Give me a break. Summer’s busy. I know I’ve been promising this post since May, and I’m just proud I’m finally actually getting around to it. Trust me, a finished project is a victory no matter the delay.
I attended Women’s Conference at Brigham Young University in May, and while I learned many things that were great and uplifting, the highlight for me was the talk given by Sister Julie Beck, General Relief Society President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know my personal opinion has no bearing on the efficacy of her teachings, but I really like Sister Beck. She is spunky, kind, and speaks truth without fear. Plus (with all due respect) she is the first General Relief Society President in generations that has dared to not have this haircut:
Isn’t she lovely?
Anyway, when I heard her talk, and it affected me the way that it did, I thought to myself, “This is why I came.” She did not say anything that I have not heard taught before, but the cohesiveness and clarity of her message brought me a deeper insight in the doctrine of the family, and a greater understanding of my practical role in it. Loved her talk. (Here is a link to watch her whole talk, entitled “Nourishing and Protecting Home and Family.” It is worth watching.)
From, my notes, here are some highlights:
There are three things that she has felt strongly that women need to do to fulfill their divine role:
- Increase faith and personal righteousness.
- Strengthen family and homes.
- Seek out and help those with needs.
She focused her talk on the doctrine of the family: The Doctrine of family is defined in the Proclamation on the family.
The Plan of Salvation includes the theology of family, as seen in the 3 pillars of the gospel of Jesus Christ:
- The Creation– families were formed under God’s direction
- The Fall– provided means for family to grow and develop faith
- The Atonement– opportunity for eternal growth and restoration.
Marriage is ordained of God, an order of the Priesthood, and necessary to see the face of God and live.
- The natures of male and female spirits complete each other.
- Both are needed to bring and raise children.
Some scriptural examples of the doctrine of the family and threats to it:
- Doctrine and Covenants 2: This is the 1st revelation (chronologically) included in the Doctrine and Covenants; it points to the temple.
- Ephesians 6:12 We wrestle against spiritual wickedness (“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”)
- Alma, chapter 1: Nehor started the doctrine about “me”– this philosophy is a threat to the family that is about “us/we.”
- Alma, chapter 30: Korihor, the “anti-Christ” repeated many of these same philosophies. He was not original or clever; these doctrines were pirated from Satan and other failed leaders.
Anti-Christ principles are always anti-family, and, likewise, anti-family principles are always anti-Christ.
She quoted Spencer W. Kimball, who boldly declared the doctrine as it pertained to traditional family vs. non-traditional families (talk worth reading):
“… Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us.”
We must preserve our families against gathering evil. We must focus on and prepare our families for blessings of eternal life.
We have to be intentional about everything we do. (This is the part that stood out to me so much, and I felt a strong pull to pay attention to this and apply it in my own life.)
She told a story about her father and her mother sitting down during their honeymoon and setting goals for their family and for their children. What did they want them to accomplish? They made intentional steps to work toward temples, missions, education, work, etc., and then they used those goals to develop the culture of their family. They created a “Personalized Family Plan.”
She reminded us that the commandment to bear children is still a commandment, and that we are still in the “business of creation.”
She touched upon the plague of pornography and stated that she has pondered much about this problem and tried to understand what the role of the women of the Church is in this challenge, and said that her clear impression has been: “Fight! Fight pornography and defend our homes.” I wish I convey the spirit in which she made that challenge and how moving it was. It actually brought much of the audience to spontaneous applause.
The following were some of her concluding suggestions and reminders to consider as we become intentional parents in gospel-based homes:
- Limit activities, and use time to teach. Talk, teach, ask questions.
- Family Home Evening is so important– interruptions should be avoided. We must prepare our families for the challenges to come.
- Sacrifice your life (mom) for their good.
- You can’t drive them or force them. Only correct in kindness and love, and persuasion. Make homes based on love.
- Husbands need to be loved also. (D&C 25) Be a comfort, show meekness, create a climate of charity, faith and hope.
- Seek for and qualify for the voice of the Spirit everyday. This (motherhood) is a faith-based work. We must call upon our faith– faith in who we are, where we came from, and what we’re called to do.
In Moses 5:10-13, Adam and Eve review the blessings of mortality:
10 And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.11 And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.
12 And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters.
What else can I say? I felt so inspired by this talk, like it was a call to battle. It made me want to rise up and do better, be better. I know that our roles as mothers is so important, and our power and influence will be needed more and more as the world tries to destroy the faith we hold dear.
This video is from a different, previous talk by Sister Beck entitled “Mothers Who Know,” with clips set to pictures and music. It further solidifies the divine role of mothers. Hope you find its message as inspirational as I did. (It describes an ideal mother. None of us are ideal, but it sets a standard to strive for, not a measuring stick for guilt.)
9 thoughts on “Women’s Conference, final chapter: Intentional Parenting”
I love that President Kimball quote, particularly when he talks about believing “deeply and actively” in the family. There’s a lot of food for thought with those two adverbs.
I like Sister Beck too. She’s not afraid to tell the sisters of the Church that we can and must do better. Sometimes I think (I know it’s true for me) that I like to continually be patted on the back for all the sacrifices of motherhood and wifehood. While praise is good, it’s too often an opportunity to become complacent and self-centered. She reminds us that we’re not there yet and improvement and excellence are the goals.
I seriously need to read this in depth – but it is so stinkin’ hot in our third floor office I can’t think properly. Going to come back and read this through a couple times when it cools off this evening. Thanks in advance for posting this – I think I need it!
I really needed Sister Beck’s video tonight. I’ve been doing lots of pondering lately about being a mother. Trying to find the best ways to fulfill my role. It is so difficult sometimes for me to know if I am doing the right things. Sometimes it is so difficult to follow my heart. More pondering to do tonight.
I’m so glad you got to be there for this.
Oh how miserably I am failing right now! This is the kind of thing that I need to hear and study, but it’s almost painful in its timeliness. I need all the help I can get. “You can’t drive or force them”. I know this and yet I keep banging my head against that wall, unable to find the path of persuasion, kindness, love. I blame it on having 5 kids in under 7 years. I got myself in the habit of being impatient and pushy because I felt I just didn’t have time to lovingly persuade because there were other young children needing me and demanding my attention. I have to break that habit because I can see that impatience rearing its ugly head in my children.
Okay, this post is mean because all it does is make me wish i had been there. But it was a good thing to read on a sUnday afternoon.
Thank you so much for posting this. I’m going to be mulling this over all week, I just know it.
Thanks for posting this.
I think about the pornography one because it unfortunately has hit too close to home in my life (family of origin) and I’ve seen how destructive it can be. And I think that as women we tend to a) be very naive and b) think it’s a male problem and not something we can do much about and c) be so (rightfully) disgusted/fearful of the topic that we just avoid it. I do sometimes fear that there’s not enough that I can do for my sons, but here are some of my ideas for what I can do:
Point out problem areas and give examples of what to do–i.e. when you see the big Victoria’s Secret displays at the mall, tell them why they’re inappropriate and tell them to look away.
I think it’s a good idea to give lots of information and guidance before they’re old enough to take it very personally–for example, when I first started teaching about not looking at photos of naked bodies, my kids couldn’t imagine why anyone would think naked bodies were tempting to look at, but I told them that a time will come when it will be tempting, so they have to already start good habits of resisting.
Teach them by word and example what’s good and happy about faithful husband/wife relationships. Teach them that sex within a faithful marriage is well worth looking forward to. Remind boys that they will have a great, important calling as a righteous father that will bring them confidence and joy.
Avoid what I call female pornography–sex in books and magazine articles; vulgar/obscene blogs or websites; being involved in vulgar/obscene conversations.
I think the whole big picture of intentional righteous parenting helps a whole lot, too–those are just some of my specific ideas for teaching chastity.
Oh, and here’s one story that made me think I’m on the right track at least so far:
My son Isaac, who’s almost 12, said to me, “You know that thing on TAMN’s blog that says, ‘My heart belongs to my husband, but my neck belongs to Edward?” “Yeah?” “Well, that’s kind of–not right.” I agreed, and told him a funny story about my cousin, who was reading one of the Twilight books and discovered that everywhere the name “Edward” appeared, her husband had crossed it off and replaced it with his name. Isaac said, “He should have crossed off everywhere it says the girl’s name [Bella] and put your cousin’s name, too. Otherwise it’s like they’re both being bad.”
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