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Cover image via LDS.org.
Lisa Olsen Tait claims that Susa Young Gates is the most important Mormon woman that most have never heard of.
Susa grew up in a time when cultural gender roles were changing and women’s opportunities were expanding in exponential ways. Susa took advantage of these opportunities and was active in civic and religious spheres as a writer, editor, educator, and LDS Church leader. She also started both the Relief Society and Young Women’s magazines.
In the 1880s, she accompanied her husband Jacob on a mission to the Sandwich Islands. There she developed a deep and enduring friendship with Elder Joseph F. Smith.
It is perhaps because of her passion for genealogy work that the Prophet Joseph F. Smith shared with her a vision he had concerning the redemption of the dead. The doctrine was not new, but it was comforting to have it articulated in one place. Susa recorded the prophet’s dictation and the vision was first distributed in Church magazines.
Join Nick Galieti of LDS Perspectives Podcast as he discusses with women’s historian Lisa Olsen Tait the reception history of Doctrine and Covenants 138.