Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Priesthood Holders and Daughters of Heavenly Father

                Young women all over the world repeat the Young Women theme each week.  Their theme begins:  “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.”  Young women understand that Heavenly Father loves His daughters as much as He loves His sons and has given them important roles to play in life.

                Sister Elaine S. Dalton, recently released Young Women general president, spoke in General Conference about the fact that all girls and women are daughters of God (Ensign, May 2013, pp. 12-14).  She said that every time she hears the words “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him,” she feels the Holy Ghost affirm to her soul that they are true.  “It is not only an affirmation of our identity –- who we are -- but also an acknowledgment of whose we are.  We are daughters of an exalted being!”

                Sister Dalton continued:  “As daughters of God we are each unique and different in our circumstances and experiences.  And yet our part matters – because we matter.  Our daily contributions of nurturing, teaching, and caring for others may seem mundane, diminished, difficult, and demeaning at times, and yet as we remember that first line in the Young Women theme -- `We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us’ – it will make all the difference in our relationships and our responses.”

                Do you know that you are a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father?  What difference does it make in your life to know that you have Divine Parentage?  Sister Dalton’s mother was a widow for 47 years and supported her family by teaching school in the daytime and then giving piano lessons in the evening.  She also cared for her aging father and made sure that her daughter and two sons received college educations – all without complaining about her circumstances.  “She kept her covenants, and because she did, she called down the powers of heaven to bless our home and to send miracles.  She relied on the power of prayer, priesthood, and covenant promises.  She was faithful in her service to the Lord.  Her steadfast devotion steadied us, her children.  She often repeated the scripture:  `I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise’ (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10).  That was her motto, and she knew it was true.  She understood what it meant to be a covenant keeper.  She was never recognized by the world.  She didn’t want that.  She understood who she was and whose she was – a daughter of God.  Indeed, it can be said of our mother that she acted well her part.”

                President Gordon B. Hinckley once said about women and mothers:  “We must never lose sight of the strength of the women….  It is mothers who most directly affect the lives of their children….  It is mothers who nurture them and bring them up in the ways of the Lord.  Their influence is paramount….
                “… They are the creators of life.  They are the nurturers of children.  They are the teachers of young women.  They are our indispensable companions.  They are our co-workers in building the kingdom of God.  How great is their role, how marvelous their contribution” (“Standing Strong and Immovable,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, January 10, 2004, 21, as quoted by Sister Dalton).

                Sister Dalton encouraged mothers, fathers, and leaders of Young Women to instill in the young women “the ennobling and eternal truth that she is a daughter of God.”  She said that “young women need women and men to `stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.’  Never before has this been more important than now.  Young women need mothers and mentors who exemplify virtuous womanhood.  Mothers, your relationship with your daughter is of paramount importance, and so is your example.  How you love and honor her father, his priesthood, and his divine role will be reflected and perhaps amplified in your daughter’s attitudes and behavior.”

                I was recently in the temple and met a young woman whom I taught in Seminary approximately ten years ago.  We spoke for just a few moments before she and her groom were taken into the sealing room to be married for time and all eternity.  That evening I attended her wedding reception.  She was a beautiful bride; her makeup, hair, and dress were all modest and very becoming to her.  As beautiful as she was, I was even more impressed with her inner beauty.  She beamed with moral cleanliness and happiness.  After the dancing started, the bride’s very young nieces and nephew as well as a couple of their friends wanted to dance with the bride.  My young friend gathered all the children together and made a circle with them.  The bride and circle of children went around several times before the children lost interest and wandered away.  I was impressed that she would take the time on her wedding day to bring happiness to several little children.  Her actions bore testimony that she recognized the importance of even the smallest members of her family.  Even though she is not yet a mother and may never have children of her own, she was exercising her divine role as a woman in nurturing and teaching the little children.

                “The Family:  A Proclamation to the World” (Ensign, November 2010, 129) states:  “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.  Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.  In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners….
                “We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.”

                Sister Dalton concluded her talk with a “call for the return to virtue. Virtue is the strength and power of daughters of God. What would the world be like if virtue – a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards, including chastity – were reinstated in our society as a most highly prized value?  If immorality, pornography, and abuse decreased, would there be fewer broken marriages, broken lives, and broken hearts?  Would media ennoble and enable rather than objectify and degrade God’s precious daughters?  If all humanity really understood the importance of the statement `We are daughters of our Heavenly Father,’ how would women be regarded and treated?  …

                “In an extremely challenging world, that is what I see young women and women of this Church doing.  They are an influence for good. They are virtuous and exemplary, intelligent and industrious.  They are making a difference because they are different. They are acting well their part….
                “Today as a daughter of God, I stand as a witness that He lives.  Jesus is the Christ.  He is our Redeemer.  It is through His infinite atoning sacrifice that I will one day return to live with Him – proven, pure, and sealing in an eternal family.  I shall ever praise Him for the privilege of being a woman, a wife, and a mother….”

                I too am grateful for the role given to me by God.  I am grateful to be a righteous woman in these latter days.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be a mother and grandmother.  I am grateful for the many opportunities I have enjoyed in teaching the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ to many young men and young women.  I know that I am a daughter of God, and I rejoice in my role of being a woman.

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