The Place of Women in the Church: Interview with Mindy Brown

https://youtu.be/kaoC-E70KhA

Kristen Walker Smith:

Welcome friends to a very special bonus episode of the One Minute Scripture Study podcast. I am so excited. Cali and I were talking about who could talk about women in the Church; who could talk with us about the role of women in the Church. And the first name that came to both of our minds was Mindy Brown. We are so excited today to have Mindy Brown. You might know her from Instagram. She runs an account with her daughters called Brave Like Eve, or you might know her from her beautiful book, which we’ll discuss today, Eve and Adam: Discovering the Beautiful Balance. So I just introduced you, but Mindy, would you go ahead and introduce yourself further?

Mindy Brown:

Sure. So let’s see, I wrote that book over the last five years, it was released last spring and it was a total joy to work on. I’m so happy that, that all came together and worked out the way it did. It was a good phase of my life to undertake something like that. My youngest child was at home during that time in high school, she’s now in college. And so my nest is empty, which is different, but great. And I’m loving all that discretionary time I get to just spend hours and hours reading and studying. It’s a real treat. But I’m also a grandma. I have two little grandsons and a third grandson on the way, and that is totally thrilling. That’s a great stage of life as well. So let’s see, I have four children, total, two married with these babies and then two daughters in college.

Mindy Brown:

Let’s see. I love to work with nonprofits. I’m currently most focused on working with the Elizabeth Smart Foundation whose board I sit on and spite new drugs, which are my big ones right now, but there are lots of others I love to work with as well. In church service, my husband and I served at a BYU freshmen ward, which we love. The days of COVID, I actually… Personally, I feel like young adults are being the hardest hit with COVID just because of how it’s really affecting their stage of life. And so my heart just ache for these college kids. So we try to make it as fun as we can, and I get to teach tempo prep to them, which is the best calling of all time. I used to think gospel doctrine was based on calling, actually temple prep is the best calling. So in every way, I’m living the dream right now. So I just love it.

Kristen Walker Smith:

Awesome.

Cali Black:

That’s awesome. So I’m curious, Mindy, how did you feel like you started to get interested in studying the role of Eve or just the role of women in Church in general? I think a lot of us have some thoughts about it, but what’s your journey? And what brought you to write that book and work on the Instagram account? What brought you there?

Mindy Brown:

Sure. Well, really my non-profit work is what got me started in that direction. I was naturally drawn to causes supporting and lifting women. And in doing that because I was doing some that were looking at more international issues, although you don’t have to go far to see some really painful hearts things that women are suffering with. And so, I think I would say I was really compelled to figure out what our heavenly parents really intended and had in mind for their daughters, because I was seeing some pretty gross discrepancies with what was actually happening to many of the daughters and what I thought was our doctrine and how it was supposed to be. And I was struggling to figure out that gap and make sense of that gap there. And then concurrently, I was having a personal experience with my family being in a really tight spot.

Mindy Brown:

We felt like we were between a rock and a hard place with some tough decisions to be made. None of the options were ideal for us. We weren’t excited about any of them, and it felt like somebody, some family member was going to get thrown under the bus in whatever way we chose, which we just hated the thought of something like that happening. And so it was in the midst of those two things going on, the macro thing and my bigger lights. And then this micro seeing in my personal life that I had a really unique experience one day. My husband and I collect art work and he had given me a painting of Eve and hanged in my office. And I would often just gazed at it while I was thinking or whatever.

Mindy Brown:

And on a really hard day I had spent quite a bit of time in tears at my desk and struggling with some of the hard things with this family issue. I was gazing at this painting and just looking at it in a new way with fresh eyes and said out loud, which I don’t often talk out loud to myself in my office, but I just said, Eve, can you help me? And I had a really profound feeling come over me and feeling I think is the right word for it. But I felt as if she leaned out of this framed painting and said, “Yes, I thought you would never ask.” And so here I had really been directing my efforts at looking at how can I get more involved with these nonprofits? And should I go on a trip to help and do service to lift these women in these sorts of things?

Mindy Brown:

And the answer that came to me was you need to figure out how her story informs your story and really get a grasp of the true doctrine is and where that gap comes from, that you’re seeing in these things that you’re learning about and experiencing with the things that you’re working on. And what I really discovered in the next couple of years of deep research that I did, because I literally dropped everything and just dove into this. It was like I was consumed by time to read and study everything that has ever been written about Eve, which was really fun and amazing to start finding all the pieces. Really hidden in plain sight is what it felt like that all along the way, there were the pieces that I was gathering and it was like doing a thousand piece puzzle and every day I’d get another piece into place and start to recognize, oh, I know what this piece is, and roughly where it would go.

Mindy Brown:

And what I gained, a truly profound testimony and witness that is that our heavenly parents love and adore their daughters every bit like they do their sons. They love us all so completely and so totally, but there are just some harsh truths about living in a fallen world and this mortal existence and what it looks like for everybody to have agency, not just the people that we like and trust to have agency, right? So hard things happen, but ultimately the most beautiful piece of that puzzle that came together for me was how Christ’s atonement and love for us and our ability to collaborate with him through our lives, make it all work out, and it really can all work for our good and that’s what’s just spectacular about it. And I really feel like even Adam story can hold the answer to all of our challenges and mortality, because they were such exemplary role models for us and such a quintessential couple unitedly connected and interdependent with each other.

Kristen Walker Smith:

That is so beautiful. And as I read the book, something that really stood out to me is that I think as members of the Church, and specifically, if you have attended the temple, we have this better understanding of Eve and therefore of women’s roles in God’s plan. But I want to ask you, what do you feel like has been historically… What’s been the historical influence on the roles of women, because specifically in your book, you talk about these things in the scriptures that have been taken and misinterpreted. We have things like Eve was created from Adam’s rib or Eve was designated as Adam’s help mate or Adam was told that he would rule or Eve was told that Adam would rule over her. So what has been the historical interpretation of all of these things and how has that affected how women have been treated over time?

Mindy Brown:

Yeah. Well, that’s a big question and there are lots of different components and facets to that. So let me try to find a way to take it maybe in a few key pieces and then bring it all together here. So I would say that the short answer of where the misunderstanding comes in, and I don’t know that exactly misunderstanding is the word, because like you said, we have a pretty good grasp that she’s special and that we see her a little differently. We hear our profits and Church leaders talking about her and about her honor and respect that’s due, but I think it really comes down to an issue of what I think of as cultural grind. Like just this cumulative effect over the centuries of the rest of the world truly misunderstanding the situation.

Mindy Brown:

And in my book, I feel like it’s really important. One of the pieces that informs our understanding is the premortal piece of the story. And to me, if that piece is missing, it’s going to be really tough to make sense of it in a way that is empowering to women, because that’s such a critical piece of the big picture. And so most of the other Christian based traditions don’t have that basis of understanding that fundamental foundation of understanding that we do there. And so that’s a hard part to be missing, but when that piece is missing, and if you immediately assume that her choices to partake represented her blowing it and a terrible idea and she ruined everything for the rest of us, that is really damning, not only to her, but to all women. And that’s really how it’s been applied over the centuries sadly and ironically, because even people who don’t believe she existed feel like she still is the reason that it’s okay, that women are subjugated to men and men dominate over women and all this is the way God intended because she blew it.

Mindy Brown:

That is so damaging. And like I said, it’s just this cumulative grind that builds up. And sometimes it’s almost like it’s in the very air that we breathe. And you could ask anybody out on the street to sum up Eve and Adam’s story for you. And you’d be hard pressed not to find somebody who could do a pretty good job in about three sentences of just the standard answer of, well, she ate the fruit and she blew it. She ruined it, all of us. If it weren’t for her, we’d all be living in paradise right now, that sort of thing. And we just know that what she did was in fact a very brave, courageous choice based on at least a fundamental understanding of the plan. We know elder Holland, Kristen’s favorite. I shouldn’t say that we don’t have favorites, but-

Kristen Walker Smith:

No, he’s my favorite.

Mindy Brown:

Okay, good. Good! Anyway, he wrote about in his terrific book, Christ In The New Covenant, he talked about how they knew at least in a book smart sense of learning sense, they really had the big picture. They understood it. That shouldn’t be a surprise for any of us. We know that we baptized our children when they’re eight years old and not sooner because knowledge needs to come before accountability. So ignorance and innocence are not the same thing. We know that Adam and Eve were innocent in the garden, but they weren’t ignorant. They were learning things that was a very important tutoring time of their existence, where we believe that they were being tutored by divinity on various things. We don’t know exactly what, but certainly the most important things, certainly the plan that the big picture of what it was all about.

Mindy Brown:

And so when it was time when she felt ready and nudged, she certainly had some nudging there. But it was ultimately completely her choice, agency was very crucial to the big picture and that the whole basis of the plan was built on agency. So her agency had to be preserved in that decision for her to partake that fruit. It was really a brilliantly designed plan that part in the garden there because it did preserve her agency and she was able to choose for herself. And when she did that to open the doorway to mortality and cross that threshold for all of us, that was something to be celebrated. And she introduced life into the world. The rest of Christianity will often… Many people will say she introduced death into the world. And you could certainly say that things were not dying in the garden, but she also introduced life into the world because the garden was a static state. Things were not growing and progressing and changing in the garden.

Mindy Brown:

And so ultimately I really think of the garden as a way station that it was a holding place while they got their bearings and figured out the basics. And then when they were ready, they moved on to this realm we are now in where we are very actively asserting our wills in becoming like the savior and like our heavenly parents. It’s a very gradual process with lots of ups and downs, but we are making progress. And so that is something to be celebrated.

Kristen Walker Smith:

I think that’s such a powerful point of view, but I do want to just make sure that we cover, because I think for many women, this story that we get of the garden of Eden is a little jarring because I certainly don’t feel like my husband should rule over me. I’m like, I’m just smart as you. And I certainly don’t feel like I’m just like his little helper, his help mate. Like, hey, I’ll be your sidekick and you’ll be the superhero. So how do you take what you know, what you just said about Eve and Eve didn’t make a mistake. She’s not lower than Adam and still be okay with those scripture statements, marry the two.

Mindy Brown:

Yeah. Sorry. I lost the thread a bit of the original question as I was answering. So thank you for pulling me back there. Okay. So I think a couple of things that are important to understand is first looking at the cultural context of how the old Testament came into being. I was recording the various scribes and recorders of it that were pulling together these different pieces when it became imperative that they get a written record of their faith] tradition as they were being dispersed and all these things were going on all this upheaval to ancient Israel. And so, I guess, first of all, I would say it’s worse understanding that piece well enough that you don’t get too hung up on every word in the English translation of the changing version of the Bible, right? Because I was trying to emphasize that we have several bridges along that route that got us to what we typically read and every one of those bridges is subject to assumptions and misunderstandings that get us further from what the intended truth it was meant to be there.

Mindy Brown:

So you brought up a couple very specific examples, so let’s just touch on each of those. So for example, Eve being created from Adam’s rib. One of the things that I discovered in my years of research is that Hebrew is absolutely fascinating. It is the most intriguing language. And since finishing on the book, I’ve actually really delved into biblical Hebrew as a personal study thing and with some actual classes and teachers as well. And I just love it because of the depth and richness there is in each of these words that we have reported in the Genesis account or alternatively in the Moses account or Abraham. And this word that they use for rib is a really fascinating one. The word is “selah” and everywhere else that it’s used in the Bible, it’s interpreted to mean side, but not just like the side of a person, but the side of a building and typically the side of a sacred building, like a temple or a tabernacle or sacred structure like an alter.

Mindy Brown:

So it really imbues this idea with holiness to it and a sacred nature to it. And then you start to think, okay, well then how in the world in this one place did it get translated as a rib? And I think what was going on there and this isn’t just indeed Midrash here. There are lots of biblical scholars who go this direction with this is if they were trying to find a way to designate the separation of the first unit, which you might see as humanity, as opposed to the gods or God, depending on which account you’re looking at, now you’re going to split that into two parts.

Mindy Brown:

And so they’re looking for some sort of human representation to capture this idea of sides. And then you think, well, if you’re looking for a piece of the body that you’re going to draw from, you take something like muscle, well, then it gives the impression that does Adam’s muscle control her? No, that’s not a good idea. We look at a bone and there are a couple of elements of a bone that are perfect for this because their strength and structure to a bone, but not only that what’s inside the bone, the marrow, that is actually the life giving force of that bone and that the creative roast element of it. Well, that’s a pretty good way to consider that split between male and female. Not only that, but coming from the side of the body would represent not that from his head where maybe she would rule over him or from his foot where she might get stepped on, but as a side.

Mindy Brown:

So they did the best they had to work with on that. And you can see where they were maybe going with that. Now through time, that’s been really altered and misunderstood and misinterpreted, and probably most importantly misapplied to be subjugating and demoralizing to women. But I don’t think that’s how that was meant. And the second example you brought up the help as example, one of my personal least favorite terms of scripture, because it’s so enormously misunderstood that the term in Hebrew is [foreign language 00:21:04] and what it really means is a helper, a rescuer or deliver equal to and balanced with its partner, kind of this idea.

Mindy Brown:

The thing that is really crucial to understand about that phrase is that “ezer”, that term, that Hebrew root, usually represents divine help. So it’s not like a sidekick or a pet. It’s like the savior. And we see that in so many places in the scriptures, but the two that I love to point out, because you’re so much more familiar with them than say old Testament writings is in a couple of our hymns. We have this represented and a mighty fortress is our God. We sing about the Lord, our helper, and then also in the hand, let us all press on. I think is the third verse says, the Lord our helper will ever be near.

Mindy Brown:

Every time I’d sing those songs, I just want to be… I want to stand up in the congregation and say, this is what we’re talking about when we talk about the help me part. But the other part that’s interesting is that archaic English has split that term where we’ve drifted into this idea that it’s a help meet for him. It really should be thought of as the help meet for him, meaning this deliverer, a rescuer or a divine partnership help that’s equal and balanced for his strengths and characteristics and that sort of thing. And when you see it that way, it’s actually a really beautiful phrase. I would just love us to say , “ezer kenegdo” in church instead of help me. And then it’s derivatives, it’s completely corrupt derivative of help mate. That’s not even anywhere. That’s just a strange decay of the English language that got us there. So, that’s a big one.

Mindy Brown:

And then let’s see. The third one you mentioned was the rule over as opposed to rule with. Now, this is a really interesting one. And I had the great opportunity a couple of months ago to sit down with John Perry. Who’s a professor at BYU and he’s one of the… You probably could trace this idea back to his scholarship if you don’t know, he’s a really amazing ancient Hebrew scholar and he actually has worked on the original translations of the dead sea scrolls. So, he’s got somewhere to stand on this, right? And I think it originally came through some research and work that the havens did elder Bruce C Ethan and his wife, Marie Ethan, they learned from Don probably in a talk or a book he’d written or something that the word used there, where it gets translated to rule over as opposed to rule with, comes down to an issue of the Hebrew vowels.

Mindy Brown:

And I now know firsthand Hebrew vowels are enormously complex, very tricky. That’s the hardest part of Hebrew for sure. And when it was originally recorded in the Masoretic texts that we have in the old Testament, the bowels were left out. That’s the way that it was written and whoever was reading it, so the rabbi or whoever was reading it there in the synagogue could pronounce them as they intended. And every little different vowel sound would give it a slightly different meaning. And so that preposition of over versus with really hinges on how the rabbi chose to pronounce that and portray it. And by that point in history, there were political motives, there were cultural influences, there were traditions of dominance going on.

Mindy Brown:

There were all sorts of things influencing how that went down, but what Dr. Perry has really determined in his work is there’s every bit as much of a basis to translate that as rule with, as there is rule over. And I would just say, if you want to gain your own witness and testimony of that, take that question to the temple and listen very closely and I think you’ll get a sense if there is something to that. And it’s certainly makes more sense when you learn more about Adam and Eve’s beautifully interdependent relationship, our heavenly parents, and all of the fathers and mothers of history that we revere so much. Abraham and Sarah, all those couples that we know much about both of them would lead you to think that it’s more accurate to say rule with and not rule over.

Cali Black:

That is just powerful. And I love that. I think so many of us have thought about those phrases before in ways that don’t quite make sense. It’s my experience as a woman is not matching these words, but I think that’s so cool to hear. The different translations. I’m going to jump into Hebrew now. That sounds cool.

Mindy Brown:

It’s pretty awesome.

Cali Black:

This month in March, we’re talking about MS Smith a lot. So I’m curious as we’re studying the Doctrine & Covenants, there really is… Even though this is thousands and thousands of years after Eve, there’s still this absence of women in this scriptural record that we have. I’m curious if anything that you’ve learned about mother Eve has informed the way that you study the Doctrine & Covenants in particular or MS Smith as well.

Mindy Brown:

Yeah. There definitely is. And again, I think we have to look at the cultural context of when these things are being recorded. And even though the 1820s, 1830s, 1840s seemed like they weren’t really that long ago, it was a pretty different time. It was also an agrarian society where they weren’t living in a super complex community in a big city, in an industrialized climate. It was a fairly traditional lifestyle for those early saints. I’ve had one really profound experience that I think I’ll share because I think it informs a lot about how these things have been recorded and how we interpret them. And that’s an experience I had when I was listening to the book saints to the first volume of saints. And I think it’s in about chapter seven that they’re describing what went on that led to the 11 witnesses of the plates, the three and then the eight.

Mindy Brown:

And in that description, you start to get a sense that the 11 witnesses who ultimately got to see the plates, they were all men. We know that they were men. Well, they knew that, most of them, I believe, and I’m not the scholar of Church history. So I apologize if I’m not being 100% accurate, but I know that several of them at least were aware that Joseph had been told in revelation that there would be the opportunity for there to be witnesses to these plates. And they wanted that opportunity and they were asserting themselves for the chance to be a witness. They were asking, they were coming to Joseph and saying, can I be a witness if that happens? Can it be me? It was kind of pick me, pick me, pick me.

Mindy Brown:

And Joseph began by telling them, well, why don’t you spend some time preparing yourselves, you want to be sure you’re really good with the Lord. And maybe, when it’s time, I’ll take it to the Lord almost deciding who it will be or whatever. And I think ultimately what ended up happening is when it was time to have those witnesses, the Lord so often does. He says something to the effect of what? Give me your suggestion. What would you like? And Joseph says, why have this list of men who’ve been begging me for the opportunity? And we know that so often we take what is pressing on us to the Lord. We take our ideas or whatever and his favorite answer in my experience is, okay, sure, try that. That will be plenty hard. You will have lots to learn if you do that. I can work with that. You bet. No, that’s how my answers often come.

Mindy Brown:

I only on very rare occasion have had an answer of him coming first with a grand presentation of a fully formulated outlined idea of here is what you are to do. Here are the 11, go get them, go prepare them. That’s not really the way the Lord works. We know that from the Book of Mormon, you think of the brother of Jared, the stones. That’s a perfect example of this. I think the Lord loves to work with our agency. But what that means is that cultural influences really play into things like this, because at that time, most of the women around, first of all, they were busy. They weren’t hanging out with Joseph, asking him, can I be a witness? Can I be a witness? Can I be a witness? It probably wouldn’t have even occurred to them given the time and place that they were living. And they probably didn’t even have the opportunity. They weren’t taking one-on-one time with the prophet like that.

Mindy Brown:

And so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we ended up with the group of men who get to do this and have this great honor. But what is awesome is… And saints does a great job of sharing this piece of the story is that, that doesn’t mean that the Lord didn’t want women to have their own testimony. And the example they give that is just really powerful one is when Moroni appears privately one-on-one to Mary Whitmer. That’s a fabulous story. That is such a great story. And I think part of the trick with the Doctrine & Covenants is you have to get out of the pages of the Doctrine & Covenants to get some of these stories, right? That’s not recorded in one of the sections, but it is recorded and we have access to that understanding and knowledge that she did get that wonderful experience.

Mindy Brown:

And then I think you look at others like Emma, like Paulina, who we’ve been reading about just recently, about Lucy Mack, they’re amazing women. And they’re having very powerful and compelling witnesses of their own that are leading them to either jointly with their spouses propel the work forward, or who knows, maybe they’re pulling their men forward saying, oh, no, I know that he’s legit and this is for real. We want to get on this bus with him because he’s going places and he’s speaking the truth.

Mindy Brown:

We know from our own experiences that a lot of times what we see in the public sphere is not exactly the same thing that’s in the private sphere, but what typically gets recorded in scripture is recorded by those in the public sphere with official capacity. And that tended, especially anciently, or historically even 150 years ago to be men writing that down. And the women were in the more private sphere, but that doesn’t mean that the sporty equates with power. They can be very different and there’s much power even in these older times that women had and exerted their influence to bring about change. They just did it in a way that wasn’t always publicly recorded for our understanding now. So you have to look a little harder, but it’s there.

Cali Black:

I like that reminder too, that the Doctrine & Covenants isn’t always just the words recorded. The story is there, but we have to look outside of what’s in the scriptures themselves. Yeah.

Kristen Walker Smith:

And I think Mindy, that puts such an interesting spin on this because it does bother me that I look in the scriptures for a female hero and I know exactly who I’m going to be looking at. Oh, let’s talk about Esther again. She’s amazing. Right. But I love that. And tell me if I’m wrong, but what I got from that is that a lot of what we’re seeing in the scriptures isn’t necessarily a direct revelation on this. This is how God feels about women. It’s simply a representation of what women’s role in their culture was at the time that was recorded. Is that a fair way of saying it?

Mindy Brown:

I think that is very, very true. I think that’s a good way to describe it. Yeah.

Kristen Walker Smith:

Awesome. Well, as our last question, I feel like you’ve really touched on this, but what would be your advice then to… Because I know, I’ve got a friend and she’s got a ten-year-old daughter who is really concerned about women and how women aren’t really… She doesn’t feel like women are represented in the Church and we go to general conference and the main leadership of the Church is men. There are women in there, but they’re taking care of the women, not the men of the Church. So what would you say? What advice would you give to this ten-year-old or her mom who is concerned about the role of women in the modern day Church?

Mindy Brown:

Well, that is a really important thing to address with our young daughters and with all the young women in the Church, for sure. I love the phrase that president Nelson used in his, I believe it was the plea to my sister’s talk where he says, it’s time to step up and step out. No, speak up and speak out. I’m sorry. Speak up and speak out. I think it’s helpful to remember. I like to use the phrase that big wheels turn slowly. So these aren’t changes that are going to happen overnight, but it is important for us to be informed enough, courageous enough, old enough, but in polite kind, appropriate, loving ways to speak up. And sometimes there’s a great story that a friend of mine shares that in their ward or State, they were being invited to the table. And that’s how the men had talked about. We want you at the table, come and have this meeting with us and tell us what you think. And she said, as often happens, the women leaders got to the high council room first and like many high council rooms, there’s the huge tables, all the chairs around it. And then there are chairs at the perimeter at the room to make room for more people. And every one of the women sat on the perimeter of the room.

Mindy Brown:

And when she got there, she’s very outspoken and very well-educated and courageous. And she said, ladies, we have been invited to have a seat at the table, stand up and sit at the table. And that is such a great reminder to me. We don’t need to lean back, wait until someone begs us to share our wisdom. We are in these meetings, raise your hand and say something. We have our little saying in my family that my daughter and my oldest daughter taught me, that I think is so great that we joke about, if somebody in it or only says something insensitive or possibly even incorrect doctrinally in say a gospel doctrine class, she says, mom, hand first thoughts second. Get your hand up when you know what you just heard was not correct.

Mindy Brown:

And for me, I make it a habit to pray for the tongue of angels on a daily basis, which to me means that I’ll have the words there when I need them. And this is the time when I think, okay, I’m just going to trust that. Then when I need the words, they’ll come, but I will get my hand up and I’ll point out why that’s actually not accurate doctrine. No, there’s just a lot of cultural tradition built into every community, even a striving, trying faith-based community has cultural traditions seeped through it. So we need to be bold enough to take those brave steps and try to begin helping with the changes. And it’s not even begin. It’s been happening little by little for ages, right?

Mindy Brown:

And some of the early saints, those women were incredibly bold and courageous and knowledgeable and faithful, and they really did speak up and speak out. And I think we’ve seen a drop and culturally that makes sense with some of American history and world history, things that were going on Wars and contentions and things like that, I think led to that. But nowadays we know better and we can do better. And so I think we need to take the opportunity. And one point of what I really hope to do with my book was gather all the best evidence that could be used to support anything you hear that you just know in your gut doesn’t feel right, somebody has spoken to that and it’s an apostle or it’s a prophet. And it’s in there, it’s in the book. If it’s not in the main text, it’s in a footnote.

Mindy Brown:

And I just hope that that can be just like a tool kit that you can be so well versed for that, that when you hear something wrong, it’s hand first comment second, because you’ll think of it and you’ll be able to share the correct little piece of wisdom there and truth. Because like you said, our heavenly parents adore our daughters. They adore all of their children. They absolutely love us. And they want the very best for us, but reality and a mortal fallen world creates some challenges and that’s how we grow and learn. So we just need to work through them, but we’ll do it best by working together with our brothers.

Cali Black:

I really appreciate that. And I feel like the theme of what you’ve shared with us Mindy is like agency.

Mindy Brown:

Absolutely.

Cali Black:

Eve had her agency and she used it as wisely as she could and making powerful decisions. And we as women have our agency and we can decided to sit at that table, if we’re in the room and we can make these little decisions where we are taking our salvation into our hands and we are going out there and doing the good work.

Mindy Brown:

Yes. And truly the biggest lesson I learned from this whole project in the last several years is the preeminence of agency. I believe the entire plan is built on the beauty and power of agency. That is how God hood works is through agency.

Cali Black:

What a cool thought. I love that. Well, Mindy, at the end of each guest interview, we like to ask, how do you hashtag hear him?

Mindy Brown:

That is a fun question. Well, I’ll tell you, and I don’t want this to sound sack religious, but I hear him best in my fitness room. And I think that is because… And I know there’s a name for this if I were an educational psychologist, I’d have it right here. Something about “kinesio” something or other, but I believe, it’s a soulful experience for me to be using my body at the same time I’m using my mind. And there’s something about the combination of those two things that just opens the windows of heaven to me. And I like to spend at least an hour each morning, six days a week in my fitness room. And while I’m there, I’m usually on a treadmill. And if I’m on the treadmill, I’m listening to podcasts, oftentimes yours, we have so many great ones right now.

Mindy Brown:

It’s such a great time for podcasts learning. And then I spent some time on a stationary bike and I always have a good book waiting for me the minute I get onto that bike. And the amazing thing is that by the time I finish my workout, oftentimes I’ve already written down several notes. I keep a pad of paper there in the fitness room so that when the ideas start flowing, I can write them down before I forget, but it’s usually about 30 to 45 minutes later while I’m getting ready for my day alone in my dressing room closet and bathroom, that the ideas will really start to blow. And so I also have a piece of paper and pencil in there, and while I’m doing my hair or whatever, something will come and I’ll stop and write it down because it’s just like, exercise gets your blood pumping. It gets it going through my brain and my heart as well, I think. So, that’s how I hear him.

Kristen Walker Smith:

I love that Mindy and I love that you have taken such care to be able to record that because that’s such an important part. Revelation is keeping a record of it and holding that sacred.

Mindy Brown:

I have grandma brain.

Kristen Walker Smith:

I’ve got grandma brain and I’m not even a grandma. Well, Mindy, thank you so, so much for being here. If anyone is interested in buying her book, it is absolutely wonderful. Eve and Adam discovering the beautiful balance. Her name on the book is Melinda Wheelwright Brown. And just so you know, all of the proceeds from that, any of the extra money, what is that called?

Mindy Brown:

Royalties.

Kristen Walker Smith:

That was grandma brain right there. They go to charities that help uplift and help women. So, it’s a beautiful book. It’s meaty. It’s got tons of good stuff in it that you can just spend so much time pondering on. And it’s absolutely wonderful. So thank you so much Mindy for being here with us.

Mindy Brown:

Oh, such a pleasure. You two are wonderful. Keep up your great work. You’re making a big difference.

Kristen Walker Smith:

Thank you so much. And thank you everyone for listening and for coming closer to Christ with us a few minutes at a time.

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