What first caught my attention about Hannah Tapfield King was her ability to bear testimony. Her account of her life in Representative Women of Deseret hadn't jumped out and grabbed me, but then towards the end of her words, she stated:
...surely my few words wiil be a testimony that I rejoice I am a Latter-Day Saint. I have passed through many reverses and tribulations but in my darkest hours the Gospel has been a light upon my path and a lamp for my feet and I realize day by day the smile and approbation of God upon me.I can't explain why, but for some reason as I read these words, I felt very strongly God's love for his daughters - his smile upon us, if you will. I decided to do a little more research into Hannah's life, and I'm glad I did, because this was a woman that understood God's love for his daughters.
Hannah was introduced to the church by her dress-maker in 1849, and she believed easily and whole-heartedly. Fifteen months would pass until she met another member, but when she finally attended a sermon by an American elder, she was baptized in the River Camm that same day. Like many converts, she faced disapproval in her community, and she and her immediate family headed to Utah in 1853, where Hannah made her mark.
Hannah was a dedicated and prolific writer. She wrote poetry, essays, biographies, and contributed regularly to the Woman's Exponent. My favorite work of hers that I stumbled across was entitled "Women of the Scriptures." She highlights the virtues of many Old Testament women, including Sarah, Hagar, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, and Esther. She reserves the highest praise for Eve. She writes
[Eve] stands in close proximity to God the Father, for she is the life giving spirit of the innumerable hosts that have figured upon this earth. The one grand, stupendous act of her life is all that is told of her in the Bible, and it is enough.
I had always wished we had heard more about Eve after the garden, but I love that Hannah emphasizes that future silences don't detract from the importance of the choices she made and the life she lived.
Hannah had a firm belief in the eternal value of women. :) In one of her many somewhat spirited comments, she wrote, discussing Adam and Eve,
I would observe here in the penalties they afterwards incurred their punishments were entirely distinct; labor was laid upon the man, on the woman a far severer trial - "In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee!" showing plainly that this was not the original position in either case.
I love both her spunk and her faith in women's equal importance in the sight of God in the eternities.
Hannah was missed by many of her contemporaries after her death. There are several occurances in the Woman's Exponents of articles written and meetings held in her remembrance. She was an intelligent and motivated woman who encouraged women to live up to the potential that God wanted them to achieve.
Representative Women of Deseret, Augusta Joyce Crocheron
Hannah T. King, “Women of the Scriptures,” republished in Woman’s Exponent 32, no. 6 (Nov. 1903): 41.
Hannah T. King, "Woman," Woman's Exponent 7, no. 9 (Oct. 1878).