I was recently reading a Mormon woman’s oral history. This woman was in her seventies, and was nostalgic about the old Relief Society manuals, the ones from the 90s and before that were specifically tailored to women. They told women-centered stories, sometimes quoted from women, etc. This is in contrast to our current Teachings of the Presidents manual series which began around the year 2000. She described our current manuals as having gone through a “unisex sausage grinder.”
That phrase caught my attention. If our manuals really had gone through a unisex sausage grinder (at lease what I consider a unisex sausage grinder), I might be somewhat happy with them. But in my view, our current manuals are entirely male-centered and male-voiced. Throughout the whole manual an authoritative woman’s voice is almost never quoted (I say almost because I vaguely remember one time when a chapter quoted Eliza R. Snow.)
What would a good unisex manual look like? To me, it would quote significantly from women as well as men. It would focus on stories in scriptures that feature women as well as men. It would ask questions and describe situations/stories/ etc. that reflect women’s concerns and experiences as well as men’s.
How do you feel about our current manuals? What can be done to improve them? What do you like about them?