I read the most recent article by President Thomas Monson today about Faith and Prayer. I was touched by many of the faith promoting, scriptural examples he shares in this article and have written about it on another post.
Near the conclusion of this article, however, I read about how he (President Monson) received the gift of prophecy while serving as a mission president. He promised a young missionary that if he served faithfully his father would become a believer and be baptized into the gospel. The young elder then, in President Monson’s words “worked as if everything depended on him and prayed as if everything depended on the Lord.” The missionaries father was baptized a week before he came home from his mission.
This experience caused me to reflect on an experience I had while serving as a young missionary. When I was on my mission, we would meet with our mission president’s wife as well as our president. During one of our meetings, I expressed my concern for my younger brother, who was struggling spiritually at that time. I wanted to help him, but didn’t know what to do. It was amazing as my mission president’s wife had the spirit of prophecy come over her and she promised me in the name of Jesus that if I worked and prayed hard each day of my mission, my brother would not only overcome his struggles, but he would also serve a mission. I worked and prayed hard each day for my brother and the Lord heard my prayers. Two weeks before I came home I received a letter that he was going on a mission to the same country I had been serving in. There’s no doubt in my mind she was inspired by God to prophesy.
This experience led me to wonder about a few things within the LDS church. First, the culture of the church is such that men hold the priesthood (for those not familiar with this term it is commonly used in the LDS church as the authority to act in God’s name). As such, the youth meet with the bishops and other leaders of the church but do not have the opportunity to meet with sisters. I firmly believe that God’s gifts of prophecy are not soley for men. However, due to the culture of the LDS church being led by men, women rarely get to participate.
The second question I had as I reflected was one that my sister (who isn’t familiar with LDS practice) asked. She asked me why women couldn’t participate in blessing our new baby. I honestly didn’t know how to answer her because I know that women used to be able to participate in blessing their children (for more information on this, read Women, Anointing the Sick and Laying on of Hands).
I see nothing wrong with women participating in blessings, prophecyings, laying on of hands, etc. within their callings and jurisdictions. For example, one of the most sacred callings is that of father and mother. If a father and mother participate in using the priesthood to bless their children, is there something wrong with that? Also, if a mother feels inspired to prophecy to her child, or if she has a church calling is it fair to say she can prophecy for the people over whom she’s called to serve?
I personally feel that we could benefit by having the sisters more fully participate in priesthood opportunities within the church, but for some reason they don’t as they once did. I’d be interested to hear how the LDS sisters feel about this. Maybe they’re fine with it and I shouldn’t worry about it. All I know is that one of the most powerful prophecies of my life came to me from an inspired LDS sister.