I don't often post just to share a link to something, but this deserves to be shared widely. I recommend watching the video so you can feel and see the energy, passion, and power of this speaker, but there is a transcription found at the link as well. The standing ovation at the end is telling. That's a first for this venue.
The speech is by Sharon Eubank given at a recent FAIR conference. Her background includes working as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate for 4 years, owning a retail education store for 7 years, and since 1998 helping establish 17 international LDS employment offices in Africa and Europe. She also has directed the humanitarian wheelchair program that has 50,000 donations each year, and in 2008 she became regional director of the LDS Charities for the Middle East Africa North area and is currently the director of LDS Charities, the humanitarian organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I was trying to think of a segment of her speech that I'd share here that's my favorite, but there are too many. Maybe I'll just share this beginning portion to give you an idea of the tone and subjects she covers. (btw, the link at the end of this portion I share also leads you to a transcription that includes the Q&A at the end of her speech that you won't want to miss):
"... last night when I was getting ready, I thought, “Why did I even say ‘yes’ to this assignment?” I’m not a scholar, I’m not a FAIR contributor, I’m not a church spokesperson. There’s very little to recommend [me] and I’m not going to say anything very startling here today that you’re going to think, “Wow, that was new!” So I started to think, “Why did I say yes?” But the reason I said yes when they called was I want to go on record from my own experience. And my own experience has been incredibly empowering. The doctrine and the practice of the church, for me as a woman, has given me things that I care more deeply about than anything else in my life. So, I want to go on record...Because it will be my personal experience, but that’s the best testimonial that I have, and I feel passionately about it because it’s my own.
There has been some recent press that sort of alleged that the LDS church is sort of oppressive, or that it is stodgily conservative, or that it somehow might be a “toxic” environment for women to participate in. And I just think about that, with maybe a couple of colorful exceptions, my experience in the church as a woman has been incredibly empowering. Of course everything I’m going to talk about is my own experience. There are two sections of this talk. The first part I want to talk about is the doctrine and why the doctrine about women is important. And in the second piece I want to talk about practice and how we actually put our doctrine into practice, and some of the things that we might be able to do that could improve the way that we live up to our doctrine.
... At the end I’m going to try and answer this question (it may have been a poor title for this talk): Is this a woman’s church? But I’m going to tell you a story about that and then I’ll try and answer that question afterward.
The scope and the field that is open to me as a woman as revealed in LDS doctrine is more empowering than I can wrap my brain around. There is nothing else like it in any other faith tradition. There is nothing that I know about, that talks about our identity, and purpose and infinite artistry that’s available to us in this unique way.
I’m going to start out by talking about the doctrine of intelligences. This is, I think, unique to Mormonism. It talks about that we existed as intelligences and that it can’t be created and it can’t be made. We’ve always existed in this way. But, we chose to ally ourselves with God. We had personality and we had volition, and we chose to ally ourselves with a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who could put us on the road to exaltation..."
I HIGHLY recommend finding the audio or reading the rest of the transcription as found AT THIS LINK. Enjoy!!