LDS women exhorted to remain steadfast

Stressing the bedrock of home and family in an ever-more uncertain world, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told women Saturday that their work as mothers and role models is vital not only to their own children but society.

Assembled in the LDS Conference Center for the annual Relief Society meeting, leaders of that body joined President Thomas S. Monson in asking women to be "steadfast and immovable" as they rededicate themselves to truth, virtue, love and service.

"We do not find truth groveling through error," said President Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency of the church. "Truth is found by searching, studying and living the revealed word of God. We adopt error when we mingle with error. We learn truth when we associate with truth."

Love and service are inherent in righteous women, he said, who are "the epitome of love" and lead their children with kindness. "While your husbands may be head of the home, you surely are the heart of the home.

"Mother's love brings out the best in a child. You become the model for your children to follow."

Trying times will prove the worth of women who stand firm, said Relief Society General President Mary Ellen Smoot. "We cannot abandon our faith when challenges come our way. We will not turn away; we will not retreat; we will not become discouraged. We will move boldly and clearly forward and be an example for all those around us in modesty, humility and faith."

That example moves beyond one's own family as women "put their arms around the new members and make everyone feel needed and nurtured no matter what their status in life is," she said.

Serving as an example to others grows out of "everything we do and say, how we dress, how we spend our time, in all the choices we make we demonstrate what we believe," said Sister Virginia Jensen, first counselor.

She asked women to teach their loved ones fasting and prayer, Sabbath observance and obedience. "Teach them to seek God's approval, not man's. . . . The truths of the gospel and knowledge of the plan of salvation are weapons your family members can use for victory over Satan's evil forces."

Such "loving and leading" are the prerogative of all women, whether they are biological mothers or not, said second counselor Sister Sheri Dew. "Motherhood is more than bearing children. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us."

Because motherhood is "the most ennobling endowment" that God could give women, the inability to bear children for any reason is difficult for righteous women, she said. "But the Lord's timetable for each of us does not negate our nature. Some of us, then, must simply find other ways to mother."

She asked women to reach out to children and teenagers, befriending them early in life so that as they feel loved, they will let themselves be led to righteousness. "If we really want to make a difference, it will happen as we mother those we have borne, and those we are willing to bear with."


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