Last week, I attended a BYU Education Week class given by Stephanie at Diapers and Divinity called “Women as Gospel Scholars.” Her class was chock full of great ideas for gospel study, as well as powerful quotes about the power of women in God’s plan. I’ll be sharing some of the great resources she shared in another post.
But today, I just wanted to extend an invitation that comes from her presentation as well as from my own personal experience. When we talk about women in the scriptures, the focus is often understandably on stories of women such as Eve or Ruth or Esther or Mary or Sarah or Sariah or Emma Smith.
But there is much more we can experience when seeking for insight and information about women in the scriptures. Stephanie used a simple example in her presentation (which also illustrated the power of the new search engine at LDS.org). If I’m remembering correctly, Stephanie typed in the search “she or her” and got over 1700 results for verses that contained those words.
I was excited to see her share this idea, because I have read the Book of Mormon completely through — twice! — looking for language that is both gender-specific to women (e.g., daughter, mother, sister, queen, princess, handmaid, wife, she, her) and also gender-neutral (e.g., words and phrases that are imply inclusiveness such as family, multitude, marriage, people, children of God, generations, nation, church, household). There was more to my study (and I know there has been much more to Stephanie’s study as well), but suffice it to say that the experiences I had searching the Book of Mormon in this way were remarkable.
The new search engine at LDS.org could make this kind of study even easier, although I did nearly all of my study in a new copy of the scriptures that I wanted to mark with this focus.
I’d like to invite anyone for whom this idea resonates to give it a try. You could also take the Women in the Scriptures Challenge that Heather has extended for the past several years. Everyone’s experience with this kind of scripture study will be a little different, but those of us who have engaged the scriptures in this way can testify that there is a lot more about women in the scriptures than meets the eye. It’s this kind of study that strengthens our testimony of the importance of women in God’s plan.
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