President Wilford Woodruff observed that those women “who are called to take part in the great latter-day work” should be “women of faith, valiant for the truth, … women of integrity to God” who do “not permit houses and land, gold and silver, nor any of this world’s goods to draw [them] aside from pursuing the great object which God has sent [them] to perform” (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, compiled by G. Homer Durham , 130).
The following pages feature art representing the kind of women President Woodruff spoke of—women of faith who valiantly seek to do God’s will with full integrity of heart.
The art was part of a recent exhibit at the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City. Except for the scriptural citations, the quotations come from text written by the artists to accompany the displayed art.
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Women in Christ’s Line (left and background), by Sallie Clinton Poet, oil on canvas (121 cm x 91 cm)
Puah and Shiphrah Defy Pharaoh, by Sallie Clinton Poet, oil on canvas (121 cm x 89 cm). (Courtesy of the artist.)
“The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. … Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart” (Prov. 4:18, 21). We seek inspiration from the examples of women in the scriptures. Whether it be the courage of Ruth or Esther or the steadfastness of Mary or Sariah, all show us that it is not enough to have faith in God; we must also constantly seek his guidance.
Midwife: Thy Path Her Chosen Way, by Crystal Haueter, oil on canvas (61 cm x 56 cm)
“Who will remember her passing on?
Who will follow her timeless whisper?”
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Kristina, by Dennis Smith, cast bronze (182 cm x 40 cm x 40 cm). (Courtesy of the artist.)
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (D&C 88:63).
Only through study and prayer can we come to understand the gospel—to gain a deeper knowledge of the plan of salvation. As we cultivate our spirituality, we become more like God.
Reverence, by Laura Lee Stay Bradshaw, cast bronze (91 cm x 33 cm x 20 cm)
Turning toward the Light (Repentance), by Lee Bennion, oil on canvas (112 cm x 81 cm). (Courtesy of the artist.)
Rites of Passage, by Quirl B. Myers, oil on canvas (158 cm x 114 cm)
Living by Faith
“Blessed are they who are faithful and endure, … for they shall inherit eternal life” (D&C 50:5).
Life is both a journey and a test. We are here to show how well we choose to live. When we choose to live by faith, to righteously meet the challenges of everyday life, we set our feet on the path to true joy and eternal exaltation.
Mary Ann Savage, by Dorothea Lange, silver print (39 cm x 39 cm)
The Earth Is Full of the Goodness of the Lord, by Jeanne Leighton-Lundberg, oil on canvas (152 cm x 112 cm). (Courtesy of the Springville Museum of Art.)
Reading the Bible, by John Taye, carved wood (58 cm x 28 cm x 46 cm)
Mother and Child, by Walter Rane, oil on canvas (71 cm x 40 cm). (Courtesy of Linda Rane.)
“And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, … if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: … But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. … Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty” (Ex. 1:15–17, 20).
“Tears of late-night, candlelit arguments wrench her spirit from side to side. And yet, the call to Zion, or perhaps her bond to her parents, who are being drawn across the wide expanse of ocean, is too strong. In the lonely darkness she stands between two universes.”
“How strangely universal are the questions we all ask of ourselves: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Yet, for the earnest seeker, there are quiet moments when gently angelic whispers reach our minds. And then, when one is prepared to see or hear, there is a brief flutter, the veil parts, and a stream of knowledge rushes through—the sure knowledge of one’s divine origin. Soon the portal closes, leaving one to ponder. Epiphany celebrates this sudden recognition and insight.”
“There are many facets of womanhood. When a woman stands self-assured, she need not say anything. Her nobility shows in her demeanor as a peaceful, quiet, reverent composure.”
“None of us is without the need of repentance. The geraniums in my kitchen illustrate this divine principle by always turning toward the light. My 17-year-old daughter, Louisa, put it this way: ‘I want to do what a plant does—take light and turn it to that which not only sustains life, but also makes it sweet.’”
“I make this covenant to do the very best I can, asking God to direct me so that I may walk with him in all righteousness and wisdom and truth. I desire to be pure in heart, that I may see God.”
“Mary Ann Savage was a faithful Latter-day Saint throughout her life. She was a pioneer. She crossed the plains in 1856 with her family when she was six years old. Her mother pushed her little children across plains and desert in a handcart. A sister died along the way. ‘My mother wrapped her in a blanket and put her to one side.’”
“He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Ps. 33:5–6).
“We are called upon by the still small voice, a whispering from our Father, to work out our own salvation. …
“Therefore it is plainly necessary that women as well as men, cease not while life lasts to study diligently, for the knowledge which is of greatest worth” (Bathsheba W. Smith, “Relief Society Annual Greeting,” Woman’s Exponent, January 1906, 1).
“I do pray that all my children may be brought to a knowledge of the truth and be saved in His Kingdom, which will be the case if a mother’s prayers are of any avail before the throne of God” (Caroline Rogers Smoot, in Barbara B. Smith and Blythe Darlyn Thatcher, editors, Heroines of the Restoration , 162).
[photos] Photography of artwork by Ron Read