The women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have an impressive legacy. I have always known there were many great women in our history. Bits of their stories have been woven into the lessons I have both taught and been taught over the years but I have never found more extensive biographies except for a few well-known women. I have long wished that more of their stories were published.
And now, with Deseret Book’s Women of Faith in the Latter Days series, my wish has been granted many times over. I was recently offered the opportunity to review the third volume in what will be a seven-volume series. This book contains 23 biographies of strong and valiant Latter-day Saint women born between 1846 and 1870.
In perusing the table of contents (to see who was featured in the book as each woman has her own chapter), I found a few names I recognized and started my journey through women’s LDS history there. Yes, I do confess to bouncing around and not reading them in any particular order—and with this book, that works just fine.
The lives of these women are inspiring to me. To see all they accomplished, how they overcame tragedy and trials—and how they kept their faith and magnified their lives and their callings humbles me and makes me proud to call them sister. Their stories also remind me that I can—and must—do better and be better.
The story of Sarah Ann Taylor Howard who served not one, but two missions, including one to England at age 56, made me feel just a little like a slacker, I must admit.
Ruth Mae Fox, still traveling as far as Hawaii and Britain as the general Young Women’s president into her 80s, is no less impressive.
And their accomplishments range far beyond missionary service and church callings. An early doctor, our country’s first female state senator, teachers, writers, mothers, pioneers all—in both the literal and more philosophical sense.
Though these 23 women came from varied backgrounds and experiences, the common thread s of faith, endurance and purpose are woven through all their stories. I am so happy to see that more of the stories of our sisters are being preserved and shared. This series should happily find a place in the library of any scholar of LDS history—and of American women’s history.
I am looking forward to reading the other volumes in this series and being inspired, uplifted and motivated by the beautiful and courageous stories of my heritage.
Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Volume Three, is available through Deseret Book in both hardcover and eBook formats, with the eBook containing additional biographies.