Families, communities, and nations are strengthened as individuals seek greater knowledge. This is the ninth and last post in a series on the Young Women values. The first post in the series can be found here. It discusses the Young Women values and the Personal Progress program that assists women of all ages to develop these attributes. Each value is represented by a specific color.
The eighth Young Women value is virtue, and it is represented by the color gold. This color reminds us of the purity of gold. It also reminds us that gold is precious but must be refined. It is never harsh or brash, such as brass.
Sister Elaine S. Dalton was sustained as the new general Young Women president in April 2008 and spoke in the October 2008 General Conference in a talk titled “A Return to Virtue.” She explained that she held her first presidency meeting two days after the April General Conference with a hike to the top of Ensign Peak. Her presidency looked out over the Salt Lake Valley and “saw the temple with the angel Moroni shining in the sun.” This sight convinced them that the focus of their presidency was to be the temple. They felt that their duty was to “help prepare each young woman to be worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple.” Standing on Ensign Peak the new presidency decided that their ensign, their standard, and their banner would be a calling to return to virtue. Sister Dalton continues.
Virtue is a prerequisite to entering the Lord’s holy temples and to receiving the Spirit’s guidance. Virtue “is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards.” It encompasses chastity and moral purity. Virtue begins in the heart and in the mind. It is nurtured in the home. It is the accumulation of thousands of small decisions and actions. Virtue is a word we don’t hear often in today’s society, but the Latin root word virtus means strength. Virtuous women and men possess a quiet dignity and inner strength. They are confident because they are worthy to receive and be guided by the Holy Ghost. President Monson has counseled, “You be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone. Have the moral courage to be a light for others to follow. There is no friendship more valuable than your own clear conscience, your own moral cleanliness – and what a glorious feeling it is to know that you stand in our appointed place clean and with the confidence that you are worthy to do so.”
Sister Dalton speaks about the confidence that comes to men and women who are guided by the Holy Ghost, and President Monson speaks of the importance of standing for right and truth and being a light for others to follow. Sister Dalton is correct when she says that “virtue begins in the heart and in the mind” because one must desire to be virtuous in order to gain virtue. The Holy Ghost dwells only in clean hearts and minds, and His presence is a refiner’s fire that burns away the dross, just as gold is refined by fire. As we live the principle of virtue, we will have the strength to hold up the Light of Jesus Christ, even when we must "stand alone."
The Personal Progress booklet reminds Young Women that “Virtuous living `at all times and in all things, and in all places’ qualifies you for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.” Each person who is baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is given the gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift is given to guide members “in all aspects on [one’s] life. Since the Holy Ghost does not dwell in unclean tabernacles, living a virtuous life is a prerequisite to having the companionship of the Holy Ghost and receiving the blessings of temple ordinances.”
Virtue is an essential qualification to entering the temple as well as returning to the presence of God. As we practice virtue, we will become purified and prepared to welcome the Savior, even Jesus Christ, when He returns to earth. Virtue is a quality that will strengthen individuals, families, communities, and nations.