"In Favor With God" by Simon Dewy
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 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!"
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.
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.