These words were highlighted in a recent fireside for Relief Society women in which Sister Elaine Dalton, former General President of the Young Women for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke. In the fireside, she issued another call for a return to virtue, just as she has done for over 11 years:
“There has never been a time like this,” she said. “I’ve never seen the opposition be greater, but I’ve never seen the opportunities be greater, and as my husband and I sit up here looking out at you, there is so much hope because you really are the change-the-world generation. You’re the ones who will change the world.
“You are the ones who have been spoken of by prophets, seers and revelators all through the scriptures. You’re the ones who have been prophesied about. You are the ones who will lead the world and who will lead the women of the world because you are ‘different in happy ways,’” she said, referencing a quote by former LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball.
Sister Dalton told of a trip last month to New York City, where she and her husband found themselves driving through the city during the Women’s March.
“We were in a cab, and as I watched those women marching and yelling, and should I say, behaving anything but ladylike and using language that was very unbefitting of daughters of God,” Sister Dalton said. “As I watched all of that take place, my heart just sunk and I thought to myself, ‘What would happen if all those women were marching and calling to the world for a return to virtue?’”
A call to the world for a return to virtue
To have virtue means to have “behavior showing high moral standards” and it is defined as “a good and desirable thing”.
Synonyms for the word virtue include:
Character, decency, goodness, courage, honesty, integrity, grace, excellence, righteousness, rightness, uprightness, morality, courageousness, bravery, dauntlessness, purity, and fearlessness.
Take particular note of the words that define the opposite of virtue. These antonyms are chilling and instructive:
Indecency, indiscretion; debauchery, degeneracy, degradation, depravity, perversion, pervertedness, sinfulness; coarseness, dishonesty, underhandedness, unscrupulousness, lowness, meanness, viciousness, vileness, corruption, evil, evildoing, immorality, iniquity, sin, crudeness, crassness and wickedness.
Is it any wonder why the ennobling quality of virtue is precisely what prophets, apostles and great women throughout the ages have taught, testified and endeavored to exemplify? Is it any wonder why we should avoid and turn away from everything in society that exemplifies the opposite of virtue?
In her 2008 General Conference talk titled, “Return to Virtue“, Elaine Dalton poses some poignant questions that might cause us to pause and reflect:
“Could it be that we have been slowly desensitized into thinking that high moral standards are old-fashioned and not relevant or important in today’s society? … Could it be that first we tolerate, then accept, and eventually embrace the vice that surrounds us?10 Could it be that we have been deceived by false role models and persuasive media messages that cause us to forget our divine identity?”
Could it be?
Calls for virtue are not antiquated rallying cries meant strictly for days of old. Indeed, the calls for virtue have echoed down through the ages. These are our days in which there is a greater need for the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to rally for and in defense of all that is virtuous and good in the world. This means turning our back against those things in our society that are lacking virtue. It means avoiding embracing and associating with anything in society which is defined as the opposite of virtue. It means we “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him”; it is to deny ourselves “of all ungodliness,” and “love God” with all our “might, mind and strength.” (Moro. 10:32.)
Rallying together for virtue
Now, more than ever before, the world needs valiant women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to lead the rallying calls for a return to virtue, decency, goodness, grace, excellence, righteousness and morality. Rallying for virtue is to be courageous and bold; to use all our strength, energy, and ability in the war between good and evil, and to fight the good fight of faith.
Society needs LDS women to shine forth as examples of purity, covenants and power. The world needs women who are willing to push back against the world and be the light it so desperately needs. And, the worldwide church needs more valiant women who are willing to rise up and rally others to stand for virtue. By so doing, we can be the “change-the- world-generation”.
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