Rebecca's Reviews > Women of Character: Profiles of 100 Prominent Lds Women

Women of Character by Susan Easton Black
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's review
May 03, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: lds, biography, non-fiction
Read from May 03 to 16, 2011

I used this in conjunction with Worth Their Salt and Worth Their Salt Too. The two latter are more reference books (and not necessarily pro-LDS Church). This one features only LDS Women (hence the title) but took many of the stories (some almost verbatim) from Worth Their Salt.

Each woman has a qualifying characteristic of why she is "important" (one of my favorites was Juanita Brooks, whose notable quality was "Disputatious Temperament"). Each reads like a bio one would hear from someone who might be introducing them at a fireside or conference. They are not especially well written and (when compared with Worth Their Salt) are merely snippets in their lives.

Sometimes I wonder about the way we honor people for greatness.
When we say, "Look what this person has achieved" and I see the privilege with which they have been raised, part of me decries the honor. Yes, of course there is talent in this woman. She IS amazing. But I can also see the usefulness of her family connections and the wealth that allowed her to achieve. How many less-privileged would also have reached that level had they been given the advantageous affluence of the other?

If the Book of Life were available to us now, I think we would discover a new cast of notable women: The Young Women leader whose testimony of the gospel was unshakable despite her lack of opportunity to marry and the numerous bouts with illness which eventually took her life; the Mexican refugee who gracefully held her family together without a large income when her husband cheated on her and left her; the woman who never took time to go to the hairdresser, the manicurist nor the fine apparel store yet daily took care of needy neighbors, aching-hearted friends and her ancestors back to Adam.

I think of the woman honored in Heaven in C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce:

"I cannot now remember whether she was naked or clothed ... If she were clothed, then the illusion of nakedness is doubtless due to the clarity with which her inmost spirit shone through the clothes. For clothes in that country are not a disguise: the spiritual body lives along each thread and turns them into living organs. A robe or a crown is there as much one of the wearer's features as a lip or an eye.

But I have forgotten. And only partly do I remember the unbearable beauty of her face.

“Is it? it?” I whispered to my guide.
“Not at all,” said he. “It's someone ye'll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green.”
“She seems to be...well, a person of particular importance?”
“Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things.”

I also think these thoughts from Orson Scott Card apply.
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