Lately there has been more and more chatter about women in the church. I don’t mean just the LDS church that I belong to, but I mean “the church” in a general Christian sense. The Christian religion as a whole. There are a lot of differing opinions on the subject of a women’s place, be it in ministry, in the home, in leadership, or in any other place. There are just so many ideas and feelings about feminism and the patriarchy that it can be hard to keep up with, or sort out your own thoughts and feelings without feeling bombarded or influenced by outside sources.
This is especially in the LDS faith, which is watched over by a predominately male leadership. Some women have felt “less than” or “un-heard” and have gone to great lengths to be heard. I don’t necessarily want to share my own opinions on that today (suffice it to say I support the church leadership 100%), but I do want to share an amazing new resource that the LDS Church Historian’s Press has published, entitled At The Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women.
This scholarly history is amazing, and has 54 talks (or speeches) given by LDS women from 1831 to 2016, and really shows how women have contributed to the church since it’s beginning. In the talks, women draw on inspiration and experience to explain and bear witness of their beliefs. The team behind this book has put an immense amount of time and research into it, and it’s not only meant to be read and enjoyed, but is to be used by church members as they study, speak, lead, and teach.
Each chapter, or discourse, in At The Pulpit begins with a contextual biography, so we can go into the discourse knowing what was happening during that time in history, and the background of the woman whose discourse it is. They are not all “talks” either, but rather poems, discussions, etc, that have been recorded and passed down. There are many ways to teach, other than at an actual pulpit.
It has been really neat to read through these women’s thoughts, as well as come to know some of the women who have been influential to the building of the LDS church. There really is a place for everyone in Christianity, and in the LDS church, and I hope that this book is a good step forward for those of the LDS faith to realize that women do have voices in the church, and that they have an important and vital role to play.
I’ll just leave you with a favorite quote of mine from the book, by one of my favorite women in church history, Eliza R. Snow (who our own Eliza was partially named after):
And to that I say “amen”. My religion is real, it is a part of me, it drives my very existence, and influences my choices each and every day. Religion is indeed a reality, for men and for women, and for that, I am grateful.
I did receive this book from the publisher at no cost, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. If you’re interested in learning more about At The Pulpit, you can go here.