There, Claudia Bushman, as professor, historian, and consummately-involved church member, briefly reviews the history of women’s roles in the church and the development of the Summer 1971 “pink” issue of Dialogue (dedicated to women’s themes). And, almost 40 years after she wrote the introductory essay to that issue, she asks herself and the rest of us for a status report and issues a call for involvement:
“…Mormon women were among the first and best at learning to stand and speak…. But where have we gone since then? Somehow in our liberated society, we have remained as dutiful and quiet daughters and wives. In our Church society where women are valued as daughters of God, as noble followers in the pathway of Eve, we still do not speak out. We know that there are dangers. People don’t always understand. Some take umbrage. Instead of being embraced as sisters, we can be shut out. So I propose a practical program of action for Mormon women to encourage them to speak up and out….”
She suggests 4 specific actions women take to shape their involvement in the church community. As a husband and as a father of daughters I appreciated both the historical summary and the practice pointers. For me it initiated (anew) a discussion of whether my daughters receive and internalize messages that as females their organizational input may be less needed, valued, or solicited. That’s not a unique or new conversation, and neither was the next step: I found the essay inviting ideas on how the church as an institution how male leaders, and how I could more efficiently seek and absorb wisdom from women (for other instances of this discussion, of course, see various stake and ward meetings, study groups, conferences, magazines, and blogs).
The table of contents listing all the articles, fiction, book reviews, and poetry in the Spring 2008 issue is here. Note that from this issue Sam MB has also discussed Jane Barnes’ personal essay, “Joseph Smith: Lost and Found.”
Stirling Adams is one of the volunteer directors of the Dialogue Foundation, publisher of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. For the latest in Mormon Studies articles, essays, fiction, and poetry, visit the Dialogue website.