Eliza R. Snow and the Inclusivity of the Gospel

When a member of the Bishopric asked if I’d be willing to speak on one of the general Relief Society Presidents of the church as part of this month’s Sacrament theme of Prophets, I nearly became a little emotional. While this should not be exceptional, I was still so happy to see such a welcome inclusion of women in the history of the church. I chose Eliza R. Snow as the subject of my talk, a woman who is incredibly interesting and inspiring to me, and was also an intrinsic part of the early church’s development. I hope that in my talk I am able to do justice to this woman, and the powerful work of the early Relief Society. For me and my own testimony of the Gospel, it’s very important to reclaim some of the more radical and diverse elements of our history.

In my professional life as a consultant on women’s rights and global health, I have seen how across the world, impoverished communities and women in particular have been crushed under customs which demand their silence. It is hard to not see how both poverty and gender continue to determine acts of oppression across the globe. I love the Gospel because we follow Jesus Christ in all things, and it was He who said ‘the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.’ I cannot wait for the day when the humbled of the earth are given their true seat of dignity, and what I love about Eliza Snow and the work of the Relief Society is the way in which this organization, shaped so much by the leadership of President Snow, does nothing so well as lift up the lowly and preach a Gospel of inclusivity.

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