The prophetic gender gap in Mormon scripture

Print More
The gender gap in Mormon scripture


The gender gap in Mormon scripture

The gender gap in Mormon scripture

The gender gap in Mormon scripture

On Saturday, I sat down to prepare my Sharing Time lesson on “The prophets in the scriptures are examples to my family.”

This week’s official lesson outline encouraged us to discuss with the children what each of the following prophets did to serve as an example:

  • John the Baptist
  • Alma the Younger
  • Joshua
  • King Benjamin
  • Lehi
  • Nephi
  • Brother of Jared

And . . . They were all men. Again.

This was hardly surprising, but I was not going to get up to teach on Mother’s Day of all days and pay lip service to women while studiously ignoring the many ways they have historically served God in leadership roles.

So in the lesson we had a go-fish-styled matching game where the kids had to pair up 11 prophets I’d selected from scripture while I quickly recounted their stories and what they teach us about God.

Nathan, for example, demands repentance even from the powerful; Anna proclaims the Christ; Nephi obeys the Lord; Huldah explains the scriptures; Ezekiel teaches us that hallucinatory drugs are OK that God sometimes speaks through unexpected imagery.

I think the lesson went well and the kids just took it in stride, though it was obvious they were far more familiar with the stories about male prophets than their female counterparts. No one knew who Huldah was, for example. (I totally would have given up my Mother’s Day chocolate bar as a prize for anyone who had.) Deborah did get a couple of hits, which was encouraging.

But what was odd about the lesson was not just the curriculum’s complete erasure of female prophets from history but the confusion it created by including male leaders from scripture who were not prophets and calling them prophets. These included:

  • Joshua was a military leader, overseeing the successful conquest of Canaan amidst an impressive body count. The Bible mentions him presiding over one religious event (Josh. 5), the circumcision of the male Israelites who had been born in the wilderness. But Joshua is never called a “prophet” in the Old Testament, even when God calls him to serve as the conqueror of Canaan (Josh. 1). Compare this to other scriptures that explicitly relate the calling of prophets like Jeremiah (Jer. 1:5) or Ezekiel (Ezek. 2:1-7).
  • King Benjamin is a great leader who is referred to in the Book of Mormon as a holy man, but not as a prophet. In the Words of Mormon, his name is listed among many who pass the sacred records down from one generation to the next. King Benjamin and the holy men in the land “and also the prophets” established peace and kept the people on the straight and narrow (for a little while, anyway). But he’s not listed as a prophet himself.
  • The Brother of Jared in the Book of Ether is not identified as a prophet, though Ether is (Ether 12). However, the BOJ is clearly seen as receiving instruction from God, who appeared to him in a cloud (Ether 2).

I made this mistake myself. I included Ammon in the lesson yesterday because kids know and love his story. But it turns out that Ammon’s name is not attached in any one of the 188 times the word “prophet” shows up in the Book of Mormon. I had just assumed the prophetic mantle from certain elements of his story (Male leader! Religious convert! Adviser to a king!) and I guessed wrong. Oops.

This all raises some questions, and not just about semantics.

As a Mormon I have been taught that God sends prophets to lead us, both anciently and today, and that the prophetic mantle is something more than just being a great moral example (King Benjamin) or receiving personal revelation for one’s own family (Brother of Jared).

Today Mormon leaders insist that the prophetic mantle is a unique priesthood calling. That would logically explain why women whom ancient scripture clearly labels as prophets are now neglected by the Primary curriculum, but it certainly then begs the question of why male characters who are not labeled as prophets get elevated to that status anyway.

So, what do Mormons mean by “the prophets in the scriptures”? Is receiving and obeying instruction from the Lord enough to merit the title, as the inclusion of the Brother of Jared would suggest? Is being a great moral and civic leader enough?

And if so, what does that mean for the women of the Bible and the Book of Mormon?


  • Jetta

    Why don’t you study these issues in depth before making wild assumptions? You don’t seem to have much more than a rudimentary understanding of the prophetic office.

    Many prophets in the scriptures were never labelled prophets explicitly. This includes, for example, Noah. Despite the fact that the Bible does not refer to him as a prophet, nearly all Abrahamic faith traditions see him as a prophet.

    We are given clues to prophethood by the fact that the individual was a leader, that he spoke with God, that he succeeded a previous prophet in his role, and even the fact that he is quoted in scripture. Of course, the final word belongs to–who else–modern prophets, who can tell us more about these men.

    Because of modern revelation, as well as a careful reading of scripture, we know Samson was not a prophet, for example, but Noah, King Benjamin, Joshua and the Brother of Jared were.

    And yes, you’re correct. The prophetic office is a priesthood office and cannot be held by women. I don’t know whether you meant hostility by using the word “insists” with the Lord’s word through his servants, but it’s wasted if you did. The truth is the truth, despite your personal feelings about what the truth should be.

  • Marion Fust Sæternes

    Thank you Jana! Great post. Looking forward to reading up on Huldah.

  • Casey

    Jetta is right: in-depth study makes it clear what a prophet is and is not. For example it’s THE TRUTH that prophets can’t be women, so even when a woman in scripture acts in a prophetic manner, is treated by others as a prophet, and is explicitly called a prophet in the text, she clearly isn’t because…women, duh. Conversely, men who do none of these are probably still prophets because they have boy parts.

    When you have THE TRUTH you realize that the scriptures only exist to confirm THE TRUTH, never to challenge us with confusing and sometimes contradictory teachings that might conflict with THE TRUTH. If they seem to they probably weren’t translated correctly.

  • Jetta, thank you for reading the post. My standard for this lesson was to use the stories of prophets who were identified as prophets in ancient scripture, whether those prophets were male or female.

    I’m sorry if that is too narrow a definition for you. Yours is too narrow for me, since it by nature precludes women from being prophets when some were obviously regarded as such in the ancient world. So we will have to agree to disagree.

    Also, personal feelings on truth are not irrelevant. While God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, our understanding of God’s truth is ever conditioned by family and culture. It is our task through prayer to separate what is unchanging from what is not. My answer may well be different from yours, and it is our job to respect that each of us has come to that understanding through prayer and study even if the other person’s conclusion may make us afraid or insecure.

  • Julia

    Truly, you have a dizzing intellect.

  • Jetta

    I too have had opinions that were contradicted by the words of apostles. I repented and changed my views.

    This isn’t us disagreeing on definitions. This is me accepting that the apostles are actually apostles and that we can believe their words, which in this case do not leave ambiguity. (i.e. as to the question of whether King Benjamin or whoever is a prophet or whether women can be prophets.)

    I get that the apostles and prophets haven’t spoken on every single doctrinal question. And in those cases, yes, there remains room for interpretation and prayer and patience.

    But this isn’t one of those cases, and you know it. You’ve listened to General Conference. You know what the church teaches.

    Do you believe that heavenly beings laid their hands on Joseph Smith’s head to confer upon him the priesthood? Do you believe that priesthood exists? Do you believe President Monson holds the keys of this dispensation on earth? Do you believe he speaks for Jesus Christ? If so, do you believe the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ are his words? Or not? These teachings are clear on this subject–do not disingenuously deny it.

    14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

    15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

    16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world.

    The day cometh.

  • Comments that dissect something a commenter has said, or that criticize a specific issue in a post, are fine. Jetta’s comment was like that. I didn’t agree with her, but her comment moved the discussion forward. Insults do not.

    Julia, if you have something particular to say that will contribute to the discussion, please do so. Mere insults are not worthy of you or appropriate for this forum. Thank you.

  • Good questions. Yes, I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and yes, I believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today. I also believe that prophets are human beings who can sometimes be wrong, just as they are very often inspired. I feel you create a false dichotomy by assuming that prophets are always correct in all matters on which they have spoken.

    Could I be wrong about this? Absolutely. It is a matter for prayer.

  • Jetta

    Jana, you understand what church leaders have said on this topic. While church leaders can make mistakes, to promulgate our own views that contradict theirs we must trust that *we* are in a better position to know church doctrine than the prophets themselves. Neither you or I can claim that.

    Please imagine (please, please) how you would feel if I began teaching children in my ward that men have the priesthood because they’re superior leaders. Imagine that I posted this on blogs and certain people agreed with me. Imagine I cited scriptures or other teachings out of context to support my view.

    Imagine that I defended this heresy by saying that, you know, it’s possible for the prophets to be mistaken. What would be your argument against me? Please, answer this.

    No, we would appeal, as always, to official church teachings. I would be required to repent and to stop teaching false doctrine. As the apostles have said recently, if you receive revelation on doctrine that is contrary to what the church teaches, you’re wrong. You didn’t receive it from God.

  • Sfly

    Wow. Just wow to some of the negative commenters. I loved this Jana. What I loved most about it was that it got me to think about something I’ve never thought of before: Besides the fact that the women who were believed to be prophetesses have been completely whitewashed from our lessons and conversations, the making of men into prophets who weren’t necessarily so was a new thought to me. This has both positive and negative ramifications. The negative would be that we are teaching inaccuracies, perhaps weighing certain stories or teachings more heavily than they should be, if they were in actuality not prophets. The positive would be that by doing this, we allow for a wider definition of prophet that may include others in history, not of our faith that have had a tremendous impact for good on humankind. I believe there are many of these people throughout history, equally called of God to expand our view of Him and what is possible.
    As a side note, those who completely discount that there may be many valid ways of seeing and interpreting the same thing, really fail to see the beauty of Mormonism. It truly reduces it down to something much less meaningful and attractive to imply that there is but one way to view things. The implication that if a person doesn’t hold your view, their testimony should be questioned is damaging to many. It also reduces the ability to have meaningful and productive dialogue.

  • TC

    I taught the same Sharing Time on Sunday and had similar thoughts. I love the scriptures and all that we learn from the recorded interactions between God and man. I followed the script but missed the intimacy of my old Primary class where we could discuss women of faith in the scriptures too because my Valiant girls asked where they were regularly. Imagine being Noah’s wife helping to tend to all those animals for about 200 days on the ark. My daughter who just learned about gestation lengths for many animals asked how many of the animals had babies on the ark? 🙂 Sadly, the Primary Old Testament curriculum leaves much to be desired on this score as do the children’s illustrated readers! I’ve been praying for them to be updated. Anybody written a “Follow the Prophet” verse for Deborah? 😉 Hahaha. I’m not a wave maker, but appreciate thinking about and being sensitive to gender issues in the church. Thanks!

  • “As the apostles have said recently, if you receive revelation on doctrine that is contrary to what the church teaches, you’re wrong. You didn’t receive it from God.”

    I don’t see things in this black-and-white manner. But let’s say that you’re right, and it’s either the prophet’s way or the highway. In that hypothetical scenario there is no middle ground.

    So if we’re in that extreme hypothetical place, and my view as confirmed by study and prayer differs from the prophet’s, my answer would be that I would rather be true to my own moral core and human experience than someone else’s. Too much evil has been done in the world by people who “followed orders” over and against what they believed to be right for me to cling to such notions as “the Lord will bless you for doing what you were told even when you thought it was wrong.” I have been told by a church leader, for example, that the Lord would bless those who supported the church’s campaign against Proposition 8 in 2008 in California despite their personal misgivings about denying basic civil rights to gay and lesbian people. I do not agree. They should follow their conscience.

  • Thanks for your comments, TC. And actually, I did just find out this weekend that someone has written lyrics for Deborah as a female prophet to add to “Follow the Prophet,” and taught the new verse to her Primary! I tried to write some too but her lyrics were way better than anything I came up with. This is definitely not my talent. Check out her words:

  • Well said, Sfly. I like your point that this is both a challenge and an opportunity. And I totally agree that there are many valid points of view within the very large umbrella that is Mormonism.

  • Jetta

    A great deal of evil has also been done by those who believed their personal moral worldview was right, who were acting according to their conscience. Name nearly any dictator; they fall into this category. I don’t place any special trust in my personal views as a human. Again, what would you say to a primary teacher who taught children that men are better than women, and argued that the apostles were mistaken?

    Let’s not resort to rhetoric. The difference between us is not that one of us is thinking in black-and-white and the other is not. You won’t compromise on your modernist/post-modernist social values, and this at the expense of true religion. I, on the other hand, will not compromise on sustaining the apostles, at the expense of any philosophy of men.

  • Jetta

    If those are your issues with the manuals, I promise you that the Old Testament itself also “leaves much to be desired” … if you’re looking for sensitivity to cultural Marxism/modern gender theory, you’re not going to find it in the church.

    Try the Community of Christ?

  • Sfly

    The difference is not that you sustain and obey the prophets and apostles and I don’t, but that our definitions of these things are different. I believe that I can still sustain but not necessarily agree with everything someone in authority says. I like it put this way, “We want a standard that is infallible because it relieves us of the burden of continually exerting ourself to use discernment.” (Terryl Givens) Prophets and apostles have erred all throughout time. They are the arm of the flesh as well. I trust in God and the Holy Ghost to lead me in the right direction, and most of the time, the words of apostles and prophets are in alignment with that.

  • Jetta: Yes, I do have some issues with the Old Testament. I’m not sure how people who have been taught that things like killing, rape, or incest are wrong could read the book and *not* have questions about it. That does not mean I am willing to abandon it as uninspired. Again, I do not subscribe to the kind of all-or-nothing thinking that you seem to imagine is required to be a Latter-day Saint.

    Your comments crossed a line for me in your suggestion that I attend another church. You may not like my opinions, Jetta, but the hand does not get to say “adios” to the foot, or the head, or even the ecclesiastical derriere, which is clearly what you think I am in this scenario. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians suggests that we all have a role to play, and we are all necessary.

    In other words, you always and ever have the right to think that I am wrong and to tell me so. You do not, however, have the right to tell me I do not belong in my Church. You have been fond today of telling me that I am not the prophet, and I might say the same to you. You are not a mouthpiece for Christ, and you don’t get to banish me just because you find my views uncomfortable or different from your own understanding of the Gospel.

    I am a member of this Church and I find value in serving it. I am not going anywhere. I’m sorry if that conjures shrillness or anxiety in you. I would never tell a stranger to take her views to some other church just because I disagreed with her; why would you?

  • What a great quote from Terryl Givens. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jetta

    Come on, Jana. Your daughter’s Sunday School teacher starts teaching in class that men have the priesthood because they’re more capable than women. He says he’s done a lot of studying and prayer and has come to an understanding that the apostles are fallible and mistaken in this case. What do you say to him?

  • Jetta

    I was talking to TC, not you.

    But I would give you the same advice, and I’m not saying what I’m saying out of hostility. The Community of Christ seems to fit the way you see things very well. You can believe in Joseph Smith and a living prophet while being less fundamentalist about doctrine.

    Also, they ordain women and they recently approved gay marriage. I think you would be happier there–you seem quite agitated about the way things are taught in this church.

  • Dovie

    Jetta, the church that Jana belongs to is the result of her spiritual journey and where her experiences with the divine have impressed her to land. To step into into her relationship with God seems wildly inappropriate.

  • Geoff

    Hmm. I agree that Jetta’s being a little presumptuous.

    On the other hand, when someone shows up to a vegan conference with chocolate milk, they can’t really be surprised when vegans suggest they go join the vegetarian club instead.

  • DougH

    Judges 4: “4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading[a] Israel at that time.” If you check the Bible Hub website, out of nineteen translations only one does not use “prophet” or “prophetess.” And Deborah then goes on to prophecy that “the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Which He does. The same eighteen translations describe Miriam as a prophet or prophetess in Exodus 15:20. Then there’s Luke 2: “36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher.” All twenty-one translations use “prophet” or “prophetess” there.

    I’d say it’s pretty clear that these women were considered to be prophets. So either they had a priesthood, it is possible to be a prophet without the priesthood, or what the Bible means by “prophet” isn’t always what we mean by “prophet.” Take your pick.

  • Todd

    Interesting discussion. Haven’t read all the comments, so apologies if mine is redundant. The definition of a prophet is ambiguous. Moses wished all God’s children were prophets, being filled with the spirit of God, while Christ taught that the testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy. Furthermore, the gifts of the spirit, including prophecy, are not reserved for those with official titles, but for any individuals who faithfully seek them. The church, however, also recognizes that only those ordained as prophets seers and revelators may receive revelation on behalf of the church. Prophecy is never meant to be kept to oneself, so what’s the difference? The difference is the scope of the authority and duty between the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet. The gift of prophecy is given to all in order to testify, exhort, and comfort, but only the official prophet may give commandments for the church. That’s it. Hence, folks like Ammon, King Benjamin, Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene are iconic figures. They aren’t known for their commandments issued, but for their righteous examples and their willingness to testify, exhort, and comfort us. Those types of prophets are necessarily cherished as equal to those authorized to give commandments. The gospel says that those filled with the spirit of God are made equal to God, men and women alike. Getting hung up on official titles belies that fundamental goal.

  • Nayajja

    There are some mistaken assumptions underlying this discussion. The word “prophet,” like many words in the English language, has multiple meanings depending on the context. Janna, you conflate all meanings into one, and it creates an unreliable foundation upon which you reach your conclusions (or what seem perhaps to be accusations),

    1. You assume that unless there happens to be a verse in the scripture identifying someone as a prophet, he or she is not a prophet. That is not the definition of a prophet, nor a basis to accuse Church curriculum of identifying men as prophets when they are not.

    2. Your statement that “Today Mormon leaders insist that the prophetic mantle is a unique priesthood calling,” again is a false assumption. If this statement were true, Janna, how do you explain the last sentence in the Bible dictionary under the heading Prophets: “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.”

    If “Mormon leaders” indeed “insist” on what you claim, why did they ever approve the section on Deborah in the Seminary Old Testament Student study guide, entitled “Deborah the Prophetess”?

    If “Mormon leaders” indeed “insist” on what you claim, how do you explain Elder Oak’s statement in a October 1990 General Conference:

    “Anna and Simeon were eyewitnesses to the infant, but, just like the Apostles, their knowledge of his divine mission came through the witness of the Holy Ghost. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10.) Therefore, we can properly say that when each received this witness, Simeon was a prophet and Anna was a prophetess. Each then fulfilled the prophetic duty to testify to those around them. As Peter said, “To [Christ] give all the prophets witness.” (Acts 10:43.) This was what Moses meant when he expressed the wish “that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” (Num. 11:29.)”

  • sue

    You could have included Eliza Snow. She was referred to as a Prophetess by contemporary saints.

    I was taught that a Prophet is one who speaks for God.

  • Pingback: The Cultural Hall Podcast – Mormon News Report, 13-May-2014()

  • Hopeful

    Jana – I loved this post and applaud your efforts to round out the education of the children in your class.

    You had a link to the definition of a prophet which in part reads, “His responsibility is to make known God’s will and true character to mankind and to show the meaning of his dealings with them.” Every day I wonder when God’s true character will be revealed regarding “God the Mother.” I keep waiting for the day when I can come to know Her as well as Her counterpart, and I would dearly love to know about Her dealings with us. It seems to me that, thus far, only 1/2 of the equation has been made known to mankind. Will the day ever come when we will come to know the true character of the divine feminine – our beloved Mother in Heaven? I sometimes despair that that day will ever come.

  • The term “prophet” in LDS term doesn’t have the same meaning as it does in the scriptures. To us the terms president, leader, and prophet all mean the same thing. The Holy Ghost is the spirit of prophecy, and you have it so you, Jana Riess, are a prophetess of God and when you bear testimony you do so in that role and capacity. I too don’t like that we ignore the noble women in Church history and the scriptures. But, the lesson books are a guide, feel free to go out side of them as the spirit direct, but be sure not to do it just because you feel left out. Remember – you joined the Church knowing full well that women wouldn’t get the priesthood in you life time. All your articles about women an the priesthood seem to ignore this fact.

  • This whole discussion provides some evidence of why, especially with the primary and youth Sunday School classes or Sharing Time activities it might be wise to stick to the lesson plan.

  • Allison

    I agree Kelly. Parents are putting teachers in a position of trust when they send their children to primary and Sunday School. Most members of the church are confident of the church curriculum and assume that is what teachers are making their best attempt to teach their children. Is primary an appropriate place to advocate for change in the church?

  • Jetta, I’m sorry if I misunderstood your comment (and to whom it was directed). And you’re right; there are other churches that fit my politics more closely. But God called me to *this* church, and I don’t think that feeling comfortable socially or politically is as important as following where God asked me to go. That’s not to say it isn’t really hard sometimes.

  • Laura

    Right. We wouldn’t want our children to actually THINK, now would we? Teaching is one thing, blind indoctrination is another. It is at the younger ages that we SHOULD be challenging them and helping them to grow and see beyond dogmatic rhetoric.

    I’m not saying we should incite them to rebellion or preach our own personal opinions as absolute truth; nothing like that, that’s just as ridiculous in my opinion. But the fact is, lesson plans only cover such a small, surface part of any subject. And if that’s ALL we ever get, then we don’t understand our own gospel and doctrines nearly well enough.

    Habits are formed at very early ages. I am continuously appalled that even in my adult Sunday School classes, no one really wants to hear anything that can’t be answered with a basic primary answer. How sad; how utterly shameful that they have not grown beyond a child’s understanding of the world. The world is so much richer and more complex than that. And believe it or not, children are actually smart enough to handle it. How can we talk about an 8-year-old being of the “age of accountability” if we can’t even trust them to think for themselves and understand a wide variety of subjects from more than one perspective?

    And frankly, no one HAS said anything about “advocating change for the church” here. Jana simply gave a lesson that included more than the famous few prophets. She tried to enrich their foundation a little bit. And this is…bad?! The fact is, Deborah WAS a Prophetess — however you choose to interpret that, I suppose — and drawing attention to her and others that writers of the scriptures thought important enough to keep in the mix…well, I really fail to see how that’s in any way wrong. She WAS speaking truth. It’s not like she was making up stories or getting these kids to rally behind some “feminist agenda” or whatever. She simply gave them more information than they had previously had.

  • Geoff

    Teach your own kids however you want, but when it comes to other people’s kids, you shouldn’t place your views ahead of what parents want for their kids.

  • SanAntonioRob


    It’s important to note that while you purport to defend the current prophets, you are quick to suggest members of a differing viewpoint leave the Church. This is direct opposition to the plea of Pres. Uchtdorf (a modern prophet, seer, and revelator) that people with doubts and differing opinions stay in the Church.

    It’s also important to note that Church leaders (including Pres. Uchtdorf in that same talk) have openly admitted that Church leaders somtimes get things wrong. You may not like blogs that focus on the Church’s failings, and that’s fine. But saying we should accept everything that is taught in the scripture or over the pulpit without question is both against scripture (such as Moroni 10) and ignorant of undisputed history (ie, the doctrine of blood atonement, the “over-the-pulpit” justifications of denying blacks the priesthood, the Adam-God theory – all taught by earlier prophets, all disputed by current prophets).

    100 years ago, apostles used to have open debates about doctrine. You may think it’s good those days are past, but acting like its sin to have a simple, open disagreement with the current apostles is completely unfounded in scripture (see Paul vs. Peter regarding gentile converts), history (examples above), or (I feel) the workings of the Holy Spirit.

  • Todd

    Nayajja, you echo my sentiments, but with citations, so thanks for your contribution. I would only add that the primary thing which sets Mormons apart from other religions (as taught by Joseph Smith) is the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the notion that every individual is capable of obtaining the same divine revelation as every prophet, in fact that they must obtain them. Hence, the criticisms in the article seem wholly misplaced.

  • Sean

    Interesting premise. The one issue I have with your line of thinking is that there, to the best of my limited knowledge, are no major instances of a female leader role in the scripture where a male priesthood holder was a part of those being led. I like the idea of equal roles for men and women in the church. I would LOVE to, at least, have equal budgets! However, if your line of thinking is accurate, why isn’t it supported with major leadership roles for women in scripture where priesthood members were available? I don’t claim to be a scripture master, so please correct me if I am mistaken. Best Regards ….

  • “Remember – you joined the Church knowing full well that women wouldn’t get the priesthood in you life time.”

    What’s the background for this claim? You’re sure women won’t get the priesthood until after Jana dies? …and then it’s certain to happen, or then it’s up in the air?

    Sorry–this just seems like an oddly specific thing to claim.

  • SanAntonioRob

    Nayajja and Todd,

    I don’t know that you meant it this way, but you appear to be confirming the need to ask Jana’s question. Yes, there are different definitions for prophet. If the lesson was using a narrower definition of a prophet (such as called of God and set apart in that specific priesthood office), why were men that don’t appear to fit that definition included? If it was using a broader definition like “those having a tesimony of Christ”, why weren’t any women included in the examples? It does not appear to me that this lesson used any one definition that applies to all the male examples involved, but could not reasonably apply to various women in the scriptures. Therefore, unwittingly or otherwise, this lesson results in the complete exclusion of female examples without good reason. For that, the basic criticism posed in this article is nowhere near “misplaced”.

  • DougH

    Well said, that basically sums it up. The Bible has women it labels as prophets, and their exclusion from the list and inclusion of men that don’t so well fit that label was a mistake.

  • SanAntonioRob

    And you assume that other Mormon parents wouldn’t have wanted the lesson taught as Jana taught it. I wouldn’t hang my hat on that, given how she explained it. I’m as Mormon as they come and the lesson sounded great.

    Sticking to the lesson is important. Reading word-for-word the lesson without deviation is devoid of the Spirit’s influence. If reading lessons word-for-word is all my kids are getting from Church, there is no point to Church. It sounds to me like Jana stuck with the lesson as well as any good teacher sticks to the lesson. She brought home the point the lesson was meant to give, and she does not appear to have taught any false doctrine. You disagreeing with her criticism of the lesson’s failings, criticism she brought up ON HER BLOG – NOT IN THE LESSON, doesn’t change that.

    In my opinion, whether you agree with Jana or not, what she did is waaaaay more benign than what I call “the gospel of conservative talk radio” that is preached by dozens and probably hundreds of gospel doctrine teachers every Sunday in the US, and taken by hundreds or thousands more as gospel truth. And that coming from a Republican who can be fairly conservative on issues.

  • Dave

    Interesting thought. I agree that we should make a greater effort to teach about the women of the scriptures, including their full works and roles. I want my daughters and sons to know the women of the scriptures.

    If I had time to research I would look into the “small p, prophet” designation. I’m pretty sure there are some conference talks about how we can all be prophets when we testify of Christ or exercise the gift of prophecy which a gift of the spirit. I’m not sure if that relevant to this discussion but it’s an angle worth exploring.

  • Feste Ainoriba

    “the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ”
    Moses lamented that he wished that all were prophets.
    Int that sense, anyone who receives a witness from the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ and bears witness to it, is prophesying.
    However, “THE” Prophet who holds the keys during the dispensation in which he lives, is the presiding High Priest and officiated in that calling as the presiding authority appointed by God as His spokesman to the world. That singular prophetic mantle IS a priesthood office.
    Don’t be so easily confused.