For the last two years, I have gone to the United Nations with a group of mothers dedicated to promoting motherhood and defending the traditional family. By attending panels and events at the UN, I have become more educated on the various different agendas in politics relating to the family and some of the threats that the traditional family will face down the road.
Both times I came home from the United Nations, I held meetings at my house and shared the information I learned with other concerned moms so that they might know how to get more involved in standing for the traditional family. I prayed to know how I might do Heavenly Father’s work with the information and experiences I had been given.
After the second trip to the UN, my niece in High School had a few incidents in the girls’ bathroom with a male student who was transgender which involved using the bathroom stall next to her. This person insisted on using the girls’ bathroom despite having male genitalia, which was against the district’s policy, even though accommodations had been made with access to a private bathroom in the nurse’s office. My niece knew this student well and was kind to him, the students and administration felt compassion for his condition. However, in those moments in the stall, my young niece followed her conscience that it was not right to have a male in the stall next to her and privately called her mom to tell her how unsafe she felt to have any male in there with her, regardless of whether they felt they were transgender or not. My sister knew I had studied the topic so she and I discussed the proper course of action to take to protect the rights of both students.
We got involved on the local and state level with a few other women to voice our concerns as moms on this heated topic. Our team of women included a civil rights lawyer, a friend who had attended the UN with me, and a mom who had been actively involved in politics who knew the proper channels to take to make an impact. After sending in letters, I was amazed at how quickly and effectively doors were opened to get us in to speak with a congressman and senators’ offices as well as our school board and city councils. We were able to meet privately with our mayor where we discussed the many different ramifications opening up bathrooms, locker rooms and overnight stays in hotel rooms on high school trips would have on our children. We felt that it was an issue of religious freedom since many religions are opposed to having members of the opposite sex outside of marriage forced to share private quarters together. We also discussed the impact it would have on women and their safety, not assuming that all transgender individuals would be a threat, but rather it would open up the door for any and all perpetrators toward our youth who are a vulnerable population. We also discussed the needs of students who are transgender and what difficulties they face and determined that we are advocates for the well-being of all children. We came to the meetings equipped with legal samples and solutions for all parties’ needs and reminded our legislators of their duties as elected officials to represent the people and be proactive to influence the law, not to wait for activists to influence it through the Supreme Court.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we know that gender, as declared in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” is “an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal and eternal identity and purpose.” And Elder Bruce D. Porter of the Seventy (address given at a conference held at Brigham Young University on March 5, 2010) said that “The differences between men and women are not simply biological. They are woven into the fabric of the universe, a vital, foundational element of eternal life and divine nature. The family is intended by God as the great entryway into mortal life. It is central to the salvation of the human race, the perpetuation of civilization, and the birth and rearing of each new generation.”
As mothers, we recognized our responsibility in my niece’s situation for our voices to be heard in positive ways concerning our children and witnessed many doors open as we applied our faith into action. We found these prophecies to be encouraging and promises true.
In 1979, President Spencer W. Kimball made a profound prophecy about the impact that covenant-keeping women would have on the future of the Lord’s Church. He prophesied:
“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world…will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.”
And, more recently, President Russell M. Nelson said:
“We need women who are organized and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct and administer; women who can teach, women who can speak out.
We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.”
… Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly.” (Link)
Though this task Elder Nelson speaks of is not easy and requires much sacrifice, the Lord prepares a way for us to accomplish what he has asked us to do. We gain light, knowledge and spiritual strength when we defend God’s truths. It fortifies our testimony of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation and keeps us on the strait and narrow path.