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.