The Church Historian's Press recently released a new book just in time for the 175th anniversary of the Relief Society—but it's not one geared only toward women. It's a book that gives men and women access to powerful speeches given by women in the Church, one that might make you rethink stereotypes about female Church leaders and the power and authority they carry.
At the Pulpit is a compilation of over 50 speeches given by women in the Church spanning 185 years of our Church history. Church historians Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook spent years combing through Church records, selecting these powerful talks from the hundreds possibly even thousands of recorded speeches by LDS women, many which have never been published before.
"I think we underestimate the role women have played in the development of Mormon theology and discourse. From the very beginning, women had powerful conversion experiences, witnessed sacred events, and taught others. They were—and are—full participants," said Reeder on The Gazette.
Recently, President Russell M. Nelson told the sisters in the Church during general conference, "We, your brethren, need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices. The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God."
President Nelson challenged women to "speak out and speak up." This book is a beautiful example of how women have done that throughout the history of our Church. Each speech demonstrates women who "speak with the power and authority of God."
“The 54 discourses in this book show us a lot of the combined wisdom through the decades of Church history that comes from our strongest female voices, their great theological thinking, their insights,” said Holbrook on Mormon Newsroom.
Each talk was selected based on its theological significance, its spiritual impact, and its relevancy to our day.
“We also have talks from women around the world, from Judy Brummer in South Africa and from Gladys Sitati from West Africa,” said Reeder on Mormon Newsroom.
This book makes not only for enlightening reading but also a great resource for lessons and talks. "For some people, women’s words in the church have not been seen as authoritative. And their talks aren’t easily accessible; you have to do some digging, and most of us don’t have time to do that digging when we’re preparing for a lesson or a church talk. We wanted to provide easier access for members and also for our Church leaders," said Holbrook on The Gazette.
While women continue to lead and provide insights in the Church today, this book takes a remarkable step toward recognizing those who have impacted our history and to let their words and their voices be heard.
To get a copy for your own home, order At the Pulpit from Deseret Book!