Emma's Election (Doctrine & Covenants 23-26)

Monday, March 8, 2021


Channing: Hi, I'm Channing

Elise: and I'm Elise,

Channing: and this is The Faithful Feminists podcast.

Elise: But this is not just any Come Follow Me podcast. We do things a little differently here. We offer approachable feminist interpretations of the Come Follow Me manual for those who want to study and understand the scriptures and a framework of equality, social justice, and sisterhood. We are here to show you all the really good ways that faith and feminism work together to illuminate and deepen the gospel experience.

Channing: We've saved you a seat on the soft chairs, so join us today for a conversation about Doctrine and Covenants sections 23 through 26 for the dates March 8th through the 14th. We're so super glad you're here today!

Elise: Welcome back everyone. We are really excited about these sections, especially because there's a whole section, section 25, dedicated to Emma Hale Smith. Woo. And maybe as you can expect, that's what we're going to spend the most of our time today. But along with that conversation about Emma, we're also going to talk about section 24 to take a look at some of the early persecutions that some of the members of the church were facing, and then listen to how God tries to comfort their people.

Though less than four months had elapsed since the church was organized, persecution had become intense and the leaders had to seek safety in partial seclusion. The following three revelations were given at this time to strengthen, encourage and instruct them. And just for a bit more background, in June of 1830, Joseph Smith and some of his peeps, like some of those people went to Colesville, New York and they were visiting a group of people that wanted to be baptized.

And so they had kind of set up this, I dunno if they found the stream and then they dammed the stream so that there was enough water to baptize people, but the night before a mob ended up coming and like breaking down the dam so that they couldn't baptize the people. So then the very next day they had to rebuild the dam and then 13 people were baptized, including Emma. Emma was baptized.

And before confirmations that evening, Joseph was arrested on charges of "being a disorderly person, of setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon." So Joseph ends up going to trial. He escapes a mob. He's then acquitted of his charges. And then immediately he gets arrested in a different county. For the rest of that night, there are more mobs and people that show up to abuse and  ridicule and hunt Joseph and Oliver Cowdery down. And they end up having to flee before they finally make it home.

And about this whole experience, Joseph Smith said "Notwithstanding all the rage of our enemies, we had much consolation and many things occurred to strengthen our faith and cheer our hearts." That's from the history of the church book.

And all of this, this like really, really early in church history, like the church had only been formally organized and established four months prior. And this is even before polygamy. So one of the things I was struck by is like, why, why this persecution now? Like the church is a relatively small entity right now. They're not causing a lot of uproar from what I could see, but clearly this is the start of what will continue to be severe and persistent persecution.

Channing: Yeah, I was going to say that's intense, especially for a church that has less than a hundred members at this point.

Elise: Right. And some of the things that I was thinking of that we've talked about in previous episodes, like we know that Joseph Smith and the Smith family had their own personal history of like being these fraudulent treasure diggers. Right. So those stories stay with the history of the church. Also because this is the quote, like one and only true church. There's this kind of clear proclamation that other churches are therefore wrong. And I can understand that like creating some tension among the people. But I think even more than that, I think that this group of early Mormons, they're starting to be seen as outsiders in their community. And I think this is just a bit of like foreshadowing and something I want us to keep in mind as we continue to record episodes throughout the year and the persecution becomes more persistent and even more violent.

I think that as members of the church, we really really quickly want to identify with the persecution of the early saints as a part of our history. I think we want to hold it up and say, look like we, we know what it's like to suffer. We know what it's like to face persecution. This is built  into our sweat and tears and all of the pioneers. Right. I think that's a part of our history that we really identify with. But along with that, I think we also have a tendency to ignore or dismiss the parts of our history where we are the ones that are doing the persecuting.

And I think that this was on my mind. I think that the sisters in Zion did a recent Facebook live about this. And I haven't been able to watch the whole thing, but I think that this idea comes from them that like, yes, we were persecuted as early saints. But also that doesn't like erase or absolve us of the ways that we continually as individuals and as a church historically have persecuted and oppressed other people.

And two examples that came to mind was the priesthood ban from the mid 18 hundreds until 1978, where the church didn't ordain Black men to the priesthood or allow Black men or women to participate in the temple endowment or any of the sealing ordinance ordinances. That's also built into our history too.

Another example that just happened this week is, well, that has been happening, but was really highlighted this week is the church's continual exclusion and mistreatment of LGBT folks, especially at church-sanctioned schools like BYU, right? We saw, I think if you follow us or any one that is kind of similarly positioned as we are, and what we saw this week was the color of the campus campaign started by Bradley Talbot and just the absolutely exclusionary and intolerant response from BYU and student populations on BYU campus talking about trying to shield themselves from the rainbow with an umbrella. And when all of the people went up to the Y and they held flashlights for hours on end lighting up the why in a big, beautiful rainbow BYU came back with a clear tweet that just said just something like, I dunno, just to make it clear, we didn't approve this. We don't condone this. This wasn't us, this wasn't BYU making the rainbow.

Channing: Well not only that, they took it one step further and kind of alluded that some kind of crime happened there because they didn't authorize it. And you have to get like prior authorization because it's BYU property. And following that, I've also read that phone calls were made to campus security about the lighting of the Y and campus security was like, yeah. Um, flashlights don't count as vandalism.

Elise: Oh my gosh.  I think we're laughing about it because we're just thinking like, wow. We knew BYU, we knew, but we hope for something better. We knew about your honor code. And we knew about the changes to the policies and the handbook. And we knew about the way that many LGBTQ folks don't feel accepted or fully seen on campus, or safe. Right. But perhaps we were hopeful that through color, the campus or student led organizations that are in support of the LGBTQ community, like I think there is hope for change. And then to only be met with this really obvious and unfortunately expected response from BYU just feels incredibly damaging.

And I know that I'm not even one of the people that is most affected. I'm not a part of BYU. I'm also not an part of the LGBTQ community. And so I am feeling only what I can guess to be a surface level type of sadness in response to BYU comment about not condoning or not allowing the, the rainbow colors of the Y.

Channing: And this is really reminding me of something that I've heard Derek and James from Beyond the Block podcast talk about before as members of a church that has experienced violent persecution in the past, Derek and James basically have, I think word for word, said that we should be among the first to stand up in defense for those who are also suffering persecution.

I find it incredibly unfortunate and damaging and just sad in all of the saddest ways that instead of stepping into that potential and that like powerful space of advocating and protecting those and comforting those that stand in need of comfort. We instead have turned and taken on the role of the oppressor in those cases.

And that absolutely deserves a critique, right? And so we have to continually grapple and push ourselves to do better.

Elise: Right. We can of course, honor, and recognize the persecution that is built into our own Latter Day Saint history. But again, like Derek and James have said, shouldn't that make us the first people that show up and stand in solidarity with other marginalized groups that are experiencing oppression?

Like, I don't think it's too big of a stretch to say, even if that's not the same persecution that we have been a part of, we can imagine because we have all of these stories of our early pioneer ancestors, right? Like we should know what a small portion of the suffering is light like, and we should commit to like never doing everything we can to never let that happen to anyone ever.

I wanted us to then take a look at section 24, to see what God says to comfort and encourage the early saints during these times of persecution. And I'm just going to summarize here, but in verses one through eight, here are some of the things that stuck out to me. God's saying to the people, remember that I have lifted you out of your afflictions before, remember that I have delivered you and kept you safe before. So recall all of the times I have been with you in verses three through four, it talks about finding your people, finding people to support you and welcoming you. Verse six, God will give you "in the very moment that what you should speak and write." And I feel like for me, that would really help ease some of the anxiety or the uncertainty that I would feel about how to move forward in times of persecution.

And then in verse eight, it says be patient in your afflictions and endure them for, I am with you even until the end of your days. And I think that last piece about God being with us, even until the end of our days, that's what makes the call to like endure our afflictions or be patient in them.

That's what makes it feel not so hopeless. It's not just God saying, like, just continue on and I'll watch you from afar. It's God saying endure them. And I'm going to be with you every step of the way.

Channing: I love that verse, and I really appreciated kind of the natural order that this conversation took talking about our Black members and talking about our LGBTQ members and then reading these verses immediately after I hope in that way, that our friends in any of those communities can look at these verses and find comfort and also call us, especially in our places of privilege too, show up and support and be the hands and the feet and the heart of God here on earth right now. And do exactly what these verses say, endure with them. Be with them even until the end of their days, support them.

Welcome them. Give them in the very moment, what they are asking for. And so I think that these verses have two different functions, one in a comforting and one in a calling. And it all depends on what your social location is. So read these verses accordingly friends.

And from there, if we move into section 25, we get to talk about our girl, Emma, and we are so excited. Before we get into the section and talking about all of its intricacies and implications, we wanted to give a quick introductory bio about Emma. And most of the information that we have for this episode comes from a podcast called Year of Polygamy that Lindsay Hansen Park did. And this is an amazing podcast. If you haven't checked it out yet, we highly recommend it. Um, but most of the information that we're sharing about Emma today comes from the incredible bio episode that she did. It's called Emma part one.

What I really appreciate about the biography that Lindsay Park did about Emma is that she kind of, she seeks to give a more comprehensive biography about Emma and really let us get to know her as a person in and of herself, instead of just who she was in relation to Joseph Smith so you can get to know her a little bit better.

Emma was one of many middle children, and Emma's family was also a farming family but they were still pretty modest, but they were definitely better off than what we understand the Smith family to have been. So they lived in a farmhouse, they had land, and they did all of the typical things that we think farmers would do.

They were pretty secure and stable. And so we can imagine that Emma participated in all of the family chores, all of the like cooking and sewing and taking care of animals and probably a garden too. All of those things were a big part of Emma's life. And around the time that Emma met Joseph Emma's family took in boarders that were part of the treasure hunting crew that Joseph was a part of. And so Joseph stayed at Emma's house and I think. We would like to think that it was love at first sight. Um, but the truth is that Emma's family did not like Joseph at all, probably because of his reputation and the people that he was with when they first met him. But it, regardless of how her family felt about him, over the next two years after their initial meeting, Joseph returned to Emma's home to court her. And after their two year courtship, they decided to elope. And after eloping, they did not go back to Emma's family for a little while. I think we can imagine that Emma was maybe a little bit nervous about talking to her parents about the decisions that she had made. Which I can appreciate that, you know. They were still pretty young.

But one of the things that I also appreciated about learning about Emma is just kind of getting a taste for what her personality was like. And we get the feel that Emma was very confident, self secure and... what else would you say about her, Elise?

Elise: I think in some of the like church literature and kind of popularly portrayed images of Emma and Joseph, we see of course, like a very romantic, loving couple, but I also think that that kind of only gives us one dimension of Emma, which shows her as kind of like fawning over Joseph, agreeing and doing anything that he says going everywhere with him.

And she does do those things, but she's not just like a passive sidekick. There's actually a passage about Emma from Lucy Mack Smith, which is Joseph's mom and Lucy writes, "I have never seen a woman in my life who would endure every species of fatigue and hardship from month to month and from year to year with that unflinching, courage, zeal and patients, which she has ever done. For, I know that, which she has had to endure. She has been tossed upon the oceans of uncertainty. She has breasted the storms of persecution and buffeted, the rage of men and devils, which had had, which would have borne down almost any other woman.'

 And I really like this passage about Emma, because I think it gives her dimension. We hear adjectives that are filled with passion and power, like courage and zeal, but we also see this loving tenderness. She's patient, but she's also faced a lot of persecution and she, to me, it sounds like she has faced this persecution head on and has tried to tried her best to stay true to who she is and what she knows, even if that means looking the rage of men and devils right in the face.

Channing: Yeah. I would not want to mess with Emma, not after hearing that.

Elise: There's a passage from Joseph Smith the third, which is Joseph and Emma's son in an 1893. He wrote, "My mother was one of the best poised women I ever met. Of the purest and noblest intentions herself. She never submitted to be made a party to any, to anything low, wrong or evil was absolutely fearless where the right was concerned and was adjust and generous. Mother, her heart never changed toward her children and her fidelity to them. Never wavered. It's needless to say that we loved her."

So again, we see this description of Emma. She's poised. She's noble. She's just, and she's generous, right? She she's has a fearless sense of what is right. And she trusts that and her children loved her and they knew that she loved them.

Channing: That is a powerful and an elect lady.

Elise: Indeed. That's exactly right. And in section 25, verse three. The Lord calls her "an elect lady whom I have called." And the word elect means to pick or to choose like she has been chosen or she is the chosen. I think of other elect ladies in the scriptures too, like Avish and Esther or Mary Magdalene, these women, to me all share attributes of courage. They have this deep sense of listening and knowing themselves, knowing what is right and just they're willing to welcome and to act they're willing to stay open to God. And this doesn't just mean following God, without thinking for yourself or asking hard questions and in this way, Emma was elect.

She was called and ordained to an important position in the early church. We hear a little bit more about her ordination in verses seven through eight and verse 11. "And thou shall be ordained under his hand to expound scriptures and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee, by my spirit by time shall be given to writing and learning much and also to make a selection of sacred hymns."

And the first part of these duties are some of the same exact duties of the priesthood offices that we've read about in previous episodes, right? Expounding the scripture is exhorting the church. Those are priesthood priesthood related duties. And then the second part of the verse that talks about writing and learning and also making a selection of sacred hymns, I think in one of the podcast episodes, I think also from The Year of Polygamy episodes, they talk about Emma's role as really crafting the lived experience of the church. Right. Even if she's not the one like crafting and shaping the theology about like who God is and what God, like, what. God wants for the people and how we all fit into heaven. Like even if she's not a part of that, per se, she's part of the building community aspects.

She's part of the lived experience of the church that looks like welcoming people. She walked, she would welcome lots of people into her home. She would be friends with them. She's been called to create a space where people can commune with God through music. And I wish we had first person accounts from Emma, but we don't have any, or if we do, we don't have many, but I think we start to see this really complex, robust, vibrant woman who is knowing and finding herself by participating in creating the lived experience of the church.

Channing: Something that I also found striking about the section of text is that this is actually the only instance in the entire Doctrine and Covenants that a woman has a section dedicated just to her.

Elise has already highlighted some wonderful sections of the text. And I wanted to focus most of my attention on section 25, verse five and section 25 verse nine. And the reason why I wanted to do both of these is because I think that they're actually paired and they go hand in hand and they belong together.

So I'm going to read each of them separately and then we'll talk about them. Verse five says, and the office of the calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, thy husband, in his afflictions with consoling words in the spirit of meekness. And then verse nine says, and this is the Lord talking to Emma and thou need us not fear  () talking about her calling) for thy husband shall support the in the church for unto them as his calling. And I think that these two verses paired together sets up a promising potential for true equal partnership in the church with Emma supporting Joseph and in verse nine, Joseph supporting Emma toward a common goal.

And that goal is growing and nurturing the church. And I would argue that this is further underlined when we look a little bit closer at the wording in the text of Emma's calling, especially like Elise said paired with some of our earlier chapters in discussions about the responsibilities of the priesthood.

And just like Elise said, those responsibilities are an ordination to expound scripture and exhort the church. And so this wasn't just like a nicety. This wasn't just like a Oh, afterthought of like God or Joseph, including Emma and the church to like, make her feel special and included. She was ordained and we have that written in the text and that's a huge deal considering that she was the first woman in the church to have that.

And secondly, it happened so quickly after the church was formed. So, this is really exciting. And so this equal partnership, that's kind of set up here in section 25. I wanted to explore that and talk about that and maybe look at some of the characteristics of this partnership. And the thing that stuck out to me the most is that this partnership is truly shared. It's not complimentary. And what I mean by that is that they're both involved in the same work. It's not "Emma, you care for the house so that Joseph can focus on his work." It's also not, "Hey, Joseph work hard on the farm so that Emma can focus on her spirituality." And it's definitely not "Emma, you nurture and Joseph you provide." They're in it together.

This section says, "Emma, help Joseph with the work of translating the Book of Mormon by literally helping with the work of translation." It's "Emma, help Joseph build the church by learning by expounding scripture and by exhorting the members." It's "Joseph, help Emma build the church by ensuring that she has opportunity to do these things."

I can imagine God saying to Joseph, I don't expect her to write an entire hymnal in the wee hours of the morning, because that's all the time she has after taking care of you. So make some oatmeal in the mornings and wash your own long johns, okay?

I especially love verse nine, that small portion of text that says to Emma "thou needest not fear." Why do I love this so much? I think it's because we can imagine that part of God's plan for the church was caretaking its members in all of their needs, spiritual and physical mortal, and immortal. I wonder what if in these verses God was setting forth a work of true partnership in the church. One that care took women as well as women care took the church.

And since God calls us all, but in the majority of the Doctrine and Covenants, it appears that God's specifically called men to caretake the church. Then I think we can argue that God plans for men to participate in all aspects of worship, which includes the physical everyday acts of care that go unnoticed, unvalued, unpaid, unspoken unseen. I like to imagine here that God is saying to Emma. I know you're probably feeling overwhelmed. I know that you're feeling like I just dumped a relief society president calling in your lap on top of everything else that you already have to do. But what I'm telling you, Emma, is don't fear. I promise I will take care of you through my servant, Joseph, whom I have specifically and explicitly commanded to do this one job, something only he can do. You are not unseen by me, Emma fear, not.

And I recognize that this interpretation is an incredibly generous reading of this section, especially considering what comes later in the Doctrine and Covenants, and even what we're going to talk about later in this episode, but something that Elise and I have discussed outside of recording is that maybe there's a potential downside of reading the Doctrine and Covenants through a lens of history.

And the reason being is that we have the benefit of knowing how it all turns out when we're reading from the future. Right. But what if we stepped out of a historical lens and into a more imaginative one? What if we stepped back in time, right into this moment of section 25 and looked out on the horizon of our shared future with Emma and saw not what is, but what could be? This was a huge potential turning point in the church.

It was exciting. It was new and promising. It was good. And I don't want that potential to be lost. I don't want to lose it to the cynicism of history and I don't want to lose it to the cynicism of feminism. And I don't want to lose it to the church's brand of nostalgia either. I think I'm hoping that in this moment, the one that you and I, and all of our listeners are in right here right now that we can bend the rules of time in space using the power of our imagination and picture ourselves in a warm humid summer of July, 1830.

Maybe we're in a humble farmhouse sitting room. Maybe we're outdoors beneath the shade of a 200 year old tree. Hoping to catch a summer breeze. Maybe we hear the rustling of leaves or a horse whinning in the distance. We definitely hear the loud laughter of children and maybe even smell a combination of sour milk, freshly turned, dirt, baking bread and sweat.

And here we are with our friends, Joseph and Oliver and Emma and John. We might be missing Lucy and hoping she'll come back soon. And we're dreaming about the future of our bodies and souls and refresh from this beautiful moment between Emma and Joseph and in Emma's future, we can see our own and all of the paths we might walk with her. As we look past the window sill, past the house, past the trees that line the farm, we see in the distance the horizon. That meeting place of birth and death of what has been and what could become. Emma, we say, can we take your hand and run toward the misty skyline to greet the sun rise set, take off your bonnet, wrap it around the sun and hold on tight to the strings and see what is just beyond, waiting for our reaching? Tell us what you see so we might know what to look for. Sing us a song to guide us. Sing our fears away.

Elise: Oh, Channing, I'm so glad that you were able to kind of transport us back with this imaginative, poetic experience with Emma. Thank you for that. I think now we kind of want to discuss, did the church ever fully realize what would seem like an equal partnership among men and women as presented in section 25?

Again, from the year of polygamy podcasts that we can't recommend enough. There was a section that really stood out to both Channing and I, and I wanted to include it here. This is actually Lindsay talking with John Hamer and John says, "This is a moment in section 25. When Joseph Smith reaches out to different collaborators and reaches out to his wife and gives her an ordained position in the church. There's a moment here when there might have been a completely different path where women might have had more participation in the church, but I think what ends up happening here is there remained so many domestic issues. So their tasks ended up being divided between household and church. Ultimately the early part of the church becomes a sort of boys club where Joseph collaborates with the talented men while their wives are stuck at home with the kids."

Channing: Yeah. I really thought that that section of the podcast was illuminating, especially considering the episode that you and I did on Lucy Harris as well, because that's something that we talked about with her too.

Elise: It was insightful. And I'm so grateful that they discussed this because I do think that it brought to the forefront a very real issue that Emma was coming up against, even with her beautiful calling and section 25. And it also makes me think that like, Oh, every moment, like every moment has the potential to shape a different type of way forward or a different type of history.

And I think what John Hamer is suggesting here is that, wow, look at this, look at this moment where Emma was perhaps as equally involved as many of the other men in the church, how different could things have been if that had continued to unfold in this this way? Um, but it doesn't, it doesn't end up happening like that.

Channing: Yeah, just like he says in his quote, what ends up happening is that the women are grappling with the domestic issues. And that's a very familiar theme that we see carried out even today. Like I listened to that and I'm like, yep, I totally get it. That feels like my life right now, too. And I think some people out there might be thinking, so what, what's the big deal? They might be unconvinced of the disparity in work, split by gender and definitely with the Family: A Proclamation to the World, I think that there's a temptation or a tendency to feel that gendered work is God-sanctioned, making work split by nurturing and providing seem timeless and sensible and proven, even if our society and modern day views that as outdated.

But I do think that Lindsay Park and John Hamer have a leg to stand on here. And it's even something that we've discussed on the podcast before: the problem of the unspoken expectation for women to perform the unseen, unpaid domestic work. And when we talk about domestic work, we're talking about cleaning. We're talking about cooking, doing the laundry, doing the dishes. Changing the diapers, changing the beds, all of the emotional, social, physical, mental labor of women that literally keeps society running.

So in my research for this week's episode, I came across a fascinating New York Times article titled Women's Unpaid Labor is Worth $10.9 Trillion.

And they start off this incredibly insightful article with an anecdote, and it says "Societies rarely take stock of the value of unpaid care work unless there is a disruption in the supply. On October 24th, 1975, 90% of Icelandic women refused to cook clean or look after children for a day. It brought the whole nation to a standstill. Men across the country scrambled to fill in, taking their children to work and overwhelming restaurants."

It goes on to say "The unpaid labor, which the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development defines as time spent doing routine housework, shopping for necessary household goods, childcare, tending to the elderly, and other household or non-household members, and other unpaid activities related to household maintenance remains largely invisible. It is notoriously difficult to value because the normal market signals of supply and demand don't work. Traditional expectations that caring for children, the elderly and the infirm should be done gratis, which means free, within the family obscure the true economic value of this work. And yet what the example of Iceland shows us that women provide a huge unacknowledged subsidy to the smooth functioning of our economies, which would grind to a halt if women stopped doing this work."

Elise: I think that this article is absolutely jaw-dropping. And I think for this episode, we're kind of talking about women's unpaid domestic work inside of our own homes. But if we take a step back and look at the demographics for domestic workers overall,  the majority of domestic workers are black, Hispanic, Asian American, or Pacific Islander women.

And this is where again, we see that we can't look at these things without taking a lens of intersectionality, because the way that we talk about unpaid labor and women also positions women of color and racism at the very center of this art of this discussion as well.

Channing: I'm so grateful that you included that you leased because you're absolutely right. And I think as we move forward with this conversation about unpaid domestic work, whether that's in the home or whether that's done in our societies, we need to keep the most marginalized at the forefront of our minds. And so continuing this conversation, I would say that women and especially women of color are not better able or more naturally inclined to do this type of domestic work.

Ultimately, these are genderless jobs made gendered by the patriarchy, these jobs as illustrated by the anecdote from the New York times, article are not value-less. They are unpaid. And those two, and those are two very different things. And I think on the flip side of this conversation too, it's also not that women are unable to perform anything other than domestic duties either.

And I think that that's a less prevalent to viewpoint now, given the waves of feminism that we've had in previous years. Um, but what I think ultimately all of this boils down to is what. Is that women are humans, humans who just like their male counterparts have infinite potential, but paradoxically also have finite time, finite resources and finite abilities.

But the issue is that in patriarchal systems, Like the 19th century society that Emma and Joseph lived in and arguably like the church that we live in now, women's infinite potential is underestimated and their time resources and abilities are exploited. And just to drive this point, home that this isn't just like an in the past problem, like we might be tempted to say, from that same New York times article, they also say "In the United States, women perform an average of four hours of unpaid work per day, compared to men's two and a half hours. Back in 1965, when the government first started keeping track, American women did almost all of the unpaid work in the home. Although the gender gap in unpaid labor has narrowed women still perform a disproportionate amount of unpaid work and on top of their full-time jobs."

 And I think to really drive this point home and bring it as recent as we possibly can. In December, 2020, which was three months ago, CNN reported that 140,000 jobs were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and all of these jobs lost belonged to women. And just to kick us while we're already down, in that same timeframe, men gained 16,000 jobs. And so the article continues to say that. While these numbers don't account for the individual's circumstances, they do provide an interesting perspective when we look at the whole, and when we look at the whole, it highlights a huge disparity. And I was also really grateful that the reporters did an excellent job because they went on to say, as if all of that wasn't enough, it's worth noting that we can also see intersecting systems of oppression operating in this job loss. CNN additionally  reported that Black and Latino women accounted for the majority of the job loss. And in those 14,000 jobs lost white women actually reported a gain. And so I think just driving home the point that he at least made earlier that much of this domestic work is performed by women. And even further than that, marginalized women, like we said before, it's super important to keep that at the forefront.

Elise: Right. And it reminds us of what we talk about in the very intro of the podcast. When we say sisterhood, we mean  all women. So if we only say, well, it's mostly white women who are doing the majority of the work. And or if we say, even in this statistic, like well, COVID-19, hasn't been that bad.

Channing:  Like I actually gained. Like as a white woman, I got a new job.

Elise: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, you did. You did get a job during this pandemic. Right? Did, but if we only look at a fraction of the sisterhood, then we miss all of the ways, not just we miss our other sisters, but we also miss the ways that as white women, we continue to persecute and perpetuate oppression against women of color.

Channing: It's women are affected, but we can see women of color are often the most effected and the most marginalized. And so going back to that question that I asked at the beginning of the section, you know, the critique of the, Oh, so what, what's the big deal? This is the big deal. This is the so what. Gender roles defined by patriarchy look nice and organized, they look black and white until we start digging a little bit and discover their consequences. In patriarchy women suffer all women, not just white women. And not even that white women suffer the most, all women suffer. They suffer not just in big ways like the women did an Ammonihah, but they suffer in a thousand small ways and in a thousand small moments.

Audre Lord would describe the suffering as a slow death by silence. Carol Gilligan would define the suffering by innumerable small losses of inner knowing. Clarissa Pinkola Estes would describe the suffering as a betrayal of the wild spirit. Women suffer in patriarchy each time they are forced to choose between what they should do and what they are called to do.

And we can definitely see that happening here with Emma, between what she should do and between what God has called her to do. And the, one of the biggest critiques of the feminist movement by the LDS church is that feminism seeks to undermine the family by making women bitter about their role in the home.

I argue that families are only as healthy as their parents. And if wives and mothers are suffering a thousand self betraying deaths by loads of laundry, first, their families are losing out on the beauty and strength of their creative, wild, and vibrant spirit. And secondly, women's suffering arrive to feminism because they are already bitter and they long to recover their voice to speak the truth about their lives from the ever pressing weight of the unfinished work of home and family.

Emma was promised in one sentence of section 25 liberation from the shoulds that defined her role in the 19th century so that she could step into her calling from God. And I wonder, and I want us to explore as we move through this week and we move through the section of text, why this was never realized and what the consequences of that was not just for Emma, but for all women of the church.

Elise: I love this so much. I like seeing and trying to understand Emma in this way, as someone who is called or chosen or elected by God to fulfill a greater, deeper calling in life. And that's not to say that the domestic responsibilities aren't as equally important, but I think it is important for women to be equally involved and responsible in the runnings of the church and feel like they have power over who they are, what they want and how they want to participate and show up.

And so I love seeing Emma in this way. I love seeing her kind of at the beginnings of what will be a really powerful calling for her and the ways that she will continue to try and use her power, her privilege, and her voice to make positive, righteous changes in the church.

Channing: Friends, thanks so much for joining us for this week's episode. We covered a lot of ground here. We talked about the persecution in the very, very early beginnings of the church. We talked about how God shows up for the afflicted and also how the same verses of comfort can also be a calling to those with more privilege to show up as the hands of God to comfort the afflicted.

We also gave a quick bio about Emma and explored more of her personality and more of her involvement in the church, especially in section 25 with her ordination and calling to participate as a scribe in the work of translation and to compile a book of hymns, and finally wrapping up the conversation with a discussion about the unpaid and undervalued work of women and what the effects of that were on the early church and how they've moved even until the present day church as well. We love you so much, and we're so grateful that we were able to share this time with you today. We hope as you move through this week, that you're able to read over these sections of text and, and see how they move and call you into contemplation and action in your own lives.

We love you and we'll talk to you soon. 

Powered by Blogger.