Question: Why are there no women prophets in the church today?


Question: Why are there no women prophets in the church today?

Throughout history, women as well as men have developed the gift of prophecy as told and foretold by the scriptures

The Old and New Testaments talk of women prophets. Why are there no women prophets in the church today?

Every one of us should seek the Spirit of the Lord in learning and discerning our paths through life. This interplay between questions and answers from God is one face of the spiritual gift of prophecy. Throughout history, women as well as men have developed this gift as told and foretold by the scriptures. However, the spiritual gift of prophecy is different from the calling the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have to act as "prophets, seers, and revelators" for the Church and the world in general. Still, their callings do not conflict with the blessing we can all enjoy of being prophets for ourselves, our families, and for our callings in the Church.

The Bible mentions a number of prophetesses. In the Old Testament, we have Miriam (Exodus 15:20), Deborah (Judges 4:4), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14,2 Chronicles 34:22), Noadiah (Nehemiah 6:14). The New Testament mentions Anna (Luke 2:36). So why do we not see women designated as "prophetesses" today?

The fact that there is a person designated as "The Prophet" for the Church does not preclude others from having the gift of prophecy

A "prophet" is often regarded as an office to which one is formally called and set apart. Latter-day Saints often refer to the President of the Church as "The Prophet," although they are not technically the same thing. In ancient days, it was not possible to instantly communicate with the world as it is today. There were multiple prophets on the earth who communicated the Lord's will to the people for whom they were responsible. For example, there were prophets simultaneously in the New and the Old Worlds. Today, however, it is possible to have one prophet who is responsible for communicating the Lord's will worldwide. The fact that there is a person designated as "The Prophet" for the Church does not preclude others from having the gift of prophecy.

From the Bible Dictionary definition for "Prophet," we read the following:

...In certain cases prophets predicted future events, e.g., there are the very important prophecies announcing the coming of Messiah's kingdom; but as a rule prophet was a forthteller rather than a foreteller. In a general sense a prophet is anyone who has a testimony of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost, as in Num. 11: 25-29; Rev. 19: 10.

Bible Dictionary, Prophet

Surely the women called as General Auxiliary Presidency members are forthtellers. They travel the world teaching and testifying; they speak at General Conferences; they produce material for Church publications and do all of it by the spirit of prophecy. Women as well as men in all levels of the church today are blessed with this gift of the spirit to receive revelation. We simply don't recognize them formally.

In a broader sense, all who have a testimony of the Saviour are prophets regardless of their demographic characteristics Joel 2:28-29. Perhaps some of those named as prophets and prophetesses in the scriptures were given the title as charismatic/spiritual designations, not formal/official positions in a church hierarchy. Prophecy is a gift of the spirit, not necessarily a priesthood office.

Along with the prophetesses mentioned above, the word “prophetess” is used in two other ways in the Bible and Book of Mormon: the false prophetess and the consort prophetess.

The False Prophetess

In the New Testament, the word is applied to “that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess.”Rev 2:20 According to the Bible Dictionary, the use here is figurative and is part of a historical allusion used by John to communicate a threat of serious apostasy. This reference to the spiritually disastrous reign of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel warns of a situation early church members should have recognized as dramatic and dangerous.

The negative use of “prophetess” shows there must have been real significance attached to the word. Otherwise, its abuse by a Jezebel figure wouldn’t have been put forward as a sign of an insidious and destructive movement within the early church. John probably wasn’t trying to say there was a woman named Jezebel trying to act as the president of the church in Thyatira. Instead, he was warning of the negative influence anyone’s false claim to the spiritual gift of prophecy can have.


Why are there no female prophets today?

Knowing that any righteous individual can have gifts of the spirit, one really ought to ask: "Why do you not notice the females in the Church who are prophets?" The Lord has asked His people in ages past, and today to be:

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:5-6)

He has also said that this is "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:" (1 Peter 2:9)

Moses desired all the Lord's people to be prophets, he said:

Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them! (Numbers 11:)

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