I have absolutely LOVED Women and the Priesthood by Sheri Dew. I finished it last night. I've heard that it hasn't been a big seller (source?), but I expect that's due to most LDS women being comfortable with their roles in the LDS church and in relation to the priesthood. Even though the book is directed toward women, ANYONE will benefit from this book! I love how Sheri Dew made me feel just so good and important and powerful as a human being in God's Plan!
I liked her subtitle, "What One Mormon Woman Believes," as that indicates not all LDS women feel this way, nor do they need to; this is merely her understanding of the topic.
The only thing I did not like was the format of the pages. When I read a book, I write all over the pages, but because there were big pop out quotes on a majority of the pages, they took up my writing space! There are several pages at the end of the book for journaling, but I prefer to write my thoughts on the pages where they came to mind. I know, silly thing to be bothered by.
I honestly have underlining on nearly very page, notes on most pages, and some pages took 30 minutes to read because they led to discussion with my husband. I have notes on what to study more, questions I have, and stars by things I love. I'd like to write out pages and pages of notes here to easily refer back to, but due to insufficient time, I'll just write about my favorite chapter and then share some favorite quotes from the book.
One of my favorite chapters was chapter 3, "Goed Expects Women to Receive Revelation." If you've forgotten how to receive personal revelation, read this chapter; it's a great summary.
The only limitations on our communications with our Heavenly Father are those we impose on ourselves. We impose those limitations by not seeking, not asking, and not learning how to receive answers, gifts, and information. 53Another favorite chapter was chapter 7: "God Reserved the High Privilege of Motherhood for Women." I didn't know how Sheri Dew would present the whole priesthood vs. motherhood thing, and I guess I didn't sense that the "battle" really even came up in the book, but I do know that I did feel really good about my role as a woman/mother after reading this chapter.
Basically, I realized that women, because they have even the potential to create life that they need to be utterly protected and cherished by others (men). Men play a small role in that creation, but women grow the life inside them. They are the gatekeepers of the future; without women, there is no future. How ironic that those who hold the future have been so often abused throughout history.
". . . Questions are good. Questions lead to answers, as demonstrated by the Prophet Joseph Smith and countless others. The crucial issue is not about asking questions, it is the spirit in which questions are asked. A question posed against a backdrop of doubt and criticism---i.e., 'I don't understand thus and such, so the Church must not be true'---can be debilitating, as it negates faith and leaves a person unable to be guided by the Spirit to learn. On the other hand, the same question asked in an environment of faith---'I don't understand thus and such, and I wonder what the Lord will teach me about that question'---demonstrates faith in the Lord and the hope that at some point an answer will be made clear. . . ." 8
"I've had far too many witnesses that the gospel is true and that the keys, power, and authority of the Savior's kingdom have been restored to let [LDS Church] organizational issues discourage me." 9
"Those who believe they have no need of revelation are increasingly left to themselves, and regardless of how bright, educated or accomplished they are, eventually the adversary will outwit, outfox, and outmaneuver them." 52
Quoting Bruce R. McConkie, "From an eternal perspective, what each of us needs is a Ph.D. in faith and righteousness. The things that will profit us everlastingly are not the power to reason, but the ability to receive revelation." 58
"There are many things about the priesthood and the division of responsibilities between men and women that I don't yet understand. This does not concern me, however, because wrestling with spiritual questions is a fundamental element of a religious life. It is an exercise that not only increases knowledge but strengthens faith." 133
". . . the things I don't yet understand do not negate what I do know." 133
"We have not been asked to store wheat, as were our sisters of yesteryear. We have not been required to pull handcarts over Rocky Ridge. But we have been asked to store faith. . . ." 173
I hope to find time to go back and re-read and further ponder and get answers to the questions that have come into my mind while reading this book; it was truly enlightening.