- 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 woman’s moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home. There is no better setting for rearing the rising generation than the traditional family, where a father and a mother work in harmony to provide for, teach, and nurture their children. Where this ideal does not exist, people strive to duplicate its benefits as best they can in their particular circumstances. In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship. By the power of her example and teaching, her sons learn to respect womanhood and to incorporate discipline and high moral standards in their own lives. Her daughters learn to cultivate their own virtue and to stand up for what is right, again and again, however unpopular. 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.
Elder Christofferson shares a story about Anne Daines and the great influence she had on the community they lived in to break down barriers and misunderstandings about the church. Elder Christofferson shares the influence this sister had on him and helped him to grow up to be the type of person he is today. It is worth noting that the talk references an article in the April 1977 Ensign. I am linking to that article HERE as I think it gives greater insight into this particular women and the amazing influence she had on the community around her. I am sure she had no idea that her influence would be so infuential in the life of a man who would one day be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Elder Christofferson continues:
- 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, and perhaps we have begun to take it and you for granted. Certainly there are trends and forces at work that would weaken and even eliminate your influence, to the great detriment of individuals, families, and society at large. Let me mention three as a caution and a warning.
The devaluation of marriage and of motherhood and homemaking as a career
- We do not diminish the value of what women or men achieve in any worthy endeavor or career—we all benefit from those achievements—but we still recognize 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.
Attitudes toward human sexuality threaten the moral authority of women
- Abortion for personal or social convenience strikes at the heart of a woman’s most sacred powers and destroys her moral authority. The same is true of sexual immorality and of revealing dress that not only debases women but reinforces the lie that a woman’s sexuality is what defines her worth.
Those who, in the name of equality, want to erase all differences between the masculine and the feminine
- Often this takes the form of pushing women to adopt more masculine traits—be more aggressive, tough, and confrontational. It is now common in movies and video games to see women in terribly violent roles, leaving dead bodies and mayhem in their wake. It is soul-numbing to see men in such roles and certainly no less so when women are the ones perpetrating and suffering the violence.
Elder Christofferson sums up his words of encouragement with this plea to women of the world:
- My plea to women and girls today is to 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. Your intuition is to do good and to be good, and as you follow the Holy Spirit, your moral authority and influence will grow. To the young women I say, don’t lose that moral force even before you have it in full measure. Take particular care that your language is clean, not coarse; 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.
He reminds the sisters that their greatest responsibility is to have a great relationship with God and Jesus Christ:
- Sisters, of all your associations, it is your relationship with God, your Heavenly Father, who is the source of your moral power, that you must always put first in your life.
Finally he ends with clarification that men are not left out of this equation. We have the obligation to encourage the growth and stand by the women in our lives:
- By praising and encouraging the moral force in women, I am not saying that men and boys are somehow excused from their own duty to stand for truth and righteousness, that their responsibility to serve, sacrifice, and minister is somehow less than that of women or can be left to women. Brethren, let us stand with women, share their burdens, and cultivate our own companion moral authority.
How grateful I am for the women in my life. They are strong, confident, and spiritual examples to me and all those around us. I am grateful for their guidance, encouragement, and support for the men around them. They have such and amazing influence on others to do good. As I raise my family, I am constantly referencing the goodness that my girls bring into the lives of those around them and encourage them to never be dragged down by those that think the way they act is uncool or unpopular. They have so much ability to raise those around them to be better people and continually remind them that they are daughters of a loving Heavenly Father who loves them.