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Tapping into a current American craze, a group of Mormon feminists has found a novel way to celebrate the lives of prominent LDS women — a coloring book.

"Illuminating Ladies: A Coloring Book of Mormon Women" is timed to coincide with the 175th anniversary on March 17 of the LDS Relief Society, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' global organization for adult females.

It is produced and marketed by Boston-born Exponent II, a magazine by and for Mormon women, modeled after a 19th-century LDS periodical, The Woman's Exponent.

The book features illustrations of Emma Smith, wife of LDS Church founder Joseph Smith, and Eliza R. Snow, famed poet, polygamist wife, and the faith's second general Relief Society president who advocated suffrage for women.

It also includes images of less-familiar Mormon "pioneers" — Jane Manning James, a black convert to the faith, who worked in the Smiths' household and later crossed the Plains with the Saints; Amy Brown Lyman, the church's eighth general Relief Society president who launched that organization's social-welfare department, and Julia Nompi Mavimbela, a Mormon peace activist in South Africa, who died in 2000.

"These heroines came with brown, bare and calloused feet and weathered and work-worn hands. They came covered in bonnet and armed with pen or spade. They came with white hair and bent shoulder. They came in pants and suits and even petticoats, and probably wore some pretty average shoes," writes Molly Cannon Hadfield, who did the book's illustrations, "but they were real."

Peggy Fletcher Stack

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