Pursuit of Excellence
I am grateful to a church that would inspire its women to be…Great, Educated, Strong, and Powerful. Some women might argue this point, but there have been too many General Conference addresses of the Brethren praising and glorifying us, for me to feel oppressed and constrained. Our church history is rich with inspired, educated, powerful, single-minded women who have stood as exemplars to our generation. We must carry on the torch in the name of the Lord.
However, we still manage to have inner strugglings and insecurities that stop us short of our destiny. Mostly we do this to ourselves, so here are some ideas to help us overcome absolutely anything that could get in the way of our womanly awesomeness.
Way back in 1976, the Church put out a program for Relief Society women called Pursuit of Excellence. It is similar to the Young Women’s Personal Progress program. It was never anything we had to do, there was never any award given for completion, in fact, most of you have probably never even heard of it. It was optional from the very beginning and has mostly been forgotten over time. It can be purchased at the Distribution Center here.
If you are looking for incentives to overcome those bad habits of omission in your life, this is the program for you. You can set up your own goals, or use the ones suggested. You can do it by yourself, or you can get a group of friends to work with, or use as checkpoints. You are going to want to create your own award at completion, which means you can do it quietly, or flamboyantly, as you desire.
Online I happened to notice that someone wrote up a similar program called Celestial University. They have different areas of focus. You might want to mix and match. You may even want to create your very own areas to focus on and create a program that fits your needs.
There are probably several adaptations created by others over the years. One, called “I Am Loved” can be found here. I like that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but that we have many options and can always create afresh.
And don’t forget that you always have the option of auditing college courses, continuing your education, taking community classes, and enrolling in Institute. There is no limit and no shortage of opportunity if you so desire. In Africa, the Middle East, and Far East, women have been known to gather together to gain their schooling, even at risk to their very life. We women always find a way.
I would love to hear what goals you have set; what learning curves you have overcome, what personal study has caused you great joy and satisfaction, what blessings have come through personal growth, in order to gain the knowledge and strength you seek.