Tuesday, October 9, 2007

And this, folks, is what I grew up with.

This is the future that I was given when growing up in the LDS church. This was the be-all, end-all of my existence. It has been awhile since it has been talked about from a General Conference pulpit in such plain language, but it is back in force now.

Is it back because LDS women are having fewer children? Or missionary numbers are down? Is it back because more LDS women are working outside the home? Is it because 'corridor Mormons', the traditional backbone of the LDS church are leaving faster than the church lets on to its membership? I don't know. I do know that if my female relatives had been paying attention in conference, they would not likely have been angry as I was - they would have felt guilty. Very guilty. Even when I was Mormon they couldn't understand my anger with such talks.

So here's the talk by RS President Becks.

"Mothers who Know" - President Becks

In the Book of Mormon, we read about 2000 exemplary young men who were exceedingly valiant, courageous and strong. They were men of truth and soberness for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him. These faithful young men paid tribute to their mothers. They said, “Our mothers knew it.” I would suspect that the mothers of Captain Moroni, Mosiah, Mormon and other great leaders also knew.

The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are, who God is, and have made covenants with him, they will have great power for influence for good on their children.

Mothers who know desire to bear children, whereas in many cultures of the world children are becoming less valued. In the culture of the gospel, we still believe in having children. Prophets seers and revelators who have been sustained at this conference have declared that God’s commandment for his children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. President Ezra Taft Benson taught that young couples should not postpone having children, and that in the eternal perspective, children – not possessions, not position, not prestige – are our greatest jewels.

Faithful daughters of God desire children. In the scriptures we read of Eve, Sarah, Rebecca, and Mary, who were foreordained to be mothers before children were born to them. Some women are not given the responsibility of bearing children in mortality, but just as Hannah in the Old Testament prayed fervently for her child, the value women place on motherhood in this life and the attributes of motherhood they attain will rise with them in the resurrection. Women who desire and work toward that blessing in this life are promised they will receive it for all eternity. And eternity is much, much longer than mortality. There is eternal influence and power in motherhood.

Mothers who know honor sacred ordinances and covenants. I have visited sacrament meetings in some of the poorest places on the earth, where mothers have dressed with great care in their Sunday best, despite walking for miles on dusty streets and using worn out public transportation. They bring daughters in clean and ironed dresses. Their sons where white shirts and ties and have missionary haircuts. They are going to sacrament meeting where covenants are renewed. These mothers have made and honor temple covenants. They know that if they are not pointing their children to the temple they are not pointing them to desired eternal goals. These mothers have influence and power.

Mothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role in the plan of happiness. To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes, and dishes and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence. Therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world.

Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make up homes that create a climate for spiritual growth.

Growth happens best in a house of order, and women should pattern their homes after the Lord’s house. Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women.

Mothers who know are leaders. In equal partnership with their husbands, they lead a great and eternal organization. These mothers plan for the future of their organization. They plan for missions, temple marriages, and education. They plan for prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Mothers who know build children into future leaders and are the primary examples of what leaders look like. They do not abandon their plan by succumbing to social pressure and worldly models of parenting. These wise mothers who know are selective about their own activities and involvement to conserve their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most.

Mothers who know are always teachers. Since they are not babysitters, they are never off duty. A well-taught friend told me that he did not learn anything at church that he had not already learned at home. His parents used family scripture study, prayer, family home evening, mealtime, and other gatherings to teach. Think of the power of our future missionary force if mothers considered their homes as a pre-missionary training center. Then the doctrines of the gospel taught in the MTC would be a review and not a revelation. That is influence. That is power.

Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children, more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time laughing, talking, singing, and exemplifying.

These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. There goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence. That is power.

Who will prepare this righteous generation of sons and daughters? Latter-day Saint women will do this. Women who know and love the Lord and bear testimony of him. Women who will are strong and immovable, who do not give up during difficult and discouraging times.

We are led by an inspired prophet of God who has called upon the women of the church to stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord. He has asked us to begin in our own homes, to teach children the ways of truth. Latter-day Saint women should excel at upholding, nourishing, and protecting families. I have every confidence that our women will do this, and will come to be known as mothers who knew. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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