Feb 9, 2014

The Moral Force of Women

The Moral Force of Women
by Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Women have an incredibly strong influence on the world.

"Women bring with them into the world a certain virtue, a divine gift that makes them adept at instilling such qualities as faith, courage, empathy, and refinement in relationships and in cultures."

"A women's moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home."

I recently read a of a message Elizabeth Smart delivered to a group of teens.  Many of you will remember that Elizabeth, at the young age of 14, was abducted from her bedroom in her family's home. She was threatened, tied up, and raped daily by her capture until she was found nine months later.  She told this grouthat during her nine months in captivity, she held herself together by remembering things from her home and family.  Even going as far as remembering prods from her mother to do her homework and her mother saying that she didn't sell her car to buy a harp she wouldn't practice.  During that awful time, Elizabeth made a choice, she says"I decided I would do whatever it took to get back home because my mother's love was worth surviving for."

The morning after Elizabeth was found, her mother once again influenced her by giving her the following advice:
"What this man has done to you is terrible," 
"Words can't describe how wicked and evil he is. The best punishment you could ever give him is to be happy and to go on with your life."
"We do have a choice," 
"We can work through whatever we are faced with until we move forward and we can be happy again." 
"Everything that you have lost will be made up to you," 
"There is no reason to hold onto the past."
Elizabeth did choose to let go of the past and to be happy.  She has become a strong moral force for good as she shares her story of hope with others.
Mother's play an immense role in the lives of their children.  Elder Christofferson says,
"In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship. . .A mother's love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly without excuses, to be serious about education and personal development, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all around them."

You do not have to be THE mother to have this kind of influence on children.  Aunts, grandmothers, teachers, community leaders, etc can all help to shape a child's life for good.  Sister Sheri Dew has said, "As daughters of our Heavenly Father, and as daughters of Eve, we are all mothers and we have always been mothers. And we each have the responsibility to love and help lead the rising generation."
My sister is a huge part of my children's lives. She is like a second mother to them.
  She has been there for every birthday, scout court of honor, ordination, baptism, and school program.  She has taken time to teach them, nurture them, and spend quality time with them.  My children are who they are today largely because of her.  She is a huge moral force for good in my family.
". . .Whether you are single or married, whether you have borne children or not, whether you are old, young, or in between, your moral authority is vital. . ."
Satan knows how important a woman's moral influence is and has created trends and ideas to try to weaken and even eliminate this influence.  Elder Christofferson shares three.
1. LIE- Marriage, motherhood, and homemaking have lost their value.  They are not worthy endeavors. They demean women, and the demands they place on a woman are a form of exploitation.
TRUTH- "There is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage.  There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family.  Whatever else a woman may accomplish, her moral influence is no more optimally employed than here."
More of  my thoughts on this here.
2.  LIE- A Woman's sexuality is what defines her worth.  "Where once women's higher standards demanded commitment and responsibility from men, we now have sexual relations without conscience, fatherless families, and growing poverty."
TRUTH- "Protect and cultivate the moral force that is within you.  Preserve that innate virtue and the unique gifts you bring with you into the world.  .  .Take particular care. . .that your dress reflects modesty, not vanity, and that your conduct manifests purity, not promiscuity.  You cannot lift others to virtue on the one hand if you are entertaining vice on the other.
3. LIE- There is no difference between masculine and feminine.  Women need to be more aggressive, tough, and confrontational. 
TRUTH- "The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender.  There are enough women who are course; 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 for purity."  quoted from former Young Women General President Margaret D. Nadauld.
"Your intuition is to do good and to be good. . . You don't have to be perfect! . . .As you follow the Holy Spirit, your moral authority and influence will grow. . .And do not be afraid to apply that influence without fear or apology."
- What women have influenced you life?
- What are you doing to be a moral force for good in your own life?
Next Week's Talk:
by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf