My dear sisters, it’s a privilege to meet with you here in the Tabernacle and to be part of a telecast to the rest of the Church. You represent the best of life, for you are the daughters of our Heavenly Father who reflect the rich blessings of gospel membership.
To all of us the word homemaking has great significance. To us as women a special mission has been given to be the homebuilders of the Church, the community, and the world.
Speaking at a Relief Society conference, President J. Reuben Clark said, “May God … give you the vision of the true homemaker, that you will be able to save by this course, not alone Zion, but the world. And that is your destiny … to save the world.” (Relief Society Magazine, Dec. 1949, p. 798.)
The work of women, then, takes on a deep and significant meaning. The daily business of homemaking becomes very important—in fact, the most important business in the world. A home is more than a house or a room to live in. For one person making a home for herself, or for the mother of a large family, the home should be a place of learning, a place where prayer can point the way to eternal life. That is how the world will be saved—by strengthening every child of God in every home.
In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord tells us, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119).
As I ponder this admonition of the Lord, I am reminded of a special friend. As I have worked with her, I have been inspired by her devotion to her family and church. A large family and an invalid husband didn’t keep her from accepting a leadership responsibility in Relief Society. I asked her how she managed so well. She answered, “My Relief Society sisters help me. Their love lifts my spirit when I feel down; the lessons give me strength and direction. My problems don’t seem so big when they are shared.”
She set a pattern for her day, starting with an early morning prayer while the rest of her family slept. She organized in her mind the duties to be performed that day and asked her Heavenly Father for his help in accomplishing them. Each day ended with a grateful report as she expressed her appreciation and love to her Father in Heaven for his help and the help of kind friends. She felt she could not have accomplished the day’s tasks alone.
What an example this mother has been to her family! She has taught them the power of prayer, the value of being organized, and the joy that comes from serving others and the Lord.
Referring again to the revelation, the Lord admonishes us to prepare every needful thing. Many Latter-day Saint women find great joy in developing their creative talents as they prepare needful things. Sewing for children, grandchildren, and friends unites families in love and appreciation. A mother of eight confided in me recently that her family could not have some of the necessities of life if she did not sew their clothing. She had even learned to make levis and T-shirts in a Relief Society miniclass and to remodel outgrown clothing for younger members of the family.
Another needful thing is the food we eat. President Kimball has repeatedly admonished us to have gardens and to preserve what we grow. In our homemaking book we are given help not only for planting gardens, but for collecting seeds to insure next year’s planting. Suggestions are given for miniclasses on using your basic storage every day. How many ways do you use the powdered milk you have stored? Homemaking miniclasses can show you many ways, such as doubling the amount of margarine by adding milk.
Recently I went to a Relief Society meeting in a Brigham Young University ward. The girls were being taught breadmaking in a miniclass. The fragrance from the kitchen attracted the young men in the building, and as they gathered around the door looking hungry, hot bread, butter, and honey were soon being enjoyed by all as they socialized together.
In our meeting a year ago, President Spencer W. Kimball admonished us to be different from the women of the world “in happy ways” (see Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 104).
Nephi writes of his people in the wilderness sowing, reaping, and working to set their homes in order. Then he continues, “And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness” (2 Ne. 5:27).
As Latter-day Saint homebuilders, our greatest challenge is to bring up our children in light and truth—to develop the spiritual nature of each family member. Our greatest role is as a teacher.
“Home,” said President Harold B. Lee, quoting from a newspaper editorial, “is the seminary of all other institutions” (Relief Society Magazine, Jan. 1965, p. 9). The multifaceted nature of the home finds expression in a new focus given to the stake board structure. Included now in the concept of homemaking is music and the enrichment it brings to the home; the nursery, complete with materials that have been prepared according to the finest of child development principles; and recreation with its binding, health-giving contribution. Relief Society homemaking includes all of these elements, combining them into a day of training, preparing women to make a home that embodies skills, refinement, knowledge, and delight along with the love and warmth that have always meant home.
In order to help every Latter-day Saint woman realize her full potential as a homemaker, we urge homemaking counselors to plan meetings that will meet the needs of each sister. We know that no two sisters have situations that are alike, and yet we hope that each will find purpose and fulfillment in creating a place that is home. One well-planned, two-hour, monthly meeting can provide the training and motivation that will enable each woman to succeed in her most essential work, which gives heart to all other work of the world.
In well-ordered homes we must keep bright the spark of testimony and build faith within each heart. Through Relief Society we can learn how to organize ourselves and prepare every needful thing and how to establish a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of order, a house of God (see D&C 88:19).
May we make our homes havens of peace and happiness where all enjoy being together—and like Nephi’s people live after a manner of happiness—is my prayer, and I ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.