Elder Rasband concludes BYU Women’s Conference with focus on the divine destiny of daughters of God

The doctrine of divinity within each person is clear, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught at the close of the 2021 BYU Women’s Conference.

As stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World: “Each [of us] is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.”

“But do you believe it?” Elder Rasband asked. “Do you believe that you, a daughter of God, has work to do on earth as part of the eternal plan?”

Focusing on the divine destiny and the role of daughters of God in his remarks, Elder Rasband said, “You have come just at this time to valiantly build up the kingdom of God on earth.”

Elder Rasband and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, were the final keynote speakers April 30 at the two-day conference, which was broadcast from the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University and streamed live online.

Read more: Sister to Sister event — How to deal with unfulfilled expectations, disappointment and feel God’s love

Sister Rasband introduced her husband, saying that she had not originally married an Apostle. “I married a young man home from serving a mission for the Lord. … I knew he would honor his covenants, that he would be true to the Lord and to me, and provide for and help raise our family in the gospel,” she said.

She shared her enthusiasm to hear him speak on the women’s conference theme: “I am a Child of God; His promises are sure.” “It’s a simple but primary principle of the gospel that if fully recognized and appreciated can afford us great power and strength to be all we can be and to do our part in these latter days with the guidance of the Holy Ghost,” Sister Rasband said.

“I am blessed every day by her testimony of the gospel and the witness she bears to our children, grandchildren and now great-grandchild, that Jesus is the Christ,” Elder Rasband said of his wife’s remarks.

He gave credit to his presence there that day to the testimonies of important women in his life such as his wife and his mother, Verda Rasband. “Her work ethic was remarkable,” he said of his mother, “but her covenants made with her Father in Heaven were the source of her strength. She expected the same from me … .”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, speak during the BYU Women's Conference, broadcast from the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, April 30, 2021.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, speak during the BYU Women’s Conference, broadcast from the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, April 30, 2021. Credit: BYU Photo

His mother taught “little Ronnie Rasband” how to work, to stay with a task until it is completed, to love the scriptures and to turn to the Lord for answers. When he was “old enough to get into trouble,” she asked him to promise her that he would keep the Word of Wisdom — a promise he has tried to never deviate from. “Time and again she bore her testimony to me,” Elder Rasband said.

From his mother, he learned the way home to Heavenly Father. “I believe by divine design that was part of her purpose in mortality,” he said.

He and his family have been blessed by covenants made in the temple. Anyone who makes and keeps sacred covenants in the temple, married or not, will receive eternal blessings of belonging to the Lord, Elder Rasband said. “In my humble opinion, it does not get better than that.

“All are alike unto the Lord,” Elder Rasband said. “He sees your righteous desire to keep moving forward on the covenant path, as you no doubt, no question, face headwinds, perhaps even most of the time. … He sees you as who you really are — a daughter of God; and He calls to you, one-by-one, ‘Come unto me’” (Matthew 11:28).

During challenging or lonely times, eternal promises hold true. The Savior has taken upon Himself all the pains, sins and crippling adversities that have plagued God’s children since the beginning of time, and can understand what each person feels. In powerful words given to Joseph Smith while in Liberty Jail, “The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? Therefore, hold on thy way, … fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:8-9).

“Hold on to the promises you have received and the promises and covenants you have made,” Elder Rasband said.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the BYU Women's Conference, broadcast from the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, April 30, 2021.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the BYU Women’s Conference, broadcast from the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, April 30, 2021. Credit: BYU Photo

He spoke about the necessity of being consistently true to one’s covenants and promises throughout mortal life by teaching about the parable of the Ten Virgins found in Matthew 25.

The Ten Virgins represent members of the Church, and the bridegroom represents Jesus Christ. Five wise virgins carried oil for their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. The five foolish virgins took no oil for their lamps and were turned away by the bridegroom.

“The Lord explained in Latter-day scripture that the wise virgins are those who ‘have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived’” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:57), Elder Rasband said.

Hold on to the promises you have received and the promises and covenants you have made.

When the cry came that the bridegroom cometh, the wise virgins filled and lit their lamps. The foolish virgins asked for oil from the wise, but the wise were unable to share their oil because it “represented more than what came in a jar,” he said. This oil had been collected by “always striving to live faithful to their covenants with the Lord.”

Oil is love for God the Father and Jesus Christ, a desire to live with integrity, worshiping in the temple, connections to and gratitude for families, partaking of and honoring covenants, doctrinal understanding through studying the Savior’s words in scripture and from living prophets, paying tithing, fulfilling callings, mercy, repentance and drawing upon Christ’s Atonement.

“In the account, the foolish were off to the market,” Elder Rasband said. However, “You cannot buy the oil of testimony.”

When the foolish virgins tried to join the wedding, the bridegroom said, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not” (Matthew 25:10-12).

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the BYU Women's Conference, broadcast from the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, April 30, 2021.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the BYU Women’s Conference, broadcast from the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, April 30, 2021. Credit: BYU Photo

“Now, the Joseph Smith Translation is even more explicit,” Elder Rasband said. “Rather than, ‘I know you not,’ the revelation says, ‘Verily I say unto you, ye know me not’” (JST Matthew 25:11).

It is a stunning rebuke to these five who had not filled their souls with a knowledge of the Savior by following His example.

Jesus Christ has atoned for all the sins of God’s children, taking upon Himself the harshest moments of all mortals. He humbly and fully committed Himself to the will of His Father. “The magnitude of our Redeemer’s final days cannot be overstated,” Elder Rasband said. 

At baptism, members of the Church covenanted to serve the Lord and keep His commandments, committed to be called God’s people, bear one another’s burdens, mourn with those who mourn, comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and stand as witnesses of God, Elder Rasband said. Baptismal covenants are renewed each week by partaking of the sacrament.

In closing, Elder Rasband said, “I leave you with my apostolic blessing that as a child of God you will recognize the divinity within you, that you will pray for guidance from your Father in Heaven and that you will nurture a heart full of love. … May you know of your profound influence and may you devotedly serve your Father in Heaven.”