The Women of Zion's Camp (Doctrine & Covenants 102-105)

Monday, September 13, 2021


A giant thank you to Heather B. for transcribing this episode! 


Channing: Hi, I'm Channing, and this is The Faithful Feminists podcast.

Elise: I'm 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 in a framework of equality, social justice, and sisterhood. We are here to show you all the incredible ways  faith and feminism work together to illuminate and deepen the gospel experience. 

Channing: [00:00:27] We've saved you a seat on the soft chairs, so join us today for a conversation about Doctrine and Covenants sections 102 through 105 for the date September 13th through the 19th. We're so glad you're here!

Elise: [00:00:58] Yes. Welcome back everyone. Before we get into this week’s sections, we just want to remind you one final time about our upcoming Soft Chairs Workshop that we're going to be hosting in October. It is the last week that you're able to purchase and register for tickets. We're going to close all ticket registrations on Thursday, September 16th. So if you've been thinking about coming, or if you've been saving up some money, please, please, please make sure to make your arrangements and register for tickets by this Thursday.

Channing: [00:01:34] It's going to be an amazing event. And we're so excited to have you there for a day full of feminism, scriptures, and loving community. You can join us in South Jordan on Saturday, October 9th, to explore powerful content that we hope will equip everyone with a foundational understanding of feminist interpretation, skills for examining sacred texts through a feminist lens, and a greater confidence in reading and working with the scriptures. So we're going to have yummy food, a really good lunch, some treats afterwards, and the best part is the incredible community of like-minded women and allies. So you can find out more information for registration at the link in our bio on Instagram, or find us on our website 

Elise: [00:02:22] Now, as we turn to Come Follow Me in the sections for this week, here's a little bit of background. The Come Follow Me manual says that the Kirtland Saints were so hurt and worried and upset that their siblings in Jackson county, Missouri were being forced from their homes. So Joseph Smith, or slash God, declared that the redemption of Zion would “come by power”, which meant that all of these Saints in Kirtland were going to try and recruit other saints to be part of this big expedition to go and protect and help return the saints to Jackson county and their homeland. 

There's really so much that we could pull from all of these sections. And even before the episode, we thought about recording our thoughts about what do we do when the text contradicts itself, by saying on one hand, “be peaceful, turn the other cheek,” and on the other hand, “go with power and fight and protect and, like, reclaim Zion.”

We also thought we could talk about this whole section that comes really like in the last half of section 104 about stewardship, or maybe we could even talk about consecration and economic justice, or even we could talk about ensigns, proclamations and proposals of peace that show up in the end of section 105 and we also thought about comparing it to the title of Liberty that's found in the Book of Mormon. So there's so, so much to choose from, but in this episode it ended up that we were focusing our entire attention on the experience and the stories surrounding Zion's camp, because there's so much more here than we originally thought.

Channing: [00:03:46] Yes. And we're so excited to dive into this. So Zion's camp is the name of that group that formed together to return the saints in Jackson County, Missouri, back to their homes and back to their land. And we find in section 103, that the Lord, or that Joseph Smith's understanding of the Lord's commandment is that they should find 500 available men to join Zion's camp, and if they can't find 500, they should find 300, and if they can't find 300, then it would be okay with only 100. So fortunately, or unfortunately, however you'd like to look at this, they found 200 men and a handful of women and children. So that's where we're going to focus our look at the podcast today and we're going to examine these women's stories and what we do know about them and what we can imagine about them.

And in order to give us a really in depth look at what these women's contributions to Zion's camp were we are turning our attention to an essay titled “We Also Marched: The Women and Children of Zion's Camp, 1834.”(  And this was written by Andrea G Radke in an issue of the BYU studies quarterly. And we owe her a debt of gratitude, just like all the other amazing and incredible women who are in theological or church historical research. So thank you, Andrea, for all of this wonderful information. 

Elise:[00:05:30] Radke reminds us that, like, unfortunately it's impossible to know all there is to know about the women that were involved in Zion's camp because “very little primary documentation exists about the specific activities of the women and children of Zion’s camp. No journals, diaries, or letters from the pens of the women have survived if they ever existed. The male diarists and recorders have provided us with lists of names, a few anecdotes, and some descriptions of illness and death as these hardships affected the women. Only two husbands, Jacob Gates and Joseph Holbrook, wrote about the activities of themselves and their wives on the expedition. Information about the women of Zion's Camp must be pieced together through later sources, genealogical records, and secondhand accounts.”

Channing: [00:06:17] We do have the names of the women who were in Zion's camp. And we also, using some of those genealogical records and second hand accounts and later sources, we can kind of guess at and compare what their contributions and activities might have been. Radke argues that their contributions might have included cooking, like, nursing and healthcare, doing the laundry, and being companions to their husbands during the long march. And we know that some of these women brought their very young children with them, so those responsibilities would have also included childcare. But we also have one standout story of a woman who wasn't even in Zion's camp, but she helped them out a ton. And her name was sister Ruth D. Vose and Radke writes that she lived in Massachusetts and later became a plural wife of Joseph Smith. She also contributed the largest cash donation, which was $250 back then, which to me even still today is like a huge amount of money; this $250 was “received by the prophet and thus provided the means for the final provisioning of the camp.” Ruth's story stuck out to me because as I was writing it down, I remembered, like, “oh, in traditional church rhetoric, we understand men to be the financial providers for women and for the church.”

[00:07:47] But I am reminded not only of this story, but I'm also reminded from our Lucy Harris episode that her sister gave donations. I'm reminded of all of the other women's stories that we've come across, where women have given significant financial donations to the church. And I don't know if it's just because our focus has been on women's stories and I might be blinded by that bias, but I'm really excited to see that there are women in church history who have made significant financial donations and that their support came at critical times for the church.

[00:08:25] And so I like this understanding because it kind of shows, like, “Hey, it's not just men who can contribute financially. Like women have this like buy-in and financial power to give to the church. And I'm, I'm really excited about that. 

Elise: [00:08:38] Yeah. I mean that even kind of falls in line with what we're seeing, even in more-present day, there've been lots of studies that show that women are more likely to donate to charities or organizations or provide financial means and assistance than other men who are, like, similarly situated in their own economic situation.

Channing: [00:08:57] So moving on from Ruth’s story, we move into exploring who were the women in Zion's camp, and there's a handful of them. And we want to include their stories here because we might not get another chance to explore them in any other episodes later on. So there were a couple of women who we have their names, their ages, and their relationship status, but not a lot of other records about them.

[00:09:22] We have Sarah Ripley who is married and she was in Zion’s camp at the age of 32. We have Diana Drake at age 18 and Jane Clark, whose age is unknown, and they were both single. We have Aurelia Houghton who is 15 and married. And Sophrania Curtis who was 24 and married as well. And then we also have some other women who we do have some more information about.

[00:09:51] We have Mary Chidester, and she and her husband were in Zion's camp with her two children ages one and two. And what we do know about Zion's camp, like, there were some incredible stories that happened in there. Like, they faced some severe inclement weather and threats of violence and experienced, like, an epidemic of cholera and so having to deal with those by themselves is already a huge feat, but then having a one and a two-year-old tagging along? Like, major props, Mary.

[00:10:28] We also have Ada Winchell Clements, and she and her husband eventually lost a son in the Missouri violence against the Saints and she was in Zion's camp, but no records exist of any of her activities there. And what was interesting to me about Ada's story is that after Zion's camp, after all of the saints moved to Missouri and even after the prophet Joseph Smith died, she and her husband eventually separated and divorced because they had a disagreement over who was the right prophet after Joseph Smith died.

[00:11:07] And then the story gets really wild. Ada moves to Utah with the Saints and she gets remarried and her husband stays where he's at and he gets remarried and then eventually both of them were widowed. So their kids put together this surprise reunion between the two, and Ada and her husband met again and they decided to remarry, like, years and years later in Utah. And from all accounts, like, their remarriage was very, very happy. So I was like, oh my gosh, that is a seriously wild story. 

Elise: [00:11:46] Another woman that was a part of Zion's camp, her name was Mary Snow Gates. And we actually know that she loved astronomy, which is super cool. I think this is the first Saint that I've heard about that's into astronomy, which that has a special place in both of our hearts and she was 20 years old when she was in Zion's camp. And she was there with her husband and her two brothers. She was also there during the cholera outbreak and she eventually moved to Utah with the Saints, but her life afterwards was super, super difficult. Radke writes, “Mary's life included much sadness and difficulty. Plagued by continual marital problems, Jacob and Mary separated and she settled into a house in St. George, Utah.” Mary's estranged husband Jacob was also in the presidency of the First Quorum of the 70, and he was away from home a lot.

Channing: [00:12:36] We also find in a letter that Jacob wrote to one of Mary's brothers, he says, “I am aware that she [Mary] has long since been an unwelcome visitor to her brothers and all of your family and everybody else and it is a miserable condition for anyone to be in. You know she has been insane one half of her life and the spirit she has cherished has produced but little comfort to herself or me and I have never harbored bitterness toward her in my heart. And I believe her nature lead to be a good woman.” But what was interesting to me is that Radke also writes about Mary “Childlessness and anguish over her husband's polygamous marriages caused Mary great mental anguish in her later life, but the earlier hardships of Zion's camp and life in Missouri may have contributed to her emotional difficulties. Jacob recognized the severity of Mary's experiences in Missouri as she was “left alone in the midst of enemies.”” 

[00:13:46 ]And hearing this I'm actually really sad for Mary. Jacob says that she was “insane half of her life” because she was left alone in the midst of her enemies and Missouri but on top of that, we also learn that her husband was never at home, she was never able to have children, and he married, sounds like, multiple other women. So part of me is like, oh, well, it's no wonder that this astronomy-loving woman who I feel like started out, like, as very vibrant, who struggled so much in her later life because of all that she had experienced.

[00:14:14] And so I'm reminded that women’s stories are always more than we expect them to be in history and having a broad understanding of what their lives look like and a good understanding of how systems affect people in their individual lives is really important, especially when looking at Mary's story. 

Elise: [00:14:39] It also reminds me that just this kind of constant gaslighting and claims of insanity that often get pushed onto women which allows people to not take any responsibility for their own harm that they're causing this relationship. It's really easy to say, “oh, you astronomy-loving, traumatized woman, like, faithful woman. What do you mean you're not okay with polygamy? You just must be going insane.”

Channing: Right. Instead of actually taking accountability for, “wow. I wonder how this law of polygamy might be harmful.”

Elise: Right? Exactly. 

Channing: We also come across the story of Nancy and Eunice Holbrook. And they were sisters-in-law and it sounds like they were friends with Sarah Ripley, which makes sense, ‘cause they're all in Zion's Camp together. And we actually are lucky enough to have a story about Nancy, Eunice, and Sarah. And this comes from the journal of Heber C Kimball. 

Elise: [00:15:4] It says, “My first attempt at washing my clothes took place at Salt River. My shirts being extremely dirty, I put them into a kettle of water and boiled them for about two hours, having observed that women who washed boiled their clothes and I supposed by doing so they boiled the dirt out.I then took them and washed them, endeavoring to imitate a woman washing as near as I could. I rubbed the clothes with my knuckles instead of the palm of my hand and rubbed the skin off so that my hands were very sore for several days. My attempts were vain in trying to get the dirt out and finally I gave it up and wrung them and hung them out to dry. Having no flat irons to iron them, I took them to Sisters Holbrook and Ripley to get them ironed. When they saw… [pause for giggling] When they saw them, they said I had not washed my clothes. I told them I had done my best and although I had boiled them two hours before washing and had washed them so faithfully that I had taken the skin off my knuckles, still I had not been successful in getting the dirt out. They laughed heartily and informed me that by boiling before washing, I had boiled the dirt into them.”

I love this story!

Channing: [00:16:48] I know when I found it I was like, “We have to include that.”

Elise: That’s so awesome. Radke continues to write, “Hopefully the Zion's Camp experience gave the man a stronger appreciation for the toilsome domestic responsibilities of 19th century women.

[both laugh]

Channing:[00:17:07] Oh, my gosh. I am just like, it's so well-written too just like I can picture it happening in my mind. Like, that is so funny and reminiscent of some of the experiences that I've had in my own life. Like, wait, you think that's clean? Oh, dear. Elise: [00:17:28] Going back to the Holbrook sisters, Nancy and Eunice, they both ended up contracting cholera and the outbreak, but they both survived.They both then traveled with the saints in Missouri to Navuoo and we have an amazing story of Nancy carrying her infant daughter and guiding her three other children across the Mississippi river. Unfortunately, Nancy contracted cholera again, and a few years later died in Nauvoo.

[00:17:54] Her husband wrote “Thus I had, in an unexpected moment, been deprived of one of the best of wives and the best of mothers. She had stood with me through the Missouri troubles with death, with fortitude, all the attendant evils with sickness and her faith had always been firm and unshaken without a murmur. She had firm hope in a glorious resurrection for which she had obeyed the gospel and lived and spent her life. We lived together in the most perfect understanding for almost 12 years.”

Channing: Oh, yeah, he really, yeah. It's a really tender…

Elise: Tribute to her. 

Channing: Yeah, tribute to her and like, I think that I can definitely feel the love that her husband had for her.

Elise: Absolutely.  

Channing: [00:18:39] We also come across the story of Betsy Parish. And unfortunately she was the only female member of Zion's camp who died in the cholera outbreak. We don't know much else about her story, but we do know that she was buried in an unmarked grave, which was later discovered in the year 1958 From her skeletal remains researchers were able to give us an age range of when she died around 25 to 35 years. 

We also have the story of Charlotte Alvord, who was 19 at the time that she was in Zion's Camp. And her story is sprinkled with a little bit of romance. She met Lyman Curtis in Zion's Camp and during their time together, I can just imagine that they were courting and flirting and maybe like giving those spicy looks to each other as they were 

Elise: Walking?

Channing: [laughs] walking! Walking for a month and a half. And I don't know, maybe they, like, kissed in that rainstorm.

Elise: Yeah, maybe it was The Notebook. [laughs]

Channing: Oh, dear. Uh, however it ended up happening, they married very soon after they arrived to Nauvoo after Zion's camp and they eventually traveled to Utah together. However, records indicate that after Lyman Curtis began practicing polygamy somewhere along the way, Lyman and Charlotte separated, and Charlotte maintained her maiden name through her life. And she lived in Salt Lake City while her husband Lyman lived in Salem, Utah. So we get the sense from existing records after Zion's Camp, that while the story might have started in rainbows and glitter, it did not end so.

[00:20:25] Radke continues to write in summary of these women's stories: “Much like the women of the Mormon Battalion and other military expeditions, the Zion's Camp women contributed in various ways to the overall character of the group and its successes and helped prepare for later mass migrations to the west. 

[00:20:47] The women helped with the traditional domestic duties of cooking and laundering and caring for children. They also provided a civilizing influence on the camp. [laughs] Men, women, and children all suffered from inclement weather, shortages of food and shelter, and difficulties of epidemic illness. Perhaps 70 people, around 35% of the camp, suffered from cholera, which then killed 13 camp members, including Betsy Parish. This makes an important statement about the sacrifice that women were willing to make. Those that did sacrifice their lives were promised many eternal and spiritual blessings.”

Elise: [00:21:28] This awesome essay ends with a little bit of a story that illustrates the strength of these women's characters and their testimonies.

There were originally two groups which traveled separately and then met at the Salt River in Missouri before heading to Jackson County. And when they met, “Joseph Smith anticipated possible violent altercations with Missouri mobbers. He wanted to protect the women and children and asked the men who had brought families to acquire cabins for. They were to leave them there at Salt River until any military actions were concluded. Joseph Holbrook writes, “I provided a house for my family as directed and was about to leave my family, as was the rest of the brethren who had wives with them.” Either the women protested at this arrangement or the prophet simply had a change of heart.

[00:22:13] For he then declared that “if the sisters were willing to undergo a siege with the camp, they could go along.” It was a truly revolutionary notion for the sisters to accompany the men into possible military skirmish. The women said that they would like to go and they liked brother Joseph “better than before for the privilege he gave them of continuing in the camp.” This statement captures the important legacy of Zion's camp and its women participants as they gained powerful faith and lasting devotion to the church.”

Channing:  What was also interesting in my research, I came across the fact that there were actually multiple reunions of all of the people who had participated in Zion's Camp. And from what I can understand, it sounds like this experience in Zion's Camp was something that was very solidifying for people's testimony and for their faith. And I appreciate knowing about some of the history and the importance of this event for the people at the time. But Elise I know this is the first time that you have heard these women's stories and I just want to know- what are your thoughts? 

Elise: [00:23:21] Well, I really like what you said about the unifying presence, because in a lot of the material that I was reading, like in outside research articles, or even in the “Revelations in Context” manual, it really talks about Zion’s Camp being this place of. brotherhood and brotherly unity and brotherly love, and not that those things aren't true, but I'm really appreciative that we started this episode focusing on the women's stories and experiences in this camp. And in a little bit, I want to just talk about some of the complex conflicting feelings I have about Zion's Camp, but I think it was an important place to start by honoring, listening, and witnessing these women's stories because they're here too, even though they are largely, largely excluded from both the Doctrine and Covenants section and “Revelations and Context”. And it seems like they're really excluded from a lot of church material, which if you don't go looking for these stories, it's easy to think that they either weren't there, that they weren't contributing or that they just didn't matter.

Channing: [00:24:18] Absolutely. And this actually kind of reminds me of that quote that I've talked about before ‘cause I really don't like it. It's that quote from Margaret Dyreng Nadauld, where she says, “The world has enough women who are tough. We need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse, we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude, we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune. We need more women of faith.” And so I think about that quote and I hold it together with this story about the women in Zion's Camp and I'm like, “Well, I'm not sure... I'm not sure that these women fit into the latter parts of, like, what a good woman is.” Right? Women who are willing to go into a military skirmish, I would not say that, like, they fit into our understanding of, um, tender and kind and refinement, right? It's- I get the sense that, like, these women had grit, they were tough. They weren't tender. You can't be, if you're headed into military skirmish. You can't be, if you are protecting your young children and protecting the people that you love from potential violence.

[00:25:33] And so I think you're right, this is a good, this is an incredible story of women's grit. And also a good reminder that even though when we think of, like, the classical understanding of a good 19th century woman, like, these women have a legacy of faith and they don't fit into that category. And I, uh, it's incredibly hopeful to me, actually, that there are many ways that we can live out our faith. And just because we don't fit into social norms or even like socially accepted gender roles, it can still mean that we're living our testimony and these women, I feel like this story really showcases that for us. 

Elise: [00:26:19] This also wouldn't be the podcast that it is today if we didn't balance our celebration with a healthy dose of critique. Well, I mean, not to say that this whole section is going to be incredibly critical, but I do have some complicated and complex feelings about Zion’s Camp. I want to read a section from “Revelations in Context”, just to give a bit more background about some of the major happenings in Zion's Camp.

[00:26:44] It says that “Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdrey explained the goals of the expedition in a letter sent to Saints throughout the US pleading for support. That letter explained that the group would march to Clay County, Missouri, where church leaders would petition Missouri governor Daniel Dunklin to call out the state militia, something that Joseph Smith and others believed he was willing to do.

[00:27:05] The militia would escort the Saints back to their lands in Jackson County and would then be discharged. The members of Zion's Camp would remain serving as a protective force to ensure that church members were not driven out again. They took a month and a half to march through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, all the way to Missouri.

[00:27:27] They marched 40 miles a day, which-- that feels like running. There's also a really popular and beloved story of Zion's Camp, which is the story where this big storm came and flooded the river. And it was good that the river flooded because on the other side of the river, there was a group of angry mob members and because the river was flooded, they actually couldn't attack Zion’s Camp and to the Saints, this was a clear sign of God's protection. And finally, after the saints had come all this way, they realized that their arrival enraged the majority of Western Missourians and that the governor would not call on the state militia to accompany the Saints back to their land in Jackson County.

[00:28:08] This is when section 105 comes in and God is responsive to the needs of the people and says, “you know what? It's too risky. Don't worry about redeeming Zion, like we talked about before. Don't worry about that. I'll fight your battles for now.” And for me, some of the complexities just with reading some of the accounts from the people in Zion's Camp, there's this kind of split, because I think that people felt relieved that they didn't have to go into battle and maybe like lose their life or take another life, but also strong feelings of like, “what the heck?” and like anger and upset that you had just come all this way only to do air quotes “Nothing,” not that nothing was done, but not the original goal or mission of the group. And then cholera hits the group and kills 13 people and two members of the church living in Missouri and so it just kind of seems to spiral in a really unfortunate way. 

[00:29:03 ]And I think that there are a few ways to kind of broadly look at the story of Zion's Camp. I think if we offered one reading, we could see this story as a group of people coming together to support the exiled and the marginalized. There's this desire and an effort to restore the civil rights of the Saints in Jackson County.

[00:29:22] Another reading, though, that we could offer is maybe this is a story of obedience to God's word. It's a very “God's ways are bigger than our ways” type of reading that might help quiet our anger or our upsetness about showing up to this whole project only to have it fail. And in this reading, we also see that the Saints ascribe each and every event to God. They see God through all of it.

[00:29:46] God is the one that’s chastening the people and making them suffer. But God's also the one who calls the Saints to come to their rescue. God's the one who protects them at the river. God's the one who lets them disband when things get too risky.

Channing: Yeah. And God's even the one who causes the cholera outbreak when there is disagreement between whether or not they wasted their time coming to fight.

Elise: [00:30:12] Right. And I think that says something so, so important about the Saints. Not only that they see God in everything, but they can read God into the good and the bad. And that, to me, that's quite amazing. And that's not always my experience with God. And then I think there's even a third reading that we could offer, one that's a little bit more critical. Maybe this was an ill-informed and mismanaged grassroots effort that held too fast and too tightly to some impossible idea of Zion.

Channing: In an essay titled “The Political and Social Realities of Zion's Camp” by Peter Crawley and Richard L. Anderson, they write “whether the camp would have been able to protect the Saints had they been restored to their lands in Jackson is questionable. The combined Mormon force would have totaled between 400 and 500 men. On the other hand, one Lexington citizen wrote to his father that 900 men from Jackson and 700 others from adjoining counties, which were undoubtedly inflated estimates, had been raised to attack the Mormons if they attempted to return. It appears, therefore, that had Dunklin kept his promise and escorted the Mormons back to their lands a second violent confrontation would have erupted with the Mormons at a disadvantage.”

Elise: [00:31:39] And in this possible third reading, I think that we can see some of the real challenges that the group faced, even if their desires were pure and out of a place of love, were they the most prepared for the realities of the situation? I'm not so sure. But even with that said, I'm not really in a place of full total confidence to criticize Zion's Camp, because I do believe in dreaming big and making things happen with the aid of your community. But I do think that we can use this story with all of its complexities to help us deepen our capacity for empathy and compassion.

[00:32:03] If nothing else, this story helps us develop our narrative imagination. One that allows us to trace some of our faith lineage back to a people who were beat. driven out, and persecuted. It helps us imagine the pain and suffering and be there with them. I think that this can bolster our desire to act in solidarity with those who are oppressed and marginalized.

[00:32:24] And yet at the same time, this does not excuse all the other ways that we have done and continue to do, or inflict the same oppression on other people, including Native Americans, Black people, LGBTQ+ folks, immigrants, refugees. So how can we remember Zion's Camp with all of its misery and its mistakes, and maybe use it as a model? Perhaps it teaches us to take seriously the call and plight of our siblings in lands near and far.

[00:32:52] I think of the cries of Iindigenous folks who are committed to “organizing and sacrificing to get indigenous lands back into indigenous hands.” That's from the Land Back movement, which is a project of NDN ( It teaches us to remember that our pain is connected because we are connected. Maybe it can encourage us to take their cries and their wanderings to heart as if they were our own.

[00:33:14] Perhaps it can remind us that grassroots organizing is often one of the best ways for people to come together, to get on the same page and to try and make big changes even when the odds seem absolutely stacked against you. Maybe it reminds us that there is something worth hoping for; some liberating possibility for all.

[00:33:33] And finally, sometimes we don't get it right on the first try. Liberation is a lifelong journey and like Marge Pearcey writes, “we lose until we win.” In the same turn though, perhaps this story also teaches us how easy it is to attribute God to our own desires and plans. Maybe it cautions us against the zeal and fervor of white nationalist freedom and taking what we're owed and taking what is rightfully ours.

[00:34:00] Perhaps it points to the ease at which religion and righteousness is used to gather people under the guise of obedience and take and take and take. What if the story teaches us how consecration can be manipulated into total self-sacrifice and ruin, or is it possible for this story to be both a call and a caution?

[00:34:22] Can we read it as a call towards allyship and co-conspirator work that is costly, that requires consecration, dedication, unity, and unwavering love? And can we also read it as a caution against the story and experience of Zion's Camp becoming frozen in time placed in a glass case to be admired, but never again, enacted for people who we may not consider Saints and even for those who are? But honestly, at the end of the day, I am quite persuaded by the voice of God in these chapters that says, “I will deliver you out of bondage.” A God who in section 105 verse 14 says “I will fight your battle.” A God that says, “I have heard their prayers.” And then later in verse 41 says, “I am with you, even until the end.” The story Zion's camp experience is bringing up a lot of mixed feelings for me. And this is the best way that I'm trying to sift through it all while holding the tension of a call to action and a caution or a critique.

Channing: [00:35:23]  Elise, that was really beautiful. And I think you demonstrated just how many ways we can approach the text and all of the ways that the text is working in you and can work for us. It's really difficult to hold the tension between what if this? what if that? what if this other thing? what if there aren't one or two or even three ways to read the text, but 5, 6, 10 ways to read the text?

[00:35:48] And I think that that's a really compelling way to look at this story of Zion’s Camp through and recognize that there is rarely only, ever one way to approach history, scripture, and even an individual story. So thank you for articulating that so beautifully for us. 

Elise: [00:36:10] Well, honestly, no, thank you all, all of you listeners out there. Thanks for joining in for this week's episode. We know that we spent some time kind of away from the text, but inspired by the text and the story of Zion's Camp. We hope that you got to explore some heartwarming and funny and heartbreaking stories of the women that were involved in science camp. And we also hope that you stayed with us enough to grapple with a lot of the complexity and tension in this experience too.

Channing: [00:36:35] Friends. We love you so much and we can't wait to spend more time with you next week. Until then take good care. Bye!

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