I remember when I attended seminary and first read Joel’s prophecy that handmaidens would prophesy and recognize signs of the times in the last days.
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
I wanted to be one of those handmaidens. I read the scriptures carefully and saw that women like Mary, Elisabeth, Hannah, Rebekah all made amazing prophecies of how their descendants would impact the world.
Eliza Roxcy Snow Smith the Prophetess
One of my latter-day heroines is 19th century prophetess Eliza R. Snow. Her spiritual capacity and impact through spirit gifts inspire me to look to God. She expected women to reach higher and stand as empowered women in the Lord’s Kingdom.
“Our enemies pretend that, in Utah, woman is held in a state of vassalage—that she does not act from choice, but by coercion. What nonsense!
“I will now ask of this assemblage of intelligent ladies, Do you know of any place on the face of the earth, where woman has more liberty and where she enjoys such high and glorious privileges as she does here as a Latter-day Saint? No! the very idea of a woman here in a state of slavery is a burlesque on good common sense … as women of God, filling high and responsible positions, performing sacred duties—women who stand not as dictators, but as counselors to their husbands, and who, in the purest, noblest sense of refined womanhood, are truly their helpmates—we not only speak because we have the right, but justice and humanity demands we should!”
Sister Snow Smith believed and taught the women of Kanab that each woman is responsible for her own salvation. [She] said the time was when we thought that our husbands would save us, independent of our own exertions. Now we understand that instead of depending entirely on our husbands for salvation and position, we have to work them out ourselves. The responsibility and labor that devolve upon women are becoming more important. If society is reformed, it is to a great extent because women are refined. And the well-being of her children depends much on her influence and example. These societies are to be helps to the bishops and take many cares from their hands. We are organized in ward and stake capacities, and it is necessary that every sister should come forward and take hold of this work for the benefit of their daughters. The Lord wants us to be a peculiar people. Felt that none of us draw as near to Father as we should. When we get the victory over ourselves, then we are saved. “I would say to my young sisters, never shrink from a duty. God has put the means in your hands to become queens and priestesses in his kingdom, if you will only live for it.”
During one scripture study time, I decided to search for every woman named as a prophetess and read about her prophetic impact. Prophetesses in the scriptures provide an example for latter-day women to become the same. Following are a few references to these women called prophetesses.
Miriam the Prophetess
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
Deborah the Prophetess
And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?
And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.
And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.
And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lordshall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.
And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.
Huldah The Prophetess
And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king’s, saying,
Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that is written in this book.
And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect.
And she answered them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me,
Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah:
Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.
And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard;
Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord.
Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.
Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord.
And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.
And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.
Isaiah’s Wife The Prophetess
And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
Philip The Evangelist’s Four Daughters Are Prophetesses
And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Cæsarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
In Revelation, an angel teaches John that prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ.
And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
I’m grateful for examples of righteous women with testimonies of Jesus Christ and the spirit of prophecy.