Equality of Men and Women

Eternal Marriage Student Manual, (2003), 79–80


Our roles and assignments differ. … But the man is not without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord.

—President Spencer W. Kimball

Selected Teachings

President George Albert Smith

“When the Prophet Joseph Smith turned the key for the emancipation of womankind, it was turned for all the world, and from generation to generation the number of women who can enjoy the blessings of religious liberty and civil liberty has been increasing” (“Address to the Members of the Relief Society,” Relief Society Magazine, Dec. 1945, 717).

President Spencer W. Kimball

“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—but the man is not without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord (see 1 Cor. 11:11). …

“Even though the eternal roles of men and women differ, … this leaves much to be done by way of parallel personal development—for both men and women” (“The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 102).

“We do not want our LDS women to be silent partners or limited partners in that eternal assignment! Please be a contributing and full partner” (“Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 106).

President Howard W. Hunter

“A man who holds the priesthood accepts his wife as a partner in the leadership of the home and family with full knowledge of and full participation in all decisions relating thereto. … The Lord intended that the wife be a helpmeet for man (meet means equal)—that is, a companion equal and necessary in full partnership” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 68; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 50–51).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“I see my own companion of fifty-two years. Is her contribution less acceptable before the Lord than is mine? I am satisfied it is not. She has walked quietly at my side, sustained me in my responsibilities, reared and blessed our children, served in many capacities in the Church, and spread an unmitigated measure of cheer and goodness wherever she has gone. The older I grow the more I appreciate—yes, the more I love—this little woman with whom I knelt at the altar in the house of the Lord more than half a century ago” (“Rise to the Stature of the Divine within You,” Ensign, Nov. 1989, 97).

President Boyd K. Packer

“In the Church there is a distinct line of authority. We serve where called by those who preside over us.

“In the home it is a partnership with husband and wife equally yoked together, sharing in decisions, always working together. While the husband, the father, has responsibility to provide worthy and inspired leadership, his wife is neither behind him nor ahead of him but at his side” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 96; or Ensign, May 1998, 73).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“Where spiritual things are concerned, as pertaining to all of the gifts of the Spirit, with reference to the receipt of revelation, the gaining of testimonies, and the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness and which are brought to pass as a result of personal righteousness—in all these things men and women stand in a position of absolute equality before the Lord” (“Our Sisters from the Beginning,” Ensign, Jan. 1979, 61).

“The Lord never sends apostles and prophets and righteous men to minister to his people without placing women of like spiritual stature at their sides. … The exaltation of the one is dependent upon that of the other” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:302).

Elder Boyd K. Packer

“Your wife is your partner in the leadership of the family and should have full knowledge of and full participation in all decisions relating to your home” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 26; or Ensign, May 1994, 21).

Elder James E. Faust

“How should those who bear the priesthood treat their wives and the other women in their family? Our wives need to be cherished. They need to hear their husbands call them blessed, and the children need to hear their fathers generously praise their mothers (see Proverbs 31:28). The Lord values his daughters just as much as he does his sons. In marriage, neither is superior; each has a different primary and divine responsibility. Chief among these different responsibilities for wives is the calling of motherhood. I firmly believe that our dear faithful sisters enjoy a special spiritual enrichment which is inherent in their natures” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 54; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 38–39).

“Both fathers and mothers do many intrinsically different things for their children. Both mothers and fathers are equipped to nurture children, but their approaches are different. Mothers seem to take a dominant role in preparing children to live within their families, present and future. Fathers seem best equipped to prepare children to function in the environment outside the family” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 44–45; or Ensign, May 1993, 35).

In marriage, neither is superior.

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 M. Russell Ballard

Sisters “want to be heard and valued and want to make meaningful contributions to the stake or ward and its members that will serve the Lord and help accomplish the mission of the Church. …

“Brethren, please be sure you are seeking the vital input of the sisters in your council meetings” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 103; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 76).

Sister Eliza R. Snow

“The status of women is one of the questions of the day. Socially and politically it forces itself upon the attention of the world. Some … refuse to concede that woman is entitled to the enjoyment of any rights other than those which the whims, fancies or justice, as the case may be, of men may choose to grant her. The reasons which they cannot meet with argument they decry and ridicule; an old refuge for those opposed to correct principles which they are unable to controvert. Others, again, not only recognize that woman’s status should be improved, but are so radical in their extreme theories that they would set her in antagonism to man, assume for her a separate and opposing existence; and to show how entirely independent she should be would make her adopt the more reprehensible phases of character which men present, and which should be shunned or improved by them instead of being copied by women. These are two extremes, and between them is the ‘golden mean.’” (“Woman’s Status,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 July 1872, 29).