Natalie's Reviews > Women and Authority: Re-Emerging Mormon Feminism

Women and Authority by Maxine Hanks
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's review
Dec 25, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: religious, non-fiction, feminism
Read from February 11 to December 01, 2010

I read this book very slowly, bit by bit, over a long period of time. I found it to be very powerful.

Some chapters (like the one on sister missionaries) didn't particularly communicate with me. But many, many, many of them affected me a great deal. I wish I could see a book like this, written today, talking to today's women, 20 years later.

I feel such a longing to develop a kinship with my foremothers in the LDS tradition. I want to sit down for lunch with Eliza R. Snow and Emmeline B. Wells. I want to read the diaries of the women who stood in the circles of healing blessings. I want to write for an independent women's publication. I want to see female leaders regarded as equal to their male counterparts. I want an anointing at the hands of the Relief Society before I give birth.

Parts of this book made me angry. Parts of it fascinated me on an intellectual level. But mostly, it just filled me with longing.

Highly recommended.
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message 1: by Emily (new)

Emily What do you mean by "I want an anointing at the hands of the Relief Society"?

Natalie Emily wrote: "What do you mean by "I want an anointing at the hands of the Relief Society"?"

The Relief Society used to regularly administer healing blessings to other women, especially in cases of childbirth. Several of the essays in the book quote the prayer they would use for a pregnant woman, blessing each part of her body, and anointing it with consecrated oil. I just love the idea of women having stewardship over women's bodies and women's issues like that. When I'm giving birth, I want to be surrounded by supportive women.

Here's one of the prayers:

"We anoint your back, your spinal column that you might be strong and healthy no disease fasten upon it no accident belaff [befall] you, Your kidneys that they might be active and healthy and perform their proper functions, your bladder that it might be strong and protected from accident, your Hips that your system might relax and give way for the birth of your child, your sides that your liver, your lungs, and spleen that they might be strong and preform their proper functions, … your breasts that your milk may come freely and you need not be afflicted with sore nipples as many are, your heart that it might be comforted."

Isn't that beautiful?

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