President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., referring to the faithful women of the early Church, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children, stated, “From that time until now woman has comforted and nursed the Church. She has borne more than half the burdens, she has made more than half the sacrifices, she has suffered the most of the heartaches and sorrows” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1940, p. 21). (quoted here by Pres. James E. Faust).

“Without the wonderful work of the women I realize that the Church would have been a failure” (Gospel Standards, comp. G. Homer Durham, Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1941, p. 150).

[The following information has been edited. Historian Ardis Parshall compiled these lessons for electronic review, but did not write them. They were written by Alvin Grant Pack (1907-1994). (When we pulled up the lessons, we missed the introduction, which can be found here.) Thanks to Ardis for her work, and apologies for the mistake!]

The “Centennial Lessons” series was created for use by women in the Relief Societies of the British Mission in 1930 under the leadership of Apostle John A. Widtsoe.

Ardis Parshall explains:

These Centennial Lessons are a straightforward, rather simple telling of the history of the Church. This is neither revisionist nor feminist history; it does not reinterpret history in the light of women’s concerns, nor emphasize the roles of women at the expense of the familiar male history. But women are everywhere visible in these lessons, their roles in the founding and rise of the Church explicitly recognized….

For the next ten weeks for our “Portraits of Mormon Women” feature, we will share posts from this series, with the hope that our readers will enjoy not only the overview of Mormon history, but also will recognize the important role women have always played (and continue to play) in the Lord’s work — and how the gospel has blessed (and continues to bless) the lives of women.

Read lesson 1 here.

(We will include the notes and quotes section originally posted with this post in another entry.)