Extraordinary Women in Mormon History | An Interview With Kate Holbrook

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Kate Holbrook is known to friends, neighbors and family first as a wonderful cook and gentle friend. In the intellectual world, she is know as an accomplished historian and author. She earned her master’s degree in world religions from Harvard Divinity School, and a PhD in religion and society from Boston University. She was voted Harvard College’s Teaching Fellow of the Year for a course she designed on global values. She now serves as managing historian for Women’s History for the LDS church.

In this wide-ranging conversation with Terryl Givens, Kate talks about her faith and her personal story. She highlights the importance of telling the LDS story from the perspective of its women. Does discipleship look different from a woman’s perspective than from a man’s? She talks about her heroes, including Ardith Kapp. And she talks about the effect the Relief Society (“God’s quorum for women”) has had in shaping the church.

LDS church history “needs to be told in a way that integrates what men were doing with what women were doing,” Holbrook says.

And not just what Mormon women were doing, but what they were teaching and preaching. Kate recently co-edited an extraordinary volume titled “At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women.” “At the Pulpit” features 54 speeches by LDS women over the entire history of the church, complete with important historical context provided by Holbrook and fellow co-editor Jennifer Reeder.

“After years of basso profundo comes another sound out of the Mormon tradition, the voice of women preaching. It is a pleasure to hear…” writes Mormon scholar Kathleen Flake.