Thursday, January 22, 2015

Healing, Part 2: Women

Joseph Smith, April 28, 1842 (Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes)
He said the reason of these remarks being made was, that some little things was circulating in the Society, that some persons were not going right in laying hands on the sick, &C.  Said if he had common sympathies, would rejoice that the sick could be heal'd, that the time had not been before, that these things could be in their proper order—that the Church is not now organiz'd in its proper order, and cannot be until the Temple is completed.  Prest. Smith continued the subject by adverting to the commission given to the ancient apostles "Go ye into all the world" &C.  No matter who believeth; these signs such as healing the sick, casting out devils &C. should follow all that believe whether male or female. He ask'd the Society if they could not see by this sweeping stroke that werein they are ordained, it is the privilege of those set apart  to administer in that authority which is conferr'd  on them—and if the sisters should have faith to heal the sick, let all hold their tongues, and let every thing roll on.
Respecting the females laying on hands, he further remark'd, there could be no devil in it if God gave his sanction by healing—that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on the sick than in wetting the face with water It is no sin for any body to do it that has faith, or if the sick has faith to be heal'd by the administration.

28 April 1842 • Thursday (Joseph Smith Journal entry)
Thursday 28 at Two o’clock after-noon met the members of the “Female relief Society”  and after presiding at the admission of many new members. Gave a lecture on the pries[t]hood shewing how the Sisters would come in possession of the priviliges & blesings & gifts of the priesthood— & that the signs should follow them. such as healing the sick casting out devils &c. & that  they might attain unto. these blessings. by a virtuous life & conversation  & diligence in keeping all the commandments

Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book, April 19 1842
Mrs. [Elizabeth Davis] Durfee bore testimony to the great blessing  she received when administered to, after the close of the  last meeting, by Prest. E. Smith & Councillors Cleveland  and Whitney. she said she never realized more benefit  thro’ any administration— that she was heal’d, and  thought the sisters had more faith than the brethren.

Brigham Young:
“It is the privilege of a mother to have faith and to administer to her child; this she can do herself, as well as sending for the Elders to have the benefit of their faith.”
(Journal of Discourses, 13:155)

John Taylor:
It is the privilege of all faithful women and lay members of the Church, who believe in Christ, to administer to all the sick or afflicted in their respective families, either by the laying on of hands, or by the anointing with oil in the name of the Lord: but they should administer in these sacred ordinances, not by virtue and authority of the priesthood, but by virtue of their faith in Christ, and the promises made to believers: and thus they should do in all their ministrations. (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Circular Letter, October 6, 1880, microfilm of holograph, CR 2 30)

Joseph F. Smith
It is just as much the right of the mother as of the father [to heal], although he, holding the priesthood, can do it by virtue of this as well as in the name of the Lord. The women are not especially called upon to visit from house to house to administer to the sick, but they can do so properly, if called upon. (“The Relief Society Jubilee,” Deseret Weekly, March 26, 1892, p. 435)

Orson Pratt

It seems that the gifts here named [in Mark 16:16-18] are general gifts, intended more or less for the whole Church; not only for those in the Priesthood, but for those out of the Priesthood, for males and for females. For instance, children are often taken sick, and it is the privilege of their parents, whether they have the Priesthood or not, by virtue of this promise, to lay their hands on their sick children, and ask the Lord, in the name of Jesus, to heal them. Suppose that the father, the head of the family, is absent, has the mother the right to lay her hands upon her sick child? We say that, by virtue of this promise which the Lord has made, she may lay her hands upon her child or children, and ask God to heal it or them. How many scores and scores of cases have there been in this Church, every year since it was organized, where the parents, both brethren and sisters, have had power over disease, through the Spirit of God being poured out upon them, and their children have been healed through the laying on of their hands? (Journal of Discourses, 16:290)

Now, something to consider.

Matthew 25:24-25
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo,there thou hast that is thine.

The gifts of the Spirit are given to everyone - male and female, young and old.  God is no respecter of persons.  
So if  a woman is given the gift of healing as a gift of the Spirit and she is afraid to use it because of the fear of men, what potential loss is there?  
Or would God not give women the gift of healing simply because it has become the tradition for women not to heal?  
Can mortals constrain God by their traditions they create for themselves?  
How is a gift of the Spirit received?  Does God choose it or does a person's spirit naturally receive that which best fits them?  Or does it only come to someone who asks for it?  
Is it possible that there are many women in our church and other religions and cultures throughout the world who have the gift of healing and will never discover it because they are bound down by cultural traditions?  
How can anyone find out?  How can one receive it who desires it?  
Would God condemn a woman for giving a healing blessing to a sick child?  If so, why would He do it now if He wouldn't have 150 years ago?

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