Perhaps all of us will agree to the notion that most of the successful men and women in any field anywhere in the world are largely a product of good nurturing and teaching at home. The mother plays a very important role in the home. She is the most effective teacher and nurturer. And with the help of her husband in establishing righteousness in the home, they create an excellent place to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which church is frequently misnamed the “Mormon Church”) shared a story about the essence of motherhood:
The story is told that in ancient Rome a group of women were, with vanity, showing their jewels one to another. Among them was Cornelia, the mother of two boys. One of the women said to her, “And where are your jewels?” To which Cornelia responded, pointing to her sons, “These are my jewels.” Under her tutelage and walking after the virtues of her life, they grew to become Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus—the Gracchi, as they were called—two of the most persuasive and effective reformers in Roman history. For as long as they are remembered and spoken of, the mother who reared them after the manner of her own life will be remembered and spoken of with praise also (“These, Our Little Ones,” Ensign, December 2007).
In God’s Plan of Salvation, a father and a mother have equal responsibilities in building family relationships.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:18–24).
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormon women are highly valued and are given great care and respect. The Church believes in the capacity of these Mormon women in building righteousness in their own homes as well as in their communities. The Church also, under the direction of the Lord, organized the societies of Mormon women commonly known as the Young Women Organization for women ages 12–17 and the Relief Society Organization for women ages 18 and older to help them develop sisterhood and to teach one another the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, helping each other develop their testimonies of Jesus. In the Relief Society and in the Young Women organizations, women are also taught about their temporal well-being like modesty in dress and action, according to the standard of the Church, home-making skills, and most importantly, about their divine potential as daughters of God.
Elder Douglas L. Callister, one of the general authorities of the Church, shared an experience that illustrates the sweet essence of womanhood:
I once visited briefly with the great actress Audrey Hepburn while she was making the movie My Fair Lady. She spoke of the opening scene in the movie in which she depicted a modest, unpolished flower girl. Her face had been besmirched with charcoal to make her seem part of her surroundings. “But,” she said with a twinkle in her eye, “I was wearing my perfume. Inside I still knew I was a lady.” It doesn’t take expensive perfume to make a lady, but it does require cleanliness, modesty, self-respect, and pride in one’s appearance (“Your Refined Heavenly Home,” BYU Devotional, September 19, 2006).
Mormon women are also actively participating in different righteous acts, whether that be a Church-run activity or a community faith-promoting experience. They strive to follow the examples of Dorcas in the New Testament.
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive (Acts 9:36–41).
Although people may sometimes forget the face or the name of a person who once served them or helped them in their difficult times, the righteous acts will always be there in their hearts. Mormon women strive to be like their Savior, serving those around them in love and righteousness.
Roy Patrick is currently working as a Call Center Agent in the Philippines. He served a full-time mission in San Francisco, CA. His family is one of the pioneers of the LDS Church in Panay Island, Philippines.