My Weird Project: Women of the Scriptures Blog Series

Prepare yourselves:  A series of posts about women in the scriptures and the Young Women values! But first, a bit of explanation…

mary-magdalene-saw-jesus-1103329-galleryBeing the ~feminist~ that I am, I love to read stories about my fellow ladies in our religious canon. Knowing this, my grandma gave me some cheesy women-in-the-scriptures baseball cards for my birthday. Each card bore one of the Young Women values [click here to know more about these values] and had a picture of a woman from the scriptures who exemplified the said value. To my own surprise, I took an interest in these cards and found myself deeply analyzing each one. Do I know why? Nope, still don’t. But these cards both fascinated and bothered me.

Things that I noted: For one, I thought it was cool that they found so many scriptural women (I mean, from what I knew, there weren’t that many). However, there was one thing that irked me (other than the quirky drawings on them – those things were weird, man) – the value designated for each woman. Some of them were great, but others just didn’t fit. I mean, who the heck are “The Women in the Wilderness”? And where in heaven’s name is Eve?! I stewed for weeks about these dumb LDS novelty cards. Then I decided I could take no more. I wanted to correct the mistakes made on these tiny pieces of cardstock – I needed to set the record straight.

My task: to search the scriptures and make my own list of women for each Young Women’s value, gosh darnit.

So I read, and I googled, and I searched. In the process, I found this AMAZING website called Women in the Scriptures that I highly recommend – check it out if you have a few minutes. This site really helped me formulate a good list.

In my research, I discovered a couple things.
1) My presumption that there were more applicable women to the YW values was correct but
2) There are SO MANY MORE women than I thought. Holy cannoli. I found that I could not narrow down my list to one-person-per-value. I cheated and made it two-people-per-value. Hope you don’t mind.

Now, after searching  f o r e v e r , I thought that I would share with you the results. Click any of the values listed below to read what I have found! (and don’t worry, Eve is there.)

FAITH
DIVINE NATURE
INDIVIDUAL WORTH
KNOWLEDGE
CHOICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY
GOOD WORKS
INTEGRITY
VIRTUE

 

 

 

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Women of the Scriptures: Integrity

hannah-presents-son-samuel-barrett-82857-galleryHannah   1 Samuel 1, 2

In the Old Testament, those women who could not bear children carried a heavy weight of shame. Hannah was one of these women. She sought divine aid many times, but it was not until she made a promise to the Lord that she would give her son to Him that her pleas to have a child were answered. Here comes the tricky part: you finally have the son you have always wanted. You could easily make excuses to keep him. Plead with the Lord again, ask Him for more time, another child. But Hannah didn’t do this. She kept the covenant she made to the Lord, even though giving up her only child was the likely most difficult thing she had ever done. She stayed true to her word when the stakes were high, just as we should always stay true to our values and promises no matter the circumstance.

 

jochebedShiphrah and Puah   Exodus 1:15-21

These women are hidden gems. In their story, Pharaoh had just decided to slaughter every newborn Jewish boy in order to halt insurrection. One of his extermination methods was to recruit Jewish midwives as undercover executioners. Pharaoh demanded the following: if Shiphrah and Puah helped birth a baby boy, they were to immediately and discreetly kill the baby. For obvious reasons, Shiphrah and Puah were not too keen on this task. So they straight up lied to Pharaoh’s face in order to save these children. They explained that the Jewish women gave birth so fast that the kids were already born before they could get there in time. Under this excuse, they were able to continue to save the lives of many male infants. Shiphrah and Puah demonstrated the higher virtue that nothing is more precious than life, and it should be protected at all costs. They held true to what they knew was the most important, even when this put their own lives in danger. Dang cool ladies.

But If Not

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the Furnace

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the Furnace

When thou passest
though the waters,
I will be with thee;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow thee:
when thou walkest
through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned;
neither shall the flame
kindle upon thee.

Isaiah 43:2

“It is not strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

Taken Captive
Our story begins in the Kingdom of Judah around 597 BC when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon laid siege (again) on Jerusalem.  But this time, he sacked the temple, rounded up the Jews – Hunger Games style – and brought them back to Babylon (2 Kings 24:8-14; Daniel 1:1-6).

Taken CaptiveAmong those taken to Babylon were four teenagers: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Daniel 1:6-7). You already know Daniel (who would later survive the Lion’s den), but his friends you might better recognize by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

That’s right, Babylonian names. Attempting to strip all Jews of their identity, Nebuchadnezzar removed them from homeland and changed their Hebrew names to pagan ones (Daniel’s name was changed to Belteshazzar, but the Bible text sticks with his Hebrew name).

Home-Sweet-Babylon-Home
Once situated in their new home, the king selected only the smartest and fittest Israelite young men to train for his court. From thousands of captives, guess who was among the best of the pickins?  Yep, our four friends.  Now enlisted in Babylon boot camp for a three-year training program, our boys brained and brawned their way up, ranking at the top of their class.

But real success came with a little test of integrity: to eat or not to eat of the king’s banquet. Continue reading

Do You Know a Superhero?

Do You Know a Superhero?

heroes

“My own heroes are the dreamers,
those men and women who tried
to make the world a better place
than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones.
Some succeeded, some failed,
most had mixed results…
but it is the effort that’s heroic, as I see it.  Win or lose, I admire those who fight the good fight.”
George R.R. Martin
.

“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”
Maya Angelou

I’ve always wanted to be a superhero.  Admit it, you have too, huh.  To fly through the air at the speed of light, swooping just in the nick of time to save the day, the damsel, or the next downfall.  Pulling out some super strength like laser vision, mind melding, levitation – I don’t know, anything that defeats the super villain and restores peace and justice.

Yeah, I’ve always wanted to be a superhero.

Only the spandex suits…leeeet’s just say that the only way I’d don one of those puppies is if it were in slimming black and lined head to toe with factory grade Spanx.  Then again, this middle-aged body in spandex just might be horrifying enough to vanquish all villains for good. One look, and in Medusa-like fashion they’d turn to stone or run screaming for the hills. (Hey, I may have pegged my super power!)

True Heroes
My family is a big fan of superheroes – cinema and comic book alike. But today, I’m gearing this post toward true heroes. Unlike our masked avengers and caped crusaders, true heroes are hard to identify.  They don’t look like heroes.  For instance, let me get right to it and describe a few.

Continue reading