“I Love the Sisters of the Church”

Barbara W. Winder


 

This is very, very awesome. I think coming to a general conference of the Church and meeting here in the Tabernacle is such a great honor and a privilege at any time, but to have the privilege of being here in the presence of the prophet, when we know that his health has not enabled him to always be with us, is such a special thrill. And to hear the words of these great leaders has so touched and so moved me—I do acknowledge my gratitude to you. How marvelous was the address of President Hinckley today as he bore witness!

I know that it was more than an airplane trip that brought my husband, President Richard Winder, and me to this point. My husband has been serving as the mission president of the great California San Diego Mission, and we had to slip quietly away to come to this conference this weekend. I have a testimony of the revelation and inspiration that the Lord gives. In spite of the inadequacies that I feel, I know that the Lord does help and cause his work to move forward.

Yes, I am the same Sister Winder, my dear elders and sisters in San Diego, who was with you less than a week ago helping you to remember those skills your mothers have taught you—keeping your shirts ironed and white and the buttons sewn on, carrying your scriptures. Even the little white handbook is still with me. I am that same Sister Winder. I am the same Sister Winder who, just two short years before that, sat in the councils with these great sisters whom you heard yesterday, learning and being tutored by them, my great teachers, along with their boards and their counselors, many of whom have been my dear, dear friends and teachers. I am so grateful to them and to the many wonderful brethren with whom I have had the opportunity to serve and learn. How I appreciate you.

We women are under the direction of the priesthood. I feel that I have been taught by those who have followed that direction to help bring women today through troubled times, to the point of being caring wives and mothers, faithful members of the Lord’s kingdom, and contributing members of the communities in which they live. These are strengths that have been given to our Latter-day Saint women.

May I also express my gratitude today to my parents and to my husband’s parents for their teaching of righteous principles and for the worthy examples that they have given us. It was a hard, hard asphalt that our plane landed on, but it didn’t matter because there were our four children and their mates and our wonderful little grandchildren letting me know that home was here. How grateful I am to them for their support.

I want to express gratitude also to a husband with whom I have served for over thirty years in sweet bonds of marriage, having been married in the Salt Lake Temple, sealed together by President Harold B. Lee. We, too, have made commitments, and we have served together in harmony and unity of purpose, supporting one another through these years in various Church callings and assignments. I couldn’t help thinking of the words of Paul as he admonished the Church to serve in unity and purpose, and as he taught that all parts must function for the good of the whole. So it is in a marriage and in a family that we must function together. I think we were taught so beautifully yesterday.

I love the sisters of the Church, and I think I would like to relate a little from that wonderful priesthood section of the eighty-fourth section of the Doctrine and Covenants. It also says the body has need of every member, that all may be edified together and that the system may be perfect. In a way similar to the words of Paul, the members of the Lord’s Church today have been asked to have the same care one for another that they have for themselves.

And so it is that I feel for the sisters of the Church this love, and sense the worth of each individual. I want so, and desire so, that we be unified, one together with the priesthood, serving and building the kingdom of God here today and spreading the joy of the gospel to those who are so in need of it. This is His kingdom. We have a great responsibility to share it. I know that God lives, that he loves us. This is my testimony to you, and I pledge my service to you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.