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BYU releases “New Scholarship on Latter-day Saint Women in the Twentieth Century”

Published by Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for LDS Hisory

“New Scholarship on Latter-day Saint Women in the Twentieth Century,” a book recently published by the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History at Brigham Young University, explores the history of women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the Progressive Era through civil rights reforms to the emerging women's movement.

The book includes essays by new and seasoned scholars presented at Women's History Initiative seminars held in 2003 and 2004.

“The authors explain, explore, set in context and give meaning to the ever-increasing complexity of our religious and social worlds as Latter-day Saints,” said Cherry Silver, co-editor of the book and co-chair of the 2004 seminar.

Notable observations about Latter-day Saint women include insights into the thinking of Relief Society leaders Susa Young Gates, Amy Brown Lyman and Belle Spafford.

“The variety of subjects, differences in approach and diversity of contributors demonstrate the richness of the field and wide-ranging interest in studying it,” said Carol Cornwall Madsen, co-editor of the book and co-chair of the 2004 seminar.

Authors explore experiences of women missionaries over the past century, challenges faced by Hmong converts to the Church in the past 15 years and historical views of Latter-day Saints who engaged in women’s suffrage early in the century.

“Readers will be reminded of the contributions Latter-day Saint women have made in politics and wartime, as individuals, as local Relief Society groups and as Latter-day Saint nurses,” Silver said.

Scholars Thomas G. Alexander, James B. Allen, Marie Cornwall, Cheryl B. Preston and Mary Jane Woodger contributed to the historical research in the book.

“New Scholarship on Latter-day Saint Women in the Twentieth Century” demonstrates the response of Mormon women to cultural trends, politics and religion.

“Essays in this volume confirm that Latter-day Saint women have played important roles in the larger social and cultural life of the past century,” said Silver. “The writing is solid, the information is appealing and the overall effect is uplifting.”

Writer: Angela Fischer

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