Lesson 37: Understanding Women’s Roles

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 140–42


Objective

Each young man will understand women’s roles in the Church, the community, and the home.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Standard works for each young man.

    2. b.

      Paper and a pencil for each young man.

    3. c.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  2. 2.

    With approval from your bishop or branch president, arrange for three women to speak for three to five minutes each on one of the following topics:

    1. a.

      The importance and blessings of being a daughter of God.

    2. b.

      The importance and blessings of being a wife.

    3. c.

      The importance and blessings of being a mother.

  3. 3.

    Review the books of Esther and Ruth in the Old Testament, and be prepared to tell briefly the stories of these women as fine examples of womanhood.

  4. 4.

    Prepare to display picture 5, Emma Smith (also picture 405 in the Gospel Art Picture Kit [34730]).

Note

Each young man has been greatly influenced in his life by women. An Aaronic Priesthood holder’s life and his present physical and mental welfare are, to a large degree, results of the efforts of his mother. Much of what he knows and feels about this life comes from the divine influence of righteous women as teachers and friends. This lesson can remind a young man of the blessings that have come to him because of the women who have responded to God’s mission in life for them. Be sensitive to the needs of any young men who do not have mothers living with them.

You may wish to take two weeks for this lesson. The first week would cover the lesson material; the second week would include the three talks and discussions of the topics.

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Scripture, chalkboard, and discussion

Tell the young men that the scriptures are full of examples of great men and women. This lesson focuses on the examples of great women.

Ask the young men to name some women in the scriptures who are examples of faithful daughters of God. Record their answers on the chalkboard as Faithful Daughters of God. As each name is given, have the young men tell why each woman mentioned was a great daughter of God. Responses could include Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Esther, Leah, Ruth, Mary, Sariah, Naomi, Hannah, Emma Smith.

Show the picture of Emma Smith. Explain that Doctrine and Covenants 25 is a revelation given to Emma Smith, the wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Have the young men read verses 1–3.

  • How do we know the Lord approved of Emma Smith when this revelation was given? (He forgave her sins and called her an elect lady.)

Women Have Important Roles in the Kingdom of God

Quotations and chalkboard

Explain that President Spencer W. Kimball, in an address to the sisters of the Church, emphasized the three important roles of women in the kingdom of God: “No greater recognition can come to you in this world than to be known as a woman of God. No greater status can be conferred upon you than being a daughter of God who experiences true sisterhood, wifehood, and motherhood, or other tasks which influence lives for good” (“The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 102).

List Daughter of God, Wife, and Mother on the chalkboard.

Explain that although there are many jobs on earth that both men and women can do well in education, industry, business, government, and other career fields, there are certain responsibilities that God expects women to fulfill and others that he expects men to fulfill. These responsibilities are extremely important.

President Kimball explained:

“The women of this Church have work to do which, though different, is equally as important as the work that [men] do. Their work is, in fact, the same basic work that we are asked to do—even though our roles and assignments differ” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1979, pp. 71–72; or Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 49).

Men also have some basic God-given responsibilities. These include being a righteous son of God, a husband, and a father. Write these next to the women’s responsibilities on the chalkboard.

Explain that when we look at these tasks that God assigns to both men and women, we can see that women are not more important than men, neither are men more important than women.

Scripture, chalkboard, and discussion

Have the young men locate, mark, and read 1 Corinthians 11:11.

  • What do we learn from this scripture? (Both men and women are necessary in God’s kingdom. In the Lord’s view, men and women must work together and be partners in fulfilling their divine roles on earth.)

From the list of faithful women on the chalkboard, have the young men relate specific incidents when these women acted as (1) righteous daughters of God; (2) good, faithful wives; or (3) loving mothers.

Scripture story and discussion

Relate the story of Esther as told below or in your own words.

Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, a large number of Jews lived in the area of Babylon. One of them was named Esther. Because she was such a beautiful young woman, the king chose her to be his wife.

Sometime later, one of the advisers to the king was offended because a certain Jew, named Mordecai, refused to bow down to him. The adviser convinced the king that the Jews were not faithful to the king and would not obey the laws of the land. He suggested that they be killed. The king agreed.

When Esther heard what was to happen to the Jews, she had a difficult decision to make. She could either hope that the king would not discover that she was a Jew herself, or she could try to do something to save her people, even though it might endanger her own life.

She decided to try to help her people.

Read Esther 4:16.

  • What did Esther want all the Jews in the country to do? Why?

  • What did she plan to do?

Esther was fearful because, according to the law, if anyone approached the king and was not granted permission to speak, he or she could be killed. But Esther was willing to risk her life for her people, and the king gave her permission to speak. Because of her bravery, the Jews were eventually saved.

  • What character traits did Esther possess that helped make her a faithful daughter of God?

  • What did Esther do to show her courage and righteousness?

Special presentations

Have the three preassigned women give their presentations.

Scriptures and discussion

Have the young men read Proverbs 31:10–13, 20, 26–28, 30.

  • What are some qualities of womanhood mentioned in these verses?

  • Why do you think the husband and children of a woman like this would give her praise?

  • How have you been blessed by the influence of righteous women in your life?

Women Contribute to Our Lives While Fulfilling Their God-given Roles as Mothers

Quotation

Each one of us has been helped by women who were doing what God wanted them to do. Speaking of these women, President Kimball said: “We have all been blessed with special women in our lives—women who have had a deep and lasting influence upon us. Their contribution has been and is most important to us and is something which will be of everlasting value to us” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1979, p. 71; or Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 48).

Activity

Pass out a piece of paper and pencil to each young man. Ask each of them to number from 1 to 4 on the paper. Tell the young men to put the name of a woman who has helped or contributed to their life next to each number. They may name a woman who is in their family, a neighbor, a teacher, or a friend. Next to each name they should write a short statement describing what her contribution has been. Give them about four minutes to do this, and check on them to encourage them to do four.

After the young men have written the names and descriptions, let each choose one and describe the contribution she has made to his life. The young men shouldn’t reveal the name but should be encouraged to share the description. As the adviser, you may help put the young men at ease by doing a list of your own. As time permits, have them share in turns as many of the contributions of women as they can.

Challenge

Refer the young men to the lists they have made. Challenge them to do something today that shows their honor and respect for one or more of those women. Each young man could—

  1. 1.

    Express sincere gratitude to his mother.

  2. 2.

    Talk with and thank a sister in the Church who has taught him.

  3. 3.

    Write a letter of thanks to a woman who has had a special, positive effect on his life.

  4. 4.

    Express appreciation to his sister for helping him in some way.