“The noblest calling in the world is motherhood. True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions. She who can paint a masterpiece, or who can write a book that will influence millions, deserve the plaudits and admiration of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters whose immortal souls will exert influence throughout the ages long after paintings shall have faded, and books and statues shall have decayed or been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God.”
As you live up to this mission, in whatever life circumstance you find yourself—as a wife, as a mother, as a single mother, as a divorced woman, as a widowed or a single woman—the Lord our God will open up responsibilities and blessings far beyond your ability to imagine.
May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don’t reach beyond your capacity. Don’t set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don’t feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. Don’t compare yourself with others. Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. Have faith and confidence in Him, and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones. The virtue of your own life will be a light to those who sit in darkness, because you are a living witness of the fulness of the gospel (see D&C 45:28). Wherever you have been planted on this beautiful but often troubled earth of ours, you can be the one to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).
My dear sisters, as you live your daily life with all its blessings and challenges, let me assure you that the Lord loves you. He knows you. He listens to your prayers, and He answers those prayers, wherever on this world you may be. He wants you to succeed in this life and in eternity.
As in all things, we have the example of the Savior on the cross at Calvary. He did something that he was not forced to do—something which would benefit others with the gift of immortality which Jesus already had. His was the supreme act of selflessness.
You may recall reading in 3 Nephi about the visit of the resurrected Jesus to this continent and how after blessing the children he wept twice and he also said, “And now behold, my joy is full” (3 Ne. 17:20).
True joy can only come from giving ourselves to correct causes such as the building up of the kingdom, causes that are in a sense larger than we are. Pleasure tends to be self-centered. True joy always includes others.
Now is the time to set your life’s goals. Now is the time to set your standards firmly and then hold to them throughout your life.
All faithful members of the Lord's Church are equally blessed by priesthood ordinances. The first ordinance in a child's life usually takes place when he or she is a baby and is given a name and a blessing. When children reach the age of accountability, they are baptized. There is not a separate baptism for boys and girls. The same baptismal ordinance is performed for a young girl and a young boy, who are baptized in the same font. When those children are confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost, the same power is given to each of them. They qualify for the help of that holy power through their faithfulness and not in any other way.
As members of the Church, we are equal before the Lord as we partake of the sacrament. Through our faith in Jesus Christ and the power of His Atonement made possible because of that ordinance, we can all repent and become better.
I began to understand what President Gordon B. Hinckley meant when he said: “I am grateful for the emphasis on reading the scriptures. I hope that for you this will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that, rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God. I promise you that as you read, your minds will be enlightened and your spirits will be lifted. At first it may seem tedious, but that will change into a wondrous experience with thoughts and words of things divine.”2
Through seriously studying the scriptures, I felt a peace settle into my heart. President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) said of the Book of Mormon, “There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book.”3 In the beginning, when I was struggling with reading the Book of Mormon, I noticed that on the days I did not read, I was not at peace. I came to realize I needed the divine influence of this book in my life daily.
I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them.
My reason for wanting to learn all I can about the Atonement is partly selfish: Our salvation depends on believing in and accepting the Atonement. Such acceptance requires a continual effort to understand it more fully. The Atonement advances our mortal course of learning by making it possible for our natures to become perfect. All of us have sinned and need to repent to fully pay our part of the debt. When we sincerely repent, the Savior’s magnificent Atonement pays the rest of that debt.....
Any increase in our understanding of His atoning sacrifice draws us closer to Him.
Since the Savior has suffered anything and everything that we could ever feel or experience, He can help the weak to become stronger. He has personally experienced all of it. He understands our pain and will walk with us even in our darkest hours.....
The overwhelming message of the Atonement is the perfect love the Savior has for each and all of us. It is a love which is full of mercy, patience, grace, equity, long-suffering, and, above all, forgiving.
“Of course, the war in heaven over free agency is now being waged here on earth, and there are those today who are saying ‘Look, don't get involved in the fight for freedom. Just live the gospel.’ That counsel is dangerous, self-contradictory, unsound…Now, part of the reason we may not have sufficient priesthood bearers to save the Constitution let alone to shake the powers of hell, is because unlike Moroni, I fear, our souls do not joy in keeping our country free, and we are not firm in the faith of Christ nor have we sworn with an oath to defend our rights and the liberty of our country. Moroni raised a title of liberty and wrote upon it these words: ‘In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.’ Why didn't he write upon it: ‘Just live your religion; there's no need to concern yourselves about your freedom, your peace, your wives, or your children’? The reason he didn't do this was because all these things were a part of his religion, as they are of our religion today. Should we counsel people, ‘Just live your religion. There's no need to get involved in the fight for freedom’? No, we should not, because our stand for freedom is a most basic part of our religion; this stand helped get us to this earth, and our reaction to freedom in this life will have eternal consequences. Man has many duties, but he has no excuse that can compensate for his loss of liberty.”