Hello, I am a new blogger for ExponentII, but I am not new to the little publication. For years, I was a loyal reader, sometime contributor, and attended various Exponent retreats. My woman’s quilt decorated the cover of the last paper issue of ExponentII, along with an article describing my frustration with the lessons the Church publishes for women. I am the mother of 4, grandmother to 15, and wife of 1. I have a degree from BYU in Sociology/Psychology, where I learned to analysis group dynamics. I am excited to represent the voice of women of a “certain” age, on this blog.
Years ago, President Gordon B. Hinkley began a Conference talk with words similar to this, “Yes Virginia, Heavenly Father loves his daughters as much as his sons. ” Immediately, in my own front room, I began talking back to the television, “Oh darling President Hinkley, most women and girls know they are loved by their Heavenly Father; the problem lies with the valuing of men above women in all areas of the Church. Why is it necessary to remind women they are loved, even treasured, when men rarely require this kind of ego massage?
For me, the most troubling over-valuing of men is found in lesson manuals . We rarely find even a hint of a female hero, female voice, or stories about women in the history of the Church. Sunday after Sunday, year after year, we are faced with lessons about men. Male Prophets solve problems, are heroes, are spiritual, and overcome difficulties. This sets wonderful examples for us to follow, but falls frighteningly short of providing the psychological boost we all need to feel good about ourselves. Lessons about men can inspire women, but a lesson which values women heroes provides the driving force women must have to realize that they can (and must) be the heroes of their own lives. Classrooms of women and girls become abuzz with excitement and increased interest, when there is personal identification with the story.
Young women are often lost as they transition into Relief Society, but may find increased interest in Relief Society and the Church, if they recognize themselves in the lessons. Both men’s and women’s lesson materials would be profitably enriched with stories about women from the Ensign, and historical records of the church. It could be swift, costless, and easily accomplished with permission clearly granted from Church Authorities .
When reading the parables taught by Jesus Christ, we see that He carefully included examples of women right along with examples of men. Christ also included women at the very most important times of his life. I believe it is instructive that the most valued historical events in the history of the world: the birth, mission, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, were witnessed and attested to by women. Clearly, the precedent for including the history, examples, voices, and stories of women has been set.