- Reach out to serve
- Do the best you can- Nurture your children
What a resource are the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Gordon B. Hinckley declared in his Sunday morning conference address.
"You love this Church, you accept its doctrine, you honor your place in its organization, you bring luster and strength and beauty to its congregations," the prophet said. "How thankful we are to you. How much you are loved, respected, and honored."
President Hinckley told the sisters that they do not hold a "second place" in God's plan for the eternal happiness and well-being of His children. "You are an absolutely essential part of that plan.
"Each of you is a daughter of God, endowed with a divine birthright," he continued. "You need no defense of that position."
President Hinckley noted that during his travels he is often asked by the media about the place of women in the Church. "I invariably reply that I know of no other organization in all the world which affords women so many opportunities for development, for sociality, for the accomplishment of great good, for holding positions of leadership and responsibility."
Speaking to the mothers in the congregation, President Hinckley said, "You sisters are the real builders of the nation wherever you live. For you have created homes of strength and peace and security. These become the very sinew of any nation."
Unfortunately, he continued, many women are married to men who are abusive. "If there be any such men within the hearing of my voice, as a servant of the Lord I rebuke you and call you to repentance," he declared. "Discipline yourselves. Master your temper. Most of the things that make you angry are of very small consequence. What a terrible price you are paying for your anger. Ask the Lord to forgive you. Ask your wife to forgive you. Apologize to your children."
Speaking to single women, President Hinckley said the best medicine for loneliness is work and service in behalf of others. "Do not give up hope. And do not give up trying. But do give up being obsessed with it," the prophet counseled. " . . . I do not minimize your problems, but I do not hesitate to say that there are many others whose problems are more serious than are yours. Reach out to serve them, to help them, to encourage them."
President Hinckley continued that he knows many women in the Church have lost their husbands through abandonment, divorce and death. "Great is our obligation to you," he told them.
He then read a letter from a single mother of four sons, who stated she was not alone because she had "a wonderful ward family that has rallied around us." The woman told how her bishop, Relief Society presidency, stake presidency, home teachers, and priesthood leaders helped to bear her burdens.
"I hope," continued President Hinckley, "that every woman who finds herself in the kind of circumstances in which this woman lives, is similarly blessed with an understanding and helpful bishop, with a Relief Society president who knows how to assist her, with home teachers who know where their duty lies and how to fulfill it, and with a host of ward members who are helpful without being intrusive."
Continuing, President Hinckley said, "Some years ago President Benson delivered a message to the women of the Church. He encouraged them to leave their employment and give their individual time to their children. I sustain the position which he took.
"Nevertheless, I recognize, as he recognized, that there are some women, it has become very many in fact, who have to work to provide for the needs of their families. To you I say, do the very best you can. I hope that if you are employed full-time you are doing it to ensure that basic needs are met and not simply to indulge a taste for an elaborate home, fancy cars, and other luxuries.
"The greatest job that any mother will ever do will be in nurturing, teaching, lifting, encouraging and rearing her children in righteousness and truth. None other can adequately take her place. It is well-nigh impossible to be a full-time homemaker and a full-time employee," President Hinckley said.
"To the mothers of this Church . . . I want to say that as the years pass, you will become increasingly grateful for that which you did in molding the lives of your children in the direction of righteousness and goodness, integrity and faith," he continued.
President Hinckley then called the older women in the Church treasures.
"You have passed through the storms of life. You have weathered the challenges now facing your younger sisters. You are mature in wisdom, in understanding, in compassion, in love and service."
President Hinckley also paid tribute to his wife, Marjorie, who he has been married to for almost 60 years. Together, he said, they have faced many problems, but, with the help of the Lord, they have survived them all.
Concluding, President Hinckley told all women that they bring "a measure of wholeness" to the Church. "It was the Lord who designated that men in His Church should hold the priesthood. It was He who has given you your capabilities to round out this great and marvelous organization, which is the church and kingdom of God."