“She Shall Be Praised”: Latter-day Prophets Speak to Women


Joseph Smith, Jr.

“… It is natural for females to have feelings of charity and benevolence. … If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates. Females, if they are pure and innocent, can come in the presence of God; for what is more pleasing to God than innocence; you must be innocent, or you cannot come up before God: if we would come before God, we must keep ourselves pure, as He is pure.” (HC 4:605.)

“Our women have always been signalized for their acts of benevolence and kindness; but the cruel usage that they received from the barbarians of Missouri, has hitherto prevented their extending the hand of charity in a conspicuous manner; yet in the midst of their persecution, when the bread has been torn from their helpless offspring by their cruel oppressors, they have always been ready to open their doors to the weary traveler, to divide their scant pittance with the hungry, and from their robbed and impoverished wardrobes, to divide with the more needy and destitute. …” (HC 4:567–68.)

Brigham Young

“… We have sisters here who, if they had the privilege of studying, would make just as good mathematicians or accountants as any man; and we think they ought to have the privilege to study these branches of knowledge that they may develop the powers with which they are endowed. We believe that women are useful, not only to sweep houses, wash dishes, make beds, and raise babies, but that they should stand behind the counter, study law or physic, or become good book-keepers and be able to do the business in any counting house, and all this to enlarge their sphere of usefulness for the benefit of society at large. In following these things they but answer the design of their creation. These, and many more things of equal utility are incorporated in our religion, and we believe in and try to practice them.” (JD 13:61.)

“Now, I say the women have great influence. Look at the nations of the earth. Any nation you like, no matter which, and you enlist the sympathies of the female portion of it and what is there you cannot perform? If the government wants soldiers, they are on hand; if means, it is forthcoming. If you want influence and power, and have the ladies on your side, they will give it you.” (JD 14:102.)

“When I reflect upon the duties and responsibilities devolving upon our mothers and sisters, and the influence they wield, I look upon them as the mainspring and soul of our being here.” (JD 14:102.)

John Taylor

“A great deal of credit is due to our sisters. God has provided them as helpmates to their husbands, and it is the duty of the latter to cherish and protect those whom God has given unto them, and show them how to make themselves happy. Teach them—our wives and daughters—the pure principles of the gospel that the daughters of Zion may be lovely and shine as the light and glory of the age in which we live. Sisters, put away from you the vanities and frivolities of the world, administer to the poor and the afflicted. The sisters know how to sympathize with and administer to those who are poor, afflicted, and downcast. …” (The Gospel Kingdom, p. 177.)

“And what do we want to teach our good sisters? I do not propose to go into details, but will merely say they should be things most elevating and useful. Teach them to cook aright, to dress aright, and to speak aright; also to govern their feelings and tongues, and unfold unto them the principles of the Gospel.” (JD 19:246.)

Wilford Woodruff

“Oh! Ye Latter-day Saints, you talk about revelation, and wonder if there is any revelation. Why, bless your souls, say nothing about the apostles and elders around me, these mountains contain thousands upon thousands of devoted women, holy women, righteous women, virtuous women, who are filled with the inspiration of Almighty God. Yes, these women have brought forth an army of sons and daughters in these mountains, by the power of God, and these sons and daughters partake of the inspiration of their mothers, as well as of their fathers. … Yes, we have revelation. The Church of God could not live twenty-four hours without revelation.” (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 61.)

“Upon the shoulders of you mothers rests, in a great measure, the responsibility of correctly developing the mental and moral powers of the rising generation, whether in infancy, childhood, or still riper years.” (JD 15:12.)

“That hymn (‘O My Father’) is a revelation, though it was given unto us by a woman—Sister Eliza R. Snow. There are a great many sisters who have the spirit of revelation. There is no reason why they should not be inspired as well as men.” (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 61–62.)

“I am glad there is a little spirit among our sisters, and that they dare say their souls are their own.” (JD 14:270.)

Lorenzo Snow

“Let wives pursue an even course with regard to their husband; let them bear with his faults; let them be united and live in peace, and they will increase in light and intelligence.” (JD 5:316.)

Joseph F. Smith

“In the home the mother is the principal disciplinarian in early child life, and her influence and discipline determine in a great measure the ability of her children to assume in manhood and womanhood the larger governments in church and state. … If our sisters could only realize how helpful they might be to their husbands who hold responsible positions in the Church, and if they would only take pride and pleasure in their husband’s administration of affairs, the conduct of men in public office would in many instances be very greatly improved.” (Gospel Doctrine, pp. 240, 290.)

“I have learned to place a high estimate upon the love of mother. I have often said, and will repeat it, that the love of a true mother comes nearer being like the love of God than any other kind of love.” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 315.)

“The word and the law of God are as important for women who would reach wise conclusions as they are for men; and women should study and consider the problems of this great latter-day work from the standpoint of God’s revelations, and as they may be actuated by his Spirit, which it is their right to receive through the medium of sincere and heartfelt prayer.” (Gospel Doctrine, 9, 290.)

“A wife may love her husband, but it is different to that of the love of mother to her child. The true mother, the mother who has the fear of God and the love of truth in her soul, would never hide from danger or evil and leave her child exposed to it. But as natural as it is for the sparks to fly upward, as natural as it is to breathe the breath of life, if there were danger coming to her child, she would step between the child and that danger; she would defend her child to the uttermost. Her life would be nothing in the balance, in comparison with the life of her child. That is the love of true motherhood for children.” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 315.)

Heber J. Grant

“Talk about sacrifice! Why the sacrifice of the women of this Church and their devotion are beyond the power of pen and tongue to pay tribute.” (CR, Apr. 1934, p. 17.)

George Albert Smith

“… I think you will agree with me that seldom may be found in this world a great man who did not have a great mother.” (Sharing the Gospel with Others, p. 140.)

“Woman has filled a wonderful part in the march of progress, but most important of all duties that have been laid upon the gentle sex, is the duty of bringing into the world and rearing, the children of our Heavenly Father.” (Sharing the Gospel with Others, p. 139.)

David O. McKay

“A beautiful, modest, gracious woman is creation’s masterpiece. When to these virtues a woman possesses as guiding stars in her life righteousness and godliness and an irresistible impulse and desire to make others happy, no one will question if she be classed among those who are truly great.” (Gospel Ideals, p. 449.)

“Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother’s image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child’s mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world. True, there comes a time when Father takes his place as exemplar and hero of the growing boy; and in the latter’s budding ambition to develop manly traits, he outwardly seems to turn from the more gentle and tender virtues engendered by his mother. Yet that ever-directing and restraining influence implanted during the first years of his childhood linger with him and permeate his thoughts and memory as distinctively as perfume clings to each particular flower.” (Gospel Ideals, p. 452.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

“Our sisters are entitled just as much to the inspiration for their needs of the Holy Spirit as are the men. They are entitled to the gift of prophecy concerning matters that would be essential for them to know as it is for the men. When they pray they should pray earnestly, expecting to have an answer to their prayers. The Lord will hear them if they are earnest, true, just as well as he will the brethren.” (Take Heed to Yourselves, p. 259.)

“When the Lord said that no person could be saved in ignorance, I think he meant women as well as he did men, and I think the women of the Church are under the obligation of studying the scriptures just as well as for the men.” (Take Heed to Yourselves, p. 259.)

Harold B. Lee

“Woman has within her the power of creation in company with her legal and lawful husband here, and if sealed in celestial wedlock, may have eternal increase in the world to come. Woman is the homemaker in her own home, and an exemplar to her posterity in the generations that succeed her. Woman is a helpmate to her husband and is to render him more perfect than he otherwise would be. Woman’s influence can bless a community or a nation to that extent to which she develops her spiritual powers in harmony with the heaven-sent gifts which she has been by nature endowed. If she does not forfeit her priceless heritage by her own willful negligence, she can be largely instrumental in safeguarding democracy and downing a would-be tyrant. Year in and year out, she may cast the aura of her calming and refining influence to make certain that her posterity will enjoy the opportunities to develop to their fullest potential their spiritual and physical nature.” (Relief Society Magazine, Jan. 1967, p. 13.)

Spencer W. Kimball

“At a distant conference, my plane brought me to the city many hours early. The stake president met me at the airport and took me to his home. Having important work to do, he excused himself and returned to his work. With the freedom of the house, I spread my papers on the kitchen table and began my work. His wife was upstairs sewing. In mid-afternoon, there came an abrupt entry through the front door and a little fellow came running in, surprised to see me. We became friends; then he ran through the rooms calling, ‘Mother.’ She answered from upstairs, ‘What is it, darling?’ and his answer was, ‘Oh, nothing.’ He went out to play.

“A little later another boy came in the front door calling, ‘Mother, Mother.’ He put his school books on the table and explored the house until the reassuring answer came from upstairs again, ‘Here I am, darling,’ and the second one was satisfied and said, ‘Okay,’ and went to play. Another half hour and the door opened again and a young teenager moved in, dropped her books, and called, ‘Mother.’ And the answer from upstairs, ‘Yes, darling,’ seemed to satisfy and the young girl began practicing her music lesson.

“Still another voice later called, ‘Mother,’ as she unloaded her high school books. And again the sweet answer, ‘I am up here sewing, darling,’ seemed to reassure her. She tripped up the stairs to tell her mother the happenings of the day. Home! Mother! Security! Just to know Mother was home. All was well.” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, pp. 117–18.)

[illustrations] Illustrated by Ted Henninger