Sunday, November 20, 2016

Elders Quorum Lesson, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W Hunter Chapter 21 - Faith and Testimony

Elders Quorum Lesson, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W Hunter  Chapter 21 - Faith and Testimony
Page 267 2nd and 3rd paragraph
“Howard’s testimony grew over the years. When he was in his 20s and living in Los Angeles, California, he began to recognize the importance of serious gospel study. He wrote: ‘Although I had attended Church classes most of my life, my first real awakening to the gospel came in a Sunday School class in [the] Adams Ward taught by Brother Peter A. Clayton. He had a wealth of knowledge and the ability to inspire young people. I studied the lessons, read the outside assignments he gave us, and participated in speaking on assigned subjects. … I think of this period of my life as the time the truths of the gospel commenced to unfold. I always had a testimony of the gospel, but suddenly I commenced to understand.’2
“Many years later, President Hunter explained: ‘There comes a time when we understand the principles of our creation and who we are. Suddenly these things are illuminated to us and the cords of our hearts do vibrate. This is the time when testimony enters into our very souls and we know beyond a question of a doubt that God is our father—that he lives, that he is a reality, that we are literally his children.’3”

While this talks of an awakening in things of the gospel in general, I think if we are progressing as we should, we will have little awakenings about pieces of the gospel. Either in gaining a testimony of a doctrine that we haven't really accepted or in gaining a testimony that there is more to a doctrine that we have a testimony of than we previously understood.

Have you even experienced an awakening to a change you need to make in the way you live a doctrine that you thought you previously understood?

Page 269 1st paragraph under Teaching of Howard W Hunter
“The supreme achievement of life is to find God and to know that He lives. Like any other worthy accomplishment, this can only be obtained by those who will believe and have faith in that which at first may not be apparent”

Let’s break this down in a couple of ways.  First, it says, “those who believe AND have faith”.  Does anyone have anything to say about the phrase, “those who believe AND have faith”?

The second thing we should talk about is the phrase, “that which at first may not be apparent”.   What does the word apparent mean?  What do you think about “that which at first may not be apparent”?

John 9:1-3
1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

What do you think about the man being blind from birth “that the works of God should be made manifest in him”?

Doesn’t that make God mean to make a child blind just so he can use him?  Do we take the answer to this question for granted, that obvious it does not make God mean, but actually means that he is loving?  Have we stopped to ponder what people that don’t understand the world we live in from that perspective.  Many people are lost and hurting trying to make sense of the pain and suffering and turmoil around them.  We have information like this snippet about one man that was born blind that strengthen their knees and bind their wounds.

Do we look for ways that our trials can manifest the truth to us or to others?  Examples?

Page 270 2nd Paragraph under section 2
“. . . Sometimes faith means believing a thing to be true where the evidence is not sufficient to establish knowledge. We must continue the probe and follow the admonition: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ (Matt. 7:7–8.) . . .”

How do you handle that, when something in the Church perhaps doesn't make sense to you and you haven't collected enough data yet to make it make sense yet?  Or when someone presents a criticism of the church, past or present, that you don't have an explanation for?

What is the longest you have waited on the Lord explain something to you?  How has that affected your testimony?

Page 271 2nd Full Paragraph
“When a man has found God and understands his ways, he learns that nothing in the universe came by chance, but all things resulted from a divinely prearranged plan. What a rich meaning comes into his life! Understanding which surpasses worldly learning is his. The beauties of the world become more beautiful, the order of the universe becomes more meaningful, and all of God’s creations are more understandable as he witnesses God’s days come and go and the seasons follow each in their order.”

“Understanding which surpasses worldly learning”.  What does the word surpasses mean?  Does it mean that it replaces worldly understanding?  Could it mean that in some cases it encompasses what man already understands and extends it?  The beauties of the world, that we can already see, become more beautiful.

What about fears?  When we take God’s plan out of the equation are the problems of the world sometimes scary and perplexing.  When learn His plan and His doctrine more and more, does it give us comfort and hope and knowledge about how things work and a glimpse at why things are happening?

John 20:24-29
24 ¶But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 ¶And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Thomas was an apostle.  He had been called by the Lord and was a special witness of Him and yet he is called doubting Thomas.  What was it like to be the first apostles, with only just a very short time to watch the Master and see how things work.  They did not have generations of apostles to show them things.  They were not raised with the knowledge of apostle since they were born.

Do any of you understand what Thomas was going through?  Tell me about Thomas.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Elder Quorum Lesson - Howard W Hunter Chapter 19 - Our Commitment to God

Howard W Hunter Chapter 19 - Our Commitment to God
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

What do you think Joshua is saying in this scripture?

What are some ways Joshua might phrase this verse if speaking it those in our day or to you specifically?

Think about how would you respond?

This lesson is on our commitment to God. What is our level of commitment? Do I say,  “Me and my house will serve the Lord “? I have to admit that if I take a hard look at myself I sometimes say, me and my house will serve the Lord... unless there is a movie we really want to see or I will serve the Lord unless traffic gets in my way while I am driving.

Do I obey all of God's commandments or all of them, except that one that really inconveniences me?

Page 244, First Two Full Paragraph
“As I think of the blessings God has given us and the many beauties of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am aware that along the way we are asked to make certain contributions in return, contributions of time or of money or of other resources. These are all valued and all necessary, but they do not constitute our full offering to God.
Ultimately, what our Father in Heaven will require of us is more than a contribution; it is a total commitment, a complete devotion, all that we are and all that we can be.

“Please understand that I do not speak only of a commitment to the Church and its activities, although that always needs to be
strengthened. No, I speak more specifically of a commitment that is shown in our individual behavior, in our personal integrity, in our loyalty to home and family and community, as well as to the Church. . . .”

Why does a father require things of his children at times and not just always give them everything freely?  Does a good earthly father expect certain commitment from their children?  How so?

Why does Heavenly Father expect commitment and work from us?

Continuing on page 244
“Approximately 586 years before Christ, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, marched against the city of Jerusalem and conquered it. So impressed was he with the qualities and learning of the children of Israel that he had several of them brought to the king’s court [in Babylon].

“Trouble came to the Israelites the day Nebuchadnezzar made a golden idol and commanded all in the province of Babylon to worship it, a command that the three young Israelites—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego—quietly refused. The king was full of ‘rage and fury’ and demanded that they be brought before him. (Dan. 3:13.) He informed them that if they did not fall down before the golden image at the appointed moment, ‘ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.’ Then with some self-satisfaction he asked, ‘And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?’ [Dan. 3:15.]

“The three young men responded courteously but without hesitation:

“‘If it be so,’ they said, ‘[that you threaten us with death,] our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
“‘But if not [if for whatever reason he chooses not to save us from the fire], be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.’ [Dan. 3:17–18.]

“Of course Nebuchadnezzar was more furious than ever and ordered that one of the furnaces be heated to seven times its normal temperature. Then he commanded that these three valiant young men be thrown fully clothed into the midst of the fire. Indeed, the king was so insistent and the flame so hot that the soldiers who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego fell dead from the heat of the furnace as they cast their captives forward.

“Then transpired one of those great miracles to which the faithful are entitled according to the will of God. These three young men stood and walked about calmly in the midst of the furnace and were not burned. Indeed, when they were later called out of the furnace by the astonished king himself, their clothing was untarnished, their skin was free from any burn, not a hair of their head was singed. Not even the smell of smoke had come upon these courageous, committed young men.

“‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego,’ said the king, ‘who hath … delivered his servants that trusted in him, … [who] yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

“‘… Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon.’ (Dan. 3:28, 30.)”

We’ve probably heard this story quite a few times.  Have we ever thought about what our actions would have been at that time?  We live in America and as bad as things get here we don’t really know what it is like to live under a king, especially a dictator king like Nebuchadnezzar.

Would we have just bowed down to stay out of the kings way, knowing he was a tyrant and never had the confrontation in the first place?  We wouldn’t really be worshipping it.  We would just be following the law.  Every choice has consequences.  Sometimes good consequences and sometimes bad.  What could have been possible consequences of them just going through the motions and doing what the king had said?

Perhaps we would’ve not bowed down, but then what would we do if we were arrested, possibly very forcefully arrested, and brought before an angry man, who had power to do whatever he wanted to do us.  He could have tortured us in many different ways or this fiery furnace thing.  Would we be scared?  Would we be intimidated?

What are we really talking about here?  Was this just being told to bow and then saying no thank you and then being asked to come see the king at 3:30 on Thursday so the king can hear your case?

President Benson once said, “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.” (In Donald L. Staheli, “Obedience—Life’s Great Challenge,”Ensign, May l998, 82).  The king and the fiery furnace were potentially a bit more than an irritant.  How much less than that would it take for me to waiver in my commitment?

Elder Robert D Hales in last conference asked, “If we love the Savior more, will we suffer less?”.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego indeed did, in the end, suffer less.

Perhaps this is a good challenge to close the lesson with.  Do an experiment on the words contained in Daniel and the words of Elder Hales.  See if we increase our love for and commitment to the Savior just a little bit, if he doesn’t some of the things that are troubling us.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Talk - Modesty

Elder Robert D Hales quotes are taken from his August 2008 Ensign article, “Modesty: Reverence For The Lord”

Elder Robert D. Hales said, “Imagine that you are watching a play. An actor comes on stage dressed as a clown but starts playing the serious part of the lead. You might react by thinking that this is inappropriate—there must be some mistake in the costuming or casting.

Now think of how inappropriate it is to go out into the world or come to church dressed in clothes that do not represent who you really are in spirit.”

Several years ago when going in for a temple recommend interview. The stake president informed me that he was speaking to every member that came in for a temple recommend personally. He said there was a very big problem with immodest dressing in his stake and wanted to make sure that every member attending the temple understood what was appropriate to wear and what was inappropriate. What he said next stunned me. He said, “A woman’s knees should never been seen in public.” He then challenged me to go to the temple and to listen to what was said in the endowment, and that if I did the spirit would reveal this truth to me.

I have since done a little research and studying on modesty and dress by the Lord’s standards and I have come to the conclusion that there are two ways of dressing. You can either dress in fig leaves or coats of skins.  In Moses 4 verse 13 we read,” And the eyes of them both (Adam and Eve) were opened, and they knew that they had been naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.” Then in verse 27 we read, “Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, I the Lord God, make coats of skins and clothed them.”
So what are fig leaves and what are coats of skins? ” Robert D Hales said, “In everyday living, immodest clothing such as short shorts, miniskirts, tight clothing, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and other revealing attire are not appropriate. Men and women—including young men and young women—should wear clothing that covers the shoulder and avoid clothing that is low cut in the front or back or revealing in any other manner. Tight pants, tight shirts, excessively baggy clothing, wrinkled apparel, and unkempt hair are not appropriate. All should avoid extremes in clothing, hairstyle, and other aspects of appearance. We should always be neat and clean, avoiding sloppiness or inappropriate casualness.  Our clothing is more than just covering for our bodies; it reflects who we are and what we want to be, both here in mortality and in the eternities that will follow.”

A fig leaf could be referred to any clothing that is tight, revealing, low cut, excessively baggy, or wrinkled. Anything that would make me want to hide from the Lord’s presence. As Adam and Eve did in their fig leaves. A coat of skins could be any clothing that would show our love for the Savior and that shows I know and understand who I am. A son or daughter of Heavenly Father. So I have tried to make it a goal that every time I pick up a pair of yoga pants, a t-shirt, a pair of shorts, a skirt, or even a pair of jeans. Before I putting it on my body I ask myselves is this a fig leaf or a coat of skins.

Let me give you a couple of examples from the scriptures. First I would like to talk about my favorite scripture heroine of all times, Hadassah. Hadassah was a young jewish girl, and during this time the jews were hated and not treated very well. And jewish females were thought to be the lowest of low and treated very poorly. So not only is Hadassah jewish but she is also an orphan. Now when Mordecai hears of his uncle’s death he takes Hadassah in and raised her as his own. Mordecai then gives Hadassah her Persian name Esther. Now what does Esther have to do with modesty? Well we know the king is looking for a queen and he brings in all these maidens to chose one to be his new queen. We read in Esther 2 verse 15 (when Esther) “was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her.” Verse 17 reads, “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head,” Now Esther was given the opportunity to adorn herself to wear fig leaves if she chose too, but she required nothing. Why? Because she knew who she was (a daughter of God) and she was not going to give up wearing her coat of skins just for the chance to be queen.

What did the king and all those that looked at Esther see that they did not see in the other maidens? The companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit radiated from her and penetrated all that came in contact with her. Now the Spirit can not dwell with those that wear fig leaves. Had Esther been a fig leaf wearer even part of the time her story could've turned out very differently. We know that Esther went on to save a nation (her people) from death. If she had not been humble enough to wear coats of skins her life and the lives of her people could have been lost.

Now let’s take a look at another women from the scriptures, Isabel. She is found in the Book of Mormon. Only five women are mentioned by name in the Book of Mormon and Isabel is one of them. So much is to be learned from her. She is a fig leif wearer and her life did not turn out so well. We read about her in Alma 39 verses 3 through 5. Now Alma is talking to his son Corianton here as we read, “And this is not all, my son. Thou didst do that which was grievous unto me; for thou didst forsake the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel. Yea, she did steal away the hearts of many; but this was no excuse for thee, my son. Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry wherewith thou wast entrusted. Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the holy Ghost?”  

Spencer W. Kimball said, “I know I’m not going to be popular when I say this, but I am sure that the immodest dresses that are worn by our young women, and their mothers, contribute in some degree to the immorality of this age … I wonder if our young sisters realize the temptation they are flaunting before young men when they leave their bodies partly uncovered.” (Quoted by Dallin H Oaks in the December 1971 New Era, “Standards of Dress and Grooming”)

Now I am not saying that if we wear fig leaves we will turn into harlots. But what I am saying is if we give Satan an inch he’ll take a yard. If we give him a yard he’ll take two. Isabel didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Hey, when I grow up I want to be a harlot.” It was through her pride of fig leaf wearing that kept her from feeling the Spirit. And without the Spirit in her life she became lost.

Have I always followed the guidance of my church leaders by not letting my knees show in public, or by avoiding all fig leaf clothing? No, there have been times when the cuteness of an article of clothing or how comfortable that clothing is has overridden my better judgement, or my laziness has kept me from dressing in coats of skins. Does my human weakness keep me from trying to do better next time. No, it gives me the opportunity to repent, to learn, and to grow.

When I struggle with fig leaves I always turn to my favorite heroine Hadassah. I think I admire her so much because our lives are so similar. Hadassah was a jewish female. Looked down upon, ridiculed, and disowned by some. I am the only member in my family and none of my family is happy with my decision to join the church. I am looked down on, ridiculed and even disowned by some family members for my decision. Hadassah was an orphan. Even though both of my parents are alive I feel spiritually orphaned by them. They want nothing to do with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and my whole life is in this gospel. So I am unable to share my life with them. Hadassah’s name was changed to Esther. I have been to the temple and received a new name. Esther married a king. I married a priesthood holder and king. Esther took on the heavy responsibilities that come with being queen. I also have many heavy responsibilities as queen of my home. Esther saved a nation (her people) from death. I am the only one at this time from my extended family that can enter the Holy Temple. I have hundreds of thousands of ancestors just waiting for their temple work to be done. I to have a nation to save.

This was a lot for Esther to bear. This is a lot for me to bear. But Esther did it by being true to who she was (a daughter of God) by keeping the Spirit with her in her wearing coats of skins and not fig leaves. I too can bear the burdens placed before me by keeping the Spirit with me in wearing coats of skins and not fig leaves.  

I bear my testimony that I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. I know that our church leaders speak truths that guide us back to our Heavenly Father. I know that my Savior loves me and everyone of you. I know He gives us these sacred guidelines on modesty, not to hinder us, but so that we can have the fullness of His love and protection at all times.  And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Talk Version 2 - Motherhood Is Sacred and All Women Are Mothers

Sometimes we try to do things the way WE think life should work instead of how life actually works.  Or we try to please others and end up trying to live life in a way that isn't how it works.

Sometimes I have tried to insert my own incorrect ideas and try to make life how I think it should be, instead of how it actually works.  I, at times, have behaved or wanted my wife to behave in ways that are inconsistent with the gender roles Heavenly Father has given us.  I have had to put aside what I wanted to understand how life works.

The thing that I have had to figure out is that males and females are different.

That’s right.  Boys are not the same as girls and men are not the same as women.  Some people understand this earlier in life.

I think sometimes we spend time and energy comparing ourselves to the other gender.  We perhaps see things that appear unfair when looking at each other. To get past that we have to truly understand that males and females are different.  We have different strengths and sometimes different needs.

We are different, but Equal.  Equal does not mean the same.

Let’s imagine for a moment a quarter, and then also imagine 2 dimes and a nickel.  The value of a quarter, 25 cents, is equal to the value of 2 dimes and a nickel, also 25 cents.

Now imagine a person walks up to a 25 cent gumball machine.  The person reaches in their pocket and pulls out 25 cents, two dimes and a nickel, which is equal to the value the gumball machine requires.  Nonetheless, the task the gumball machine performs is designed to only work with quarters.  WELL THAT’S NOT FAIR!.  And yet, that is how it works.  It would be a great challenge to get a gumball out of that machine with two dimes and a nickel.  Likely when trying it one would damage the machine or damage the money.

Elder M Russell Ballard said:
“Men and women have different but equally valued roles. Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman.” (Elder M Russell Ballard, “Men and Women and Priesthood Power, Ensign September 2014)

Elder Ballard also said:
“Men and women are equal in God’s eyes and in the eyes of the Church, but equal does not mean that they are the same. Although responsibilities and divine gifts of men and women differ in their nature, they do not differ in their importance or influence.” (Elder M Russell Ballard, “Men and Women in the Work of the Lord”, New Era April 2014)

He further points out:
“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. A husband and wife righteously working together complete each other. Let us be careful that we do not attempt to tamper with our Heavenly Father’s plan and purposes in our lives.” (Elder M Russell Ballard, “Men and Women and Priesthood Power, Ensign September 2014)

There was a lot in Elder Ballard’s words about husband and wife relationships, but let’s remember that men and women are different even when they are single.  We must not beat ourselves up if we struggle when we are single to perform both genders’ responsibilities.  We can still draw on the strength of others of the opposite sex in our life.  Because of the natural order of things, we can not do it alone.

Generally, I believe that people do not fully comprehend the sacredness of mothers.  I believe they also generally do not fully understand that all women are mothers, no matter if they have children or not.

All Women Are Mothers
A single woman, a young married woman with no children, a woman with children, and a woman whose children are grown all are mothers.

Let’s review a portion of the the family proclamation:
“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

I would propose that for a mother the meaning of the word children extends to neighborhood, city, state, and so forth and that a mother’s stewardship becomes greater the closer she gets to the house she lives in.

A mother’s role is primarily to nurture.  Fathers are to preside, provide, and protect, which I believe translates to doing whatever is necessary to make it possible for the work of motherhood to thrive.

Sister Marriott, second counselor in the young women general presidency, in the women’s session of general conference stated, “The Relief Society general president Eliza R. Snow declared to sisters almost 150 years ago, ‘The Lord has laid high responsibilities upon us.’2

Sister Marriott pointed out that sisters, not women who are married or who have kids living at home have high responsibility.  She said that sister Snow was addressing all sisters.  All women.

Sister Marriott continues, “The Lord’s Church needs Spirit-directed women who use their unique gifts to nurture, to speak up, and to defend gospel truth. Our inspiration and intuition are necessary parts of building the kingdom of God, which really means doing our part to bring salvation to God’s children.”

Mothers have stewardship over the nurture of children.  Not just their children, but all of God’s children.

So far my evidence for all women being mothers may be a little thin, so let’s go back for more words from Sister Marriott, “Mothers literally make room in their bodies to nurture an unborn baby—and hopefully a place in their hearts as they raise them—but nurturing is not limited to bearing children. Eve was called a “mother” before she had children.4 I believe that “to mother” means “to give life.” Think of the many ways you give life. It could mean giving emotional life to the hopeless or spiritual life to the doubter. With the help of the Holy Ghost, we can create an emotionally healing place for the discriminated against, the rejected, and the stranger. In these tender yet powerful ways, we build the kingdom of God. Sisters, all of us came to earth with these life-giving, nurturing, maternal gifts because that is God’s plan.”

I would note that Sister Marriott’s stewardship is over the young women of the Church and yet she is speaking to the role of mothers.  I propose again that all women are mothers and have stewardship over things of motherhood.  Young women are still women.

I believe the young women theme gives us a view into this concept:
“We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will ‘stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places’ (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge • Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue
We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.”

Standing strong in the stewardship of motherhood can be hard.  The world or a woman’s peers or maybe even the men in her life may have incorrect ideas on what her responsibilities are.  They may apply pressure to her to spend time on things that have nothing to do with what God has called her to do.  This pressure sometimes changes as they changes phases and circumstances in life.  A young woman may feel pressure to pursue things in her youth that get in the way of her calling as a mother now and perhaps in the future as well.  A young married woman without children may feel the pressure to be engaged in other things that get in the way of her calling as a mother, simply because she has no children in her home.  Mothers that have children may get grief from people that do not understand the sacredness and stewardship of motherhood.  A mother with children that are grown may feel an emptiness from not being able to nurture full time, because she does not realize that children leaving the home does not remove the stewardship of mothers to nurture children full time.  Again, the definition of children extends to all of God's children in a woman's neighborhood, city, state, and so forth, and that stewardship becomes greater the closer she gets to the house she lives in.

Sister Marriott said this:
“Being distinct and different from the world will draw some criticism, but we must anchor ourselves to eternal principles and testify of them, no matter the world’s response.”
“Women and sisters, we can do these things! Primary girls, is there someone in your family who needs your love and kindness? You build the kingdom by nurturing others too.”
“Our high responsibility is to become women who follow the Savior, nurture with inspiration, and live truth fearlessly. As we ask Father in Heaven to make us builders of His kingdom, His power will flow into us and we will know how to nurture, ultimately becoming like our heavenly parents.”

Carole M. Stephens in April 2015 General Conference was telling the story of a sister that understood the concept of being a mother beyond just our home.  She had this to say:
"Sister Yazzie doesn’t limit her love and influence to her biological family. She understands what it means to expand her sphere of influence as she goes about doing good, blessing, nurturing, and defending the family of God."

Women Are Sacred
Motherhood is sacred and all women are mothers, thus all women are sacred.  Let’s dig into that concept a bit.

President Gordon B Hinckley stated, “When you save a girl, you save generations.”

Rosemary M Wixom when she was Primary General President said:
Our divine nature has nothing to do with our personal accomplishments, the status we achieve, the number of marathons we run, or our popularity and self-esteem. Our divine nature comes from God. It was established in an existence that preceded our birth and will continue on into eternity.

Elder Russell M Nelson said on the sacredness of our duty towards women:
“Let us speak about our worthy and wonderful sisters, particularly our mothers, and consider our sacred duty to honor them.”
“if one dishonors mother, one dishonors the commandments of God.”

“the highest and noblest work in this life is that of a mother.”

Many years ago, the first presidency issued the statement, “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.”

Let’s hear that last part again, “It places her... who honors... its holy calling and service next to the angels.”

Elder Nelson shared more on the sacredness of women, “Because mothers are essential to God’s great plan of happiness, their sacred work is opposed by Satan, who would destroy the family and demean the worth of women.”

How is Satan trying to destroy the family?  Through influences that come into our home.  Through men demeaning women.  And through women demeaning themselves.  Sometimes the idea is expressed “I am only a mother.”  Which is like saying “I am only one with power given by God.”

More from Elder Nelson:
“We who bear the holy priesthood have a sacred duty to honor our sisters... We respect sisters—not only in our immediate families but all the wonderful sisters in our lives. As daughters of God, their potential is divine. Without them, eternal life would be impossible. Our high regard for them should spring from our love of God and from an awareness of their lofty purpose in His great eternal plan.”

We have a tradition of men holding doors for women when they enter or exit a building.  Clearly women are capable of opening a door, after all they are mothers who are given power directly from God. But consider the symbolism of this with regard to our responsibilities as men and the sacredness of women.  Men are to preside, provide, and protect.  We take responsibility and preside over the task of opening that door.  We provide a way for a sacred mother to enter or exit.  We protect in that we pay attention that it is safe for her to enter and that after she is in there is no danger behind her.

This may seem a bit silly that entering a church building in Layton, Utah requires that much security. The point is that in this simple act we can take the opportunity for both the man opening the door and the women entering or leaving to take a moment and recognize that which is sacred.  It is also an opportunity to engrain the sacredness of women into our youth.  Boys need to understand to respect sacredness.  Girls need to understand their great worth.

I often see young women adopting behaviors of boys who are behaving badly because they want to be close to those boys.  Young women are mothers and are sacred.  They do not have time to waste with crude boys.

I often hear phrases like boys will be boys.  The entire phrase should be boys will be boys until they are taught to be men.

1 Corinthians 13:11 states:
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

When young women stand firm in their values without judging others, young men eventually figure it out and change their behavior.  Young women, the boys you want to date and the men you want to marry should be those boys that figure it out quickly or better yet, that have already figured it out.

If women and men really understood the importance of motherhood and the scope of what motherhood entails and that women are sacred, many more things in life would make a lot more sense to us and would be a lot easier for us to deal with.