Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A New Way to Study Women in the Scriptures

I got a new set of scriptures for Christmas and, even though it has been hard letting go of my old ones, I am loving the adventure of marking up a new set. It is almost like reading the scriptures for the first time again. I am discovering things that I never saw before, and it is really fun.

I decided when I got this new set that I wanted to mark every story about women and all the references to women in the scriptures. I chose a blue colored pencil and as I've been studying my scriptures I take the time to mark and highlight every time that a woman or women are mentioned. It is a little like re-taking my "Women in the Scriptures Challenge" except that this time I am not keeping a journal of the women listed I am just highlighting them.

I remember when President Hinckley challenged people to read through the Book of Mormon and highlight every place that Christ is mentioned. He said that having that visual representation (the pages literally turn red) is a powerful reminder that the Book of Mormon is indeed another testimony of Jesus Christ. In a similar way it has been a huge testimony builder for me to have a visual representation of how much women are mentioned in the scriptures. I pull out my blue pencil at least, if not several times, every time I study the scriptures. My pages are slowly turning blue, which now that I think about it is kind of funny. Why didn't I choose pink or red to mark their stories? A Freudian slip maybe?

I have been thinking about it and I want to re-frame President Hinckley's challenge and challenge anyone out there who is struggling (or has struggled) with women's roles or place in the gospel (to any degree) to go through their scriptures and mark all the stories of women. Not only will this force you to read your scriptures (which is #1 on the list of "things to do to understand women's place in the gospel") but it will also give you a powerful witness that women are NOT left out the scriptures and that we are not second class citizens in God's kingdom. The more I study the scriptures with my eyes open to the women in them, the more I realize the immensity of God's love for His daughters and important role in His plan.

Even if you don't' struggle with women's issues I encourage you to try this, I promise it will change your perception of yourself in an incredible way. I am also going to make it a formal part of my "Women in the Scriptures Challenge", so that if someone doesn't want to keep a journal of the women they can try highlighting them instead.

I hope you try it!


  1. do you have the reference when Pres. Hinckley said to mark all the times you see the word Christ? I would love to have it.

    I have done that many times in the BOM, even the he's and thy, when it's talking about him. It's a powerful thing to do.

  2. So funny, I've actually been doing that exact same thing with MY new set of scriptures. I'm excited to hear about the new things you learn.

  3. I'm so excited...I have brand new scriptures coming to our house in a couple of weeks (hopefully less time!) and I'm for sure going to do this! SUCH a great idea! :o) p.s. I love your blog!

  4. Blue is perfect! It was considered the colour of women for centuries... nearly all depictions of Mary show her wearing blue.

    I love the idea of getting a new set of scriptures. I was thinking of doing something similar with the paperback BoM, and marking different themes in a different one.

  5. Becky, I will try to find that link to Pres. Hinckley's talk. I'm not sure where it is... but I know it exists.

    And yes! I love the idea of blue for divine nature--- see I knew I chose it for some reason ;)

  6. I still need to write up some of my experiences doing this. And hey! I even used blue.

    I've read the Book of Mormon twice with this focus. It has been amazing.

  7. This is a great idea. It reminds me of a challenge Sister Beck gave the women at Women's Conference a couple years ago:

    "I have a little exercise for those of you who want something specific to do in your scripture
    study. Get a new little copy of the Book of Mormon. In the front of it, open to a blank page and
    write three questions: Who am I? What are my responsibilities in the house of Israel? How do I
    fulfill my responsibilities? As you read and study, you will find some blank pages in the back.
    You can add Post-it notes if you like. Start writing your answers in the back as you read, and you
    will have a journey of discovery about who you are."

    It's a little bit different focus, but still a similar approach to scripture study like you've mentioned. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. I started this a while ago. I marked it with blue, but I lost enthusiasm for it. I should start again. I try and try again I guess. Its been a hard road for me. And I love the stories of women in the scriptures where it really honestly shows we can Preside (Really honestly, Debroah, as judge, how is that not presiding?), that we are protectors (The stories of the two midwives in the bible, saving the male children from slaughter, I mean a woman saving men). It has the nurturer role all over the place. Yes now that I think about it, the roles are so vast and wonderful.

    My main problem is: The General Authorities do not interpret nor read the scriptures this way.

    So..hmm...I have spiritual experiences, but I wish the General Authorities would have the same ones.

  9. I found the source for President Hinckley's challenge! September 2003 New Era, if the link doesn't work. I knew I had read that before as well, and got determined to find it. LOL. Thanks for your blog! I appreciate it so much. I'm trying to improve my personal scripture study AND my appreciation for women in the scriptures. I figure it will only help me in my life, right?

  10. New to your blog, but I am loving it so far. Looking forward to all the interesting things you post about.