General Conference. For my friends who are not LDS, General Conference happens twice a year, in April and October, and we get to listen to our prophet, the Twelve Apostles, and other church leaders talk to the whole church. Anyways, that didn't happen. Every once in a while I kept having the thought that I needed to study these conference talks. But, as you know, there are so many interesting books to read, Facebooking to do, household chores, bickering to break up, that those thoughts just fell by the wayside.
Then I had these past few weeks where I was asked to talk in church (see here) and I was asked a couple weeks later to teach a lesson in Relief Society (our women's meeting). And I realized just how low my testimony level had gotten. So, I've decided that I am going to take one conference talk per week and read and report on it. I won't get through all the talks, but I will get through quite a few. And you lucky readers get to come along on this journey with me.
Without further ado, on to today's talk. I am reporting on Sis. Elaine Dalton's talk We Are Daughters of our Heavenly Father.
It is not only an affirmation of our identity - who we are - but also an acknowledgment of whose we are. We are daughters of an exalted being!
Our daily contributions of nurturing, teaching, and caring for others may seem mundane, diminished, difficult, and demeaning at times, and yet as we remember that first line in the Young Women theme - "We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us" - it will make all the difference in our relationships and our responses.
It also reminded me of the Relief Society lesson I taught last week. In it President Snow encouraged LDS mothers to "exercise all your influence . . .in favor of pure motherhood." We discussed how the world sees motherhood in our class. We discussed how it seems the world either says, "Oh, you're just a mother? You must be a very uninteresting person." Or the world expects us to be perfectly coiffed and presented. We must have children all in matching outfits with a home decorated like the spread in Better Homes and Gardens. Well, guess what? We are real mothers. We try to do our best and we would love to have a Better Homes and Gardens house also (Why else are those magazines around?) but this child needs a diaper change and that child needs someone to talk to and another child is learning to make his bed independently. It's imperfect, but it's independent. And let's not get started on when they begin to make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
So we can buy into the world's perception of motherhood - mundane, diminished, difficult, and demeaning - or we can be exalted daughters doing our best in an imperfect world. We can lean on the support of our Father in Heaven who loves us, or we can try to do it all on our own. President Hinckley reminds us -
We must never lose sight of the strength of the women. … It is mothers who most directly affect the lives of their children. … It is mothers who nurture them and bring them up in the ways of the Lord. Their influence is paramount. …
“… They are the creators of life. They are the nurturers of children. They are the teachers of young women. They are our indispensable companions. They are our co-workers in building the kingdom of God. How great is their role, how marvelous their contribution.
So how do a mother and a father instill in their daughter the ennobling and eternal truth that she is a daughter of God? How do we help her step out of the world and step into the kingdom of God?
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
I will end with this last quote from Sis. Dalton.
In an extremely challenging world, that is what I see young women and women of this Church doing. They are an influence for good. They are virtuous and exemplary, intelligent and industrious. They are making a difference because they are different. They are acting well their part.