Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guardians of the Hearth


"In Favor With God" by Simon Dewy
(Image Source)

I've been devouring my copy of "Daughters in My Kingdom" and have been loving every chapter. I've had so many "ah-ha" moments while reading, but one of the most powerful ones came to me while I was reading Chapter 9: "Guardians of the Hearth: Establishing, Nurturing, and Defending the Family". Somewhere in the back of my mind I've always known that the "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" was first given at the General Relief Society Conference but the significance of that act never really penetrated my psyche. Yet after reading eight other chapters of Relief Society history, and gaining a clearer picture of God's mission for women, the full significance of that act really hit home to my soul.

Just think... how incredible is it that when God had a revelation-- which was of the most supreme importance to the success of His eternal plan and the happiness of His children-- He instructed his prophet to give it to the women first! God's daughters have been given an important stewardship over the family and over God's children. They are, as President Hinckley said, the "guardians of the hearth" and anything that degrades or downplays the importance of the family degrades and downplays women. So it is so beautiful to me that God would want the Relief Society to hear the plain and simple truths about family, gender, marriage and children before the rest of the church. It helps makes the purpose and mission of the Relief Society so much more clear for me and reminds me how important ALL women are to the success of God's plan.

I was also curious to know what President Hinckley said in his address to the Relief Society before he gave them the Proclamation. As I went back and read his talk my heart started pounding in my chest and it made me remember just how much I love President Hinckely. I'd really recommend reading his whole talk but here is just a bit of what he said before giving the Proclamation:

What a mighty congregation of women you are. There are three and one-half million of you. You live in many lands and you speak with a variety of tongues. But you understand with a single heart. Each of you is a daughter of God. Reflect on all the wondrous meaning of that one paramount fact. He who is our Eternal Father has blessed you with miraculous powers of mind and body. He never intended that you should be less than the crowning glory of His creations.

...I believe this is the best season for women in all the history of the world. In opportunities for education, for the training of your hands and minds, there has never before been a time when doors were so widely opened to you as they are today. But neither has there been a time, at least in recent history, when you have been confronted with more challenging problems. I need not remind you that the world we are in is a world of turmoil, of shifting values. Shrill voices call out for one thing or another in betrayal of time-tested standards of behavior. The moral moorings of our society have been badly shaken. So many of the youth of the world, and likewise so many of their elders, listen only to the seductive voice of self-gratification...Stand strong against the wiles of the world

...It is the home which produces the nursery stock of new generations. I hope that you mothers will realize that when all is said and done, you have no more compelling responsibility, nor any laden with greater rewards, than the nurture you give your children in an environment of security, peace, companionship, love, and motivation to grow and do well... You are the guardians of the hearth... No other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God. May you be strengthened for the challenges of the day. May you be endowed with wisdom beyond your own in dealing with the problems you constantly face. May your prayers and your pleadings be answered with blessings upon your heads and upon the heads of your loved ones. We leave with you our love and our blessing, that your lives may be filled with peace and gladness. It can be so.

What a powerful blessing from a prophet of God! The full weight of womanhood sometimes overwhelms me, especially when I realize how much trust and faith God has in us. Yet then I remember all that God has promised us and it makes me so grateful and so excited to be a woman and a member of Relief Society in this dispensation. It makes me want to shout, like Emma Smith at the first meeting of the Relief Society, "Sisters, we are going to do something extraordinary!"

I am also curious to hear from women who have been members of the Relief Society longer than I have been--- do you remember when President Hinckley first gave the Family Proclamation? What sorts of thoughts went through your head and your heart? I would love to hear.

11 comments:

  1. I was starting my 2nd year at Ricks when the Proclamation was given. I remember sitting in the auditorium thinking that somehow this was a big deal, yet, I was still only 19, so the magnitude of the worldly issues he was addressing really hadn't hit me yet. Thanks have changed a lot even since then -- really not that long ago.

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  2. I do remember exactly where I was seating in the chapel and the feelings I had when he read the proclamation. I remember it being a big deal and the good feelings I had. I couldn't wait to go home and tell my husband about it.

    I'm also enjoying the new RS book. I'm so glad they published it. I've been reading it slowly so I can learn line by line.

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  3. I wasn't a member of the Church yet when President Hinckley read the Proclamation, but I can tell you that it's 80 degrees outside right now, and as I read those words I am covered in goose bumps! I can't imagine what it would have been like to hear him give that talk and read those words. Thank you for sharing them!

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  4. Hey Heather, wonderful post! I think I would really like that book too, and I love the quote you used from President Hinckley. What a great reminder for me to cherish my kiddos.

    I've checked out your great blog several times, but I'm just slow to leave a comment. It was so nice to meet you at the blog dinner. :)

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  5. We're almost the same age, so I don't remember the reading of the Proclamation either. Sorry! But thank you for sharing that section of his talk. I felt his power and authority. I am grateful that Heavenly Father gives me "wisdom beyond [my] own," because I would fail miserably otherwise.

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  6. What a great memory you've brought me.

    I cut the text out of the newspaper the next morning and folded it right into my scriptures, keeping it in D&C 25. It's still there. :)

    We haven't "met" but I love your blog. Thank you so much.

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  7. Have you seen the Church's new "Daughters in My Kingdom" website? Here's the link: http://lds.org/relief-society/daughters-in-my-kingdom?lang=eng

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  8. Well, I'm younger than Emily and about your age Heather (I think. I'm 33**) but I was married and 8 months pregnant at the time so I distinctly remember watching Pres. Hinckley read this at that meeting! It was powerful! Afterwards, the cultural hall was a buzz with all the sisters talking about it with excitement. I went home to tell my husband all about it and get him even more excited for General Conference the next weekend. The warnings were brought into clear focus in just a few short years as Nevada voted to change our state constitution to state that only marriage between one man and one woman would be recognized.


    **And yes, if you do the math I was only 17! That's what happens when you go to college at 15. :) Upside is Pres. Hinckley is the one that sealed us!

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  9. Oh Montserrat! You are still a young Mom! :) ha ha!

    Heather, thanks for sharing all of your wisdom with us!

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  10. I was living in Salt Lake at the time. It was a powerful experience for me because of what led up to it in my personal life.

    My husband and I had some friends who were having concerns about the United Nations holding their conference on the family in Salt Lake City that year. The conference was supposed to be in support of traditional families, but many "in the know" knew otherwise. In fact, we discovered an article about the upcoming UN Conference, where the planners boldly emphasized the fact that Salt Lake City had been chosen for the conference because of the strong belief in families which the Latter-day Saints held. They clearly indicated in the article that they were using Salt Lake City as a smokescreen for their true agenda to destroy the traditional family so that people across the world would think that the Mormons supported whatever happened at that UN Conference.

    My then-husband (I am remarried now) was bolder than I was in those days. He took the magazine in which the article appeared and together we drove to the building that housed the offices of the First Presidency. He went in, and was greeted by a man who was the "gatekeeper" or receptionist if you will. My recollection is that the man took the magazine, and assured him it would reach the First Presidency.

    I believe it was about 3 weeks later or so that while sitting in the women's broadcast, The Family, a Proclamation to the World was presented for the first time. I do not know whether the brethren received the inspiration to create it before or after exposure to the plans of the UN, but I do know that they left no room for anyone to question what the Church stood for in terms of supporting the traditional family. I was personally so grateful.

    I will add that I attended one session of that UN Conference and it was every bit as destructive to the family as the article indicated it would be. How grateful I am that the brethren blessed all of us with this incredibly inspired statement of belief and truth!

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