I was so excited to see this book. I love and admire Sister Dew. She has been a shining example of womanhood and fearlessness to me. When I was single and marriage wasn’t in sight, she was a model for me. My life didn’t have to stop because I wasn’t married. I could move forward and be successful in my life’s path. So, although I usually don’t buy new books (especially hot off the press), I felt compelled to read and see what she had to say on the topic. I wanted to find out more about the importance of women in the gospel and what part we play.
In the introduction to the book, Sister Dew discusses the idea of having questions about the gospel. She states that it is normal to have questions, and we certainly don’t know everything. There are many things in this world that are not fair or right. She discusses how some women in the church have felt marginalized, and how being a woman is a complicated task. She states: “My fondest hope is that this work will spur men and women alike to study, ponder, pray, discuss and seek revelation for themselves on these life-changing, mind-expanding eternal principles” (p. 10). She goes on to discuss how questions asked with faith will open up the heavens to answers. I love how we are able to ask questions about the gospel, seek answers on our own from our Heavenly Father, and expect to get answers from Him!
Sister Dew has done a marvelous job at showing the importance of women in the gospel and the power that we have to influence and change. She spends time giving some background on the history of women in the gospel and how, as members of Relief Society, we are part of one of the biggest women’s organizations in the world. She also shares how we are counterparts to men in the work, and an integral part of moving the gospel of Jesus Christ forward. There is great power in being a woman.
One of my favorite parts of the book is where Sister Dew discusses how God expects us as women to receive revelation from Him, and that we are vital in the success of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She shares how, as covenant women, we have access to the priesthood at all times. Sister Dew has never been married, so she has very personal feelings about this topic. She states, “As an unmarried but endowed woman, I do not have a priesthood bearer living in my home, but I do have access to priesthood power in my home”(p. 121). I have met many women who do not have a priesthood bearer in their home, but they draw on the power of the priesthood regularly. This power brings peace and comfort into all of our lives.
Sister Dew talks about the importance of motherhood and how this defines all of us as women, whether we bear children in this life or not. It defines our divine nature and our unique abilities. She states: “Motherhood is not what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with the privilege of priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters.”(p. 143). She concludes by discussing how converted women can change the world. She invite us, as members of the church, to “…let your voice of faith and testimony be heard” (p. 171).
This book doesn’t have all the answers about women and the priesthood, but it is thought provoking. I know that is why I liked it. One of my favorite quotes about learning is by Elder David A. Bednar: “I have observed a common characteristic among the instructors who have had the greatest influence in my life. They have helped me to seek learning by faith. They refused to give me easy answers to hard questions. In fact, they did not give me any answers at all. Rather, they pointed the way and helped me take the steps to find my own answers. I certainly did not always appreciate this approach, but experience has enabled me to understand that an answer given by another person usually is not remembered for very long, if remembered at all. But an answer we discover or obtain through the exercise of faith, typically, is retained for a lifetime. The most important learnings of life are caught—not taught” (“Seek Learning by Faith“, Ensign, Sept 2007).
I believe all of us can benefit from reading this book. For me, it spurred individual thought and prayer about my relationship with my Heavenly Father and my part in the gospel. It reaffirmed to me that women have greater power than we realize to influence and affect change through the gifts we are given by our Heavenly Father.
Read any good books lately? Feel free to share!