Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » What Latter-day Saint Women Should Know, 1906 (I)

What Latter-day Saint Women Should Know, 1906 (I)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - December 03, 2009

Sound-bites from LDS publications aimed at women, 1906:

Service is Not Serfdom

Service is kindness rendered, spiritual obedience, and love. it is voluntarily doing for others without reward or fear of punishment. It is a free gift of self in the interest of friends, strangers and the church, having no element of servitude. Can we find a life devoted to pure, free service? The Savior’s; he was the servant of all, yet He was free from bondage. The atonement is the highest possible conception of service.


Among the outward evidences of the divine origin of Mormonism, there is nothing that testifies more clearly or eloquently to the truth of the latter-day work, than the provision made therein for the uplifting and advancement of woman; for the salvation and exaltation, in this world and in the world to come, of woman as well as man. Were it otherwise, the divinity of Mormonism might well be doubted. No work could possibly be divine, and at the same time be unjust and partial. God’s works are perfect, perfect in design, as they are, or will be in fulfilment. Being perfect, they must be broad and benevolent, like their Maker; must have general aim and application, universal scope and significance. As the great sun shines for all; as the dews and rains descend for the common good; so the spirit of the Lord enlightens every soul that cometh into the world, and is poured out according to the capacity to receive. His truth is for the salvation, temporally and spiritually, of all men and all women, upon like conditions. – Orson F. Whitney

Egg Toast

Put 1 pint of milk into a cup; set in hot water; add two beaten eggs and a pinch of salt; let cook until thick. Place a slice of toast on a saucer and cover with the custard.

A Vital Question

All true men and women recognize the beauty and holiness of marriage; to them it is sacred. When properly consummated and lived, it is the complete and perfect life. But there is one question of vital interest which confronts us.

It came to my attention recently in the case of a girl friend. She had long been of marriageable age, and, though well liked by her companions, had not married. As time passed, her friends mated and left her comparatively alone. If she found male companions of her own age she must find them of another faith. What should she do? Remain single or marry outside of the church?

Not one but many a young woman of a fine class has this question to meet. and there is great variety in the advice received from friends. One tells her that all the good she may do is vain if she does not enjoy the crowning glory of motherhood. Another even goes so far as to say, “marry! marry anyway! whether he is a good man or not. Better any marriage than none, for then you will have your children.” Gently, gently, friend! What did you say? Do all women who marry have children? And if so, what kind may they be when the father is a dastard? And what of the dreary routine of life where the gospel light is forbidden to shine? For what would you have her sell her birth right?

After all, it is a question each must answer for herself. And so, my girls, I leave you in Father’s hands. Pray to Him for guidance and see to it that you are in a condition to understand His answer.

Honest Judgment

There is dishonesty oftentimes, in our estimate of other people’s character. Prejudice will magnify little faults into wilful sins. And the habit of always thinking of certain people in a critical, unfair way, grows until the mind is unable to do them justice. It is far pleasanter, as any one who tries it will agree, to be ruled in thought and speech by that which we find to admire in our associates, instead of that which offends us. An honest analysis of anyone’s nature will surely reveal much that is praiseworthy. When you do not see more to admire than to condemn in your associates, be assured that the fault is yours. “Is it envy, prejudice, or mean criticism which makes my judgment unfair?” An honest study of different types of people, their dispositions, actions and apparent motives is one means of education, while a habit of finding fault and criticizing, trains the mind to be intolerant and unjust.

Simple Rules

Avoid all excess, in exercise, in work and recreation, both physical and mental.

Take neither too much nor too little sleep.

Avoid staying at parties until after midnight, and when staying that late take a nap before going to make up loss of sleep.

Avoid eating meat at breakfast and supper, and eat sparingly of it at dinner in cold weather, and not at all in warm weather, but be sure to take other foods with meat values.

Do not eat candy, or sugar except what is used in plain cooking. Eat ripe fruit without sugar.

Give strict attention to sufficient bathing for perfect personal cleanliness.

Let not a day pass without outdoor exercise, the more the better.

Do not wear tight clothing of any kind.

Literary Studies

The Destruction of Sennacherib (one of the “Hebrew Melodies”) is one of the best known of Lord Byron’s short poems. Read it.

Standard of Deportment

Your standard of general conduct should be above reproach. Be perfectly honest, truthful and reliable. Meet every obligation you assume. Consider what you attend meeting and other public functions for, and conduct yourself as a lady always. And be considerate of others in public as well as in your own little circle.

Follow mother’s advice very closely in your conduct at dances, parties and in every manner of association with young men. How does a lady act when alone with her sweetheart? Is any sort of familiarity becoming in a lady? What do you think of long rides alone at night with young men?

The lives of many young married people are wrecked by the discovery of the great difference between what people seemed before marriage and what they really are. And the constant companionship of married life reveals the sham. Don’t be a sham, and do be true, the same at home as with people you wish to stand well with away from home – be genuine through and through.

Girl’s Ideal of Her Own Home

Every girl has her ideals and dreams as to what she wants for a home of her own some day, when all will be bliss and beauty. Girls, you will realize your dreams just in proportion to your fitness and preparedness to make them come true. Just so far as you bring these things into the lives of those at home now will you bring them into that home you dream about.

Unkindness and insincerity today are the same things in greater measure tomorrow; just as loving cheerful service and kindly speech today mean greater heart culture and power to love and make happy tomorrow. this is a natural law that we cannot escape.

Rest and Recreation

The human being is so constituted as to require change and recreation. God recognizes the necessity, else why should He have ordained feasts and festivals to mingle with the fasts, Sabbaths to give change and rest from the toil incident to Life? True, some people appear to go on for years and years, working, working, working! But it will be found that they have either learned the art of successfully mingling pleasure with work, or are, sooner or later, called to a sudden halt by that nature which they have imposed upon.


Boil three potatoes in one quart of water. When very soft, mash in the water in which they were boiled, add one cup of flour while hot and two tablespoons of sugar, one teaspoon of salt. When cooked sufficiently add one half yeast cake soaked in a little warm water. This will keep for three days and will raise bread more quickly than ordinary yeast.


Music can furnish, and often does, the entire keynote to a meeting. In the first place beautiful music commands silence, and tends toward stifling discordant noises. This alone would make it a necessary factor in the success of a meeting but its power over the emotions and the soul enhances its value a thousand fold. It has this power, at least with anyone who has any music in his soul, and we remember what Shakespeare says of the man who has not – that he is “fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.” How careful those who are blessed with this divine gift should be to select that class of music that will exercise the right power over the emotions!

Divine Power

The Savior of the world performed miracles among men and presented those miracles as evidence of his Messiahship. He promised the divine power to heal sickness and disease to his apostles and to all who should believe them. The promise was fulfilled, and the fulfilment is received as evidence as well of the Savior’s inspiration as of the disciples’ divine authority. In spite of the doubt that has been recently cast upon them, the New Testament miracles are incontrovertible evidence of the authority of Jesus and his disciples.

Things That Count

There are things that count for everything – purity, honesty, high sense of honor, lofty purpose, appreciation of the best in life, consideration of others, true love, gentleness, industry, willingness to work, true action, love of the Gospel, faithfulness to little every-day duties of life – these make our lives and the lives of those around us.



  1. Looking over the different pieces of advise, it appears that Church leaders were telling women not to over do it. We seem to have a tendency in the Church to emphasis work which, in my opinion, falls especially hard on women. I think it’s wise once in a while to tell members that a little down-time is fine.

    On another note, that Egg Toast recipe looks totally awful! :-(

    Comment by Steve C. — December 3, 2009 @ 7:31 am

  2. Since I’d already had a shower and breakfast, I couldn’t follow the recommendations for Egg Toast or “strict attention to sufficient bathing” (blast it! did I forget to wash behind my ears again?) this morning.

    But I did read that poem. And, frankly, my dear, if I had only ten minutes to spend on poetry this week, or a year of weeks, I’d choose something else. Maybe anapestic tetrameter just doesn’t do it for me!

    Comment by Mark B. — December 3, 2009 @ 7:45 am

  3. Love this!

    I really like the “Standard of Deportment” section–I might use that for a YW lesson.

    Comment by ESO — December 3, 2009 @ 7:51 am

  4. The yeast recipe is unusual. It reminds me vaguely of my mom’s doughnut recipe, which calls for mashed potatoes.

    The “Music”” section reminds me of the apocryphal story of the apostle who said, “What our meetings need is better music, and more of it; and better preaching, and less of it.”

    Comment by Clark — December 3, 2009 @ 9:42 am

  5. Re A Vital Question-
    Many years ago I saw a moth-webby church publication from about the year in question for sale on the BYU library remainder shelf (and which, blast it, I did not purchase) containing a poem represented to be the expression of a young woman stating that she would rather remain single than marry a man who did not maintain Church standards. The verse was a pretty spirited expression.

    Comment by Stephen Taylor — December 3, 2009 @ 10:02 am

  6. A Vital Question certainly hit home to me. I’m getting to the stage in my life where I have to start thinking really seriously about whether to stay single for the rest of my life or marry outside the church. (Marrying in the church isn’t completely off the table yet, but it’s so unlikely as to be nearly off the table.) I definitely appreciate that the author of the advice left it up to personal revelation.

    Naturally, many people I talk to offer their unsolicited advice. One person pretty much said that if I marry outside the church, I’ll go to Hell and drag my (not yet existent) children along with me. (I was really polite and didn’t say “Oh, well, I’ll look forward to seeing you there!”) She didn’t seem to see the logic that my eternal fate would be pretty much the same either way. If I don’t marry, then I don’t have a temple marriage. If I marry a non-member, I don’t have a temple marriage. (And naturally, either way, God would have the opportunity to make things right in the eternities.)

    I recall seeing an Ensign article on the church website several years ago, basically saying that it was ok for people (the article was directed at women, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t apply to men as well) who don’t have the opportunity to marry a member of the church to find a good non-member and experience the joys and blessings of married life with. I was young when I read it (late teens/early 20’s), and I was frankly shocked because in YW, it was always presented as temple marriage or nothing. I’ve gone looking for the article again, and I can’t find it now.

    Comment by Keri Brooks — December 3, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  7. That’s something that is of natural interest to me, too, Keri. I think we do have to emphasize temple marriage to youth because it *does* matter, and too many Latter-day Saints are too casual, IMO, about temple marriage, either in choosing mates or in choosing temple marriage now rather than later, to say nothing of being equally yoked in building a home and life together. But I also remember some quotations from letters written by Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant and David O. McKay to members who (busybody-like) asked about the eternal status of their sisters or daughters who had married outside the faith. Over and over those presidents wrote “There is no sin in honorable marriage.” I haven’t heard that that’s changed.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 3, 2009 @ 11:14 am

  8. Thanks, Ardis. I’ve lurked for a while and enjoy your entries.

    The segment on “Music” intrigued me, as I’ve been talking a lot with my friend who has a rotating assignment as organist. We often talk about how people really don’t pay attention to the prelude, or a whimpy style that doesn’t command attention. My pet peeve is when the audience doesn’t get involved with singing because the organ overpowers. I’m inclined to recommend piano accompaniment and “real” organ prelude and postlude.

    Comment by charlene — December 3, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

  9. Graci, Ms. Parshall! This post sparked a few pleasant memories of women in my family (who probably read these magazines).
    Yeast– My great grandmother used to save potato water and let it sit out to catch wild yeast.
    Egg-Toast– My grandmother used to fix us this interesting dish with the charming addition of tuna in the goo :-)

    Comment by Moniker Challenged — December 8, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

  10. Well, aren’t you lucky, Moniker! (to have survived, I mean :) )

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 8, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

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