There is nothing I like more than talking about the power given to women in the LDS church. And we just don’t talk about it enough. Instead of being intimidated by women who complain and demand some special privilege or other, where are the women with eyes to see? Those are the ones that build me up. Those are the ones whose hands join with mine in power. Those are the ones who I want to stand alongside.
This session of conference (Oct. 1978) is the first women’s meeting held for all women, twelve and older.
Pres. Spencer W. Kimball gave a profound and inspiring talk during this meeting. I invite all to read it. (Note: It is very long but full of great counsel.) I offer just a few of my thoughts and insights.
MAY WE BE WOMEN WITH EYES TO SEE….
… THE WORLD FOR WHAT IT IS
Pres. Kimball warned,
“We have no choice, dear sisters, but to continue to hold up the ideal of the Latter-day Saint family. … But we cannot set aside this standard, because so many other things depend upon it.”
This is a prophet of God prophesying of our day. If we follow the world and ignore the sanctity of the family, it will destroy the very purposes of the Plan of Salvation. So many other things truly do depend on the traditional family unit designed by God.
- Pray to not be deceived.
- Study the scriptures and the example of the Savior.
- Listen to the prophet whom God has anointed to lead us.
Truth stands the test of time and this list is based on truth. It’s almost so simple and “boring” that we forget how important following these three safeguards really are.
… THE SAFETY NET OF THE PROPHETS
Three women spoke in this session—Ruth H. Funk (outgoing YW president), Elaine A. Cannon (incoming YW president), and Barbara B. Smith (RS president). All of them spoke of the importance of following the prophet.
Today, we have women screaming for their voices to be heard in opposition to sustaining our prophet and apostles. Do not be deafened by those voices. Follow the prophet, he knows the way. Use your spiritual eyes to see what God is showing us.
… THE POWER WITHIN PLACED THERE BY A LOVING FATHER
Pres. Kimball speaks boldly in his talk. He says,
“Let there be no question in your mind about your value as an individual. The whole intent of the gospel plan is to provide an opportunity for each of you to reach your fullest potential, which is eternal progression and the possibility of godhood.”
This promise has power to help us through the bad times; to help us overcome. He continues, “Remember also that if you succeed, it isn’t because of luck. Success comes from faith and work and prayer and from constant righteous effort.” That is using our power well. His words remind, and reassure, me of my own power. “We have grown strong as a people because our mothers and our women have been so selfless.”
… THE PATH TO GLORY
There are many paths to follow, but only one with a glorious reward. It’s so easy, today, to get caught up in causes and detours. We all want to fit in and not stand out in any way. We are being told over and over again that we can have it all if we accept the world’s standards, but once again, a great prophet warns:
“Each of you should be grateful to be a woman! Self-pity is always a sad thing to see and especially when there is no justification for it. To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. … The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times.”
I felt recharged after reading Pres. Kimball’s talk. He offered hope to women in distress. He reminded us of our responsibilities. Maybe, more importantly, he validated what many of us are feeling inside, but hiding because it isn’t very accepted in the world. Being daughters of God, we know what we must do, but it’s scary to stand up against the world we live in.
There are women who feel it necessary to speak up about the pain they wallow in. It’s true, since the beginning of time, women have been taken advantage of. But, pointing fingers and speaking out will not end the terrific pain we have all had to endure. Sis. Smith charges women to “be part of the solutions.” And Pres. Kimball reminds us that we are all capable of “faith, fortitude, denial, selflessness, and good service.”
Does this sound like wallowing? No. We need to remember the power we have been given. Not to stand up against men. Not to show an overbearing strength. But to fulfill our responsibilities as daughters of the God of Creation; to be women with eyes to see the glory of that Heavenly Being. To demonstrate our desire to act in His name, to fulfill His will, to build His kingdom. Then, sisters, we will see glory given to us, our families, and all our loved ones.
There is no greater power or privilege.