“Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price [worth] is far above rubies… Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.1”
The way people outside the Church view the position of the women inside the Church never ceases to amaze me. Several of the leaders in our Church have been physically attacked by feminist groups because of the way these women mistakenly view the position of the women of the Church. Many think we are oppressed, down-trodden, ignored or considered second-class citizens. This is far from the truth. There are writers, artists, poets, musicians, teachers, scientists, doctors, nurses, business women, politicians—you name it, we’re there. In fact, some of us are all of those together, because we’re mothers.
A couple of Sundays ago, in a Relief Society meeting, one sister, who just happens to be a nurse and a director of her sector in the hospital, told us about something that happened to her at work. Now, Sister Eckert can be a bit, shall we say assertive when she requires something to be able to get the job done well. So one day, while she was talking to the personnel director of the hospital, he mentioned that he had just learned that Sister Eckert was LDS, and told her he was surprised, because she didn’t look like a woman in the Church. When she asked him why he replied, “Mormon women are oppressed, but…” Staring him straight in the eye, Sister Eckert asked him, “Now Fred, do I look oppressed?” We all had to laugh when she told the story, because believe me, Sister Eckert is anything but oppressed and Fred had to admit it, too.*
The Relief Society [of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] is the oldest and largest women's organization in the world. Relief Society was established in 1842 for women 18 years of age and older. Its purpose is to build faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and help those in need.2 The leaders of the group are all women.
Fun Fact: In the 1800s, LDS women were invited to go back East and study medicine, to be doctors and nurses. “As the Saints settled in the valley, and began organizing various needs for the community, it became clear that medical education needed to be addressed. There were a few male doctors, but the women wanted women to assist them in having their babies. As well, women were more concerned about health care and teaching hygiene. Eliza R. Snow, with the support of Pres. Brigham Young, sent six women back east to attend medical school. Upon their return, a building was purchased to house the first Mormon hospital. There were other religious based hospitals in the valley (St. Mark’s and Holy Cross), but this new hospital would be willing to treat everyone whether they could pay or not. In the late 1800s Deseret Hospital would serve the LDS community with an all woman board of directors.3”
For the most part, the women of the Church are highly respected members of the Church.
1Proverbs 31:10, 31; I would suggest reading all verses from 10-31, inclusive, to know exactly what is written; it might surprise you.
* Story used with permission; Fred is not the director’s real name.
©Mary Purpari. April 27, 2015. All Rights Reserved.