you are not obligated to trust them. Usually this information is for your benefit alone, so you don’t need to badmouth an individual.

    #3 Be cautious of anyone that has eyes that don’t like or make you feel creepy. This may sound silly, but I stand by it.

    If you consistently get a sense of warmth when around a particular person (apart from anything they may say) I will feel better about trusting them, but always remember never to let anyones charisma override your good sense.

    Excuse me if this is too long

  15. Alisa says:

    As I was preparing to write this post, I had a dream that my friend, Alisa, was pregnant and had a baby boy named Rabbi-hannah.

    OK, I just need to know why I’d name my baby that. Is this a Chiam Potok thing?

  16. Alisa says:

    Should have added a smiley face. Here ya go :).

  17. Jessawhy says:

    Stephen, Son of David
    Interesting that you mention stewardship. When my friend predicted my pregnancy I had a hard time fitting that prophesy into my understanding of stewardship. I came to the conclusion that because he was born with hemophilia, and she was his nurse, that she had stewardship (she did not prophesy the birth of my next son who does not have hemophilia).
    I’m not sure I believe that anymore, but it adds an interesting component to the conversation.

    FoxyJ
    You and others bring up the point of sacredness, and that is very valid. I just wish that in a forum like this with a relative or absolute amount of anonymity, that we could share some of these experiences. But, perhaps it’s not comfortable for everyone.
    Thank you for sharing the gifts and experiences of you and your mother.

    rk
    I tend to agree with you, that you either have the gift or you don’t. Your list is very interesting. Have you read “Blink”? It’s all about the science of the first impression. There really is more that our body/subconscious is aware of before the rest of our mind realizes. That’s one thing that I’m not very good at, but would like to work on.

    Alisa,
    I don’t know why you named your baby that in my dream, but I remember thinking it was strange (Jewish sounding, yes) and that I was going to support you regardless of what I thought personally.
    Funny, isn’t it? Perhaps it is a reflection of my love of Potok. 🙂

  18. Mr. mraynes says:

    I agree with most of the sentiments expressed here–women are just as entitled to prophetic revelations as men are. But I am not sure that stewardship is always an issue. Certainly those who are stewards can receive pertinent revelations, but aren’t there plenty of scriptural examples of people who lacked any recognizable stewardship delivering prophecy? In hindsight we might say God gave them stewardship, but did anyone else know that at the time?

    The stewardship issue is in place today to help facilitate the governmental and organizational workings of the Church. In application, however, I think God operates in a much more flexible manner, at least when it doesn’t concern the Church as a whole. We all should strive to receive revelations of all kinds, and feel free to search, ponder, and pray regarding others’ prophecies.

    Although I have no doctrinal or scriptural evidence, I just have a “sense” that women are especially gifted in this prophetic way. Don’t we call this women’s intuition? And perhaps the topic of another post, I believe women are also especially gifted in the realm of healing–another powerful spiritual gift.

  19. Chelsea says:

    I don’t believe that priesthood has anything to do with spiritual gifts, although it certainly impacts our tendency to practice them openly (or not practice them). My mother has dreams about things before they happen, mostly about her family and friends. She is a genealogist and has had contacts with the spirits of the people she has been searching for. It isn’t frequent for me, but I also have dreams about things that eventually happen, and on a couple of occasions in dreams I have conversed with family members beyond the veil (I must have inherited that ability from my mom’s spiritual DNA.) I also feel I have a gift for nurturing and healing as a mother; I have placed my hands on my child many times in prayer. I don’t talk about it to anyone though, even my husband.

  20. Howard says:

    Mr. mraynes; I think God operates in a much more flexible manner, at least when it doesn’t concern the Church as a whole.
    I agree with this, I think God uses the normal church or patriarchal chain of command when available otherwise he uses who ever can get the job done. President David O. Mckay called every member to be a missionary so I cite this calling for my stewardship with non-members!

    Chelsea; She is a genealogist and has had contacts with the spirits of the people she has been searching for.
    This experience makes genealogy a lot more exciting!

  21. rk says:

    I have not read “Blink,” but it sounds really interesting.

    IMO some spiritual gifts are more essential than others. Feeling the presence of spirits, experiencing premonitions and having prophetic dreams are wonderful and can bless people, however other gifts like the discernment of truth, a testimony and discernment of the needs of others are much more important to our salvation. Fortunately, they can be developed through faith and prayer whereas other more outwardly impressive gifts may not be able to be cultivated.

    I’ll share a few more of my thoughts about developing the gift of discernment with others. I assumed that everyone who is a worthy member of the church would be able to tell if someone was dangerous if they were keeping the commandments. I was wrong. When I was set apart to be missionary the stake president promised me that I would be able to sense any danger to me and my companion. I found this odd because it implied that I would be responsible for my companion. I thought “Wouldn’t she be able to see the danger?” I found out that the answer to that question was “No.” My comp and I met a man that seemed to me to high behaving strangely. He wanted us to come into his house. My companion started to walk in. Even though she liked to control everything I let her know that we were not going in there under any circumstance. She was otherwise articulate and otherwise highly intelligent, but not very street smart.

    It has been my observation that “people pleasers” are not very good about discerning who is dangerous. Their desire to please–to not offend or to appear unkind drowns out their common sense. They need to remember that manipulative people will exploit their misplaced compassion.

    This is anecdotal, but it has always been my card carrying feminist friends who have been the least street smart when it comes to dealing with questionable men. It may be coincidental.

  22. Caroline says:

    mr mraynes,
    I like your ideas about God being flexible with regard to this idea of stewardship. I think I might go in a different direction, however, with regards to the idea of women having special prophetic gifts (aka women’s intuition). I guess I’m just uncomfortable with gender essentialism, if you’re implying that women are just born more prophetic than men. HOwever, I could see someone making an argument that women are more prophetic in practice. Since women are not always able to develop other areas of spiritual or administrative gifts within the organizational framework of the church, it would make sense to me that women might sometimes offset that with developing this very private gift.

  23. Mr. mraynes says:

    Howard,

    Although I don’t disagree with the “letter” of your point, something about the “spirit” of it rubs me the wrong way. Correct me if I have misinterpreted you, but your statement seems to say God only uses women or non-leadership men when “the proper authorities” aren’t available. Once again, this may be so in the institutional/formal practices of the Church, but outside of that I think God uses whomsoever is worthy, available, and capable at the time–man or woman.

    Caroline,

    I didn’t mean to say women are “more” prophetic than men, though I can see how my point can be read that way. I also didn’t mean to say that their prophetic abilities are different from men’s. Actually, I doubt they are even more prophetic than men in practice. I think my idea got muddled when I used the word “especially” incorrectly. I think I ought to have written some other magnifying adjective that doesn’t imply differentiation.

    In the end, we don’t really know how intrinsically different men and women are in spiritual gifts. I’d like to believe we are totally equal in spiritual capabilities.

  24. Howard says:

    Mr. mraynes,
    Within the hierarchical government of the Church I think God works through the chain of command as defined by calling stewardships. This includes men and women.

    Within the patriarchal family government I think God works through the husband assuming he is available, worthy and capable for issues related to the family stewardship.

    I think God works through everyone who is available, worthy and capable for issues of personal stewardship and to help with other stewardships as necessary.

  25. Caroline says:

    Howard, are you saying that if we take a couple, with both man and woman equally righteous and spiritual, God will only work through the man in communicating his will for the family?

    I find that astounding. I would have assumed that most LDS would think that absolutely the mother could receive revelation for her family. After all, that’s her special stewardship/responsibility/province, as the argument goes.

  26. Tanya says:

    I have taught lessons on spiritual gifts a couple of times in the past. All children of God, have the right to discover what gifts we have and how we can obtain more. Here are a couple of things that I would suggest.
    1. Read your patriarchal blessing. Many times specific spiritual gifts will be mentioned. Start there, and pray for help and understanding in developing those gifts.
    2. You can pray to find out what your spiritual gifts are. This may take time, much prayer, much fasting, and being intune to the spirit to follow through with promptings.
    3. Keep sacred things sacred. Not all gifts or moments of the gifts use are to be shared. Learn to follow the promptings of when to share and when not to share the impressions you receive.
    4. Accept the responsibility that your gift may intale. To have the use and blessings of gifts is not to be taken lightly. (not saying you would)
    5. Be willing to accept that there maybe gifts that will not be yours to obtain.
    6. Never, ever give up, in learning what your gifts are. (I need to remember these myself)

    Prophecy can be a gift of women. Often we mistake that having the gift of prophecy is only for the General Authorities or those in position of responsibility in the church. Prophecy is a gift of testimony of Christ, all may have that gift at times.
    We need to distinguish between prophecy, forthtelling, and discernment.

  27. Howard says:

    Caroline,
    No. The Family: A Proclamation to the World: 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. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. Since the father presides by divine right, I think God works through him on most family issues other than nurturing children. I think God works through mothers for issues of nurturing children.

  28. mmiles says:

    Howard,
    What specifically do you have in mind when you say fathers work on other family issues that mothers do not?
    In what specific ways do you think a mother is working on family issues that fathers are not?

  29. Howard says:

    mmiles,
    Let’s say the father has been offered a new job that requires a move out of state. The father presents this issue to the family and leads the family in prayer and fasting. I think that God will answer through the father provided he is available, worthy and capable of receiving the revelation.

    Assume the family decides to accept the out of state job. They visit the new city and investigate the choice in schools but they are torn between two choices and cannot decide. The father leads the family in prayer and fasting. I think God will answer through the mother provided she is available, worthy and capable of receiving the revelation because this is her stewardship.

  30. Caroline says:

    Howard, I think you are taking that ‘preside’ word and running with it in unhealthy directions. So far as I know, the only way GA’s have ever defined preside is to call on people to pray and plan FHE. They have said over and over again that it does not mean final decision making power.

    I can’t believe I’m having this conversation. What century are we in? (No offense, Howard. You’re probably a very nice man, but your opinion on this issue is extremely outdated – even by church standards.)

  31. Howard says:

    Caroline,
    Elder L. Tom Perry Q12: There is order in the way the Lord reveals His will to mankind. We all have the right to petition the Lord and receive inspiration through His Spirit within the realm of our own stewardship. Parents can receive revelation for their own family, a bishop for his assigned congregation, and on up to the First Presidency for the entire Church. However, we cannot receive revelation for someone else’s stewardship.

    The Proclamation defines our family stewardships; fathers are to preside over their families…Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.

  32. Caroline says:

    Howard, your first quote proves my point. “Parents can receive revelation for their family.” That means husband or wife.

  33. Howard says:

    Caroline,
    So you don’t believe that fathers and mothers have different stewardships.

  34. Zenaida says:

    Howard, If they meant only fathers could receive revelation for their families, why didn’t they use the word “fathers” instead of “parents?”

  35. D'Arcy says:

    Wow, I was amazed to find my friend listed as the Doomsday Prophetess, and yes, I sent Michelle that link. I don’t know if she would call herself that, but I do know that she has made it her mission of late to get prepared for whatever the future comes. She is one of the most spiritually in tune people I know, and not just within the confines of the LDS church. She has attended and taken part in several religions and finds inpiration in each. I think that there are ways that we can be intuitive, being willing is a main one, and being willing to act afterwards is another.

  36. Howard says:

    Zenaida,
    Elder M. Russell Ballard Q12 explains: Men and women joined together in marriage need to work together as a full partnership. However, a full and equal partnership between men and women does not imply the roles played by the two sexes are the same in God’s grand design for His children. As the proclamation clearly states, men and women, though spiritually equal, are entrusted with different but equally significant roles. These roles complement each other.

    So I think the father receives revelation for his role and the mother for hers.

  37. Jessawhy says:

    Thanks for your comments, everyone.
    I’m afraid I won’t be able to address them all because it’s late and I’m tired.

    Mr MRaynes,
    Like you, I no longer put as much emphasis on the stewardship part of the gift of prophesy. I don’t know that it applies in most cases, perhaps only for the church government.

    Chelsea,
    It’s wonderful to hear that your mother has spiritual gifts that she’s passed on to you. In my PB, I’m told I will work on genealogy, and perhaps I’ll have a spiritual gift to facilitate that.

    Howard,
    If you are looking for a place to renew the presiding discussion from ZD, please don’t do it here. I appreciate your opinion, but I’d like to just agree to disagree at this point.
    Your view of men’s authority (regarding answers to revelation, prophesy, and much else) in the home seems to be more rigid than I, or many of the commenters here are comfortable with.
    Perhaps we can just end with that.
    Thank you.

    Tanya,
    Thank you for the specific advice about finding my spiritual gifts. It’s not something I’ve really focused on in the past, but perhaps it will be.

    D’Arcy,
    I’m so sorry if my comment about your friend gave offense. None was intended, though I can see how it would seem that way. I was being flippant, probably because the notion of needing a 72 hr kit or 3 month food supply really frightens me.
    Please accept my humble apology. I was genuinely interested/concerned with her dreams and interpretation. So concerned that I actually stocked up on a bunch of food tonight at the grocery store.
    Because, while I don’t have the gift of prophesy, I believe others (possibly your friend) really do. And, President Monson (as well as other LDS prophets) have encouraged the same thing. I posted on my recent interest in food storage on my personal blog.

    Thanks again for stopping by, everyone!

  38. Howard says:

    Jessaway,
    Please reread the thread. I stopped in because of personal interest in your topic and to share stories about women with spiritual gifts.

    I agreed with one of Mr. mraynes comments. The balance of my comments were in direct response to specific questions.

    My answers were well supported with GA quotes and the Proclamation.

  39. gladtobeamom says:

    There seems to be a lot of back and forth over who gets what. In a perfect world men would do what they were suppose to and receive what they need and vice versa. I think we don’t live in a perfect world so many families have different situations and I take comfort that anyone man or women will receive the revelations they need pertaining to anything if they search for them.

    I found this interesting quote by Joseph Smith doctrines of salvation 1:185

    “Every person should live in harmony with the revealed truth; and in doing that, and receiving the testimony through the Holy Spirit that Jesus lives and is the Son of God, he or she becomes a prophet or prophetess, and is entitled to the guidance of and inspiration from the Holy Ghost, which is the spirit of prophecy”

  40. Kelly Ann says:

    The last definition of the spirit of prophecy is great – entitlement to the guidance of and inspiration from the Holy Ghost, from righteous living.

    If that is how it is being defined, then everyone really can have it. But to what magnitude is it expressed, is the question.

    In reference to my earlier comment that the gift of premonition is different than the gift of prophecy, reflects this notion. I think of prophecy at the level of the prophet. World wide statements and such. Or predicting natural disasters – really huge things.

    However, I think many more people have the gift of premonition, across many cultural lines. Not just in the church. Not knowing what the influence of the spirit is.

    So I think many of the experiences described would fit into this category. But in the end I think it is just an argument of semantics.

    And yes, we should all seek out the best gifts, even by study and also by faith.

  41. G says:

    I’m with you, jessawhy. totally envious of individuals who seem to have that extra in site, vision, gift of prophesy, or whatever it’s called.
    I’d like to think it is something that can be developed, it is something I desire.
    And I completely reject any notion that it is gender specific. I think the travisty of the patriarchal tradition is the lack of recognition (lack of development?) of that gift in women.
    One of Card’s Women of the Old Testiment novels touched a bit upon the concept of a female having the ‘gift’ of sight… but even that was a watered down “just-so-she- could-recognize-her-future-husband” variety.
    great post!

  42. Jessawhy says:

    Howard,
    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your polite tone and your willingness to discuss these issues civilly.

    gladtobeamom,
    I enjoyed that Joseph Smith quote, but I wondered about what you said here,
    “I take comfort that anyone man or women will receive the revelations they need pertaining to anything if they search for them.”
    I takes a lot of faith to believe this. Perhaps I’m pessimistic, but I think many people don’t get the revelations they need, which is difficult for me to understand.
    Some people even seem to get revelation that is exactly the opposite of what they seem to need. However, discussing interpretation of revelation is not really within the scope of this thread.
    Thanks for your comment.

    Kelly Ann,
    I can see what you’re saying now, about the difference between premonition and prophesy.
    The definitions I found divided them this way.
    Premonition: warning of the future
    Prophesy: prediction or knowledge of the future
    According to these definitions (I just google defined them, so I blended the most common parts of all the definitions) my friend really did have the gift of prophesy, since she really didn’t warn me about my pregnancy as much as predict it.
    However, there doesn’t seem to be a really distinction in the definitions anyway.

    G,
    Yes, I agree that many women in the church haven’t learned how to develop this gift. But, this thread has been encouraging to me because it shows me that there are women who have and use these gifts, I just don’t know them.
    And, it’s too bad about Card’s series. I would like to see the prophetesses in the Bible given as much credit for having and using their spiritual gifts as I’m sure they deserve.

  43. D'Arcy says:

    Jessawhy, no worries. My only concern was for her, as she doesn’t really do the bloggernacle thing, I was worried she would get all these hits and then be a little nervous about being called a prophetess…even though she very well has those gifts, I think in the church culture, many women would shun being titled such. But no worries on my part, I have definitely heeded her counsel.

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