Today’s Family


We invite your contributions to this column. Share with us your ideas about homemaking, your questions on consumerism today, and your successful experiences in building family relationships.

Has it always been thus? Have women always been identified, especially by men, as the weaker sex? Some would point out that in the Garden of Eden, Eve yielded to temptation because she was weaker.

But was it weakness? Was it not curiosity, a wanting to know, the daring to find out, to experiment, to do something? Was it not the courage, once knowing, to live with the responsibilities that knowledge brought?

Almost one hundred and thirty years ago when the women of the Church, armed with the constitution and bylaws written by Eliza R. Snow, approached the Prophet Joseph Smith for their own organized society, he must have been intrigued by their eagerness, by their enterprise, by their desire to do more, to know more, and to give more of themselves.

So they were organized in March 1842 under the priesthood.

Among the challenges confronting them were “good works in looking to the wants of the poor,” the need to assist in “correcting the morals and strengthening the virtues of the community,” and the joy of teaching “women how to behave towards their husbands.”

The key was turned by the Prophet on behalf of the women of the Church, in the name of the Lord, and it was the “beginning of better days.”

The challenges are still before us: the needs and wants of people everywhere, the morality of our communities, and love and concern in sustaining husbands, fathers, bishops, and priesthood leadership in a world of chaos.

And women are still inquisitive, curious, and eager to find out what can be done. Most women feel the need to exercise individual compassion and are glad to unite when a problem demands it.

In a world of technology, of computerized business, and of machine-precision homes, women can bring warmth, love, and affection. Women must have interest enough in neighbors, children, coworkers, or roommates to break down barriers and form friendships. Women need to be concerned enough for the spiritually hungry and the affection-starved to share kind words, sympathetic listening, and wisdom. Women must care.

In a world of ecological dismay, of urbanization, and of high-rise compartmentalized living, women must bring beauty: a trailing of ivy from a crystal vase, a single Peace rose, a white coverlet on a soft bed, an inviting dish for necessary nourishment, a sweet smile. Women know beauty.

And in the explosion of knowledge of this age, a woman can and must know the one essential truth: that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Redeemer. In her own subtle way she must exemplify that truth and project it to all who cross her path.

Seeing is Sampling

Part of the tantalizing invitation of foods is the tempting look. Before foods taste good they must look good. To see is to want to sample. Arrangements on a platter or in a dish with a flair for color combinations and pattern contrast will add to the pleasure of eating, such as:

1. Crisp green celery sticks filled with pimiento cheese or pineapple flavored cream cheese, arranged around a few green leaves from a holly bush or a philodendron plant.

2. Sprigs of mint, thin orange slices, or maraschino cherries in or on the edge of a glass of sparkling fruit drink.

3. Lacy paper doilies edging a large platter on which are arranged cookies in star, triangle, round, or oblong shapes, or small squares of cake.

Make your foods look attractive and appetizing, and see how good the sampling is.

9:30 A.M. Thursday

This is the day the sisters quilt.
I should go.
Here at home, my spooled thoughts
Are tight, threading me into a
Family of frustrations.
I need to
Piece together service with patience;
Pin down forgiveness;
Thimble the pricks of daily problems.
And as I share
The squared frames with my sisters,
I will find
Patterns of love
Stitched into straight lines
Curving toward heaven.
This the day my sisters quilt,
And I am going.

Testimony of a Young Mother

We are the weavers of our own lives. Our parents, our teachers, our bishop, and our friends all have an influence upon the strands we use and the pattern we form, but we alone through our own efforts and achievements will weave the fabric of our lives here and in the life hereafter.

Have you ever attempted to make something without a pattern or without a purpose? Expert weavers must follow carefully the details of a pattern in order to achieve a superior, long-lasting fabric. We must follow the pattern the Lord has given us for a lasting and happy life, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Over and over, every day of our lives, we are tested to see how efficient we are in using the precious strands that construct our life’s fabric. We would be wise to confer with our Heavenly Father and to waste no time and energy in unweaving false ideas and unworthy deeds. Although repentance is available to all who sincerely seek it, valuable time is wasted in undoing a mistake and beginning anew.

At this time of controversy over women’s liberation, there is indeed a challenge for us to use wisely our various life strands and to weave the right ideals and attitudes into the precious fabric of motherhood.

The Lord has made it very clear that a woman’s chief responsibility is to multiply and to replenish the earth; to be at home to raise and guide her children; and to be a helpmate to, instead of competitor of, her husband.

When I graduated from Brigham Young University with a four-year nursing degree, it was a dream come true. I felt it to be a special accomplishment because during the last demanding year before graduation, I had also managed to get married and have a baby.

Then I received an offer from a technical college to teach in its nursing program. This was an exciting opportunity—I could put my nursing skills to work and also teach, something I have always loved to do. My husband agreed that I should accept the offer on a part-time basis.

In the beginning the job was exciting, but before long I began to miss the things I loved about being a wife and a mother, the special, important things. And I found that I took my energy and enthusiasm to work and left them there. All my family saw was the tired, unambitious side of me.

Before the end of the quarter, I was forced to quit because I was pregnant again and some complications had arisen. Flat on my back for weeks, I had a great deal of time to think. I thought about the important strands in the fabric of my life—those that were needed most at this time, the ones to be woven by a mother and wife.

I found that there is no satisfaction as great as being a full-time wife and mother. I am glad I have chosen to weave, according to the divine purpose, a life pattern in my home that will be, I pray, strong and everlasting.

Marsha Castleton

[illustrations] Art by Phyllis Luch