Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Book Review: At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women, Edited by Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook

At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women, Edited by Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook
2017, 452p, LDS Non-Fiction
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way

At the Pulpit showcases the tradition of Latter-day Saint women's preaching and instruction by presenting 54 speeches given from 1831 to 2016, with selections from every decade since the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The discourses, given by women both well known and obscure, represent just some of the many contributions of women to Latter-day Saint thought. In addition to being a scholarly history, At the Pulpit is intended as a resource for contemporary Latter-day Saints as they study, speak, teach, and lead. These discourses allow readers to hear the historical and contemporary voices of Latter-day Saint women--voices that resound with experience, wisdom, and authority.

I was excited to learn of the existence of this book! What a fabulous resource! At the Pulpit is a compilation of speeches given by LDS women from 1831-2016. Some of them are well-known women while others I had never heard of. Each discourse starts with some background information about the woman being highlighted, as well as the setting for her speech. Some are super short and others are quite lengthy.

This book is filled with uplifting and inspiring addresses. I've skipped around reading topics that sounded interesting to me. Two that stood out to me were by women I had never heard of before. The first talk was given by Mattie Horne Tingey in 1893 titled "The School of Experience." She spoke at the World Columbian Exposition, in front of men and women, as well as members of several different faiths. She talked about the School of Life, and the importance of motherhood, as well as the importance for women to become educated, so they can equally stand with their husbands in all the affairs of life. I also enjoyed Margaret C. Pickering's address titled "Unto the Least of These." She spoke in the Relief Society General Conference in 1950. Three months earlier, the US had entered the Korean War and there was a lot of fear and insecurity. She took her address from Matthew 25, and spoke of the importance of rendering compassionate service to others and how it blesses both the one who performs it and the one who receives it. It's a great reminder in our day that it's important to give of yourself, especially when feeling lonely.

I have loved reading this book! I haven't read each discourse yet but am getting close as I have incorporated this into my everyday reading. I have felt uplifted, strengthened and inspired while reading the words of these amazing women. This book can be used in multiple ways--lessons, talks, personal study, FHE, etc. It's a book that everyone will benefit from reading and I highly recommend adding it to your personal collection!

Click here to learn more about this book, and read twelve talks in their entirety including 3 bonus discourses not included in the print volume!


Jennifer Reeder is the nineteenth-century women’s history specialist at the Church History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. She holds a PhD in American history from George Mason University. Kate Holbrook is the managing historian for women’s history at the Church History Department. She received a PhD in religious studies from Boston University.


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