Oprah and A Fundamental Principle

This is a General Conference Odyssey post.

Another timely reading of a General Conference talk now as I hear about Oprah Winfrey’s “rousing Golden Globes speech.” I have to agree with everything she said, but there is one incredibly important omission from her that is a fundamental principle from our Heavenly Father which I would like to address here.

I base my post on the Priesthood session of the October 1978 conference where President Kimball quoted Paul, saying, “intreat … the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity” (1 Tim. 5:1-2). Then he added, “We men of the priesthood ought to so do. We must be different than other men.”

Pres. Kimball, a prophet of God, declares, “We love the women of the Church! We have great respect for them. … Men of the world may disregard women or see them only as objects of desire or as someone to be used for selfish purposes. Let us, however, be different in our conduct and in our relationships with women.”

As Oprah spoke to her audience, she was talking about the Natural man, who is “an enemy to God” (Mosiah 3:19). We also know that Satan is always enticing people with horrible thoughts. Violence against women has been epidemic throughout the world, throughout time.

I agree with what she said. She was right on the money and her words were powerful. But she is on the wrong path.

The vision of Lehi, in the Book of Mormon (see 1 Ne. 8), teaches us there are many paths, but only one path leads to the Tree of Life. My feeling is that Oprah is on a path that parallels that one path. She has offered the world of women a lot of good things; a lot of hope. But I also feel she has become her own God. As she said in her speech, a woman speaking her truth, “…the absolute truth…,” is her “most powerful tool.”

Someone needs to tell Oprah that no woman was ever meant to be her own Savior.

The most powerful tool a woman has is Jesus Christ, The Truth, and The Word, who makes all things whole again. Oprah never mentions Jesus Christ!

Women have been subjects of abuse for millennia. But there have been many righteous and God-fearing women who have turned to Him when the world failed them. These are the women we must honor and emulate.

Eliza R. Snow said, “We want to be ladies in very deed, not according to the term of the word as the world judges, but fit companions of the Gods and Holy Ones” (Address to Lehi Ward Relief Society, Oct. 27, 1869).

Julie B. Beck made this bold statement.

“The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. Qualifying for the Lord’s Spirit begins with a desire for that Spirit and implies a certain degree of worthiness. Keeping the commandments, repenting, and renewing covenants made at baptism lead to the blessing of always having the Lord’s Spirit with us. Making and keeping temple covenants also adds spiritual strength and power to a woman’s life. Many answers to difficult questions are found by reading the scriptures because the scriptures are an aid to revelation. Insight found in scripture accumulates over time, so it is important to spend some time in the scriptures every day. Daily prayer is also essential to having the Lord’s Spirit with us” (See Doctrine and Covenants 20:772 Nephi 32:3, and 3 Nephi 19:24–33).

With the new year, Relief Society has an opportunity to realign its purpose. As Emmeline B. Wells stated, “We are getting too far away from the spiritual side of our great work, and from the thought that inspired the first organization of the Relief Society. The Society stands first for spirituality, and then for charity and mercy”  (Emmeline B. Wells, quoted in Women of Covenant by Derr, Cannon, Beecher. Pg. 189).

I think about that statement all the time. Oprah talks about “maintaining hope for a brighter morning,” but what is that hope in? She never declares her allegiance to our spiritual Father or the Savior of the World, as women of God are willing to do.

The following statement was spoken by a servant who we will sustain as our prophet, seer, and revelator at our next conference:

“So today I plead with my sisters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to step forward! Take your rightful and needful place in your home, in your community, and in the kingdom of God—more than you ever have before. I plead with you to fulfill President Kimball’s prophecy. And I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ that as you do so, the Holy Ghost will magnify your influence in an unprecedented way!” (Russell M. Nelson, “A Plea to My Sisters,” Oct. 2015).

This is the fundamental principle we should follow in order to fulfill great and ennobling things along the right path.



Other General Conference Odyssey posts:

Not the ease of finished things Marilyn Nielson