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Book review: 'The Witness of Women' shares perspectives, testimonies of women in LDS Church history

"The Witness of Women" is by Janiece Johnson and Jennifer Reeder.
"The Witness of Women" is by Janiece Johnson and Jennifer Reeder.
Deseret Book

THE WITNESS OF WOMEN: Firsthand Experiences and Testimonies from the Restoration,” by Janiece Johnson and Jennifer Reeder, Deseret Book, $18.99, 248 pages (nf)

The experiences, recollections and testimonies of more than a hundred women in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are included and organized in “The Witness of Women: Firsthand Experiences and Testimonies from the Restoration.”

Organized around 18 topics, from the Book of Mormon to temples to education, historians Janiece Johnson and Jennifer Reeder pulled from letters, newspapers and other publications of the time, including the Woman’s Exponent, and other historical and biographical books to share the voices and perspectives of Mormon women.

In each topic, a short background is shared about the woman’s circumstances, giving each perspective a richer context. Each contribution is short and shared in first-person, where possible.

While there are recognizable names, such as Eliza R. Snow, Lucy Mack Smith, Emma Hale Smith and Mary Fielding Smith, and stories from church history, there are many, many others from a broad range of backgrounds, experiences, time periods and ages that share incredible insights into their lives, testimonies, trials and faith.

“The Witness of Women” shares the important impact these women made in the Restoration and is an excellent resource to supplement personal or class study.

Johnson previously worked in the LDS Church History Department and is a visiting professor of religious education at Brigham Young University-Idaho. Reeder is a women’s history specialist at the LDS Church History Department.

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