I have invested the past six weeks to studying “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in depth. I have studied the words of prophets and apostles, and I have studied the words of social scientists in support of the proclamation. The more I study this great document, the more I recognize the greatness in it and the more I understand the need for studying it.
This morning as I was studying a talk from the October 2018 General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I came across a talk that gives more meaning to a portion of the proclamation. The talk was given by President Henry B. Eyring and is titled “Women and Gospel Learning in the Home.”
During the Women’s Session of conference, President Eyring reminds us that the Lord is accelerating the rate by which He is pouring knowledge into the minds and hearts of His children. “He has made clear that the daughters of Heavenly Father will play a primary role in that miraculous acceleration. One evidence of the miracle is His leading His living prophet to put far greater emphasis on gospel instruction in the home and within the family.”
When I read that statement I remembered one made by President Spencer W. Kimball many years ago. He too speaks of the role that righteous women will play in the final years of this world as we know it.
Each of you should be grateful to be a woman! … To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times. She has been placed here to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home – which is society’s basic and most noble institution. Other institutions in society may falter and even fail, but the righteous woman can help to save the home, which may be the last and only sanctuary some mortals know in the midst of storm and strife.
I hope that you can see the connection that I made between the statements of the two prophets. Going back to the talk by President Eyring, you may be wondering how to connect the new emphasis on gospel instruction in the home to faithful sisters being a “primary force to help the Lord pour out knowledge on His Saints.” President Eyring gives the following explanation.
… The Lord gives the answer in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” You remember the words, but you may see new meaning and recognize that the Lord foresaw these exciting changes, which are now occurring. In the proclamation, He gave sisters charge to be the principal gospel educators in the family in these words: “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” This includes the nurture of gospel truth and knowledge. (Emphasis is mine.)
The proclamation goes on: “Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” They are equal partners, equal in their potential for spiritual growth and for acquiring knowledge, and so are unified by helping each other. They are equal in their divine destiny to be exalted together. In fact, men and women cannot exalted alone.
When, then, does a daughter of God in a united and equal relationship receive the primary responsibility to nourish with the most important nutrient all must receive, a knowledge of truth coming from heaven? As nearly as I can see, that has been the Lord’s way since families were created in this world.
President Eyring continues by explaining that it was Eve who first received the knowledge that partaking of the fruit was essential “for them to keep all of God’s commandments and to form a family.” When Adam received the same knowledge, they became “perfectly united.” President Eyring also reminds us of the 2000 stripling warriors who were taught by their mothers to have faith and never doubt. “We do not doubt that our mothers knew it.” Then he continues with his explanation.
While I do not know all the Lord’s reasons for giving primary responsibility for nurturing in the family to faithful sisters, I believe it has to do with your capacity to love. It takes great love to feel the needs of someone else more than your own. That is the pure love of Christ for the person you nurture. That feeling of charity comes from the person chosen to be the nurturer having qualified for the effects of the Atonement of Jesus Christ….
As daughters of God, you have an innate and great capacity to sense the needs of others and to love. That, in turn, makes you more susceptible to the whisperings of the Spirit. The Spirit can then guide what you think, what you say, and what you do to nurture people so the Lord may pour knowledge, truth, and courage upon them….
Yet, whatever your personal circumstance, you are part – a key part – of the family of God and of your own family, whether in the future, in this world, or in the spirit world. Your trust from God is to nurture as many of His and your family members as you can with your love and your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Continuing, President Eyring counsels us to ask God who it is that He wishes us to nurture as well as how, and when, and he promises that He will let us know when someone is prepared to accept our nurturing. In addition to prayer, we should study the scriptures to strengthen our “growing power to nurture.” “So you will take more time to pray, to ponder, and to meditate on spiritual matters. You will have knowledge of truth poured out upon you and grow in your power to nurture others in your family.” He counsels us to “not be weary in well doing” but to continue “laying a foundation of a great work.”
I am very grateful for President Eyring’s explanation of how the new policies can help women to better nurture their families. He even goes so far as to share a few examples of how we might know how to nurture specific members of our families. He concludes his remarks with the following statement.
You will each find ways to contribute to the outpouring of truth upon your families in the Lord’s restored Church. Each of you will pray, study, and ponder to know what your unique contribution will be. But this I know: each of you, equally yoked with sons of God, will be a major part of a miracle of gospel learning and living that will hasten the gathering of Israel and will prepare God’s family for the glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This conference talk has added much to my understanding of a small portion of the proclamation. I am confident that there is much more awareness that I need and will receive as I increase my capacity for it. Therefore, I am truly grateful for this semester when I have the opportunity to study the proclamation in depth.