Blessings shared by both men, women

Instituted from before foundation of world

Not based on social or political considerations

"There is nothing in the revelations which suggests that to be a man rather than to be a woman is preferred in the sight of God, or that He places a higher value on sons than on daughters," said Elder Boyd K. Packer.

Speaking Saturday afternoon, Elder Packer of the Council of the Twelve said, "All virtues listed in the scriptures - love, joy, peace, faith, godliness, charity - are shared by both men and women, and the highest prieshood ordinance in mortality is given only to man and woman together."

Elder Packer delcared that gender did not begin at mortal birth, but the scriptures and teachings of the prophets speak of earth's inhabitants in their premortal life as sons and daughters, spirit children of God.

He noted that some roles are best suited to the masculine nature, and others to the feminine. The scriptures and patterns of nature place man as the protector and provider, and the woman, "co-creator with God," as the nurturer.

"A man who holds the priesthood does not have an advantage over a woman in qualifying for exaltation," Elder Packer emphasized.

He further said, "The priesthood is conferred only upon worthy men in order to conform to our Father's plan of happiness."

He said the laws that govern life were instituted from before the foundation of the world. "They are eternal, as are the consequences for either obeying or disobeying them. They are not based on social or political considerations. They cannot be changed. No pressure, no protest, no legislation can alter them."

To emphasize that some things cannot be changed, Elder Packer related a humorous story about first-grade students who tried to determine the sex of a kitten. After some debate, a boy said, `I know how we can tell if it is a boy kitty or a girl kitty....We can vote on it!"

Quoting from a 1942 First Presidency message, Elder Packer said, "`Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels."

Elder Packer concluded his address with a parable about a man who received as his inheritance two keys. One opened a vault, which he was to protect at all cost; the second was to a safe inside the vault that contained a priceless treasure, which, if he used wisely, would replenish itself. He was warned many would seek to rob him. He opened the vault but discovered the safe had two locks and his key alone could not open it. A woman entered the vault with a different key. The man was humbled to learn he could not obtain his rightful inheritance without her. They made a covenant they would open the safe and he would watch over the vault and protect it; she would watch over the treasure.

"She was not concerned that, as guardian of the vault, he held two keys, for his full purpose was to see that she was safe as she watched over that which was most precious to them both," Elder Packer said. "Together they opened the safe and partook of their inheritance. They rejoiced for, as promised, it replenished itself."

They found they could pass the treasure on to their descendants and each could receive a full measure, undiminished to the last generation.

There came, in time, among their posterity, some few who were deceived, became jealous and selfish, and complained because they were not given both keys.

"Some even tried to reshape the key they had been given to resemble the other key," Elder Packer said. "Perhaps they thought, it would then fit both locks. And so it was that the safe was closed to them. Their reshaped keys were useless and their inheritance was lost."

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