Wednesday, March 1, 2017
LDS BOOK REVIEW: At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-Day Saint Women
ABOUT THE BOOK
From the banks of the frozen Lake Erie in early May 1831, Lucy Mack Smith admonished her despondent fellow Saints. "Where is your faith in God?" she asked. "If I could make my voice to sound as loud as the trumpet of Michael the archangel I would declare the truth from land to land and from sea to sea."
At the Pulpit contains fifty-four discourses given by Latter-day Saint women throughout the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like Lucy Mack Smith, these women drew on inspiration and experience to declare their understanding of eternal truths. This book illustrates the history of women's public preaching in the church, but its most important feature is the actual words of Mormon women. From the time of Emma Hale Smith's earliest exhortations at meetings of the Nauvoo Relief Society, Latter-day Saint women have been charged to instruct their families and neighbors, their congregations and Relief Societies, and other organizations. The talks featured in this volume show Mormon women doing the spiritual and intellectual work inherent in a life of Christian faith—seeking to do good works, understand the atonement of Jesus Christ, and strengthen their own faith and the faith of those around them. These women endeavored to live what they believed and to help their listeners do so as well.
Written to the high scholarly standards of the Church Historian's Press, the book provides a resource for contemporary Latter-day Saints as they study, speak, teach, and lead. Each discourse in this volume begins with an introduction that acquaints readers with the vibrant personalities of some of the women who have shaped the church. Introductions also provide glimpses into the circumstances and forces that shaped these women. Readers will encounter some familiar figures from church history and from the contemporary church—leaders like Eliza R. Snow and Linda K. Burton, current Relief Society general president. But they will also learn from women like Jane H. Neyman, whose stories are largely unknown to modern Latter-day Saints. Neyman applied to join the Nauvoo Relief Society in 1842, but her petition was rejected due to gossip about her daughters. Over twenty-five years later, she spoke in a Relief Society in Beaver, Utah, on charity, urging members to be forbearing and forgiving of one another.
The voices in these pages ring from Nauvoo's red brick store to the National Auditorium in Mexico City to the Tabernacle on Temple Square and beyond. These discourses offer instruction on gospel principles while also revealing the particular concerns of individual women. At the Pulpit allows us to hear the historical and contemporary voices of Latter-day Saint women—voices that resound with experience, wisdom, and authority.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jennifer Reeder is the nineteenth-century women’s history specialist at the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She holds a PhD in American history from George Mason University.
Kate Holbrook is the managing historian for women’s history at the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She received a PhD in religious studies from Boston University.
What a piece of work! After reading this book it's clear that numerous hours of work went into creating it and it shows. Discourses by female leaders in the LDS Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) combine to make this a tour de force. Not only are the talks powerful doctrinally, but they also give a glimpse into different times and places and how things have both changed and stayed the same over time. All of these women made a difference during the times in which they lived. Some of these women I remember myself. Reading this was both eye-opening and informative. I especially think the timing on the release of this book can't be an accident. With some questioning women's role in the Church, I couldn't be more pleased with this book that clearly demonstrates the strong and ongoing role that women have in the LDS Church. This is the sort of book that could be read over and over again with the reader learning new things every time. It's also an excellent resource as it includes extensive footnotes and an appendix. The release of this book is truly a service to both members and nonmembers alike as well as female and male readers.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO READ SELECTIONS FROM THE BOOK, GO HERE.