2nd Counselor, Primary General Presidency
Satan knows that in order for us and our families to withstand the pressures of the world, we must be filled with light and gospel truth. So he does everything in his power to dilute, distort, and destroy the truth of the gospel and to keep us separated from that truth.
Many of us have been baptized and have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, whose role it is to reveal and teach the truth of all things. With the privilege of that gift comes the responsibility to seek truth, to live the truth we know, and to share and defend the truth.
One place where we best seek to be filled with light and truth is in our own homes. The words in the chorus of the song we heard remind us, “God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be.” Families are the Lord’s workshop on earth to help us learn and live the gospel. We come into our families with a sacred duty to help strengthen each other spiritually...
We will have to do our best to hold on to whatever light and truth we currently have, especially in difficult circumstances. The answers to our prayers may not come dramatically, but we must find quiet moments to seek greater light and truth. And when we receive it, it is our responsibility to live it, to share it, and to defend it.
1st Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
In the premortal life, we learned that we would need a period of mortality. We “accepted [Heavenly Father’s] plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize [our] divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.”
Elder Richard G. Scott explained that “we were taught in the premortal world that our purpose in coming here is to be tested, tried, and stretched.” That stretching comes in as many forms as there are individuals experiencing it. I’ve never had to live through divorce, the pain and insecurity that comes from abandonment, or the responsibility associated with being a single mother. I haven’t experienced the death of a child, infertility, or same-gender attraction. I haven’t had to endure abuse, chronic illness, or addiction. These have not been my stretching opportunities.
So right now some of you are thinking, “Well then, Sister Stephens, you just don’t understand!” And I answer that you may be right. I don’t completely understand your challenges. But through my personal tests and trials—the ones that have brought me to my knees—I have become well acquainted with the One who does understand, He who was “acquainted with grief,” who experienced all and understands all. And in addition, I have experienced all of the mortal tests that I just mentioned through the lens of a daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend.
Our opportunity as covenant-keeping daughters of God is not just to learn from our own challenges; it is to unite in empathy and compassion as we support other members of the family of God in their struggles, as we have covenanted to do.
When we do so, we also come to understand and trust that the Savior knows the difficulties of the way and can guide us through whatever sorrows and disappointments may come. He is true charity, and His love “endureth forever” —in part through us as we follow Him...
Twenty years ago, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reached out to the entire world when issuing a proclamation on the family. Since then, attacks on the family have increased.
If we are to be successful in our sacred responsibilities as daughters of God, we must understand the eternal significance of and our individual responsibility to teach truths about our Heavenly Father’s plan for His family.
Young Women's General President
Sisters, few of us will ever have to face an angry mob, but there is a war going on in this world in which our most cherished and basic doctrines are under attack. I am speaking specifically of the doctrine of the family. The sanctity of the home and the essential purposes of the family are being questioned, criticized, and assaulted on every front.
When President Gordon B. Hinckley first read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” 20 years ago this year, we were grateful for and valued the clarity, simplicity, and truth of this revelatory document. Little did we realize then how very desperately we would need these basic declarations in today’s world as the criteria by which we could judge each new wind of worldly dogma coming at us from the media, the Internet, scholars, TV and films, and even legislators. The proclamation on the family has become our benchmark for judging the philosophies of the world, and I testify that the principles set forth within this statement are as true today as they were when they were given to us by a prophet of God nearly 20 years ago...
There are three principles taught in the proclamation which I think are especially in need of steadfast defenders. The first is marriage between a man and a woman. We are taught in the scriptures, “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” For anyone to attain the fulness of priesthood blessings, there must be a husband and a wife sealed in the house of the Lord, working together in righteousness and remaining faithful to their covenants. This is the Lord’s plan for His children, and no amount of public discourse or criticism will change what the Lord has declared. We need to continue to model righteous marriages, seek for that blessing in our lives, and have faith if it is slow in coming. Let us be defenders of marriage as the Lord has ordained it while continuing to show love and compassion for those with differing views.
The next principle which calls for our defending voices is elevating the divine roles of mothers and fathers. We eagerly teach our children to aim high in this life. We want to make sure that our daughters know that they have the potential to achieve and be whatever they can imagine. We hope they will love learning, be educated, talented, and maybe even become the next Marie Curie or Eliza R. Snow...
The last principle we need to stand and defend is the sanctity of the home. We need to take a term which is sometimes spoken of with derision and elevate it. It is the term homemaker. All of us—women, men, youth, and children, single or married—can work at being homemakers. We should “make our homes” places of order, refuge, holiness, and safety. Our homes should be places where the Spirit of the Lord is felt in rich abundance and where the scriptures and the gospel are studied, taught, and lived. What a difference it would make in the world if all people would see themselves as makers of righteous homes. Let us defend the home as a place which is second only to the temple in holiness.
HENRY B. EYRING - "The Comforter"
My beloved sisters, it has been a joy for me to be with you. I’ve thought of my mother, my wife, my daughters, my daughters-in-law, my granddaughters—a number of whom are here. This wonderful program has made me appreciate them more. I recognize that having had such a family and such a wonderful family life comes from their having the Savior at the center of each of their lives. We have remembered Him tonight in music, in prayers, and through inspired sermons. One of the attributes of the Savior we most appreciate is His infinite compassion.
Tonight you have felt He knows you and loves you. You have felt His love for those seated around you. They are your sisters, spirit daughters of our Heavenly Father. He cares for them as He cares for you. He understands all their sorrows. He wants to succor them...
When He was about to be crucified, the Savior described the way He helps lighten loads and gives strength to carry them. He knew that His disciples would grieve. He knew that they would fear for their future. He knew they would feel uncertain of their capacity to move forward.
So He gave them the promise that He makes to us and to all His true disciples:
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;Then He promised:
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.In just the past few weeks, I have seen that promise of sending the Holy Ghost fulfilled in the lives of children of God who were pleading in prayer that their burdens would be lightened. The miracle of the loads being lightened came in a way the Lord promised. He and Heavenly Father sent the Holy Ghost as the Comforter to His disciples to help...
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
I bear my witness that the Lord has asked each of us, His disciples, to help bear one another’s burdens. We have promised to do it. I bear my testimony that the Lord, through His Atonement and Resurrection, has broken the power of death. I give my witness that the living Christ sends the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, to those we are pledged to help Him comfort.
You are all witnesses, as I am, of the truth of the inscription on the pin my mother wore for more than 20 years as a member of the Relief Society general board. It read, “Charity Never Faileth.” I still do not know the full meaning of those words. But I have caught a glimpse as I saw her reach out to those in need. The scripture tells us this truth: “Charity is the pure love of Christ.”
His love never fails, and we never will cease to feel in our hearts the urge “to mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” Nor will the peace He promises ever leave us as we serve others for Him.