I've been reading a book about the Bible and I was reminded of a question that I've always had but have never had answered.
What happened to prophetesses?
As we peruse the Bible and other historical books, it's easy to see that women's rights have come a long way. Back then, women had little say in anything and therefore I find it ironic that there were a few who held the status of "prophetess" (such as Anna, pictured at right), while today we have none. Why is that?
According to bible-history.com, "Women were not excluded from the prophetic office in the Old Testament, and were honored with the right of prophetic utterance in the New Testament. It should be noted, however, that women like Miriam (Ex 15:20), Deborah (Jdg 4:4) and Huldah (2 Ki 22:14) were not credited with the seer's insight into the future, but were called "prophetesses" because of the poetical inspiration of their speech. Among others mentioned as having the prophetic gift we find Hannah (1 Sam 2:1), Anna (Lk 2:36) and the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8,9)."
"Prophetess" is not listed in the LDS Bible Dictionary. However, "Anna" is, and she is called "prophetess," although no specifics in regards to her office are given.
Some things to consider:
a) Should prophetesses such as Anna and Hannah be held in the same regard as prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, or even Thomas S. Monson? Or did they hold a "lesser" office or authority than these men?
b) Are prophetesses only needed if there isn't a man around who can be prophet?
c) Are prophetesses a thing of the past? If so, what made them irrelevant?
d) Could we have prophetesses in these modern days? Why or why not?
e) Are the General RS, YW, and Primary presidencies modern-day "prophetesses?"
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