Emily W. Jensen: Women's History Month

Published: Tuesday, March 15 2011 6:00 a.m. MDT

For the past few years I’ve enjoyed focusing on our foremothers in honor of Women’s History Month. I was delighted to see that the blog LDS Women’s History is up and running again for March 2011 and was intrigued at the theme of “difference”:

“It’s easy to admire individuals that you see eye-to-eye with. But people you don’t? That’s a little trickier. This month, I sought out accounts of women that made decisions I would not have, to my credit or shame, depending on the situation. And I’ve discovered that underneath these decisions, there are strong women with a lot to admire. While I would not have entered into the kinds of marriages they did, or put my family into the situations they did, these women acted in ways that they felt God wanted them to, and did so at great personal cost. I respect and honor their courage and faith, and have enjoyed seeing their humanity.” –Erin

So far, Erin has featured women from the 19th century as well as Carol Gray, a contemporary woman who established an orphanage in Ghana and personally went into a war zone to deliver aid: "One day, as she’d been following the Balkan wars, she saw footage of women than had been released from Serbian camps, she felt strongly that the Lord wanted her to do more about it than write a check for a charity. She started calling charities that worked in Bosnia to see if they would take donated items, got the Relief Society involved in collected aid, and within 3 weeks, she had 38 tons of aid."

But the story doesn't stop there. Click in to read her harrowing story. Of Gray, Erin explained, “I don’t have the courage to willingly drive into a war zone. And take my daughter along for the ride? Certainly not. But Gray trusted in the Lord, followed his promptings, and has been able to do an infinite amount of good as a result.”

Click to read more about these fascinating Mormon women and check back throughout the month to see who else is featured!

Similarly, BYU professor Rachel Cope discusses “Shaker and Mormon Women” in honor of Women’s History month. She describes her experience attending a Shaker meeting and her thoughts afterward: “As I left the Shaker village I thought about nearly two centuries of Mormon women whose lives are hidden in the shadows. Could we really understand ourselves without knowing their stories? Of course I already knew the answer, but in that moment I recognized, perhaps more than ever before, the importance of being a historian of women and religion, the value of situations in which our people can share our lives and our histories with one another, and the fundamental role of preserving and remembering our complete past.” Beautiful.

Now let’s find some other fascinating posts from this last week in the Bloggernacle:

Power pick: The Green Mormon Architect has recently began a new blog studying and tracking the developments in LDS Architecture. He explains, “My belief is that the greatest architectural legacy of the LDS Church is in the Meetinghouse designs. With the exception of a couple wonderful publications, very little research has been done to document our Meetinghouse heritage.” And thus far, he has some gorgeous photos of LDS meetinghouses in both Utah and Arizona. Check it out!

Techie tip: And speaking of LDS meetinghouses, did you know that about half of all meetinghouses have Internet connections. And as tech.lds.org explains, that number is growing: “It’s clear that the Internet has become an important part of communication in the Church – not just for clerk software (such as Member Leader Services), but also for teaching the gospel, helping individuals with provident living, doing family history and temple work, administering in the Church, and ministering to those in need. In areas where members are remotely located, the Internet also reduces burdens related to travel and cost for meetings and training.” Click to learn more and to view to short instructional videos that teach members about firewalls and networks. Cool!

Techie tip 2: Larry Richman alerts us to the fact that temples.lds.org has been redesigned. And it looks gorgeous! “Select a temple and notice the enhanced page with schedule information, directions, and the ability to view it on a map.” There are more photo galleries. Click in to find out more!

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