The women of the Church have “the spiritual power to change the world,” President Russell M. Nelson declared in his remarks on Saturday night, Oct. 3. “I have watched you doing just that during this pandemic,” he said.
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledged the tremendous challenges faced by many women today during the Women’s Session of the 190th Semiannual General Conference. However, in a year marked by financial and physical hardships amid natural disasters and pandemic, leaders also conveyed their love, concern for, and confidence in the women of the Church.
The sisters have been “absolutely heroic,” President Nelson said. “I marvel at your strength and your faith. You have shown that in difficult circumstances, you bravely carry on. I love you, and I assure you that the Lord loves you and sees the great work you are performing. Thank you! Once again, you have proven that you are literally the hope of Israel.”
Despite challenges, “we have so much to look forward to! The Lord placed you here now because He knew you had the capacity to negotiate the complexities of the latter part of these latter days. …
“I am not saying that the days ahead will be easy, but I promise you that the future will be glorious for those who are prepared, and who continue to prepare to be instruments in the Lord’s hands,” President Nelson said.
Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon, who conducted the session, offered brief comments prior to introducing a new video depicting women of the Church throughout the world serving, nurturing and encouraging those around them. “Your individual efforts have been considered collectively and have had a magnificent global influence,” she said.
The past six months have been unusually challenging. And yet, “We have watched you seek the light of the Savior through study and prayer. As covenant daughters you have reached out and shared the light through service to those around you, expressing your faith through your actions.”
President Dallin H. Oaks assured his female listeners that the First Presidency is concerned about the challenges women worldwide are facing. They love and pray for the women. “The Lord has special love and concern for His precious daughters,” he said. “He knows of your wants, your needs, and your fears. The Lord is all powerful. Trust Him.”
Opposition is part of Heavenly Father’s plan, but all trials and tribulations are temporary. Joy can be found in the principles and promises of the gospel and in the fruit of one’s labors, the first counselor in the First Presidency said.
“In the midst of hardships, the Divine assurance is always, ‘be of good cheer, for I will lead you along’” (Doctrine and Covenants 78:18), he said.
Heavenly Father’s “beloved daughters” have a crucial role in the establishment of Zion, President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, said.
These beloved daughters have a gift to allay contention and to promote righteousness with their love of God and with the love of God they engender in those they serve, President Eyring said.
“Sisters, you were given the blessing of being daughters of God with special gifts. You brought with you into mortal life a spiritual capacity to nurture others and to lift them higher toward the love and purity that will qualify them to live together in a Zion society.”
Latter-day prophets, including President Nelson, have declared the vast influence women have on the Church as devout defenders of the faith, he said.
President Eyring promised the sisters of the Church, “The Lord will lead you by the hand, through the Holy Ghost. He will go before your face as you help Him prepare His people to become His promised Zion.”
“The women of this Church have unlimited potential to change society,” declared Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.
Sister Eubank offered advice for how to overcome discouragement and make the world a better place through mercy, unity and continual striving for good.
She cited a meeting of the newly organized Relief Society on June 9, 1842, where the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “By union of feeling we obtain pow’r with God.”
“I have full spiritual confidence that, as we seek ‘union of feeling,’ we will call down the power of God to make our efforts more whole,” she said.
Sister Cristina B. Franco, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, also noted some of the challenges leaving women feeling “a little broken, cracked and damaged.”
“The worldwide pandemic, earthquakes, fires, and floods in different parts of the world, as well as other weather-related disasters have left people feeling helpless, hopeless, and brokenhearted,” she said.
However, “as we come unto Jesus Christ by exercising faith in Him, repenting and making and keeping covenants, our brokenness — whatever its cause — can be healed. This process, which invites the Savior’s healing power into our lives, does not just restore us to what we were before, but makes us better than we ever were.”
Sister Becky Craven of the Young Women general presidency encouraged the women of the Church not to become discouraged. “Small, but steady, deliberate changes will help us improve. … Change is a life-long process. I am grateful that in our struggles to change, the Lord is patient with us,” she said.