Mike Ash, FairMormon
Contradicting how she has seen the Church portrayed in the media recently, Sharon Eubank declared in her FairMormon Conference address Aug. 8, “The doctrine and practices of the Church for me as a woman have given me things that I care more deeply about than anything else in my life.”
Sister Eubank is director of LDS Charities — the humanitarian organization of the Church — and a former member of the Relief Society general board.
Sister Eubank was one of a two-day lineup of speakers addressing various subjects in defense of Mormonism — the Book of Abraham, the Book of Mormon, women in the Church and early Church history, among others — comprising the annual FairMormon Conference that convened Aug. 7-8 at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah.
FairMormon (formerly called the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research) is a non-profit organization independent of the Church, though its mission is to defend the Church against attacks on its doctrines, practices and leaders.
In addition to the annual conference, FairMormon sponsors an array of websites that provide answers to challenges to the faith of the Latter-day Saints. Its main web page is at www.fairmormon.org.
Sister Eubank took her theme, “This Is a Woman’s Church,” from a story she heard related by her friend Lillian DeLong. Sister DeLong and her husband were doing some Church leadership training in a rural part of Ghana. A woman came up to her after the training to shake her hand and emotionally said, “This is a woman’s church.”
Sister Delong asked what she meant, and the woman replied, in essence, “We have the glorious Relief Society that teaches us about spiritual things and everyday things that bless us and our families. At the same time your husband is in the next room teaching our husbands that they must not beat wives or children, that this is not in the gospel of Christ. And we have the temple so my children who are dead will be mine forever, and nothing can take them from me. Everything I want, I find in this church. This is a woman’s church.”
Sister Eubank pointed out that the Church holds men and women equally accountable to practice self-discipline and empathetic respect for others, with no tolerance for pornography, adultery, abuse, neglect, inequality or oppression.
She added that participation in the Church is “the best grassroots development program ever designed” by encouraging women to do all the things Church members are called upon to do, including leadership, public speaking, decision making, persuasive discussion, budgeting, nutrition, influence, community watch-care, literacy, gardening, food preservation and disease prevention.
“The scope and field open to me as a woman as revealed in LDS doctrine is the highest and most empowering idea that I can wrap my mind around,” Sister Eubank said. “There is nothing like it in any other faith tradition. There is nothing else I know of that talks about our identity, purpose and infinite artistry that’s available to us in this unique way.”
Sister Eubank said the doctrine of the Church presents a unique understanding of the self. “We always existed as intelligences that can’t be created or made,” she said. As spirit children, “we chose to ally ourselves with Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother who could put us on the road to exaltation. ...
“As a woman, you have certain roles and responsibilities that have to do with binding, connecting, bridging, gluing,” she said.
Another role, Sister Eubank said, is that of being a daughter. “I have divine parents, and so that means that I belong to the household of God.”