Monday, March 20, 2017
to the women
This Saturday will be the semi-annual Women's Conference of our church, where leaders (mostly women) speak specifically to girls and women. I look forward to it every six months. To get ready, I figured that I had better review what was said last time. As I reread the talks that were given last September, Bonnie L. Oscarson's talk, Rise Up in Strength, Sisters in Zion, really caught my attention.
Sister Oscarson talked about the challenges women face these days. To counteract the influence of the world around us, she said, "We need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation. We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve."
She continued, "It will take concerted effort to be converted and to keep our covenants. To do so, we need to be girls and women who study the essential doctrines of the gospel and have an unshakable testimony of their truthfulness."
She suggested three areas that she believes are foundational to strong testimonies: "First, we need to acknowledge the centrality of God our Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, to our faith and salvation. . . Second, we need to understand the need for the restoration of the doctrine, organization, and keys of authority in these latter days. . . And third, we need to study and understand temple ordinances and covenants."
These truths have buoyed me time and time again. Through prayer, scripture study, and consistent temple attendance, I have gained a testimony of them. But that doesn't mean I can stop there. Like Sister Oscarson said, it requires a "concerted effort", which means constant and focused.
Finally, Sister Oscarson shared some very applicable and common sense advice when it comes to teaching our children. She said, "I worry that we live in such an atmosphere of avoiding offense that we sometimes altogether avoid teaching correct principles. We fail to teach our young women that preparing to be a mother is of utmost importance because we don't want to offend those who aren't married or those who can't have children or to be seen as stifling future choices. On the other hand, we may also fail to emphasize the importance of education because we don't want to send the message that it is more important than marriage. We avoid declaring that our Heavenly Father defines marriage as being between a man and woman because we don't want to offend those who experience same-sex attraction. And we may find it uncomfortable to discuss gender issues or healthy sexuality.
"Certainly, sisters, we need to use sensitivity, but let us also use our common sense and our understanding of the plan of salvation to be bold and straightforward when it comes to teaching our children and youth the essential gospel principles they must understand to navigate the wold in which they live. If we don't teach our children and youth true doctrine--and teach it clearly--the world will teach them Satan's lies."
What a good push to try harder and be better! It was just what I needed to hear at the start of this new week.
Anyone can watch the Women's Conference, by the way. It will be broadcast live at lds.org on Saturday, March 25 at 6:00pm Mountain Daylight Time, but will be available to view anytime after that.
posted by stephanie at 7:20 AM