The plan of happiness requires the righteous union of male and female, man and woman, husband and wife. ( See D&C 130:2; D&C 131:2; 1 Cor. 11:11; Eph. 5:31.) Doctrines teach us how to respond to the compelling natural impulses which too often dominate how we behave.
A body patterned after the image of God was created for Adam, (See Moses 6:8–9) and he was introduced into the Garden (See Moses 3:8). At first, Adam was alone. He held the priesthood, (See Moses 6:67) but alone, he could not fulfill the purposes of his creation (See Moses 3:18).
No other man would do. Neither alone nor with other men could Adam progress. Nor could Eve with another woman. It was so then. It is so today.
"Motherhood...is the essence of who we are as women"
Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood. Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.
Divinity in Motherhood
If the day comes when we are the only women on earth who find nobility and divinity in motherhood, so be it. For mother is the word that will define a righteous woman made perfect in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, a woman who has qualified for eternal increase in posterity, wisdom, joy, and influence.
"[R]emember...who you are"
Imagine the impact if this year every woman with a testimony helped one other woman gain a testimony and begin to find out who she is and was and may become. I'll take the challenge. Will you join me? Ask the Lord to help you, and He will. Begin by reading Doctrine and Covenants 138 and Abraham 3 about the noble and great ones, and see what the Spirit reveals to you about you. When you understand that you were chosen and reserved for now, and when you live in harmony with that mission, you'll be happier than you have ever been before. Listen to these words from President Gordon B. Hinckley: "Woman is God's supreme creation. . . . "Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more . . . inspiring than a . . . daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so." "Rise above the dust of the world. Know that you are daughters of God . . . and that there is for you a great work to be done which cannot be left to others." My dear sisters, will you seek to remember with the help of the Holy Ghost who you are and who you have always been? Will you remember that you stood by our Savior without flinching? Remember that you were reserved for now because you would have the courage and determination to face the world at its worst and to help rear and lead a chosen generation. Remember the covenants you have made and the power they carry. Remember that you are noble and great and a potential heir of all our Father has. Remember that you are the daughter of a King.
"[T]he future is with women"
To call women the weaker sex is a libel: it is man's injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man would not be. If non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with women.
We need women who...
"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."
The impact of women on the Lord's work
Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world. Among the real heroines in the world who will come into the Church are women who are more concerned with being righteous than with being selfish. These real heroines have true humility, which places a higher value on integrity than on visibility. Remember, it is as wrong to do things just to be seen of women as it is to do things to be seen of men. Great women and men are always more anxious to serve than to have dominion.
"The real you"
The key to feeling [confident] is to always listen to your inner self—[the real you.]" And in the kingdom of God, the real you is "more precious than rubies." Every young woman is a child of destiny and every adult woman a powerful force for good. I mention adult women because, sisters, you are our greatest examples and resource for these young women. And if you are obsessing over being a size 2, you won't be very surprised when your daughter or the [young woman] in your class does the same and makes herself physically ill trying to accomplish it. We should all be as fit as we can be—that's good Word of Wisdom doctrine. That means eating right and exercising and helping our bodies function at their optimum strength. We could probably all do better in that regard. But I speak here of optimum health; there is no universal optimum size.
In 1916 the challenges of life involved an entirely different focus, such as killing flies, clearing sagebrush, and learning to harness horses. Today such physical needs are met much more easily: flipping on a switch to control the light, adjusting the thermostat for heat and for cold. Modern conveniences grant us more free time to focus on spiritual needs and devote more time to personal service. But the basic element which should never change in the lives of righteous young women is giving service to others. Their divine role as caregivers helps noble womanhood gain “the highest place of honor in human life.” Serving others can begin at almost any age. Often the greatest service to others is one-on-one. It need not be on a grand scale, and it is noblest within the family.