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.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Righteous Women

            I attended the worldwide broadcast of the General Women’s Session of the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, September 23, 2017. The four speakers represented the First Presidency, the Relief Society (organization for women), Young Women (young women ages 12-18), and Primary (organization for children ages 3-12 and nursery). All of the talks were interesting and appropriate to the problems women of all ages face today. I particularly appreciate the talk given by Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.

            Sister Eubank based her text on “a remarkable prophecy written by President Spencer W. Kimball.” He had prepared his remarks and titled them “The Role of Righteous Women,” but his wife read his talk because he was in the hospital at the time of the meeting. Sister Eubank reminds us that September 1979 was only the second time that General Women’s meeting was held and that it happened nearly 40 years ago. Sister Eubank’s talk emphasizes the following information from President Kimball’s talk.

Finally, my dear sisters, may I suggest to you something that has not been said before or at least in quite this way. Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of Church are seen as distinct and different – in happy ways – from the women of the world.

Among the real heroines in the world who will come into the Church are women who are more concerned with being righteous than with being selfish. These real heroines have true humility, which places a higher value on integrity than on visibility. Remember, it is as wrong to do things just to be seen of women as it is to do things to be seen of men. Great women and men are always more anxious to serve than to have dominion.

Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.

            Sister Eubank says that she had met many of those good women as she travels throughout the world and that she appreciates their friendships, and she shares a story to highlight each item. She suggests that all of us know good women who live in our own communities and neighborhoods, members and non-members of the Church. She then proposes five things that women can do now to fulfill our part in building the kingdom of God on the earth right now. Those five things are: (1) Be righteous – “doesn’t mean be perfect.” (2) Be articulate in sharing thoughts and feelings about “what Jesus Christ means to you.” (3) Be different by using the “spiritual gifts of innovation and creation.” (4) Be distinct or “recognizably well-defined” in living the gospel. (5) Be sincerely happy while doing number 1-4 – “keeping the laws of God and building and lifting others.”

            I remember hearing and later reading this talk by President Kimball, but I did not realize that it was so many years ago! In addition to the above quote discussed by Sister Eubank, I particularly like the following quotes from his talk.

[Quoting the late Elder John A. Widtsoe]: “The place of the woman in the Church is to walk beside the man, not in front of him nor behind him. In the Church there is full equality between man and woman. The gospel, which is the only concern of the Church, was devised by the Lord for men and women alike” (Improvement Era, Mar. 1942, p. 161). …

Remember, in the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks. While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to. You are accountable for those things which long ago were expected of you just as are those we sustain as prophets and apostles!

Even though the eternal roles of men and women differ, as we indicated to you a year ago, this leaves much to be done by way of parallel personal development – for both men and women. In this connection, I stress again the deep need each woman has to study the scriptures. We want our homes to be blessed with sister scriptorians – whether you are single or married, young or old, widowed or living in a family….

            I am grateful to live in a day when I can hear the words of a living prophet. I am also grateful for those who remind me of the words spoken by the prophets of God, both living and dead. I know that God lives and that He values both men and women and loves us as His sons and daughters. I am grateful for the encouragement and the reminder to do my part as a righteous woman in building the kingdom of God on earth.

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