Three years ago, life served up a massive dose of serendipity when I happened to end up seated next to McArthur Krishna and her husband while flying home from work.
You know how sometimes you meet someone and right away, you know you are in the presence of an extraordinarily special person? That’s how I felt that night about them. And in the intervening years, it has proven to be more true that I could have possibly imagined, as we have gotten to know each other and become friends.
Yesterday Segullah Editor-in-Chief, Shelah, reviewed the book Girls Who Choose God, by McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spaulding, and if you haven’t read that post, please do so. And then, please buy the book. I’m not kidding. I almost never buy books, but I’m glad I made an exception in this case, and I hope you will, too, because if this book does well, Deseret Books will publish the other books they are working on, and these are all stories that need to be told (Note: In buying this book, you support educational and employment opportunities for young women around the world. All of the authors’ proceeds will be donated to Interweave Solutions.)
Recently, I interviewed McArthur via phone at her home in India, and we talked about the book and why they wrote it.
McArthur is a story teller at heart, and she’s exceptionally good at it. She uses stories to teach, illuminate truth and help people grow in light and understanding. With a masters degree in Communications from BYU, she co-owned an ideas-marketing business that tells stories focusing on the most important issues facing the world today. Before I ever met her, I’d seen some of her company’s work online, and had personally been impacted by the stories they shared.
During our conversation, one of the dominant themes that came up was how we all have false conceptual models, or perceptions/ beliefs, that impact our way of thinking and living. We acquire ideas that may not be true, but they impact and influence our thinking and choices all the same.
Changing our false models is what it means to live spiritually. Any thing, any mindset, any habit or belief that gets between us and God needs to be broken down and destroyed in order to continue progressing spiritually.
One of the reasons Girls Who Choose God is important, is because in the history of the world, few false models have had a more significant negative impact than the belief that boys and men matter more, or are more important, or somehow “better than” girls and women. McArthur lives in a part of the world where this attitude is particularly prominent and impacts daily life for everyone. But it’s everywhere, which is why these stories in particular need to be told.
When generation upon generation of children grow up with these ideas being intentionally or unintentionally conveyed and reinforced, the cost to society at large is incalculable.
We are all equally important in the eyes of God. As The Family: A Proclamation to the World states, we are the children of heavenly parents, a father and a mother, who were equal partners in the creation of our spirits. And the lack of discussion about all the magnificent, influential females in the story of the world from Eve to the present day, has had the effect of holding many young girls back from knowing that they can grow up to be not only devoted mothers and wives, but also judges, generals, social justice advocates, world leaders, spiritual leaders, business leaders, and endless other roles that lead to being a force for good in the world.
If the next generation of girls and boys grows up viewing themselves as spiritual equals, amazing things will happen. Marriages and families will be strengthened, communities will thrive. And now is the time for this change to take place. It happens one person at a time, first by recognizing that a false conceptual model or paradigm exists, then intentionally destroying it.
I read Girls Who Choose God to my 15 and 17 year old kids for a bedtime story, and we were touched by the spirit and telling of these stories. It inspired a wonderful conversation with my son and daughter, about the conceptual model prevalent in the world that girls aren’t present in the scriptures, and how that contributes to the lack of parity between males and females, including within the culture of the church, particularly in some parts of the world. We talked about how this book is McArthur and Bethany’s effort to help break down some of these false ideas.
If you would like to buy the book, please do. Soon. They have fifteen weeks to make the case to Deseret Book that there is a robust demand for children’s material about women. If enough people want this book, they have more (and bolder!) volumes queued up.
By being humble enough to let go of our false traditions and ideas, the spirit can lead and guide us toward truth. Being obedient to God, even when it shreds our model, opens the way for good, light-filled ideas to enter in. God told us to prove all things, hold fast that which is good, and as we do so, we are showered with His gifts. God’s gifts aren’t just adequate, they’re abundant. They will fill us with light, inspire our lives, and help each of us to reach our fullest potential.
Talking to McArthur and reading Girls Who Choose God helped me to notice some of the false conceptual models I’ve been accepting, and seeing them has helped me to let go and grow in ways I didn’t foresee.
What are some perceptions you’ve accepted that might not be true? Have you ever had a “lightbulb” insight that helped you to let go and grow in unexpected ways? How have stories helped you understand things in a new way?