Differences Inherent Between Men and Women

Eternal Marriage Student Manual, (2003), 63–72


Some roles are best suited to the masculine nature and others to the feminine nature.

—Elder Boyd K. Packer

Selected Teachings

President Harold B. Lee

“From my experience, it would seem that faithful mothers have a special gift that we often refer to as mother’s intuition. Perhaps with the great blessing of motherhood, our Heavenly Father has endowed them with this quality, since fathers, busy in priesthood callings and with the work of earning a livelihood, never draw quite as close to heavenly beings in matters that relate to the more intimate details of bringing up children in the home” (Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 291).

President Spencer W. Kimball

“In his wisdom and mercy, our Father made men and women dependent on each other for the full flowering of their potential. Because their natures are somewhat different, they can complement each other; because they are in many ways alike, they can understand each other. Let neither envy the other for their differences; let both discern what is superficial and what is beautifully basic in those differences, and act accordingly” (“Relief Society—Its Promise and Potential,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, 5).

“We had full equality as his spirit children. We have equality as recipients of God’s perfected love for each of us. …

“Within those great assurances, however, our roles and assignments differ. These are eternal differences—with women being given many tremendous responsibilities of motherhood and sisterhood and men being given the tremendous responsibilities of fatherhood and the priesthood” (“The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 102).

President Ezra Taft Benson

“You [women] were not created to be the same as men. Your natural attributes, affections, and personalities are entirely different from a man’s. They consist of faithfulness, benevolence, kindness, and charity. They give you the personality of a woman. They also balance the more aggressive and competitive nature of a man.

“The business world is competitive and sometimes ruthless. We do not doubt that women have both the brainpower and skills—and in some instances superior abilities—to compete with men. But by competing they must, of necessity, become aggressive and competitive. Thus their godly attributes are diminished and they acquire a quality of sameness with man” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 547–48).

President Howard W. Hunter

“I suppose you would say it is a man’s viewpoint to throw a burden upon a woman to maintain the stability and the sweetness of marriage, but this seems to be her divine nature. She has a superior spirituality in the marriage relationship, and the opportunity to encourage, uplift, teach, and be the one who sets the example in the family for righteous living. When women come to the point of realizing that it is more important to be superior than to be equal, they will find the real joy in living those principles that the Lord set out in his divine plan” (Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, 139).

“It seems strange that women want to enter into professions and into work and into places in society on an equality with men, wanting to dress like men and carry on men’s work. I don’t deny the fact that women are capable of doing so, but as I read the scriptures, I find it hard to reconcile this with what the Lord has said about women—what he has said about the family, what he has said about children. It seems to me that in regard to men and women, even though they might be equal in many things, there is a differentiation between them that we fully understand. I hope the time never comes when women will be brought down to the level with men, although they seem to be making these demands in meetings held … all over the world” (Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, 150).

President James E. Faust

“Before we were born, male and female, we made certain commitments and … agreed to come to this earth with great, rich, but different gifts. We were called, male and female, to do great works with separate approaches and separate assignments.

“… Becoming like men is not the answer. Rather, the answer lies in being who you are and living up to your divine potential by fulfilling eternal commitments. …

“All of you will have to sometime answer to your natural womanly instincts, which the Prophet Joseph said are according to your natures. He said, ‘If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.’ [Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 226.] You should respond generously to those instincts and promptings to do good. Hold your soul very still, and listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. Follow the noble, intuitive feelings planted deep within your souls by Deity in the previous world. In this way you will be responding to the Holy Spirit of God and will be sanctified by truth. By so doing, you will be eternally honored and loved. Much of your work is to enrich mankind with your great capacity for care and mercy” (“How Near to the Angels,” Ensign, May 1998, 95–97).

President Boyd K. Packer

“The tender hand of the sister gives a gentle touch of healing and encouragement which the hand of a man, however well intentioned, can never quite duplicate” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 94; or Ensign, May 1998, 72).

“In the home and in the Church, sisters should be esteemed for their very nature. Be careful lest you unknowingly foster influences and activities which tend to erase the masculine and feminine differences nature has established. A man, a father, can do much of what is usually assumed to be a woman’s work. In turn, a wife and a mother can do much—and in time of need, most things—usually considered the responsibility of the man, without jeopardizing their distinct roles. Even so, leaders, and especially parents, should recognize that there is a distinct masculine nature and a distinct feminine nature essential to the foundation of the home and the family. Whatever disturbs or weakens or tends to erase that difference erodes the family and reduces the probability of happiness for all concerned” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 96; or Ensign, May 1998, 73).

There is a distinct masculine nature and a distinct feminine nature essential to the foundation of the home and the family.

Elder Thomas S. Monson

“What the modernists, even the liberationists, fail to remember is that women, in addition to being persons, also belong to a sex, and that with the differences in sex are associated important differences in function and behavior. Equality of rights does not imply identity of functions. As Paul the apostle declared: ‘… neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.’ (1 Cor. 11:11.)” (“The Women’s Movement: Liberation or Deception?” Ensign, Jan. 1971, 20).

Elder Boyd K. Packer

“Except Adam and Eve by nature be different from one another, they could not multiply and fill the earth [see Genesis 1:28, note 28 c]. The complementing differences are the very key to the plan of happiness.

“Some roles are best suited to the masculine nature and others to the feminine nature” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 28; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 21).

Elder James E. Faust

See quotations on page 80.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“We live in a day when there are many political, legal, and social pressures for changes that confuse gender and homogenize the differences between men and women. Our eternal perspective sets us against changes that alter those separate duties and privileges of men and women that are essential to accomplish the great plan of happiness. We do not oppose all changes in the treatment of men and women, since some changes in laws or customs simply correct old wrongs that were never grounded in eternal principles” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 99; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 73–74).

Elder Richard G. Scott

“Our Heavenly Father endowed His sons and daughters with unique traits especially fitted for their individual responsibilities as they fulfill His plan. To follow His plan requires that you do those things He expects of you as a son or daughter, husband or wife. Those roles are different, but entirely compatible. In the Lord’s plan, it takes two—a man and a woman—to form a whole. Indeed, a husband and wife are not two identical halves, but a wondrous, divinely determined combination of complementary capacities and characteristics.

“Marriage allows these different characteristics to come together in oneness—in unity—to bless a husband and wife, their children and grandchildren. For the greatest happiness and productivity in life, both husband and wife are needed. Their efforts interlock and are complementary. Each has individual traits that best fit the role the Lord has defined for happiness as a man or woman. When used as the Lord intends, those capacities allow a married couple to think, act, and rejoice as one—to face challenges together and overcome them as one, to grow in love and understanding, and through temple ordinances to be bound together as one whole, eternally. That is the plan.

“You can learn how to be more effective parents by studying the lives of Adam and Eve. Adam was Michael who helped create the earth—a glorious, superb individual. Eve was his equal—a full, powerfully contributing partner. After they had partaken of the fruit, the Lord spoke with them. Their comments reveal some different characteristics of a man and woman. To Adam He said, ‘Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat?’ [Moses 4:17.] Now, Adam’s response was characteristic of a man who wants to be perceived as being as close to right as possible. Adam responded, ‘The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat.’ [Moses 4:18.] And the Lord said unto Eve, ‘What is this thing which thou hast done?’ [Moses 4:19.] Eve’s response was characteristic of a woman. Her answer was very simple and straightforward. ‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.’ [Moses 4:19.]” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 101; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 73–74).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“We know so little, brothers and sisters, about the reasons for the division of duties between womanhood and manhood as well as between motherhood and priesthood. These were divinely determined in another time and another place. …

“We men know the women of God as wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, associates, and friends. You seem to tame us and to gentle us, and, yes, to teach us and to inspire us. For you, we have admiration as well as affection, because righteousness is not a matter of role, nor goodness a matter of gender. In the work of the Kingdom, men and women are not without each other, but do not envy each other, lest by reversals and renunciations of role we make a wasteland of both womanhood and manhood” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1978, 13; or Ensign, May 1978, 10).

Elder Merrill J. Bateman

“When a man understands how glorious a woman is, he treats her differently. When a woman understands that a man has the seeds of divinity within him, she honors him not only for who he is but for what he may become. An understanding of the divine nature allows each person to have respect for the other. The eternal view engenders a desire in men and women to learn from and share with each other.

“Men and women are created as complements. They complete one another. Paul told the Corinthians: ‘Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 11:11). Men and women complement each other not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. The apostle Paul taught that ‘the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband’ and through them both the children are made holy (1 Corinthians 7:14). Men and women have different strengths and weaknesses, and marriage is a synergistic relationship in which spiritual growth is enhanced because of the differences” (“The Eternal Family,” 113).

For Time and All Eternity

Elder Boyd K. Packer

Elder Boyd K. Packer

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

In Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 27–32; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 21–24

The Great Plan of Happiness

Dear brethren and sisters, the scriptures and the teachings of the Apostles and prophets speak of us in premortal life as sons and daughters, spirit children of God.1 Gender existed before, and did not begin at mortal birth.2

In the great council in heaven,3 God’s plan was presented:4 the plan of salvation,5 the plan of redemption,6 the great plan of happiness.7 The plan provides for a proving; all must choose between good and evil.8 His plan provides for a Redeemer, an atonement, the Resurrection, and, if we obey, our return to the presence of God.

The adversary rebelled and adopted a plan of his own.9 Those who followed him were denied the right to a mortal body.10 Our presence here confirms that we sanctioned our Father’s plan.11

The single purpose of Lucifer is to oppose the great plan of happiness, to corrupt the purest, most beautiful and appealing experiences of life: romance, love, marriage, and parenthood.12 The specters of heartbreak and guilt13 follow him about. Only repentance can heal what he hurts.

God’s Plan Requires Marriage and Family

The plan of happiness requires the righteous union of male and female, man and woman, husband and wife.14 Doctrines teach us how to respond to the compelling natural impulses which too often dominate how we behave.

A body patterned after the image of God was created for Adam,15 and he was introduced into the Garden.16 At first, Adam was alone. He held the priesthood,17 but, alone, he could not fulfill the purposes of his creation.18

No other man would do. Neither alone nor with other men could Adam progress. Nor could Eve with another woman. It was so then. It is so today.

Eve, an helpmeet, was created. Marriage was instituted,19 for Adam was commanded to cleave unto his wife (not just to a woman) and “to none else.”20

A choice, it might be said, was imposed upon Eve.21 She should be praised for her decision. Then “Adam fell that men might be.”22

Elder Orson F. Whitney described the Fall as having “a twofold direction—downward, yet forward. It brought man into the world and set his feet upon progression’s highway.”23

God blessed Adam and Eve “and said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply.”24 And so the family was established.

God Values Men and Women Equally

There is nothing in the revelations which suggests that to be a man rather than to be a woman is preferred in the sight of God, or that He places a higher value on sons than on daughters.

All virtues listed in the scriptures—love, joy, peace, faith, godliness, charity—are shared by both men and women,25 and the highest priesthood ordinance in mortality is given only to man and woman together.26

After the Fall, natural law had far-reaching sovereignty over mortal birth. There are what President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., called “pranks” of nature,27 which cause a variety of abnormalities, deficiencies, and deformities. However unfair they seem to man’s way of reasoning, they somehow suit the purposes of the Lord in the proving of mankind.

The following of every worthy instinct, the responding to every righteous urge, the consummating of every exalting human relationship are provided for and approved in the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ and are protected by commandments revealed to His church.

The Roles of Men and Women

Except Adam and Eve by nature be different from one another, they could not multiply and fill the earth.28 The complementing differences are the very key to the plan of happiness.

Some roles are best suited to the masculine nature and others to the feminine nature. Both the scriptures and the patterns of nature place man as the protector, the provider.29

Those responsibilities of the priesthood which have to do with the administration of the Church of necessity function outside the home. By divine decree, they have been entrusted to men. It has been that way since the beginning, for the Lord revealed that “the order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son. … This order was instituted in the days of Adam.”30

A man who holds the priesthood does not have an advantage over a woman in qualifying for exaltation. The woman, by her very nature, is also co-creator with God and the primary nurturer of the children. Virtues and attributes upon which perfection and exaltation depend come naturally to a woman and are refined through marriage and motherhood.

The priesthood is conferred only upon worthy men in order to conform to our Father’s plan of happiness. With the laws of nature and the revealed word of God working in harmony, it simply works best that way.

The priesthood carries with it awesome responsibility. “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge.”31

Should a man “exercise control or dominion or compulsion … in any degree of unrighteousness,”32 he violates “the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.”33 Then “the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved.”34 Unless he repents, he will lose his blessings.

While the different roles of man and woman are set forth in exalted celestial declarations, they are best demonstrated in the most practical, ordinary, down-to-earth experiences of family life.

Recently I heard a speaker in sacrament meeting complain that he could not understand why his grandchildren always spoke of going to Grandma’s house, never to Grandpa’s house. I solved that great mystery for him: Grandpas don’t bake pies!

Natural and Spiritual Laws Are Eternal

Natural and spiritual laws which govern life were instituted from before the foundation of the world.35 They are eternal, as are the consequences for either obeying or disobeying them. They are not based on social or political considerations. They cannot be changed. No pressure, no protest, no legislation can alter them.

Years ago I supervised the Indian seminaries. When I visited a school at Albuquerque, the principal told me of an incident that happened in a first-grade class.

During a lesson, a kitten wandered into the room and distracted the youngsters. It was brought to the front of the room so all could see it.

One youngster asked, “Is it a boy kitty or a girl kitty?”

The teacher, unprepared for that discussion, said, “It doesn’t matter; it’s just a kitten.”

But the children persisted, and one little boy said, “I know how we can tell if it is a boy kitty or a girl kitty.”

The teacher, cornered, said, “All right, you tell us how we can tell if it is a boy kitty or a girl kitty.”

The boy answered, “We can vote on it!”

Some things cannot be changed. Doctrine cannot be changed.

“Principles which have been revealed,” President Wilford Woodruff said, “for the salvation and exaltation of the children of men … are principles you cannot annihilate. They are principles that no combination of men [or women] can destroy. They are principles that can never die. … They are beyond the reach of man to handle or to destroy. … It is not in the power of the whole world put together to destroy those principles. … Not one jot or tittle of these principles will ever be destroyed.”36

During World War II, men were called away to fight. In the emergency, wives and mothers worldwide were drawn into the workforce as never before. The most devastating effect of the war was on the family. It lingers to this generation.

Multiply and Replenish the Earth

In the October 1942 general conference, the First Presidency delivered a message to “the Saints in every land and clime,” in which they said, “By virtue of the authority in us vested as the First Presidency of the Church, we warn our people.”

And they said: “Amongst His earliest commands to Adam and Eve, the Lord said: ‘Multiply and replenish the earth.’ He has repeated that command in our day. He has again revealed in this, the last dispensation, the principle of the eternity of the marriage covenant. …

“The Lord has told us that it is the duty of every husband and wife to obey the command given to Adam to multiply and replenish the earth, so that the legions of choice spirits waiting for their tabernacles of flesh may come here and move forward under God’s great design to become perfect souls, for without these fleshly tabernacles they cannot progress to their God-planned destiny. Thus, every husband and wife should become a father and mother in Israel to children born under the holy, eternal covenant.

“By bringing these choice spirits to earth, each father and each mother assume towards the tabernacled spirit and towards the Lord Himself by having taken advantage of the opportunity He offered, an obligation of the most sacred kind, because the fate of that spirit in the eternities to come, the blessings or punishments which shall await it in the hereafter, depend, in great part, upon the care, the teachings, the training which the parents shall give to that spirit.

“No parent can escape that obligation and that responsibility, and for the proper meeting thereof, the Lord will hold us to a strict accountability. No loftier duty than this can be assumed by mortals.”

Motherhood Is a Holy Calling

Speaking of mothers, the First Presidency said: “Motherhood thus becomes a holy calling, a sacred dedication for carrying out the Lord’s plans, a consecration of devotion to the uprearing and fostering, the nurturing in body, mind, and spirit, of those who kept their first estate and who come to this earth for their second estate ‘to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.’ (Abraham 3:25) To lead them to keep their second estate is the work of motherhood, and ‘they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.’ (op. cit.) [Abraham 3:26]

“This divine service of motherhood can be rendered only by mothers. It may not be passed to others. Nurses cannot do it; public nurseries cannot do it; hired help cannot do it—only mother, aided as much as may be by the loving hands of father, brothers, and sisters, can give the full needed measure of watchful care.”

The First Presidency counseled that “the mother who entrusts her child to the care of others, that she may do non-motherly work, whether for gold, for fame, or for civic service, should remember that ‘a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.’ (Prov. 29:15) In our day the Lord has said that unless parents teach their children the doctrines of the Church ‘the sin be upon the heads of the parents.’ (D&C 68:25)

“Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.”37

That message and warning from the First Presidency is needed more, not less, today than when it was given. And no voice from any organization of the Church on any level of administration equals that of the First Presidency.38

Any souls who by nature or circumstance are not afforded the blessing of marriage and parenthood, or who innocently must act alone in rearing children and working to support them, will not be denied in the eternities any blessing—provided they keep the commandments.39 As President Lorenzo Snow promised, “That is sure and positive.”40

Parable of the Treasure and Keys

I close with a parable.

Once a man received as his inheritance two keys. The first key, he was told, would open a vault which he must protect at all cost. The second key was to a safe within the vault which contained a priceless treasure. He was to open this safe and freely use the precious things which were stored therein. He was warned that many would seek to rob him of his inheritance. He was promised that if he used the treasure worthily, it would be replenished and never be diminished, not in all eternity. He would be tested. If he used it to benefit others, his own blessings and joy would increase.

The man went alone to the vault. His first key opened the door. He tried to unlock the treasure with the other key, but he could not, for there were two locks on the safe. His key alone would not open it. No matter how he tried, he could not open it. He was puzzled. He had been given the keys. He knew the treasure was rightfully his. He had obeyed instructions, but he could not open the safe.

In due time there came a woman into the vault. She too held a key. It was noticeably different from the key he held. Her key fit the other lock. It humbled him to learn that he could not obtain his rightful inheritance without her.

They made a covenant that together they would open the treasure and, as instructed, he would watch over the vault and protect it; she would watch over the treasure. She was not concerned that, as guardian of the vault, he held two keys, for his full purpose was to see that she was safe as she watched over that which was most precious to them both. Together they opened the safe and partook of their inheritance. They rejoiced, for, as promised, it replenished itself.

With great joy they found that they could pass the treasure on to their children; each could receive a full measure, undiminished to the last generation.

Perhaps some few of their posterity would not find a companion who possessed the complementary key, or one worthy and willing to keep the covenants relating to the treasure. Nevertheless, if they kept the commandments, they would not be denied even the smallest blessing.

Because some tempted them to misuse their treasure, they were careful to teach their children about keys and covenants.

There came, in due time, among their posterity some few who were deceived or jealous or selfish because one was given two keys and another only one. “Why,” the selfish ones reasoned, “cannot the treasure be mine alone to use as I desire?”

Some tried to reshape the key they had been given to resemble the other key. Perhaps, they thought, it would then fit both locks. And so it was that the safe was closed to them. Their reshaped keys were useless, and their inheritance was lost.

Those who received the treasure with gratitude and obeyed the laws concerning it knew joy without bounds through time and all eternity.

I bear witness of our Father’s plan for happiness, and bear testimony in the name of Him who wrought the Atonement, that it might be, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Notes

  •   1.

    See D&C 76:24; see also Numbers 16:22; Hebrews 12:9.

  •   2.

    See D&C 132:63; First Presidency, “The Origin of Man” (Nov. 1909), in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75), 4:203; see also Spencer W. Kimball, “The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, p. 71; Gordon B. Hinckley, in Conference Report, Oct. 1983, p. 115; or Ensign, Nov. 1983, p. 83.

  •   3.

    See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938), pp. 348–49, 357, 365.

  •   4.

    See Abraham 3:24–27.

  •   5.

    See Jarom 1:2; Alma 24:14; 42:5; Moses 6:62.

  •   6.

    See Jacob 6:8; Alma 12:25–36; 17:16; 18:39; 22:13–14; 39:18; 42:11, 13.

  •   7.

    Alma 42:8.

  •   8.

    See Alma 42:2–5.

  •   9.

    See 2 Nephi 9:28; Alma 12:4–5; Helaman 2:8; 3 Nephi 1:16; D&C 10:12, 23; Moses 4:3.

  •   10.

    See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 181, 297.

  •   11.

    See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 181.

  •   12.

    See 2 Nephi 2:18; 28:20.

  •   13.

    See Alma 39:5; Moroni 9:9.

  •   14.

    See D&C 130:2; 131:2; 1 Corinthians 11:11; Ephesians 5:31.

  •   15.

    See Moses 6:8–9.

  •   16.

    See Moses 3:8.

  •   17.

    See Moses 6:67.

  •   18.

    See Moses 3:18.

  •   19.

    See Moses 3:23–24.

  •   20.

    D&C 42:22.

  •   21.

    See Moses 4:7–12.

  •   22.

    2 Nephi 2:25.

  •   23.

    Cowley and Whitney on Doctrine, comp. Forace Green (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1963), p. 287.

  •   24.

    Moses 2:28; see also Genesis 1:28; 9:1.

  •   25.

    See Galatians 5:22–23; D&C 4:5–6; Alma 7:23–24.

  •   26.

    See D&C 131:2.

  •   27.

    See “Our Wives and Our Mothers in the Eternal Plan” (address given in general Relief Society conference, 3 Oct. 1946), in J. Reuben Clark: Selected Papers on Religion, Education, and Youth, ed. David H. Yarn, Jr. (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1984), p. 62.

  •   28.

    See Genesis 1:28, note 28 c.

  •   29.

    see D&C 75:28; 1 Timothy 5:8.

  •   30.

    D&C 107:40–41; see also D&C 84:14–16.

  •   31.

    D&C 121:41–42; italics added.

  •   32.

    D&C 121:37.

  •   33.

    D&C 84:39.

  •   34.

    D&C 121:37.

  •   35.

    See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 308, 367.

  •   36.

    In Journal of Discourses, 22:342; italics added.

  •   37.

    In Conference Report, Oct. 1942, pp. 7, 11–12.

  •   38.

    See D&C 107:8–9, 22, 91.

  •   39.

    See D&C 137:7–9.

  •   40.

    “Discourse by President Lorenzo Snow,” Millennial Star, 31 Aug. 1899, p. 547.

  • The Joy of Womanhood

    Sister Margaret D. Nadauld

    Sister Margaret D. Nadauld

    Young Women General President

    In Conference Report, Oct. 2000, 14–17; or Ensign, Nov. 2000, 14–16

    Faithful Women Have a Glorious Mission

    It is a remarkable blessing to be a daughter of God today. We have the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are blessed to have the priesthood restored to the earth. We are led by a prophet of God who holds all of the priesthood keys. I love and honor President Gordon B. Hinckley and all of our brethren who bear the priesthood worthily.

    I am inspired by the lives of good and faithful women. From the beginning of time the Lord has placed significant trust in them. He has sent us to earth for such a time as this to perform a grand and glorious mission. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches that even before we were born, we were among those who “received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men” (D&C 138:56). What a wonderful vision that gives us of our purpose on earth.

    Where much is given, much is required. Our Heavenly Father asks His daughters to walk in virtue, to live in righteousness so that we can fulfill our life’s mission and His purposes. He wants us to be successful, and He will help us as we seek His help.

    Women Were Given Special Qualities

    That women were born into this earth female was determined long before mortal birth, as were the divine differences of male and female. I love the clarity of the teachings of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve in the proclamation on the family, where they state, “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”1 From that statement we are taught that every girl was feminine and female in spirit long before her mortal birth.

    God sent women to earth with some qualities in extra capacity. In speaking to young women, President Faust observed that femininity “is the divine adornment of humanity. It finds expression in your … capacity to love, your spirituality, delicacy, radiance, sensitivity, creativity, charm, graciousness, gentleness, dignity, and quiet strength. It is manifest differently in each girl or woman, but each … possesses it. Femininity is part of your inner beauty.”2

    Care for Outward Appearance

    Our outward appearance is a reflection of what we are on the inside. Our lives reflect that for which we seek. And if with all our hearts we truly seek to know the Savior and to be more like Him, we shall be, for He is our divine, eternal Brother. But He is more than that. He is our precious Savior, our dear Redeemer. We ask with Alma of old, “Have ye received his image in your countenances?” (Alma 5:14).

    You can recognize women who are grateful to be a daughter of God by their outward appearance. These women understand their stewardship over their bodies and treat them with dignity. They care for their bodies as they would a holy temple, for they understand the Lord’s teaching, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).

    Women who love God would never abuse or deface a temple with graffiti. Nor would they throw open the doors of that holy, dedicated edifice and invite the world to look on. How even more sacred is the body, for it was not made by man. It was formed by God. We are the stewards, the keepers of the cleanliness and purity with which it came from heaven. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:17).

    Grateful daughters of God guard their bodies carefully, for they know they are the wellspring of life and they reverence life. They don’t uncover their bodies to find favor with the world. They walk in modesty to be in favor with their Father in Heaven, for they know He loves them dearly.

    Minister to Others

    You can recognize women who are grateful to be a daughter of God by their attitude. They know that the errand of angels is given to women, and they desire to be on God’s errand to love His children and minister to them, to teach them the doctrines of salvation, to call them to repentance, to save them in perilous circumstances, to guide them in the performance of His work, to deliver His messages.3 They understand that they can bless their Father’s children in their homes and neighborhoods and beyond. Women who are grateful to be daughters of God bring glory to His name.

    Magnify Gifts

    You can recognize women who are grateful to be a daughter of God by their abilities. They fulfill their divine potential and magnify their God-given gifts. They are capable, strong women who bless families, serve others, and understand that “the glory of God is intelligence” (D&C 93:36). They are women who embrace enduring virtues in order to be all that our Father needs them to be. The prophet Jacob spoke of some of those virtues when he said their “feelings are exceedingly tender and chaste and delicate before God, which thing is pleasing unto God” (Jacob 2:7).

    Reverence Motherhood

    You can recognize women who are grateful to be daughters of God by their reverence for motherhood, even when that blessing has been withheld from them for a time. In those circumstances, their righteous influence can be a blessing in the lives of children they love. Their exemplary teachings can echo the voice of a faithful home and resonate truth in the hearts of children who need another witness.

    Grateful daughters of God love Him and teach their children to love Him without reservation and without resentment. They are like the mothers of Helaman’s youthful army, who had such great faith and “had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47).

    When you observe kind and gentle mothers in action, you see women of great strength. Their families can feel a spirit of love and respect and safety when they are near her as she seeks the companionship of the Holy Ghost and the guidance of His Spirit. They are blessed by her wisdom and good judgment. The husbands and children whose lives they bless will contribute to the stability of societies all over this world. Grateful daughters of God learn truths from their mothers and grandmothers and aunts. They teach their daughters the joyful art of creating a home. They seek fine educations for their children and have a thirst for knowledge themselves. They help their children develop skills that they can use in serving others. They know that the way they have chosen is not the easy way, but they know it is absolutely worth their finest efforts.

    They understand what Elder Neal A. Maxwell meant when he said: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?”4

    Daughters of God know that it is the nurturing nature of women that can bring everlasting blessings, and they live to cultivate this divine attribute. Surely when a woman reverences motherhood, her children will arise up and call her blessed (see Prov. 31:28).

    Not like Women of the World

    Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.

    Oh, how we pray that every young woman will grow up to be all the wonderful things she is meant to be. We pray that her mother and father will show her the right way. May daughters of God honor the priesthood and sustain worthy priesthood holders. May they understand their own great capacity for strength in the timeless virtues that some would scoff at in a modern, liberated world for women.

    Women of God can never be like women of the world.

    Understand and Nourish Potential

    May mothers and fathers understand the great potential for good their daughters inherited from their heavenly home. We must nourish their gentleness, their nurturing nature, their innate spirituality and sensitivity, and their bright minds. Celebrate the fact that girls are different from boys. Be thankful for the position they have in God’s grand plan. And always remember what President Hinckley said, “Only after the earth had been formed, after the day had been separated from the night, after the waters had been divided from the land, after vegetation and animal life had been created, and after man had been placed on the earth, was woman created; and only then was the work pronounced complete and good.”5

    Fathers, husbands, young men, may you catch a vision of all that women are and can be. Please be worthy of God’s holy priesthood, which you bear, and honor that priesthood, for it blesses all of us.

    Sisters, regardless of your age, please understand all that you are and must be, all that you were prepared to be in royal courts on high by God Himself. May we use with gratitude the priceless gifts we have been given for the lifting of mankind to higher thinking and nobler aspirations, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    Notes

  •   1.

    Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102.

  •   2.

    “Womanhood: The Highest Place of Honor,” Ensign, May 2000, 96.

  •   3.

    See Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. (1966), 35.

  •   4.

    In Conference Report, Apr. 1978, 14; or Ensign, May 1978, 10–11.

  •   5.

    “Our Responsibility to Our Young Women,” Ensign, Sept. 1988, 11.