Eva Witesman, associate professor in the Marriott School, spoke of the need for women to obtain higher education for the benefit of others in her devotional address on June 27.
Witesman used biblical female leaders such as Rebekah, Miriam, Deborah, Mary and Eve, as evidence to teach women in today’s age to, “seek and receive spiritual revelation.”
“As women, our stories are powerful, and they haven’t always been told,” Witesman said.
She urged women to receive higher education using a quote by Elder Bruce R. Hafen.
“We make no distinction between young men and young women in our conviction about the importance of an education and in our commitment to providing that education,” Elder Hafen said, as quoted by Witesman.
Witseman believes higher education is, “an opportunity to see more as God sees.”
Witsesman used the story of Eve in the Garden of Eden as an analogy to further the correlation of women and education. Eve consumed fruit from the tree of knowledge and is believed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this action made agency possible.
“Like Eve, we must have our eyes opened not only to new information, but new ways of thinking about that information,” Witesman said.
“Investments in our own development are worthwhile because we are daughter of God and He wants us to reach our divine potential in every possible way,” Witesman said.
Witesman shared stories about women who persevere through negative comments about women and education.
“Sometimes we hear disturbing reports about how sisters are treated. The women of this Church have work to do. (Our sisters) desire to be respected and revered as our sisters and our equals,” said President Spencer W. Kimball, as quoted by Witesman.
Witesman also encouraged women to pursue higher education and invited the audience to follow the plan of the Lord.
“If we seek discernment through the Holy Ghost as we engage in this process, we will be brought to new ways of valuing, understanding, and perceiving truth,” Witesman said.
She balances a being a mother of four children and career as a full-time BYU faculty.
“(Education) is not merely instrumental. It is intrinsic. And our learning is not merely instrumental. It is essential,” Witesman said.
Witesman spoke about the benefits of education in her life and how her choices allowed her to live as a mother and professor. She used a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley to illustrate these benefits.
“Education will increase your appreciation and refine your talent,” said President Hinkley as quoted by Witesman.
Witesman shared a story of her life about combining a lifetime of education and fulfilling her dreams as a mother. She finished her doctoral program and became a full-time faculty at BYU.
Witesman and her husband have traveled the world for their work and manage to find time for their family and continue to progress in their careers.
“This was a future only God could see for me,” Witesman said.