Book Review: Certain Women by Linda K. Burton

Certain Women was a talk given by Linda K. Burton in the April 2017 General Conference. We have already addressed the talk here. (spoiler: we liked it!)


This book is something that is typical within Deseret Book, in that it is a word-for-word reproduction of the talk, printed in hardcover with art image and cut outs. This particular book is probably too physically small for a coffee table book (7.5 inches or about 18cm square), and because it has no additional writing content, I am honestly not sure what the purpose the book serves.


To be clear, I liked the talk. And I like the gorgeous, bright, water-colour artwork that is include within the pages of the book (maybe buy it for the artwork! Sheryl Dickert Smith did a fabulous job!). I suspect that it will make an excellent “busy book” for my children, if the sacrament meeting talks on a Sunday don’t retain their attention—  the wide spacing, and abundant artwork will be something they enjoy and yet retain focus on the spirit. And it might be a good book for those who would choose to gift it to a “less active” person.


In all honesty, I don’t see the reason behind this marketing of a General Conference talk in hard copy. I have a friend who purchased a “book” similar to this a few years ago that was a word-for-word reprint of a talk by then-President Uchtdorf. She was so upset at feeling ripped off that she returned the book and demanded her money back. So perhaps this kind of book is better suited for those who are not familiar with or those who do not watch, listen or read all of General Conference.


This book is not political, and I think most Mormon women would appreciate it as a gift, even though they probably recall the talk from general conference. I love that rather than following the format of books like this being based on men’s general conference talks—that this is by a woman. And the artwork is grand.


But you know the old metaphorical saying, “why pay for the cow when you can get the milk for free?” You can get this for free right here on Just sayin.


Should you be interested in this as a busy book for tweens trapped in less-than-attention grabbing sacrament meetings, you can purchase the book through Amazon for $15.99 US.



Spunky lives in Queensland, Australia. She loves travel and aims to visit as many church branches and wards in the world as possible.

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7 Responses

  1. Ziff says:

    I’m sorry to be a cynic, but I wonder if the purpose of the book isn’t that it’s to be sold to people who want to show off their righteousness. They have a FamProc on the wall (perhaps several), and books like this on the postum table.

    • spunky says:

      I’m with ya, Ziff. I really don’t see the market for this– as mentioned, even the TBM I know with the Uchtdorf book wanted their money back.

  2. m says:

    I’m sorry to be such a naysayer, but I HATED that talk. I believe that words matter, and the definition of “certain” matters, particularly to a world-wide audience. I wish someone had read her talk and pointed out that the double meaning works ONLY in English. Without extreme reworking, this talk would have been utterly incomprehensible to women in any other language.

    While well-intentioned, the main conceit of the talk wrests the scriptures and offers a shallow, simplistic, and completely irrelevant and incorrect reading. I found it disappointing at best.

    • spunky says:

      Thanks for your comment, m. This talk did gain some fairly widespread grammatical attention for the same reasons. I am under them impression that she chose the term as it is a biblical term– so perhaps the similar biblical terms would be applied in translations? I don’t know.

      Like you, I was also disappointed that the main focus of her talk was about an American woman– but I suspect that her other connection were but brief visits, so she went with the connection to whom she was closest. This is not a new problem for the church– the tyranny of distance and language makes it hard for those Americans in global leadership to take off the “American glasses.” But I am also aware of those in the church who need the overtly simplistic lessons– if only because literacy is an issue (I’ve wondered about this new “teaching in the Saviour’s way” program for the areas where the “chapel” is little more than a hut– sans water and electricity. But that is a musing for another post….)

      Thank you for your comment, I appreciate your voice.

  3. Janell says:

    I would buy this in a heartbeat if the proceeds were going to a women’s relief organization. Where do the profits from these talks transformed into Deseret Books go?

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