During a recent Stake Council meeting a topic was very briefly discussed and a course of action was about to be agreed upon. Then our Stake Relief Society President raised her hand and spoke briefly, suggesting an alternative course of action. Her recommendation was perfect and we all agreed she had a better way. We changed our plans and moved forward.
During that Stake Council meeting I witnessed it first hand – and I’ve witnessed it so many times. However, this most recent experience gave me an increased feeling of gratitude for the women of the Church.
Gratitude for the Women of the Church who Follow the Prophet
I’m so grateful for women of the Church who support our leaders, and revere our prophet. Recently, there was a very influential Latter-day Saint influencer on Instagram who made it clear that she doesn’t follow the prophet, but that she follows Jesus Christ. She posted that she “considers” the prophet’s words.
There was a comment made on a related post, and someone was lamenting this attitude of “we follow Christ not the prophets” that has become somewhat popular in select groups, and one humble sister stated, “This woman does not represent the voice of the faithful women of the Church. She doesn’t speak for me.”
I was so impressed by this woman and her willingness to declare her loyalty to God, the Savior, His Church, and His prophets. I know there are hundreds of thousands, even millions, of powerfully faithful women of God who stand by the prophets and believe that, “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”
Gratitude for Women Who Find Joy in and Want Children
I was recently listening to Sheri Dew’s Revised Edition of “Women and the Priesthood,” which is an absolute must read/listen. (I listened on the Deseret Bookshelf app). One of the chapters was on motherhood, and Sheri Dew shared a quote from an early member of the Church who stated that Joseph Smith said something to the effect of, “The day will come that the only people in the world who will be willing to bear children will be Latter-day Saint women.”
About six months ago I somehow landed on YouTube channel of a Christian who was celebrating the decision that her and her husband had made to be childfree.
There were no physical complications, no health issues, they just didn’t want to have kids. She made a specific video about all the reasons why they didn’t want kids, and the list included:
- sleeping in
- more money
- reduced stress
- no desire to be a mom
- she’s cool enough without kids
None of this is to cast stones at this woman, but it just opened my eyes up to a group of people (dozens and dozens of people also sharing the dislike for kids in the comments section of her video) who feel that living childfree is the better option.
One woman in the comments was celebrating her decision to not have kids saying it was “the best decision of her life.”
I’m sorry, but that is incorrect. We welcomed #7 into the world in June of 2020 and some of my greatest joys EVERY DAY are from my interactions with our baby.
I honor women in the Church who have to sacrifice SO MUCH – travel, sleep, a quiet house, exercise, showering when they want, their own pursuits, to welcome children into the world and be their 24/7 caregivers. Motherhood and mothers rock!
Gratitude for Women Who Lead in the Savior’s Way
There are so many powerful women that I know, and they are powerful leaders. I was in a temple and family history coordination meeting last Sunday and our Stake History Consultant shared what she does when her kids come to her with problems.
She said that usually when a child expresses a concern, she can instantly think of a story from her ancestors who had experienced something similar, and she can share that with her children and it helps them with their own struggles.
This same sister has travelled all through the stake giving trainings, sharing powerful stories of her ancestors, bearing testimony in church – and I’ve had the privilege of seeing her lead our stake in our temple and family history efforts. She leads by example and does it so humbly.
My gratitude for her, and for tens of thousands of other women just like her grew immensely when I saw the flip side of the coin in a recent experience shared by another sister of our faith.
She decided that she had enough of being treated as a “second class citizen” so she was going to demand things be done her way. She shared on social media that she got asked to speak with her husband in church and told the Bishopric member that the ONLY way she would speak is if she were last on the program because she deserved to have the last word and to be the concluding speaker because men shouldn’t always be the ones having that opportunity.
That just made me sad. There seems to be a growing tide of people among us who are so determined to want to change the Church, instead of having the desire to be changed themselves. Again, my gratitude for humble women of faith who serve, and love, and teach, and humbly lead with priesthood power that is accessible to all of God’s children.
Gratitude for Women Who Don’t Buy What the World is Selling
The year 2021 has been full of scripture reading for me. My daughter challenged my to read the Book of Mormon before she entered the MTC, and after finishing that I decided to read the New Testament. I finished that, so I’m now going through the Doctrine and Covenants and came across this gem of a verse that alludes to the three types of prevailing doctrines in our world:
I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.
It appears to me that there are 3 types of doctrines:
- Doctrines of God
- Doctrines of Men
- Doctrines of Devils
It makes sense that there is so much confusion in our day.
God’s doctrines are revealed in scripture, at church, in the temple, by the prophets – but these doctrines are definitely not the ones that swirl around us.
The doctrines of men and devils are on the television, radio, billboards, books, podcasts, Instagram stories, phones, and pretty much anywhere a message can be communicated. Most of the philosophies of men and devils aren’t blatantly evil, but they are mingled with scripture, so they seem reasonable and appealing.
I’m so impressed with women who are able to detect a true doctrine from a false one, because that takes discernment, especially in our day. A Baptist preacher who lived in the 1800’s, Charles Spurgeon, said the following about discernment: “Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”
Women who can unplug from social media, women who don’t fill their nights with Netflix, women who find power and revelation from the scriptures, women who are confident in their beauty and treat their body as a temple, women who are in tune with the spirit and know exactly who the Lord needs them to bless every day – these are the women that are changing the world.
Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.
Gratitude for Women Who Love the Temple and Honor Their Covenants
I was really scared as we were helping my daughter prepare for the temple. She’s always had a love for the temple, but as the day was approaching that she would be wearing garments I was so concerned because the loud noises of the world, even the Latter-day Saint world, focus on the inconvenience, the discomfort, and the drudgery of garments.
Few are the voices of those who love and cherish the token of their covenants that they get to have with them always.
So, as I said, I was concerned what the prevailing attitude would be in my daughter’s mind as she received her temple endowment and began to wear garments. I previously wrote an article detailing her experience and reaction, but to sum it up here, in the celestial room I asked her what she thought and she said, “I’m just so excited to wear the garment after learning everything that it means.”
Contrast that with some utterly profane articles that have been written recently about the garment, and my appreciation grows for the women of the Church who love the temple, find power in their covenants, and cherish the sacred symbol that the temple garment is.
Elder Carlos E. Asay shared in a 1997 talk called The Temple Garment: ‘An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment’:
I believe there is a critical body of knowledge relating to the temple garment. When that knowledge is obtained, Latter-day Saints filled with faith wear the garment and wear it properly, not because someone is policing their actions but because they understand the virtues of the sacred clothing.
Gratitude for Women Who Know the Priesthood Power and Authority They Hold
I want to reference Sheri Dew’s book, “Women and the Priesthood” again because it touches so beautifully upon God’s doctrines and some of the struggles that Sheri Dew had as she was seeking answers to earnest questions she and others had about priesthood.
I’ll tell you one thing, Sheri Dew has priesthood power and in various callings had been blessed with priesthood authority to lead, teach, correct, and motivate. While she doesn’t hold an office in the priesthood, every blessing that is available to God’s children is available to her thanks to the priesthood power available to her.
As President Nelson taught in the Women’s Session of the October 2019 General Conference:
Every woman and every man who makes covenants with God and keeps those covenants, and who participates worthily in priesthood ordinances, has direct access to the power of God. Those who are endowed in the house of the Lord receive a gift of God’s priesthood power by virtue of their covenant, along with a gift of knowledge to know how to draw upon that power.
The heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God’s power flowing from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood. I pray that truth will register upon each of your hearts because I believe it will change your life. Sisters, you have the right to draw liberally upon the Savior’s power to help your family and others you love.
I am so grateful for women, like her, who seek guidance from the Lord when they don’t understand. Women who always remain true to what they do know as they wrestle with things they don’t know.
We Need More Righteous Women
I truly am grateful for so many kind and gracious women of faith that I see. Let me share one of my favorite quotes by a righteous and powerful leader, Sister Margaret D. Nadauld.
“The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”
May you righteous women continue to fill these needs that are even more vital today, and through your light, attract others to do the same.