By Nicole Matsen
Mary Jane Woodger spoke about women in the Doctrine and Covenants on Thursday Nov. 21, as the last lecture in the “Women in the Scriptures” lecture series.
Woodger, a BYU religion professor, focused on Lucy Mack Smith, Vienna Jacques and Emma Smith as female role models in the Doctrine and Covenants.
“Lucy Mack Smith was the second most important woman in the world,” Woodger said. “She gave birth to the second most important person, Joseph Smith.”
In describing Lucy Mack Smith, Woodger said she was an elect woman, who was respected by all and who supported her husband and her son, the prophet.
Woodger also talked about the great deeds of Vienna Jacques, who found the gospel when she was a single forty-year-old woman.
Jacques was a woman of great faith, obedience and strength, Woddger said. She gave all that she had to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including her entire savings, to be consecrated to the members. She even drove her own cart across the plains at age sixty.
Introducing Emma Smith, Woodger said members of the Church often misunderstand her since she did not follow Brigham Young.
“Can we use Emma as a role model?” Woodger said. “Absolutely. She never denounced the Church, the Book of Mormon or her husband. She did denounce polygamy out of jealousy. Her weakness was that she refused to follow the Priesthood. But I think she has repented and I think the Lord has forgiven her.”
Woodger said that in all Emma”s trials, such as the persecution, the death of her children, and her husband”s life constantly being in danger, she gave up everything for her marriage to Joseph and constantly supported and loved him.
In response to the negative attitudes members hold toward Emma, Woodger read a quote by the Prophet Joseph Smith that said, “If desire my love, you must never speak ill of Emma.”
Woodger said that though Emma remarried, after Joseph”s death she remained in a rather somber state until her death, where her last three words were, “Joseph, Joseph, Joseph.”
“Women search for role models in the scriptures,” Woodger said. “We mourn that there are not more. But for men and women alike there is one role model. In the Book of Mormon, in the Old and New Testaments, in the Doctrine and Covenant, in the Pearl of Great Price and I hope in your life, is the Savoir. He is the role model for all.”
Women”s Services and Resources organized lectures about women in the scriptures for the past three weeks.
“We had three weeks to fill and we definitely wanted to focus on women from the Old and New Testament,” said Amy Bailey, a program coordinator for Women”s Service and Resources. “We were debating between women in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.”
Bailey said Woodger chose to speak on women in the Doctrine and Covenants because Woodger wanted to share the insights she has gained through her research.
“It is an exciting lecture,” Bailey said. “Little do people know there is more women in the Doctrine and Covenants besides Emma Smith.”
Bryan Beckman, 22, a junior from Denver, majoring in Near-Eastern studies, attended Woodger”s lecture, along with more than 100 others, and said he gained a lot of information.
“In my heart I have I always have had a great respect for women,” Beckman said. “But I never understood what they went through in defense of their beliefs and in defense of their testimonies.”
Beckman said the lecture caught his attention because women in the scriptures and their stories are not often heard.
“It is amazing that we hear so much about the great men in this dispensation,” Beckman said. “Yet as we”ve seen today there are women out there that have been just as amazing. A lot of those stories have not been told.”