Male Mormon leaders have been slow to recognize a public role for women in the Church. Yes, I know leaders tell us how “amazing” we are, and how much we are valued. Still, except for a token woman speaker in one or two General Conference sessions, Mormon women—even auxiliary presidents—are seldom asked to make public comments for the Church.
Since the Church is not putting forth Mormon spokeswomen, the press is doing just that. A current favorite of the press is bright, articulate Joanna Brooks—a professor of English at San Diego State University. Brooks, a liberal Mormon who is married to a Jew, has been interviewed by the Huffington Post and other national newspapers and journals. Her memoir, Book of Mormon Girl, has been picked up by a national publisher. Her interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show promoted a favorable image of the Church and its members.
Maybe it’s just as well that Church leaders haven’t put forth a Mormon woman as an official spokesperson. I doubt they could have found a traditional Mormon woman able to field questions with Brooks’ confidence and honesty.