The Beginning of Better Days-Divine Instruction to Women from the Prophet Joseph Smith
Author: Sheri Dew & Virginia H. Pearce
Publisher: Deseret Book
Published: July 30, 2012
FTC FYI: Review copy
Back cover: How important are women in the restored church of Jesus Christ? We learn something about the answer to that question from a simple historical fact. In 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith took time to attend several meetings of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo and give personal instruction to the women there. He did this at a time of great personal turmoil, when persecutions were raging and his responsibilities were heavy. He did it at a time when society barely acknowledged women as having any kind of status at all. On six separate occasions, he taught the women personally about their privileges, their opportunities, their obligations, and the blessings the Lord had in store for them in his Kingdom.
The Beginning of Better Days includes Joseph Smith's six timeless sermons to the women of Nauvoo, along with personal essays from Sheri Dew and Virginia H. Pearce that helps us better understand the sermons and their relevance for Latter-day Saint women today. "We have attempted to share a little about our own processes of discovery regarding the sermons," write the authors. "This is what worked for us. What works for you may be similar--or it may be completely different. The important thing is to dig in."
This book was amazing. While I enjoyed reading the sermons from the Prophet Joseph, I also took to heart the beautiful essays from Sheri Dew and Virginia Pearce. What I took most out of it was being more charitable. Charity is something that I need to work on. Also, letting people serve me too. I am very independent, but I know that I can't do it all alone. A sister in my ward that I visit teach mentioned that she always signs up for things in our Relief Society binder to serve others. She has Wednesday afternoons off from work, and finds that when she opens her heart to service, she finds slots available for those days so she is able to help. I really admire that quality in her, and will take her example in my own life.
My favorite quotes came from the last two pages from Sheri Dew.
"By the very nature of what he chose to teach women, Joseph Smith established expectations for every woman who would have the privilege of living in this great, culminating dispensation--the one foreseen by prophets since the beginning of time, the dispensation of the fulness of times. Our dispensation. And the first expectation is that we learn how to receive the truths, the spiritual gifts, and the privileges the Lord has offered to his true followers.
If we are willing to become the women the Prophet Joseph admonishes us to become, women who are true followers of Jesus Christ, the encroaching darkness in the world will actually provide our opportunity. For the women of the world will look to us in increasing numbers and will see in the gospel a better way." page 79