LDS Leader for Women, Barbara Winder, Has Died at 86

Source: video screenshot
Source: video screenshot
Barbara Winder, leader who healed a divide in the LDS Church during the 1980s, has passed away.

Barbara Winder, the LDS women’s leader who helped bring the Church back together after a schism threatened to tear it apart, has died at age 86.

LDS Leader for Women, Barbara Winder, Has Died at 86[/tweetthis]

Sister Winder became the president of the LDS’s all-female Relief Society in 1984, at a time when the women’s rights movement had left many American women, and Mormon women in particular, feeling divided. Some felt that women should remain in the home and raise their children, whereas others believed that it was women’s right to be able to work and receive the same treatment as men.

Mormons had been on both sides of the argument over the Equal Rights Amendment during the late 70’s and early 80’s, which aimed to guarantee equal treatment for both men and women. However, the amendment was never passed, and the LDS Church had positioned itself squarely against the ERA, despite the fact that many Mormon women were in favor of it.

Upon becoming president of the Relief Society, Winder sought to bring women together, and move past their differences. "It is a time to heal," Winder said, "a time to bond women to women and women to men. We can have unity in diversity and diversity in unity. We don't have to be like one another to enjoy sisterhood." She put that concept of unity into practice herself, bringing the LDS’s three female-run organizations, the Relief Society for adults, Young Women for teens, and Primary for children- together to be run from the same building. Mormon historian Jill Mulvay Derr says that this act “was the beginning of working together more closely. We see the fruition of that effort today."

Winder and her husband played an integral role in the worldwide LDS community, working everywhere from the Czech Republic to South Jordan, as well as closer to home in Illinois, where she was the first matron of the Church’s rebuilt Nauvoo Temple.  As well as her work within the LDS, Winder was also strongly devoted to her family. She met her husband, Richard Winder, when his brother- the family milkman- introduced them. Their first date was on a family hayride, and they got engaged just two weeks later. Richard passed away in 2015, and the couple are survived by their four children, 15 grandchildren, and 29 great-grandchildren.


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