Women encouraged to use their words to testify of truth

In the war of words today, the most important words are those from prophets, seers and revelators, taught Sheri L. Dew at BYU Women’s Conference

PROVO, Utah — The adversary is in a war of words over people’s souls, but covenant-keeping women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can bear witness of truth through their words, taught Sheri L. Dew during BYU Women’s Conference.

The executive vice president of Deseret Management Corp. and a former member of the Relief Society general presidency told the Marriott Center audience on Friday, May 5, “The Spirit cannot be restrained when covenant-keeping women gather.”

She said the war of words began in the premortal realm and continues on earth today.

“Satan understands the power of the Word — meaning the Savior — and he knows the power of our words when we testify of truth,” Sister Dew said. “Every time we use words to teach truth, we dilute the power of the adversary.”

Many messages are aimed at women today through the media, Internet, podcasts, Instagram, even artificial intelligence — which will make discerning truth even more difficult in the days to come, Sister Dew said. 

BYU Women’s Conference attendees listen in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, May 5, 2023. | Brooklynn Kelson/BYU Photo

Further complicating this is a tactic the Book of Mormon warned about: the tactic of flattery, which gratifies by falsification, cajoling, beguiling and playing upon one’s vanities.

The prophet Jacob taught that flattery is designed to “overthrow the doctrine of Christ” because it draws its power from the power of the devil.

However, there are two places to turn where words have unusual power — the temple and prophets of God. Through these sources, women can receive “Celestial training in a telestial world,” Sister Dew said.

Celestial training in the temple

Year ago, as a young single adult who was not attending the temple regularly, Sister Dew received important advice from her stake president about the temple — “just go.” 

As she went more often, she began to understand more. She pointed out that Doctrine and Covenants 109 outlines how people who go to the temple are armed with the power of God.

Sister Dew said people make five covenants in the temple, and in return, the Lord promises to endow them with knowledge, power and spiritual capacity. 

Sister Sheri L. Dew speaks about the power of the temple
Sheri L. Dew speaks about the power of the temple during her BYU Women’s Conference presentation in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, May 5, 2023. | Brooklynn Kelson/BYU Photo

She told the audience to go and keep going to the temple, because the words in the temple comprise the most celestial training on earth.

“The temple teaches us how to progress even while living here. It is celestial training at its best,” Sister Dew said.

The most important words

Sister Dew said the most important words being spoken on earth today are those from prophets, seers and revelators. Their words always have power.

“Prophets, seers and revelators can see things you and I cannot see,” she said. None of the journalists, podcasters or influencers in the world today hold all the priesthood keys, nor can they see the future, nor are they ordained as a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ. 

“Celestial training as taught by prophets often feels incongruent with this telestial world — because it is,” Sister Dew said. 

Sheri L. Dew speaks in the Marriott Center during BYU Women’s Conference
Sheri L. Dew speaks in the Marriott Center during BYU Women’s Conference in Provo, Utah, on Friday, May 5, 2023. | Brooklynn Kelson/BYU Photo

Self-appointed watchdogs — some of them members of the Church — feel compelled to censure the Church, Sister Dew said. She warned those listening to be wary of those who feel they are smarter than prophets and who want to pressure prophets to conform to “the philosophies of men.”

Meanwhile, following the Prophet today is not blind obedience, she said, it is placing trust in God and being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Prophets are not in it for fame or money; their only objective is the everlasting welfare of souls. 

“In today’s war of words, the words of prophets cut through the din and lead us to Christ,” Sister Dew said.

The words of women

“Our celestial training here is rigorous, but we are closer than we think,” Sister Dew said. “Maybe even shockingly close.”

Sister Dew said the words of women have unusual power to mobilize, lift, strengthen, fortify, encourage and testify of truth in a way that changes lives. 

“Let us link arms as a worldwide sisterhood committed to using our words to bear witness of truth. Because our words have power.”

Related Stories
Sheri Dew explains how ‘prophets make you smarter’
Sheri Dew’s response to those who wonder whether prophets, seers and revelators are infallible
‘The blessings of power and protection’ — Temple and Family History instruction led by Elder Bednar, Elder Gong, President Johnson, Sister Aburto
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed