I had an interesting book signing last night. I was at the Orem Costco, sitting right across the aisle from the Jello chocolate mousse. I'd eaten dinner, but the visual of all that food was making me hungry again. Otherwise . . . I had some very interesting conversations with people about the Book of Mormon, etc. The most interesting conversation was when a woman rushed up to me. She had seen my poster at the front door of Costco. It turns out she was looking for a book on "Muslim" women, not "Mormon" women.
She said she didn't want to read about Mormon women because we were oppressed. She left Utah and returned 45 years later to find that Mormon women weren't respected. I don't know if I had my best thinking cap on but I replied, "If a woman demands respect, she'll get it. It doesn't matter what religion she practices."
I asked her what religion she was and she said she was Catholic. I told her she might be interested in my chapter on Eve since the LDS view of Eve is unique from all other religions. She said that she'd prefer to believe as the Catholics do about Eve. In the foreword of my book, Dr. Kaye Terry Hanson discusses just that--the differences between our viewpoint on the Fall and Eve's role in it versus the viewpoint that comes from other religions.
The woman went her way, but it left me thinking about our conversation all night. I wondered if the world sees Mormon women as oppressed for one reason or another. I don't feel oppressed. I've felt burned out at various times, but that's had nothing to do with my religious beliefs. I'm proud of being a woman, of being a Mormon, and of being an active member of the church. When I was at BYU Women's Conference last week, I climbed on a bus to ride from the parking lot to the Wilkinson Center. I didn't know a soul on the crowded bus, but everyone was smiling. I literally felt the power and goodness of these women and sensed that together they could accomplish anything. The immediate comraderie of these dozens of women was incredible, all coming together in one purpose, who had left their families and homes for a few days to learn about strengthening their families, developing new friendships, growing their testimonies of the Savior, and sharing their talents.