Relief Society Healing

Relief Society Healing

For over a hundred years in the early restoration Latter-day Saint women gave healing blessings of faith through the gift of the Spirit (see D&C 46:19-20). Shortly after the Nauvoo Female Relief Society was organized, Joseph Smith said, “If the sisters should have faith to heal the sick, let all hold their tongues, and let every thing roll on” [1] and that this “was according to revelation.” [2] With the approval and even encouragement of Church leadership, for the rest of the century women in the Church performed various healing rituals by virtue of their faith in Jesus, washing, anointing, and sealing anointings when administering blessings.  At the turn of the century, Church leaders began to emphasize the need to follow scriptural directives to “call for the elders of the church” (James 5:14) to perform these blessings. By the 1930’s and 1940’s, women’s laying on of hands to heal the sick had become a rare rather than a common practice among Latter-day Saint women.”  Today in the Church, the General Handbook says that “only Melchizedek Priesthood holders may administer to the sick or afflicted.” [3]

I am not advocating any particular position about women and priesthood or laying on of hands with this image.  This is a historical painting.  What I am advocating is women coming together in love and faith to comfort, care for, strengthen, heal, and minister to each other through the power of God that is available to them through their covenants and the Holy Ghost.  What I am celebrating in this painting is women who know their divine potential and how to call upon the powers of heaven to help accomplish the work of salvation. This is what Relief Society is all about, then and now. I hope you see this and more in this painting.

Central to the painting are the intermixed hands in the middle.  I love this—hands praying, hands supporting, hands strengthening—and how it symbolizes the unity and care that early Latter-day Saint women experienced in these rituals often associated with their Relief Society ministry. Another major visual element of this painting is the quilt.  As quilting is often a symbol of female work and unity, the idea of the quilt itself—different patches, shades, and shapes of fabric stitched together into a cohesive whole—seemed like an important symbol to typify the female body of Christ’s Restored Church coming together to do his holy work.

  • A “Paper Print” is a fine art reproduction printed on 80 lb. heavy weight matte paper using indigo ink. 
  • A “Canvas Mount” is a giclee fine art reproduction on canvas, professionally mounted on 1/4 inch masonite board, intended to be framed.
  • A “Large Canvas Wrap” is a giclee fine art reproduction printed on canvas, professionally mounted and wrapped around the sides of a 1.5 inch thick frame, intended to be hung directly without a frame.  

 

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