Several weeks ago in our bishopric meeting, the topic of Mother’s Day came up and what we should have as topics for the Sacrament talks. A counsellor recommended the usual honoring our mothers and the great women of the church. They were approved in second with no discussion.

As someone who has a strong interest in women studies (I plan to include women studies when I start my graduate degree next year), this bothered me, and I stewed about it all night. It bothered me mostly because I don’t think the topic of women should be so quickly overlooked. Women are so complex, so it makes no sense to dedicate a meeting to the same two topics every year, especially when so many women had absentee mothers or had abusive mothers or who aren’t mothers themselves.

Never mind the fact that Mother’s Day should be celebrated by the children of a mother; I don’t believe it should be institutional.

Anyhow, I decided to submit alternative topics for that Sunday:

  • How Mary as a mother had an influence on Jesus
  • Women of the Old Testament as types of the Saviour
  • The influence women had in the 19th century church
  • How the gospel of Jesus Christ empowers women to be leaders in society
  • The female disciples of Christ
  • The role of prophetesses in the Bible
  • How believing in a Heavenly Mother makes us better people

I thought they were topics rarely discussed, so they could be a welcome change and allow us as a ward to explore different aspects of womanhood and/or motherhood.

Three days later, I received an email thanking me for my suggestions, but the talks were already assigned (over a month in advance mind you). I was heartbroken. I understand we live in a patriarchal church and it will be a long time, if at all, when women will be treated with complete equality, but I was hoping that in this one area, I could succeed.

Anyhow, two weeks before Mothers Day, I was asked to speak. I was excited. I’m not sure if someone cancelled, or something else happened, but I was glad I could speak.

I was told to speak on women or mothers, but it was pretty open-ended. Also, I had a limit of 5–10 minutes because of three musical numbers. That restricted some of the more in-depth topics, so I ended up settling on the female disciples of Christ, specifically the story of Martha and Mary, which you can read here.

I thought the way we usually treat the story was too superficial, doing a disservice to how much of a disciple each of these women were and how they stand as examples for us. I wanted to explore their relationship with Christ and some of the more complex qualities they possessed.

I love speaking, and I was glad I could touch on a topic that universal appeal, yet in its own way also furthered the equality of women in the church.