Elder David S. Baxter of the Seventy directed his remarks Saturday afternoon to the single parents in the Church.
"Although you may at times have asked, 'Why me?' it is through the hardships of life that we grow towards godhood as our character is shaped in the crucible of affliction; as the events of life take place while God respects the agency of man."
He acknowledged the many struggles single parents face. "You have to be father as well as mother. You run your household, watch over your family, sometimes struggle to make ends meet, and miraculously, you even find the wherewithal to serve in the Church in significant ways."
Elder Baxter spoke of his mother, who raised her children on her own in poor circumstances. Despite her struggles, she was "a tremendous source of determination and sheer Scottish grit."
"There are many of you good women in the Church across the world who face similar circumstances," he said, "and who demonstrate the same resilience year after year."
Although life may not be what single parents hoped or expected, Elder Baxter said they need not fear for the future. "With God's help … your children will grow up and call you blessed, and every single one of their many achievements will stand as a tribute to you."
He continued, "Please never feel that you are in some kind of second-tier, sub-category of Church membership, somehow less entitled to the Lord's blessings than others. In the kingdom of God there are no second-class citizens."
As single parents move forward in patience and faith, Heavenly Father will bless them, he said.
"Many of you have already discovered the great, transforming truth that when you live to lift the burdens of others, your own burden becomes lighter. … You are able to face your own trials with greater acceptance, a more understanding heart, and deeper gratitude for what you have, rather than pining for what you yet lack."
Elder Baxter then challenged members and leaders to ask what more they could do to support single-parent families.
He concluded, "Single parents, I testify that as your do your very best in the most difficult of human challenges, Heaven will smile upon you. Truly you are not alone. Let the redemptive, loving power of Jesus Christ brighten your life now, and fill you with the hope of eternal promise. Take courage. Have faith and hope. Consider the present with fortitude and look to the future with confidence."