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New book collects diverse voices of Mormon women

New book collects diverse voices of Mormon women

Blogger Jana Riess blogs at Religion News Service about the new book “Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women,” a collection of essays written by Mormon women from perspectives “active and inactive, conservative and progressive.”

Jamie Zvirzdin, a former Mormon who is pursuing a career in science, edited the book, which came about as she re-evaluated her own identity as a Mormon woman:

One factor in her decision stretches back to growing up as a Utah girl who was more interested in science than in motherhood. (She is now a science editor and writer.) “I feel like my parents encouraged me in science, but the general church culture did not,” Zvirzdin says. She carried around with her an ideal of the Mormon woman that she was supposed to be, and she berated herself when she fell short. “I grew up with a very specific Mormon woman identity that is more cultural than doctrinal, but either way, it’s not who I am.”

She references a statement by former Relief Society General President Barbara B. Smith – “ideals are stars to steer by, not sticks to beat ourselves with” – and takes the star metaphor one step further:

“Stars themselves are not fixed or permanent in the cosmic scheme of things; even they are relative. You know how the Big Dipper displayed on the Salt Lake Temple points to the North Star?” (I didn’t.) “It points there now, but in a few thousand years, Polaris is not going to be the North Star anymore.”

Bottom line? “Ideals are very relative and can become dangerous for women.”

Jamie Zvirzdin is online here.

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