This is a General Conference Odyssey post.
We live in a society where it is “uncool” to be ladylike, act like a lady, and especially think like one. But don’t we secretly long to see a man honor his role and a woman honor her role according to the way God created them? Neal A. Maxwell gave an inspiring talk, in praise of women, back in April 1978, that simply makes me happy to read. I like hearing praise for women being feminine women.
First, he states, “In the work of the Kingdom, men and women are not without each other, but do not envy each other, lest by reversals and renunciations of role we make a wasteland of both womanhood and manhood.”
Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened in our world today. We don’t praise the identifying roles of womanhood or manhood. We’ve meshed them all together and created a wasteland of the human spirit, all in the name of equality.
Well, this is where I turn to the scriptures to discover what a virtuous woman should be (Proverbs 31:10-31):
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. (Women are to be honored and praised for their womanhood.)
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. (A woman’s work is never done. Some of us have help, most of us do not, nevertheless, we all share in the load of providing for the comforts of the home.)
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. (She makes important decisions and directs the welfare of her household, which extends into the community.)
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. (Her compassion knows no bounds; she takes care of all she can who are in need.)
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. (She provides for her household first, seeing that her children are dressed well and secure.)
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. (She provides income through her talents and is responsible in that endeavor.)
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. (She is intelligent, wise, and kind.)
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. (Her children and husband recognize her worth and praise her as a woman of virtue.)
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. (Faith is more important to her than vanity and appearance.)
You might recognize this quote from Elder Maxwell’s talk:
“When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this.”
Of all of the great counterfeits and lies Satan has told, he can never erase the true worth of the women of God. Unfortunately, he has worked hard to mix the genders and their roles. But talks like this stand through the ages, in praise of women forever. It’s as though Elder Maxwell knew what we would face in our day; a prophecy of warning to not succumb to the destroyer. He states, “It is precisely because the daughters of Zion are so uncommon that the adversary will not leave them alone.” Indeed, Satan tries his best, but we will not fail God. We are His daughters and we know our royal destiny.