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 seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. (She tends animals and gardens and clearly works hard all the day long.)
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 herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. (Every woman has the right to see herself as royalty.)
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.)
There is so much temptation in the world today. I often wonder how anyone can possibly go unscathed from the many cunning ways that Satan lures us into his seductive web of enticing experiences, both physical and spiritual. We must be ever-vigilant in recognizing and turning away from everything that would cause the Spirit to flee from our lives. We can never kid ourselves into believing that some things just aren’t that bad, especially if everyone is seemingly engaging in them and there isn’t immediate harm. If we find ourselves comfortable in our sins or find ourselves in “good” company as we partake, it’s probably a good time for a reality check. This is exactly what I felt Sister Linda S. Reeves provided for the women of the Church in her recent address in the General Women’s Session of Conference titled “Worthy of our Promised Blessings”. Continue reading →
Recently, The Huffington Post did a series of interviews on various religions, asking select members of each faith how their church views sexuality. This controversial subject is one that is often misrepresented amongst members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Where those interviewed did a fair job in answering the questions, it’s clear that the world really doesn’t understand what Mormons believe when it comes to sexually related topics. For instance, within the LDS faith masturbation and pornography are never okay — before or after marriage or within the marriage relationship.
Mormons are very much like other religious people. We follow what the scriptures say. We believe that keeping one’s self pure and free of sexual sin brings one closer to God and brings happiness into one’s life. We believe that good is still good, and evil is still evil. Our prophets have reminded us to be sensitive and respectful, to those who struggle with sexual or gender identity, but by the same token, we desire to be respected for our own beliefs. Continue reading →
The Relief Society Declaration proclaims that we are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity.
It is not easy to describe faith to someone who does not have it. Yet, the true definition of the word is simple.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
[Faith is] confidence in something or someone. As most often used in the scriptures, faith is confidence and trust in Jesus Christ that lead a person to obey him. Faith must be centered in Jesus Christ in order for it to lead a person to salvation. Latter-day Saints also have faith in God the Father, the Holy Ghost, priesthood power, and other important aspects of the restored gospel (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/faith).
For me, the only way I can describe my faith is to say that it is knowledge in my heart of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some years back, I would have said “feeling” instead of “knowledge.” I’ve grown some since that time. How can you have “knowledge” in your heart? Merriam Webster’s On-line Dictionary defines knowledge as:
Information, understanding, or skill that you get from experience or education. Awareness of something: the state of being aware of something. (Merriam-Webster.)
I’ll be 60 years old by the end of this year. I’ve gained enough information, understanding, and awareness in life that I can now say I have “knowledge” in my heart that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and that modern-day prophets are here on the earth for the benefit of men and women everywhere. This is my faith. Having this faith/knowledge gives me perspective. When prophets and apostles of God speak, I listen, because I know that they speak for the Lord. It is His voice. At times I may seek confirmation from the Spirit, but (in my own personal case) those times are usually the times when my own weaknesses are screaming at me to be disobedient. In my heart, I know that what comes from the Brethren is truth. (Please don’t interpret that to mean that if someone seeks confirmation from the Spirit, that they are a disobedient person. That is just not the case. I’m speaking for me alone here.)
“Virtuous women and men possess a quiet dignity and inner strength. They are confident because they are worthy to receive and be guided by the Holy Ghost” (Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women’s General President, A Return to Virtue, Apr. 2014 General Conference). As I look around me in the world, I see anything by virtue. I’m grateful that my religion teaches the importance of virtuous men and women. I’m grateful to associate in my ward, stake, and in the temple with virtuous brothers and sisters. I’m particularly grateful for The Family: A Proclamation to the World, which teaches how to live a virtuous life.
You be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone. Have the moral courage to be a light for others to follow. There is no friendship more valuable than your own clear conscience, your own moral cleanliness—and what a glorious feeling it is to know that you stand in your appointed place clean and with the confidence that you are worthy to do so. (President Thomas S. Monson, Examples of Righteousness, Apr. 2008 General Conference.)
Are we making a “stand for right,” sisters? Are we willing to “stand alone,” if necessary for virtuous principles? It is so delightful to see the young people in this Church who know the importance of this gospel principle. They are to be highly commended for their courage to “stand” for virtue when all around them seems to be filthy.
Vision is something that is difficult in any dispensation, but I think particularly in ours. There are so many voices around us screaming that women have no worth, that we are objects instead of spirit children of God. Unfortunately, as women, we often play right into their hands. We don’t often have the vision to see ourselves as our Heavenly Father sees us.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18.) “If we are to prosper rather than perish, we must gain a vision of ourselves as the Savior sees us” (Elder O. Vincent Haleck, Of the Seventy, Having the Vision to Do, Apr. 2012 General Conference).
I see this as the biggest problem we have in the world today. We have lost sight of who we really are in the eternal scheme of things. We don’t even bother to try to live righteous lives because we are blinded by the world and can no longer see the Lord’s vision of our potential. We need to recapture the vision of our future! We need to live up to our eternal potential. We must remember covenants and keep them sacred. When we set goals for ourselves, are they righteous ones? Are they goals that involve money and/or power, or are they spiritual goals?
But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him (Moroni 7:47). Just as we lack vision in the world today, we also lack charity. While I see many “charitable acts” happening around me, the “pure love of Christ” is often lacking in those charitable acts. Sometimes charitable acts are done for the pride of the world—for a pat on the back, or the approval of peers. That is not the pure love of Christ.
[C]harity is not a single act or something we give away but a state of being, a state of the heart, kind feelings that engender loving actions. (Sylvia H. Allred, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency, Charity Never Faileth, Oct. 2011 General Conference.)
As I deal with people on the internet, there is stark contrast in how some people communicate with others. I’ve seen people post about wonderful acts of charity they have done. The next day the same person will rant and rave at another “faceless” person on the internet with contempt in his/her heart and display such venom that it is difficult to believe it is the same person. Charity is “a state of being.” We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity—at least that’s what the Relief Society Declaration proclaims us to be.
I pray that we can learn to live up to this statement. In order to do that, we must truly catch the vision of ourselves as daughters of deity. We must be obedient and faithful in all things. We must have charitable hearts. We must be teachable and humble. When we raise our arm to the square in sustaining vote of our prophets, seers, and revelators, it must mean something other than exercising the muscles in our arm. We are choice daughters of Heavenly Parents. I can’t think of any time in world history when it was more important to be women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity than right now in this time and in this place. We must stand together on the Lord’s side. A line has been drawn in the sand. We are in the very last of the “last days.” I know what side of the line I want to be on when the Lord comes.