I have always loved learning about women in history: they have always been so inspirational to me. Elizabeth I, Empress Theodora, Boadicea, Joan of Arc are just a few of my favorites. Lately, as I have been delving further and further into the Gospel and the scriptures, I have been paying more and more attention to the women in the Gospel.
Numerous times, I have heard complaints from sisters of the church that women aren’t equal to men in the priesthood (wrong), and that women aren’t important in the scriptures (wrong) because there are hardly any named and hardly any detail given. Well, I thoroughly disagree. I believe that women have a special place in the Gospel. And, after just a simple search on LDS.org with “women in the scriptures”, it seems that General Authorities agree with me:
“We know so little, brothers and sisters, about the reasons for the division of duties between womanhood and manhood as well as between motherhood and priesthood. These were divinely determined in another time and another place. We are accustomed to focusing on the men of God because theirs is the priesthood and leadership line. But paralleling that authority line is a stream of righteous influence reflecting the remarkable women of God who have existed in all ages and dispensations, including our own. Greatness is not measured by coverage in column inches, either in newspapers or in the scriptures. The story of the women of God, therefore, is, for now, an untold drama within a drama.” (Neal A Maxwell, “The Women of God,” April 1978 General Conference)
Yes, there are some women we know a lot about: Ruth, Esther, Mary mother of God. And then, there are some who only have a verse or two about them. Then, there are plenty that aren’t even named! Yet, these incredible women all have a specific reason for being mentioned in the scriptures! They all have a lesson for us to learn!
“Among the real heroines in the world who will come into the Church are women who are more concerned with being righteous than with being selfish. These real heroines have true humility, which places a higher value on integrity than on visibility. Remember, it is as wrong to do things just to be seen of women as it is to do things to be seen of men. Great women and men are always more anxious to serve than to have dominion.” (emphasis added, Spencer W. Kimball, “The Role of Righteous Women,” October 1979 General Conference)
I have many Christian friends, not of the Mormon faith, who are part of Women’s Ministries. I love this idea. They always excitedly share books they find about the women in the scriptures. I’ve been aching to read these. Back in December, I wrote a short mini-series about what we could learn from the sisters Martha and Mary. Ever since then, I’ve been aching to write more posts about the women in the scriptures. For a few months, while my small family lived with my parents, I was the Laurel’s adviser. I felt such a strong urge to share with these impressionable young women how truly important they are in the Church, in the priesthood, and as part of God’s plan.
“No greater recognition can come to you in this world than to be known as a woman of God. No greater status can be conferred upon you than being a daughter of God who experiences true sisterhood, wifehood, and motherhood, or other tasks which influence lives for good.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Role of Righteous Women,” October 1979 General Conference)
I truly, truly believe that as we come to learn more about these women in our past, see the power and influence of our own gender in the scriptures, that we will better know God’s plan for using us to bring forth His kingdom. It will empower us. We each have a divine purpose here on Earth, and these women are here to inspire us.
So, join me every 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month as we learn more about the different women in the Old Testament, New Testament, and Book of Mormon. Tomorrow, I will begin with Abish of the Book of Mormon. But, I am more than willing to take suggestions! If you have a specific woman you want to learn about, please let us know!