The scriptures are full of devoted prophets who display heroic and righteous examples in their endeavor to obey the word of God.
There are also a handful of women who share similar experiences. Each woman in the scriptures has a different story to tell, and their roles have resonated with many at BYU-Idaho.
The Virgin Mary
The mother of Jesus is a well-known example of maternal strength and selflessness. B.J. Rowe, a religion professor at BYU-I, explained his admiration of Mary’s courage to accept the calling of motherhood.
“Mary was willing to have her name dragged through the mud for the rest of her life in order to be obedient and become God’s instrument as the mother of Jesus,” Rowe said.
He described the selflessness it took for Mary to embrace her maternal role, despite the repercussions in a society that would view her as an outcast. Rowe then compared his mother and his wife to Mary’s character.
“Just like Mary — my mother and my wife, their last consideration is, ‘What about me?'” Rowe said.
Alongside Eve, Mary is a memorable figure that encompasses motherhood and the conviction it takes to accept God’s will.
Abish is a female role model in the Book of Mormon who is known for her service in sharing her testimony during a dangerous and confusing time.
“I really like her because she is very much a woman of faith, and when everything around her is chaos, she’s able to rely on the Lord first,” said Kiley Germain, a senior studying general K-12 special education.
Germain looks up to Abish for her example as someone who is always willing to serve and share the light of God.
“Her ability to act when people are in need is very admirable, and it’s something I want to develop,” Germain said. “Seeing a woman have these attributes in the scriptures gives me hope that I can be the same.”
Bravery is an attribute often associated with Esther, as she played an intricate role in saving the Jewish people under her husband’s rule.
“Out of everyone, she was chosen,” said Anna Wakefield, a junior studying humanities. “She had courage when she knew she could be killed — like when she said, ‘If I perish, I perish.’ What’s more awesome than that?”
Wakefield also mentioned how she loved Esther for the wholesome romance that came from her actions.
“Esther is this beautiful, virtuous woman who falls in love with the king, and he falls in love back,” Wakefield said. “Against all odds, the king respects her, listens to her, and at the end of the day, he saves her people. I think that’s because of her character.”
Curtis Castillow, a religion professor at BYU-I, was enthusiastic about his favorite female in the scriptures: Rebecca. He commented on Rebecca’s generous character after he read aloud her acts of watering Isaac’s 10 camels from the scriptures.
“She is amazing,” Castillow said. “I mean, this is a girl that just gives. She doesn’t even know the guy (Isaac), and yet, she gives and gives to meet his needs — on their very first interaction nonetheless.”
Castillow went on to describe Rebecca’s motherhood and related her experience to his own wife’s.
“Later on, Rebecca will have Jacob and Esau, but she knows something’s not right with this pregnancy,” Castillow said. “My wife had twins, so it was an experience we could empathize with. Reading and understanding what she did made me appreciate how incredible Rebecca was.”
Despite her small appearance in the Book of Mormon, Sariah made a significant impact on Kristy Linford, a religion office assistant.
“You don’t hear much about her, but she is a very silent supporter,” Linford said. “Sariah sits back, and only complains once when her children are put in danger. That says so much about her, especially considering everything she went through with her family.”
Linford expressed her deep love for the supporting role Sariah accepted as Lehi’s wife and spoke about women in the scriptures as a whole.
“The women in the scriptures are just … preordained,” Linford said.
Women in the Church
Many women from the scriptures were also discussed, such as Hannah, Deborah, Ruth and Emma Smith. Each represented various divine attributes, but Linford pulls these stories together into one as she commented that the females in the scriptures collectively exemplify our Mother above.
“I think it comes back to what President Nelson said when he talked about how we (women) are part of the kingdom,” Linford said. “We are all needed. At one time or another, we’re needed to further the work.”