Music & the Spoken Word: Motherhood matters

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given May 8, 2022.

A novel by French writer Victor Hugo tells of a small group of soldiers who met a starving woman and her children in the woods. Moved with compassion, the sergeant handed her a piece of bread from his rations.

“Taking the bread, she broke it in two and gave it to the children. …

“‘She has not saved any for herself,’ growled the sergeant.

“‘Because she is not hungry,’ remarked a soldier.

“‘Because she is a mother,’ said the sergeant.”

(See “Ninety-Three” by Victor Hugo, published in 1888, page 15.)

Today and always, we honor mothers. We honor their selfless love. We honor their sacrifices. At the same time, we recognize that many mothers worry they haven’t done enough and wish they could do more. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland assured such mothers with these words: “If you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do” (see “Because She Is a Mother,” Ensign, May 1997, page 36).

We may not be able to fully appreciate what our mothers have done for us, but we can see to it that their labor of love does not go unnoticed. By the way we live our lives we can declare that a mother’s influence on her children is beyond calculation, even if it is not truly valued until a future day.

“I’m so grateful for my mother. She wasn’t perfect, but she was good and supportive and wise. I feel blessed to be her son. I probably didn’t realize it at the time, but I can see now that her love and support helped me become the person I am today.”

“I’ll be honest — it’s exhausting! Some days are definitely harder than others. But you just do your best. And the next day, you do it again, because you know in your heart how important it is.  What keeps me going is the love I feel for my family.”

“I learned as a mother, and now a grandmother, to keep the big picture in mind. Sometimes we focus so much on only the present moment, and we miss how precious our children are.”

Mother Teresa, head of the Missionaries of Charity order, cradles an armless baby girl at her order's orphanage in what was then known as Calcutta, India, in 1978.
Mother Teresa, head of the Missionaries of Charity order, cradles an armless baby girl at her order’s orphanage in what was then known as Calcutta, India, in 1978. Credit: Eddie Adams, Associated Press

Mother Teresa was the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to helping the poorest of the poor. Known and beloved worldwide for her compassion and humanitarian heart, she received numerous honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize and the title of saint in the Catholic Church. And yet, though she bore no children of her own, the title for which she is best known is simply “Mother.”

Motherhood matters. Indeed, few things in life matter more. Of all the good causes in the world, of all the ways we might try to make the world a better place, none have greater power and potential than the profound influence of a mother on a child. And so today and always, we honor and celebrate, remember and thank mothers.

“I love my mom so much. She is the best. I want to be like her and be as kind and smart and loving as she is.”

“I can’t even express how grateful I am for my wife, the mother of our children. She helps each one of us so much —unselfishly, lovingly.”

“I have to admit I haven’t always like Mother’s Day all that much.  I would hear how wonderful everyone’s mother is and I always felt like I never measured up.  But I’ve come to realize that God doesn’t need me to be a perfect mother.  He just asks that I do what I can, and to love.  And because motherhood is such a sacred and important work he’ll be with me every step of the way.”

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM,, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

See the Church News’ archive of ‘Spoken Word’ messages