Letter 80

DAY 80

Amy Easton-Flake

Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture
Brigham Young University
April 9, 2021

Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Members of the 117th Congress,

Much of the future is determined by the nature of our perspective and consequential acts. The current state of the world is a marvel of previously unbelievable advancements, with wonderful and inspiring opportunities at every turn. At the same time, there are long-existent security, stability, sustainability, and systemic issues that you must address. I hope you will use your positions of power to help Americans gain a crucial perspective shift on how we view and interact with one another.

That perspective shift should come from the foundational teaching of many of our faith traditions: We are all co-equals before God, and God has guided us to love and care for each other as siblings. Our common humanity is not defined or limited by borders, race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economics, political affiliations, or nations.

“The women of Exodus show what crossing entrenched identity divisions makes possible.”

The women of Exodus show what crossing entrenched identity divisions makes possible. The story of the Exodus unfolds because Shiphrah and Puah, midwives to the Hebrews whose ethnicity and nationality are notably ambiguous, make an independent moral decision to defy Pharaoh’s order to kill all the male babies (Exodus 1:15-21). Later, Pharaoh’s daughter follows her emotional, ethical impulse and chooses to work in concert with Hebrew women in an act of cross-gender, cross-class, cross-ethnic, and cross-national deliverance to save Moses’ life (2:5-10). Eventually, the Egyptian women cross ethnic, class, and national lines to aid the Hebrew women as they flee into the wilderness by providing them with material goods (3:22; 12:35).

These biblical women illustrate the profound influence of individual actions and the necessity of forming cooperative networks. Their examples underscore how we must extend compassion across national borders. So while you seek to eradicate partisan divisions, profound social inequalities, and systemic racism, classism, and sexism within the United States, I pray you will extend that same level of concern to every individual on planet Earth. Avoid war with all possible efforts and provide aid, assistance, and outreach in abundance. Lead by example as you seek to help all Americans recognize our shared humanity and co-dependency with all the inhabitants of the world—knowing that we do in actuality uplift ourselves when we uplift others.


Amy Easton- Flake

Amy Easton-Flake, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Ancient Scripture
Brigham Young University

the author

Amy Easton-Flake, Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, received her Ph.D. from Brandeis University. She teaches classes on the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and women in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Her research focuses on nineteenth-century women’s reform literature and biblical hermeneutics, and she is on the steering committee of the Recovering Female Interpreters of the Bible SBL program unit. Her work may be found in the New England Quarterly, Women’s History Review, Symbiosis, American Journalism, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, and multiple edited volumes.