Being a mother and a grandmother, I am partial to stories about mothers. I particularly like the story that Dr. Ben Carson tells about the impact of his mother on his life. She was a single mother doing her best to rear two sons. She saw Ben’s poor report card and knew she needed to do something. She knew – and told her sons – that they were smart and could be successful. They did not believe her, but she knew they could do better.
Sonya Carson knew that education was the way out of poverty. She did not know how to motivate her sons to do better in school, but she knew she could get an answer from God. Following the Lord’s counsel, she determined that her sons would do their homework before playing outside, read two books every week, and write reports on the books they read. They would also limit their television viewing to two programs per week. In a year and a half, Ben went from the class dummy who misspelled every spelling word and got every math problem wrong to the top of his class. He learned that reading was the way out of ignorance and into success. Because of his mother’s influence on his education, he became a world-famous neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore.
The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ – tells the story of another group of mothers. Their sons are known as the 2000 stripling warriors who miraculously survived numerous battles because of their faith in the teachings of their mothers. These young men were valiant, courageous, and strong. They were “men of truth and soberness” (Alma 53:21). They paid tribute to their mothers when they said, “Our mothers knew it” (Alma 56:48). What did their mothers know? They knew the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they put their trust in God.
Sister Julie B. Beck, then Relief Society general president, spoke in General Conference on the subject “Mothers Who Know.” She referenced the story of the stripling warriors and then said: “The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they `wrestles not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’ (Ephesians 6:12). However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children.”
Sister Beck then spoke about the things “mothers who know” do: (1) They desire to bear children and do not postpone their families; (2) They make and keep sacred ordinances and covenants; (3) They nurture – cultivate, care for, and make grow – by creating “a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes;” (4) In equal partnership with their husbands, they are leaders in their homes; (5) They are always teaching; (6) “They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally … less media, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home… willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children….”; and (7) They “know and love the Lord and bear testimony of Him, … are strong and immovable and … do not give up during difficult and discouraging times.”
Like Sonya Carson and the mothers of the 2,000 stripling warriors, mothers today can have great influence for good in their lives of their children. They must first learn of God and listen to His word; then they can walk in His paths and bring His power and influence to others.