Women & Education (Divine Nature of Women Series 5 of 7)

Dear Reader,

How long has the church considered the education of women important? 

Well, if you were to ask me, I’d say forever. (No, I’m not going to add the Sandlot “For-Ev-Er gif this week. Haha!)

In Abraham 3:22 it says, “Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones.” 

This statement doesn’t use words like “beings,” “spirits,” or “entities,” though all those words would be correct. Instead, it uses the word “intelligences.” 

Of all the words Abraham could have used to describe us before we came here, he picked “intelligences.” 

I think that says a lot about how Heavenly Father sees us and how He imparts His messages to His servants the prophets. 

Intelligences. That’s us! Men and women, old and young, educated and not, black and white, and on, and on. 

And he made no distinctions like the ones I made above. The only notable distinction here is that some of these intelligences were “noble” and “great,” and these are words that can be used to describe anyone—provided they are noble and great—no matter who they are. 

Here’s a picture of a noble woman you might recognize. 


But what about women and education specifically? 

In Joel 2:28, it reads, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy [...].”

“Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” 

In President Nelson’s 2019 conference talk, he said, speaking to women, “I pray that truth will register upon each of your hearts because I believe it will change your life. I would like to leave a blessing upon you, that you may understand the priesthood power with which you have been endowed and that you will augment that power by exercising your faith in the Lord and in His power.”

As women, we are able, capable, and endowed with the power to receive personal revelation for us and our families. Any knowledge and answers a man can receive through the power of prayer and the priesthood is open to women to receive as well. 


“Let [us] seek for wisdom instead of power and [we] will have all the power [we] have wisdom to exercise.” - Eliza R. Snow



Where can we seek wisdom? 

There are so many avenues open to us. In our day and age, we're incredibly lucky with how easily we can come about education. You can open your phone and dive into the scriptures, church talks, Ted talks, YouTube classes, Podcasts, and more, all with a click of a few buttons. (A blessing of being a woman in the Latter-days. 😉 Speaking of which, if you missed last weeks’ email, you’ll want to check it out in the post scripts below because there’s a huge list of LDS women who are teaching all sorts of amazing things on multiple different platforms—great for educating yourself!) 

You can also learn through prayer, scripture study, church talks, through personal experiences, reading—all forms of education—and through a formal education. 

What do the leaders of the restored church think about Women and Education? 

As I mentioned in a previous email, Eliza R. Snow, the second general president of the Relief Society, by 1835, was famous for her poems. She was a teacher for Joseph Smith’s daughters and nieces. During her presidency, Primary and Young Women’s were organized, Women’s Exponent—a bi-monthly newspaper run by the Relief Society—was created, stores and co-ops run by women were started, and the relief society sent women to medical school to become doctors, nurses, and midwives. 

During her time as Relief Society President, women were running large organizations, they were journalists, business owners, doctors, and more! You can read more about this amazing woman here

Would any of this been possible without the support of the men and other leaders of the church? 

Well, they lived in Utah, in the 1800s, which was a predominantly—by far—LDS community that was far away from many other places. If the men at the time hadn’t wanted it, it seems highly unlikely these things could’ve happened. 

President Bringham Young had these things to say about women and education:


“You educate a man, you educate a man. You educate a woman, you educate a generation.” 

“If I had a choice of educating my daughters or my sons because of opportunity constraints, I would choose to educate my daughters.” 

Eva Witesman gave a wonderful talk about Women and Education, that I would love to just copy and paste into this email, but unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit, (and I’m pretty sure there would be copyright issues—Ha!), but do yourself a favor and listen to the whole thing here. It’s one of the most inspiring talks about women and education I’ve ever heard. 

In it she quoted Gordon B. Hinckley and said, “Education is a commandment: You must get all of the education that you possibly can. Life has become so complex and competitive. You cannot assume that you have entitlements due you. You will be expected to put forth great effort and to use your best talents to make your way to the most wonderful future of which you are capable.”

This hit me hard. “Education is a commandment.” Now, looking back and thinking of all the talks on education I’ve heard from the church in my life, I can see that it is indeed a commandment, but I’d always taken it as a suggestion, something the church encouraged us to do, something the church really, really wanted us to do, not as divine law. But of course it is! Because isn’t that why we’re on this earth? To learn? To grow? To start to become more like our Father in Heaven?

Of course it is! 

President Spencer W. Kimball said, “We wish you to pursue and to achieve that education, therefore, which will fit you for eternity as well as for full service in mortality. [...] we do not desire the women of the Church to be uninformed or ineffective. You will be better mothers and wives, both in this life and in eternity, if you sharpen the skills you have been given and use the talents with which God has blessed you.” 

“An education that will fit you for eternity as well as for full service in mortality.” I know I’m repeating a lot of things in this email, but this topic has really been blowing my mind! Of course, I’ve heard many talks on this topic over the years, but as I’ve dug in to do this email, there can be no doubt, since the dawn of time, what Heavenly Father wants from us women. 

In 3 Nephi 27:21-22, 27 it reads, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day. And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought yet to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”

“Even as I am.”

I’m repeating again, but come on! Isn’t this amazing? 

The only way, in this life, we can learn to be more like Christ is to actually learn

And we also know from 2 Nephi 2:25 that “men are that they might have joy.” “Men” in this sentence encompassing, like the word “mankind”, both men and women. 

President James E. Faust said, “For women, the important ingredients for happiness are to forge an identity, serve the Lord, get an education, develop your talents, serve your family, and if possible to have a family of your own.”

In Eva Witesman’s talk, that I mentioned above, she mentioned the varying paths different women she knew took to get an education. She, Eva, felt prompted by the spirit to get her Doctorate, while she had another friend who felt prompted by the spirit that she must be “all hands on deck” for her kids all the time until her youngest was five. It was only then that she went back to school to finish her undergrad. 

And of course, some women may choose to get an education in other, very different ways, from reading the scriptures and other good books, prayer, and personal experiences, etc., but the key is, that we never stop learning, and that we never allow ourselves to believe that we’ve learned enough. 

Eliza R. Snow said, “There are many of the sisters whose labors are not known beyond their own dwellings and perhaps not appreciated there, but what difference does that make? If your labors are acceptable to God, however simple the duties, if faithfully performed, you should never be discouraged.”

And I believe this, and all these things to be true. 

“For members of the Church, education is not merely a good idea—it’s a commandment.” Then, speaking directly to women, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “You must get all the education that you possibly can.”

Thank you, you wonderful woman—and men!—who are following this series! Your encouragement through this taxing topic has been an answered prayer. And don’t forget to check in next week. We’ll be talking about Famous LDS Women, and you won’t want to miss it! 

Now we’d love to hear from you! Click that reply button and tell us the best thing you learned from conference last week. We can’t wait to hear your answers. 


The Cedar Fort Family

P.S. Looking to grow in knowledge with excellent books? We’ve got you covered with our Celebrating Women Collection, from Judah to Joseph, to The Holy Ghost from A to Z, to A Woman’s Power, to Hearing Him. 

P.P.S. Full Divine Nature of Women Series

  1. The Struggle with Feeling Worthy
  2. God Comes to Women
  3. The Power of a Converted Woman
  4. The Blessings of Being a Woman in the Latter-days
  5. Women and Education 
  6. Famous LDS Women
  7. Women of the Scriptures and What We Can Learn from Them
  8. Motherhood