Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Review: Women at Church- Magnifying LDS Women's Local Impact

Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local ImpactWomen at Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local Impact by Neylan McBaine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great read! I wish I could give a copy to every man and woman in the church today. It's a faith based practical guide to fostering gender cooperation within the LDS church. The author is also the creator of the Mormon Women Project which highlights stories about Mormon women throughout the world. She is a practicing member of the LDS church and is supportive of our current leadership.

The author does a great job of making her position clear that while she hopes that there will be changes to gender relations (i.e. women in leadership positions, priesthood, patriarchy, etc) that she is operating within the belief that the system we have now is the system that will be in place for the near future. However, even within our current, mostly male leadership system, there are tons of things that we as a people can be doing to build Zion between men and women.

She brings in a lot of great quotes from general authorities to talk about better communication and participation in our ward councils, family councils, ym/yw programs, etc. She addresses many of the issues effecting women in the church today: not having a voice, meeting with bishops without another woman present, double standard modesty lessons, losing some of our stewardship that was given to us during the restoration, etc.

She then uses ideas and examples that other wards and groups have used to address these issues. I am grateful for the many excellent examples that were given of men and women working toward Zion. In many of her examples she uses interviews with the actual participants so that we can hear the point of view of the stake president, the relief society president, the speakers, the attendees, etc. It helps it really hit home that these examples are real, and that they can work, and that many different types of people with different personalities and callings have been able to enact great changes in the lives of many.

The ideas include many things like not always having the man speak last in sacrament meeting, honoring the YW for their Personal Progress awards in a similar manner to the YM when they receive their eagles, having wives of high councilors speak with their husbands on assignments, giving the stake women auxiliaries more opportunities to speak, including single women in our presidencies, listening to women in the ward councils, inviting the women leaders to PEC meeting, having a stake Q&A session with the women and the stake presidency so that they can know the women's concerns, having women speak at priesthood holders' meetings (we have men give their perspective on women's issues all the time...so shouldn't women give their perspective on men's issues), not using the term "The Priesthood" to mean the men (there's a difference between the priesthood and the priesthood holders), discussing in talks and lessons the many talents/skills/contributions that women have in addition to being mothers, and many many more.

Whether you have felt this pain or not, this book is a great read. If you are interested in understanding better why some women in the church today are in pain this is a great resource. If you are interested in helping women to feel more included and loved at church this is a great read. If you are interested in building a Zion people where there are no poor among us this is a great read. If you are in a leadership position and are looking for better ways to include the female community this a great read.

I believe that while Heavenly Father has given men and women different gifts he also created us with many things the same and he expects us to respect and value all people equally. He also created each person uniquely and we need to remember even within one gender there are going to be a lot of different ideas, points of view, personalities, etc. No gender is less than and as we use the talents of men and women we will be able to create more beautiful communities and lives. As we include the perspective of women and men we will see a more complete and perfect view of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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