In honor of the 2015 National Women’s History Month, many of the Church’s social media channels have joined forces to share inspiring stories and highlight women of faith throughout the month of March.
“You can’t quite become what you can’t see, and so many Mormon women don’t see these stories of strong women throughout history,” said Laura Allred Hurtado, global acquisitions art curator for the Church History Department.
Whether it is a story of a companionship of sister missionaries serving in the French Mission two years before World War II, a story explaining some of the leadership roles women played in the 1920s, a painting depicting faithful women from the Bible or a modern-day artist sharing her talents, all are stories included in the effort to showcase faithful women of the Church through many eras of time.
“Instead of just talking about how great women are, it is providing examples that women can consider as role models,” said Laurel Teuscher, social media producer in the Publishing Services Department of the Church. “We want women role models — great women who have lived and are living.”
By focusing their efforts online, women around the world can easily access and learn from the stories, and then share them with their friends and family.
“The Church has such a rich women’s history that a lot of people don’t really think about,” Sister Teuscher said. “And for us in Church history, it was really to tell the stories — to tell about the everyday women and what they did every day to live like Christ and to follow His teachings.”
The efforts started in the beginning of March and have continued throughout the month via social media pages. Facebook pages for the Church History Library, the Church History Museum and Joseph Smith Papers have been updated a few times a week with different vignettes and photos.
Other social media sites such as the Church History Department’s Tumblr page — ldschurchhistory.tumblr.com — and the Church History Department’s Twitter account — @LDSHistoryDaily — have also shared photos and stories of faithful women. Using the hash tag #LDSwomen makes it easy for individuals to search all of the sites online.
“We wanted to give [women of the Church] a little more — not just a message or quote necessarily, but we wanted to let them hear voices of women that they could relate to,” said Sister Teuscher.
When choosing art for the different sites, Sister Hurtado said she made a conscious effort to use women artists depicting women.
“I wanted to showcase strong Mormon women who are making a difference,” Sister Hurtado said. “[Women who set] a legacy of faith, and you could even extend the notion of choosing God. They are women who choose God.”
One of the paintings highlighted is by Elspeth Young, a painter who looks to faithful, sometimes lesser-known women as her subject matter. Her recent painting of Jane Manning James, one of the first African American pioneers, depicts Jane reflecting on the martyrdom of Joseph Smith.
Many of the women’s auxiliary presidencies have joined in, highlighting and sharing on social media the stories of women who have impacted their lives.
Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, shared a few pictures on her Facebook page of faithful women — a picture of her and two “beautiful covenant-keeping women from Ecuador,” a picture of the BYU women’s volleyball players and coaches, and a picture of Emma Smith. Accompanying the portrait of Emma Smith, Sister Burton explained how, when feeling the weight of her calling, she draws strength from Emma’s example and testimony.
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, shared a picture of Sister Ruth May Fox, who wrote one of Sister Oscarson’s favorite hymns, “Carry On,” and served as the third Young Women general president.
Sister Carol F. McConkie of the Young Women general presidency posted on her Facebook wall about the strength of the young women in the Church today and how others can gain strength from the experiences of young women throughout the history of the Church. She shared a picture of the Nauvoo Temple sketched by orphaned 14-year-old Elvira Stevens in 1846.
Sister Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, shared a picture of a sewing kit used by her great-grandmother. She added these words, “I am so grateful for the example of a disciple of Christ that my great-grandmother set for my mother. Three generations later, I am blessed and inspired by the dedication to the Lord of both my mother and great-grandmother, Anna Willi Welsch. Who inspires you?”
Members can share their own stories of women of faith that have influenced them through using social media sites and the hashtag, #LDSwomen and #LDShistory.
To find more stories, photos and paintings visit:
[email protected] @marianne_holman