Stand and Defend the Family: General Women’s Session Recap

A combined Primary, Young Women and Relief Society choir from stakes in Salt Lake, Murray, Kamas and Park City performs during the General Women's Session of the 185th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 28, 2015.  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)Everything we stand and defend here on Mormon Women Stand was highlighted during this evening’s General Women’s Session of General Conference. We stand with the counsel and direction of Prophets of God to defend home and family, and we are covenant “home-makers.” It was wonderful to hear a representative from each of the auxiliaries stand as a living witness on behalf of these eternal truths. We have covenant responsibility to both stand as witnesses of God and His teachings and to also reach out and minister to those in need of comfort. 

It is a sacred privilege to have prophets of God in our midst. Since the Church made the decision to give the meeting General Conference “session” status, it is all the more appropriate that the prophet preside over the meeting and that members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles be present.

Sisters, we have been called upon to stand with the prophet and apostles. The women of the Church were yet again invited to become strong defenders of the family as outlined in the “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Let’s do this together!

Filling Our Homes with Light and Truth

Cheryl A. Esplin
Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency

Sister Esplin’s message was to buoy up the sisters of the Church. She taught that we can fulfill our responsibilities to seek truth, live truth, and defend truth. We do that through seeking constantly to be filled with the Spirit. She taught that Satan wants to separate us from truth, so we must be ever vigilant in filling our lives with gospel truths.

She shared a family history story of a young girl who had to listen to constant visitors in her home say awful things about the prophet Joseph Smith and the Church. Later, she saw in a dream the Angel Moroni giving the plates to Joseph Smith.  When she attended the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple, she saw that same picture of the Angel Moroni in the temple.  Years later before she died she heard a voice say, “Do not bury your testimony in the ground.”

Sister Esplin taught that although we live in a world of many doubters and critics, we must do our best to hold on to whatever light and truth we have. We must find moments to seek greater light, and then we must live it, share it, and defend it.

The Family Is of God

Carole M. Stephens
First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency

Sister Stevens taught that we are all part of God’s heavenly family. As members of this great family we are to unite in empathy and compassion as we support other women of God. She taught that we can expand our measure of influence as we bless, nurture, and defend the family among all of our sisters in the church. She reminded us that we ought to be one. She said that God wants and needs us to be one. She quoted D&C 38:27 “…I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” Sister Stephens taught that Christ is the only way we come overcome mortal challenges. She said that the family plan is the plan Heavenly Father has to unite his children, and that women of the church need to strengthen our families, church, and communities.

 

Defenders of the Proclamation

Bonnie L. Oscarson
Young Women General President

Sis. Oscarson said “One of the hardest things in this life is to have patience in the Lord’s timing.” Ultimately, we are here to discover the will of the Lord and conform our will to His will. The Proclamation to the Family is the Lord’s voice in stating the importance of family. She listed three principles for us to stand in defense:

1. Marriage only between a man and a woman. In our own marriages, we need to model what a righteous marriage looks like.

2. Elevate the divine roles of mothers and fathers. We have the responsibility to teach our children to hold to the high standards of family leadership and oneship.

3. The sanctity of the home is what we must fight for and live for. The term “homemaker” should stand for everyone who desires to make their home a righteous dwelling.

We must be brave, steadfast, immoveable warriors in defense of the family and our homes. She gave us a challenge to boldly stand and defend the family. We have the power to do just that.

 

The Comforter

Henry B. Eyring
First Counselor in the First Presidency

President Eyring’s message was about lifting one another’s burdens, and he quoted from the Book of Mormon scripture in Mosish 18: 8,9 where the prophet Alma asked those who had come to be baptized of him in the “waters of Mormon” some specific things. He asked them to “bear one another’s burdens that they may be light,” “mourn with those that mourn,” and “comfort those that stand in need of comfort.”  Just as those that covenanted to do what was asked of them in the Book of Mormon, we need to be equally in tune with who needs our help because we are covenant children of God as well.

President Eyring also stated that there are many who are looking for help and praying for relief in their trials, and those people are all around us. He talked of Christ’s Atonement, and how through it we are shown how to be like He is—willing to sacrifice for others and serve them with all our hearts.

 

See complete summaries for each speaker:

Cheryl A. Esplin: Defend Truth and Light

Carole M. Stephens: One As Sisters in God

Bonnie L. Oscarson: Be Defenders of the Proclamation

President Henry B. Eyring: The Comforter

Transcripts and video now available, here.

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