Clothed with Charity

Talks from the 1996 Women’s Conference

Book Notice

Clothed with Charity: Talks from the 1996 Women’s Conference, edited by Dawn Hall Anderson, Susette Fletcher Green, and Dlora Hall Dalton (Deseret Book, 1997)

Women and men from all walks of life have contributed to this volume, offering support, insight, and advice. Their topics include managing stress, spending time wisely, making decisions, studying the scriptures, building self-confidence, developing spiritual maturity, finding holiness, improving family relationships, and doing the charitable works of God.

Recognizing the potential of women, Patricia Holland believes that “a woman seeking the cloak of charity, a woman desiring with all her heart to receive the fulness of God, has a chance to break through these telestial, temporal trappings” (8–9). One of these “temporal trappings” is judging others, and many of the chapters deal with the consequences of unrighteous or inappropriate judging. Elaine L. Jack counsels, “As you take stock of yourself and your situation, base your evaluation of where you are on your own criteria, not that of another person” (50). Helen B. Stone agrees that “unrealistic expectations of others or self needlessly complicate life” (154).

These essays also explore ways in which we might improve our experiences. Several essays discuss the benefits of journal writing. In this context, Carol Clark Ottesen quotes the poet Rilke: “If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself . . . [for you] must call forth its riches” (54). Life is improved by realizations reached through learning about or from other people. Mary Kirk declares that God will provide opportunities to learn from the people around us or from God himself—indeed, God will “pour out his holiness upon us at the rate that we open our eyes and perceive, open our ears and understand, and open our hearts and invite him in. And then we’ll become like him” (117).

And to keep a proper perspective on life, Louise Durham proclaims the benefits of laughter: “As far as I’m concerned, humor is serious business. It is both a salve to heal wounds and an astringent that occasionally stings in the right places. . . . Laughing often clears vision and can put things back into focus” (72).

Several other contributors show that trials in life—including childbirth, loss, or loneliness—are part of the learning process. This volume of essays and poems provides encouragement, shares understanding, and promotes hope.

 

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