As I study the history of women in the Mormon church, I'm always amazed by how similar our emotions are, but how unbelievably different the practices of the church were. Spiritual gifts are still an important part of LDS worship, but they look a whole lot different than they used to. I'll be honest – some of the old practices seem downright weird to me (singing in tongues in sacrament meeting, anyone?). However, that doesn't mean that they weren't a source of strength, comfort, and connection to God for the men and women that received them.
Women in the early church used these gifts at the big crossroads in their life. They anointed and blessed women before they gave birth. They gathered with friends and spoke in tongues during the harsh limbo of Winter Quarters. They faced the struggles of their life, approached God in prayer, and then gave comfort and direction to others through prophesying. They used these gifts to bless others and allow God to guide them and show His love for them.
Spiritual gifts played an important role in the lives of the women I'm highlighting this month (posting on Mondays). Some of these women used these gifts regularly; some received them in times of need; but all of these women deepened their connection and commitment to God through the use of these gifts. They faced heartbreaking loss and disappointment, but these gifts tied them to God and gave them strength to stay committed to their faith when it hurt to do so. I respect them for their faith, service, and commitment.