Motherhood ‘defines our very identity’

"We are all mothers in Israel," declared Sheri L. Dew Sept. 29, "and our calling is to love and help lead the rising generation through the dangerous streets of mortality."

Speaking during the General Relief Society Meeting in the Conference Center, Sister Dew, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, added: "Loving and leading. These words summarize not only the all-consuming work of the Father and the Son, but the essence of our labor, for our work is to help the Lord with His work.

"Have you ever wondered why prophets have taught the doctrine of motherhood — and it is doctrine — again and again? It is a doctrine about which we must be clear if we hope to stand steadfast and immovable regarding issues that swirl around our gender. For Satan has declared war on motherhood. He knows that those who rock the cradle can rock his earthly empire. And he knows that without righteous mothers loving and leading the next generation, the kingdom of God will fail."

Being a mother is more than bearing children, Sister Dew explained. Motherhood 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."

Although some women must wait to have children, she continued, "The Lord's timetable for each of us does not negate our nature. Some of us, then, must simply find other ways to mother. And all around us are those who need to be loved and led."

Sister Dew urged Relief Society sisters to model righteous womanhood and to help young women "make a joyful transition to Relief Society. This means our friendship with them must begin long before they turn 18."

Speaking of the recent terrorist attacks in the U.S., she said: "Never has there been a greater need for righteous mothers — mothers who bless their children with a sense of safety, security and confidence about the future. . . .

"As mothers in Israel, we are the Lord's secret weapon. Our influence comes from a divine endowment that has been in place from the beginning. In the premortal world, when our Father described our role, I wonder if we didn't stand in wide-eyed wonder that He would bless us with a sacred trust so central to His plan, and that He would endow us with gifts so vital to the loving and leading of His children. I wonder if we shouted for joy in part because of the ennobling stature He gave us in His kingdom. The world won't tell you that, but the Spirit will."