As an important part of His plan of happiness, Heavenly Father has given women the divine roles of being wives and mothers. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” teaches that “mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children” and that fathers and mothers are to “help one another as equal partners” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).
Display the following prophecy by President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) and ask a student to read it aloud:
“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and … are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball , 222–23).
Why do you think that righteous Latter-day Saint women will be the reason for major growth in the Church?
To expand on this idea, ask students to search Doctrine and Covenants 25:1–3, 10, 13–16, looking for words and phrases that show how Latter-day Saint women can be happily “distinct and different” from women of the world. Help students understand the context of this revelation by explaining that it is a personal revelation for Emma Smith, but it is applicable to all women in the Church.
What can we learn from these verses about the characteristics that righteous women should seek to have?
How would you state a doctrine or principle taught in Doctrine and Covenants 25? (As students respond, point out this principle: As disciples of the Lord, women can use their divine gifts and talents to help build the kingdom of God.)
Share the following statements by President Spencer W. Kimball and by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times” (Teachings: Spencer W. Kimball, 217).
“Sisters, your sphere of influence is a unique sphere—one that cannot be duplicated by men. No one can defend our Savior with any more persuasion or power than can you—the daughters of God who have such inner strength and conviction. The power of the voice of a converted woman is immeasurable, and the Church needs your voices now more than ever” (M. Russell Ballard, “Men and Women and Priesthood Power,” Ensign, Sept. 2014, 33).
Ask the women in your class what thoughts and feelings they have as they consider the influence they can have in their homes, in the Church, and in their communities. Emphasize the prominent roles that women have as leaders in the Church.
You might ask the brethren in your class to share how they have seen the strength and influence of women in their ward or branch bring individuals closer to Heavenly Father.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Men and women have different gifts, different strengths, and different points of view and inclinations. That is one of the fundamental reasons we need each other. It takes a man and a woman to create a family, and it takes men and women to carry out the work of the Lord” (“Men and Women and Priesthood Power,” 32).
Other than the obvious physical differences, what are some ways you have observed that men and women are generally different from each other?
Explain that apart from these general differences, men and women also have different divinely appointed roles, as described in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (see the seventh paragraph). Display the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
How can women glorify God as they bear and care for God’s children? (As students share their thoughts, help them understand this principle: As women embrace their divinely appointed role as mothers to bear and care for God’s children, they glorify Him and become more like our Divine Parents. Explain that bringing children into the world is an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation.)
Share the following statement by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. My daughters recently referred me to a blog written by a Christian mother (not of our faith) with five children. She commented: ‘[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. … Below any job you may have or hope to get.’ She then adds: ‘Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling’” (“Children,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 28).
What does it mean to “marginalize” the importance of having children?
What pressures have you seen on women to “marginalize” the importance of having children?
What can young adults in the Church do to keep a proper perspective on the importance of bearing children?
Assure students that decisions about when to have children and how many children to have are private matters between a husband and wife and God. An upcoming lesson will discuss these matters in more detail.
Invite students to read and compare 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14–15 and Alma 56:47–48; 57:21, looking for the righteous influence mothers can have on their children. (Learning to compare scripture passages is a scripture study skill that students can use throughout their lives.)
What do these passages teach about a mother’s role? (Emphasize the following principle: When mothers teach the gospel to their children, they help their children to gain faith and prepare them to live righteously.)
How do these passages help explain why Satan is laboring so hard to demean the role of mothers?
What characteristics do women have that can help them succeed in their roles as mothers?
Be sensitive to the fact that some young women in your class may never marry, and if they do marry, they may not be able to bear children. Use the following statement by Sister Sheri L. Dew, a former counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, to help your students understand that the role of mother is the divine heritage of all women:
“Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood. Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us. …
“… Some women are required to wait to have children. … But the Lord’s timetable for each of us does not negate our nature. Some of us, then, must simply find other ways to mother. And all around us are those who need to be loved and led” (“Are We Not All Mothers?” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 96–97).
How does Sister Dew’s statement help expand your understanding of motherhood?
Ask students if any of them would like to share their thoughts and feelings about the righteous influence of their own mother.
Display the following statement by Sister Julie B. Beck, former Relief Society general president, who spoke to women about their need to fulfill the roles given to them by God. Ask a student to read it aloud, and invite students to consider what would happen if women failed to fulfill their roles.
“If we don’t do our part, no one else is going to do it for us. … We can’t delegate [our part in Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness]. We can’t pass it off to anyone. It’s ours. We can refuse it, we can deny it, but it’s still our part, and we’re accountable for it. There will come a day when we will all remember what we knew before we were born. We will remember that we fought in a great conflict for this privilege. How do we meet this responsibility? We daily put our energies into the work that is uniquely ours to do” (“Understand the Divine Roles of Women,” Ensign, Feb. 2009, 67).
What are your thoughts and feelings about the phrase “If we don’t do our part, no one else is going to do it for us”?
What would be lost from the family, from your ward or branch, or from the world if women no longer did their “part”?
What are some ways that young adult women can fulfill their divine roles as women in Heavenly Father’s kingdom?
Testify of the sacred and essential roles of women to be righteous wives and mothers, and emphasize that our Father in Heaven will someday give all blessings to His righteous children. Invite students to consider telling a mother they know how much they admire her for the way she has fulfilled her divine role.
Conclude by asking students if any of them would like to share their testimonies of the blessings that come when women know who they are in Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation and act on that knowledge.