3 things President Freeman wishes for the young women of the Church

Young women can lead out because they are born with this gift, says new Young Women General President Emily Belle Freeman

After President Emily Belle Freeman was called to be the Young Women general president, she spent a lot of time at night praying for the young women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Over the months, the same answer has come to her over and over — three things that she hopes every young woman can know.

“First, you are a beloved child of Heavenly Father. Second, Jesus Christ will be your greatest strength in your lifetime. And third, the Holy Ghost will never fail you and learn to listen to his words. If every young woman could leave the program, knowing those three truths, then I just imagine the remarkable force for good she will be in the building up of the kingdom of God,” President Freeman said.

President Freeman — with her counselors, Sister Tamara Wood Runia and Sister Andrea Muñoz Spannaus — began her service as the Church’s Young Women general president on Aug. 1. She has spent hours pondering her new role since being sustained during April 2023 general conference, she said.

By changing a question of, “What is my place in this Church?” to “What is my place in God’s plan?” young women can know by the Spirit how they are needed and that they are important, she said.

Two young women study the scriptures together.
Young women study the scriptures together | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

President Freeman has two daughters and three daughters-in-law — her five girls, she said. And the thought of raising up holy women unto the Lord and helping them know who they are as women in God’s plan —  whatever age they are — resonates in her soul.

“The role that we play is remarkable. It is remarkable,” she said on the Church News podcast

The women in the scriptures are not quiet women nor do they stand back or stay in the shadows — they lead out, expound scripture, exhort others and build the kingdom of God. And young women and women can do that today, President Freeman said.

“We have that right to expound and exhort and to just testify boldly and build this kingdom, as we await for the arrival of Jesus Christ who will come again. And I think it’s important for us to recognize our capacity and our role and who He sees in us.”

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Trust in the Prophet and trust from the Prophet

President Freeman wants to help the youth understand the importance of a living Prophet on the earth. Growing up, her parents set apart general conference as an important time where they gathered together with games and good food. And everyone knew when the Prophet was speaking — even the youngest children took note and listened.

“I also remember watching my parents’ faces, as they listened to a prophet of God speak, and how important that was to them,” she said.

In the months that followed, her mother would talk about general conferences “as just part of the regular walk and talk of our life.” And so adults can set that pattern to help the younger generation learn to love, respect and honor a prophet.

Sister Tamara W. Runia, President Emily Belle Freeman, and Sister Andrea Muñoz Spannaus, after being called as the Young Women general presidency during April 2023 general conference.
The new Young Women general presidency are Sister Tamara W. Runia, first counselor, President Emily Belle Freeman, and Sister Andrea Muñoz Spannaus, second counselor, during the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 1, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Meanwhile, President Freeman said she knows the Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, has a great deal of trust in the young women of the Church. He issued a call for the youth to be part of the Lord’s battalion and to gather Israel.

This generation understands inclusion and gathering and they are gifted at it innately, she said. “It’s as if they came with this ability to include and to gather in really unique and intimate ways.”

She envisions leaders inviting the young women to lead out in presidency meetings, planning activities and planning camp.

“That’s what I want the youth program to look like, is this army of young women and women who are arm in arm, gathering Israel and remembering what are the gifts we each bring to the table and how one of their gifts is perhaps divinely appointed?”

President Freeman’s love of the Savior

President Freeman has always had “a deep and abiding love for Jesus Christ.” She can’t even remember when she began believing in Jesus Christ, she just knows she did her whole life. 

“He really is a part of all of my conversations all of the time,” she said. “I have friends that are religious, and friends who are not religious. And everybody just knows Jesus is a part of my life, my day-to-day life.”

She also loved writing from an early age. President Freeman is a popular speaker, author, podcaster and teacher and has worked in those fields for years. But all of that is now taking a pause as she moves into sharing her witness and testimony in a different venue in her new position.

“I have a really strong witness of the reality of Jesus Christ. I know He lives. ... And I know that the Prophet who leads this Church, President Russell M. Nelson, is God’s Prophet who helps God’s children to know the best way to get home safely and to bring as many with us as we can.”

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