The Power of Motherhood: Leah Widtsoe's Writings on Women's Roles, Influence, and the Priesthood Ashley Marie Laneri Department of Religious Education, BYU Master of ArtsThis thesis analyzes Leah Widtsoe's writings in the 1930s. Her primary emphasis was on motherhood. Widtsoe encouraged women to realize the importance of their role as mothers and the positive results a good mother can have on generations to come. Each chapter examines how Widtsoe used motherhood to help women understand their role in the Church and their role in society. The first chapter outlines Widtsoe's personal life and analyzes why motherhood was a central part of her writings. The second chapter focuses on how Widtsoe used motherhood as a construct, or in other words, a model, to motivate women and to help them understand their purpose in the Relief Society program in the Church and in the world. The third chapter focuses on the priesthood and motherhood model which Widtsoe helped originate. She used motherhood as a way to help women understand their relationship with priesthood power. Lastly, this thesis examines the contradictions, inconsistencies and patterns of Widtsoe's writings on motherhood.This study finds that Widtsoe used motherhood as a model to empower women and help them understand their relationship with priesthood power and their role in the Church. Additionally, she taught that what women did in the home had a great impact on society.



College and Department

Religious Education; Religious Education



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motherhood, priesthood, power, Leah Widtsoe