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10 remarkable women in LDS Church history

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  • raybies Layton, UT
    May 7, 2014 6:20 a.m.

    So was the intent to leave out the more obvious choices?

    Like Eliza R. Snow (the first RS President, and poet/thinker...) or Emma Smith (who actually served as a scribe in the translation of the Book of Mormon and was the only female witness of it?)

  • ksampow Farr West, Utah
    May 7, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    raybies:

    I think it is great that the article focused on women who might not be as familiar to the readers.

  • Unabiller Excelsior, MN
    May 7, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    This article was posted a few minutes earlier, with a different photograph, different heading (11 women, not 10). The present article has removed the one about Inez Knight, one of the first sister missionaries, sent to England in 1898. That was done in response to calls from Mission Presidents in many places. A nice article about her in Ensign July 1980, can be found on the Church webpage, under "resources".
    Ted

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 7, 2014 7:55 a.m.

    Dear Raybies:

    Mary Whitmer was the only known female witness to the Gold Plates. She was shown the plates by a messenger.

    Emma never actually saw the plates except as they were wrapped in cloth. She was the first to see Joseph carrying the plates, wrapped in cloth, as he carried them down from the hill. She also touched them and thumbed the plates. she stated that they had a metallic sound as one thumbed them as one would the leaves of a book.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    May 7, 2014 8:14 a.m.

    What a wonderful tribute. In each case, these women lifted where they stood and no blessing was ever denied them. What a stark contrast this is to the handful of women who insist that they need the priesthood to reach their full potential. I honor my wife, my mother, my mother-in-law, my daughters-in-law, and the many women who have served me and my family. The women in my ancestry were also amazing women. And all of them lifted where they stood; and they stand tall in my eyes. Thanks to all sisters who serve so faithfully.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    May 7, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    From the article: "In 1896, Martha Hughes Cannon, a Democrat, defeated her own husband, a Republican, to become the first female state senator in the United States of America."

    I laughed when I read this, how awesome. Can you imagine a husband and a wife running against each other, from different political parties, in our day?

  • SLCMom Salt Lake City, UT
    May 7, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    This is a fantastic article! There were several women on this list I knew nothing about and their stories are inspiring. LDS women have a powerful legacy of being smart, educated, resilient, and tenacious game-changers. These stories stand as a testimony that from the beginning Mormon women have been activists, feminists, and incredibly strong leaders. It makes me very proud to be a Latter-day Saint woman and strive to follow their example!

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    May 7, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    What about Belle Spafford? She was easily the most influential woman of the 20th Century in Utah.

  • Joseph M USA, CO
    May 7, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    For more stories of incredible LDS women I recommend checking out the Mormon Women Project. It's a collection of interviews and biographies of some of the marvelous LDS women who are doing incredible things now.

    www(dot)mormonwomen(dot)com/

  • jkelly56 NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX
    May 7, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    I had not heard of most of these women. What a delightful article about these sisters who exhibited faith and magnificent strength. In my preparations for my Sacrament Meeting address on Sunday, these women will be in my mind, if not in my words. Thanks for putting this together.

  • grandmagreat Lake Havasu City, AZ
    May 7, 2014 11:35 a.m.

    I agree that there are probably many great Women in the early days of the Church, as there are in the present day.I have been touched by many I have worked with in various organizations of the church, as well as my angel Mother, who was one of the greatest LDS women born in Southern Utah in 1897. I am so grateful that families are forever, and that we will be together again some day.

  • Lilly Munster netherlands, 00
    May 7, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    The biographies of these women are a sanitized and editorialized version of the facts. Surely, we have examples of Mormon women who did NOT engage in the slavery of polygamy, nor did they perpetuate the failings of Mormon men. There must be at least ONE Mormon woman who leads an independent, self-actualized life without being the dependent, or subordinate of any man. Surely.

  • AreaReader Suburbs, AZ
    May 7, 2014 12:18 p.m.

    Lilly Munster,

    Six or seven of the women mentioned (out of ten total) were not polygamists, and at least two were single.

    In any case, polygamy was not equal to slavery. Seriously making that claim would suggest an ignorance of both the history of slavery and the history of plural marriage in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    I'd suggest you may want to read the series Women of Faith (Volumes 1,2, and 3) mentioned in the article for actual, scholarly, but very readable portraits of the lives of women in the Church. It's eye-opening to read this continuing series, and the lives of these women are not at all "sanitized," and the books will help you process and correct the ideas you shared here.

  • MIMom Mt Pleasant, MI
    May 7, 2014 2:09 p.m.

    Unabiller (Ted) I appreciate your insight as to why Amanda Inez Knight was removed. I noticed this myself and was scratching my head. Both articles exist online, with and without her. Since you are in the know, why on earth would a mission president request that one be removed? I can't even comprehend what would prompt that. Thoughts?

    Loved these stories and being reminded of the rich history of women in Utah long ago. There is an ancestor and definitely other relatives.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 7, 2014 3:41 p.m.

    Cats

    What better way to fool somebody then to show them a supposed sacred object, but only show it to them 'covered'?? What would be the purpose of this. It was his wife, and he didn't trust her? God didn't trust her? The whole story and premise makes no sense. And then you are saying a messenger showed them to Mary Whitmer? So the messenger went and got the plates and showed them to her, and then put them back? The story sounds like something you would read in a fictional story... not a real life history.

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    May 8, 2014 7:24 a.m.

    @ Munster
    Glaring for it's lack of anything historically factual is your ill-informed article on plural families. Have you bothered to take the time to read any authoritative account of those women who were plural wives? Certainly not based on your post. On the outside, most viewers despise the practice of plural families. To assume that women were duped into sexual or domestic slavery is patently false. While there are clearly the rare few whose experience was a struggle, those are in fact the very few. Furthermore,to think the practice was widespread is absolutely false. Take the time to find historical fact before making assertions and making judgements that are simply off the mark by a mile. Finally, todays male participants may indeed be seeking (sexual) dominance over several partners, that was not a part of the historical truth from practice in the 1800's.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    May 8, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    Brahmabull:

    Good thing it wasn't a fictional story. Emma Smith, giving the answers (A), said in her own words in an interview:

    [...]

    Q- I should suppose that you would have uncovered the plates and examined them?

    A- I did not attempt to handle the plates, other than I have told you, nor uncover them to look at them. I was satisfied that it was the work of God, and therefore did not feel it to be necessary to do so.

    Q- Major Bidamon here suggested: Did Mr. Smith forbid your examining the plates?

    A- I do not think he did. I knew that he had them, and was not specially curious about them. I moved them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary in doing my work.

    Joseph Smith was also charged by the angel Moroni to not show the plates to anyone, unless allowed. JSH 1:42 in the PoG:

    "Again, he [Moroni] told me [Joseph Smith], that when I got those plates of which he had spoken-[...]- I should not show them to any person; [...]; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed"

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    May 8, 2014 10:06 a.m.

    Brahmabull:

    Emma Smith answered a lot of your questions. She said, giving the answers (A), in an interview as follows:

    [...]

    Q - I should suppose that you would have uncovered the plates and examined them?

    A - I did not attempt to handle the plates, other than I have told you, nor uncover them to look at them. I was satisfied that it was the work of God, and therefore did not feel it to be necessary to do so.

    Q - Major Bidamon here suggested: Did Mr. Smith forbid your examining the plates?

    A- I do not think he did. I knew that he had them, and was not specially curious about them. I moved them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary in doing my work.

    Joseph Smith was also charged by the angel Moroni to not show the plates to anyone, unless allowed. JSH 1:42 in the PoG:

    "Again, he [Moroni] told me [Joseph Smith], that when I got those plates of which he had spoken-[...]- I should not show them to any person; [...]; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; [...]"

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 8, 2014 12:20 p.m.

    1.96

    Yes, Emma makes it sound like she had no reason to 'peek' under the cloth and look at them. If you don't see the problems with the whole story, then maybe you are missing something. He said he had them, but could only show them to certain people (not really show them the plates, but have them pray to see them in a spiritual vision). The plates laid covered in his home while him and the 3 witnesses went out to pray to be able to see them... rather then Joseph just uncovering them and showing them that way. It doesn't add up.

  • Unabiller Excelsior, MN
    May 8, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    MIMom
    I didn't mean to give the impression that Sister Knight's Mission President released her early. Quite the contrary; Sister Knight and her companion Sister Lucy Brimhall were very faithful missionaries. They proselyted, participated in street meetings, spoke in Ward and Branch services, as well as in Missionary meetings, which were open to the public.
    There is also an online copy of a BYU Masters Thesis by Calvin Kunz, A History of Female Missionary Activity in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1898, MA Thesis, BYU 1976. Google the title to find it at the BYU site.

    Ted

  • Don Bugg Prince Frederick, MD
    May 8, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    Unabiller: The other "article" was a photo list, published the day before. It's titled "Politicians, missionaries and mothers: 11 remarkable women in LDS Church history" and is still perfectly accessible on the Deseret News site.

    It has more pictures and fewer words. This article contains more text, and more in-depth information about each of the women. You'll notice that one of the ten listings here discusses two sisters who served as missionaries in England; the photo list shows pictures of both.

  • smdonn76 Factoryville, PA
    May 8, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    It's a fact that 12 humans have left their written and sworn testimonies that they saw and handled the plates. It takes a jury of 12 members to convict or acquit a person of the highest crime in our nation. Shouldn't we give the same weight of evidence to those men who testified in the opening pages of the Book of Mormon that what they are saying is true? It's a far stretch to think that 12 men can come up with the same lie, and all of them take it to their deathbeds. Not one ever denied their testimony. Thanks for this opportunity to express my thoughts.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    May 8, 2014 1:34 p.m.

    Brahmabull:

    You are splitting hairs on semantics and omitting major parts of the witnesses.

    The 3 witnesses were shown the plates by an angel of God, and they heard the voice of God declare the translation was by the gift and power of God. Of course the 3 witnesses will say it was a spiritual vision and their spiritual eyes beheld them (the plates, the angel, the voice of God). This doesn't discount the physical reality of the plates or that the witnesses' physical eyeballs didn't actually see anything.

    On your omission, you didn't mention the other 8 official witnesses saw the plates with their physical eyeballs, hefted the plates with their physical hands, and perused the plates with their physical fingers. It was without the aid of an angel or hearing the voice of God, hence why they don't mention anything "spiritual" about it.

    Don't you remember Joseph Smith had to hide the plates various times from those trying to steal them? Apparently even Joseph's Smith's enemies believed the plates were real since they went to the effort to rob him.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    May 8, 2014 8:38 p.m.

    @Brahmabull ... re "If you don't see the problems with the whole story, then maybe you are missing something." I suppose that could be the case for 1.96, but necessarily so? Perhaps if you see problems with the whole story, then maybe you are missing something? Do we have any reason to not take Emma at her word? Surely she knew her husband and their day-to-day lives than we do? Does History record anything about her life before and after her husband's death that renders her testimony suspect? I haven't heard of anything.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    May 8, 2014 8:58 p.m.

    @Brahmabull... Correction: Surely she knew her husband and their day-to-day lives BETTER than we do?

    An embarrassing fact for husbands the world over: women know their man better than the man knows himself. Warts and all. A wife is the one mortal we can't pull the wool over. The world may regard a particular man infallible, larger than life. But then there's the missus. The Prophet was no exception. History gives us a portrait of a good-hearted woman, wife and mother in Emma. If she says he couldn't compose a letter, that the plates were covered on the table, etc., etc., I think we'd do well to accept her testimony. She stood to gain absolutely nothing by lying.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    May 10, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    Back in the days when I was a Mormon I used to devour "The Church News" and it's never-ending stories of remarkable Mormons. It left me with the world-view and confident knowledge that only Mormons were remarkable. In large part, because they were Mormon.

    I still recognize and appreciate the fact that there are remarkable Mormons.

    But the world -- including the world of remarkable people -- has become so much larger.

  • Brad James Manti, UT
    May 12, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    I love Jane Manning, she is my heroine in this last dispensation (Deborah and Mary Magdalene before her in the scriptures), I learned about her during the Nauvoo Pageant and actually told blacks I taught in the mission field about her. She was denied temple blessings which makes me want to cry, but remained loyal anyway, joining the Saints in Salt Lake City. She's a perfect example for trusting in the Lord, especially when things don't go your way. We are a better Church with blacks, Latinos/Latinas and all nationalities :)