President Nelson (A Plea To My Sisters)
Thirty-six years ago, in 1979, President Spencer W. Kimball made a profound prophecy about the impact that covenant-keeping women would have on the future of the Lord’s Church. He prophesied: “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 … 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.”5
My dear sisters, you who are our vital associates during this winding-up scene, the day that President Kimball foresaw is today. You are the women he foresaw! Your virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith, and righteous lives will draw good women of the world, along with their families, to the Church in unprecedented numbers!6
“We need women who are organized and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct and administer; women who can teach, women who can speak out. …
“We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.”8
Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly.
Attacks against the Church, its doctrine, and our way of life are going to increase. Because of this, we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation.12 We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve.
My dear sisters, nothing is more crucial to your eternal life than your own conversion. It is converted, covenant-keeping women—women like my dear wife Wendy—whose righteous lives will increasingly stand out in a deteriorating world and who will thus be seen as different and distinct in the happiest of ways.
Sis. Eubank (Turn On Your Light)
“Finally, my dear sisters, may I suggest to you something that has not been said before or at least in quite this way. 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 … 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. …
“… It will be … female exemplars of the Church [who] will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.”3
What a prophetic statement that is. Just to summarize:
It will be the good relationships of women that will trigger much of the major growth coming to the Church in the years ahead.
The friendships that Relief Society women, young women, and Primary girls build with sincere, faithful, godly women and girls of other faiths and beliefs will be a significant force in how the Church grows in the last days.
President Kimball called these women from other backgrounds “heroines” who will be more concerned with being righteous than selfish, who will show us that integrity is more valuable than visibility.
Each of us needs to be better at articulating the reasons for our faith. How do you feel about Jesus Christ? Why do you stay in the Church? Why do you believe the Book of Mormon is scripture? Where do you get your peace? Why does it matter that the prophet has something to say in 2017? How do you know he is a real prophet? Use your voice and your power to articulate what you know and feel—on social media, in quiet conversations with your friends, when you’re chatting with your grandchildren. Tell them why you believe, what it feels like, if you ever doubted, how you got through it, and what Jesus Christ means to you. As the Apostle Peter said, “Be not afraid … ; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.”4
Everyone on the beach could think only of traditional solutions, and they were paralyzed. But one couple, in a split second, thought of a different solution. Innovation and creation are spiritual gifts. When we keep our covenants, it may make us different from others in our culture and society, but it gives us access to inspiration so we can think of different solutions, different approaches, different applications. We aren’t always going to fit in with the world, but being different in positive ways can be a lifeline to others who are struggling.
When we build, when we lift the burden of others, it blesses our lives in ways our trials cannot take away. I have a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley placed where I see it every day. He said: “You don’t … build out of pessimism or cynicism. You look with optimism, work with faith, and things happen.”9
There is an energy that comes from happiness and optimism that doesn’t just bless us—it builds everyone around us. Any small thing you do to light real happiness in others shows that you are already carrying the torch that President Kimball lit.
I was 15 years old at the time President Kimball’s talk was given. We who are older than 40 have been carrying this charge from President Kimball ever since that day. Now I look out at the 8-year-olds, the 15-year-olds, the 20-year-olds, and the 35-year-olds, and I’m going to pass this torch to you. You are the future leaders in this Church, and it will be up to you to carry this light forward and be the fulfillment of this prophecy. We who are older than 40 link our arms through yours and feel your strength and energy. We need you.
Listen to this scripture found in Doctrine and Covenants 49:26–28. It may have been written under different circumstances, but tonight by the Holy Spirit, I hope you will take it as your personal call to this sacred work.
“Behold, I say unto you, go forth as I have commanded you; repent of all your sins; ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you.
“Behold, I will go before you and be your rearward; and I will be in your midst, and you shall not be confounded.
“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, and I come quickly.”11
I appeal to each of you to put yourself in a place where you can feel the generous love God has for you. You cannot put yourself beyond the reach of that love. When you feel His love, when you love Him, you will repent and keep His commandments. When you keep His commandments, He can use you in His work. His work and glory is the exaltation and eternal life of women and men.
The prophets are calling on us, my sisters. Will you be righteous? Will you articulate your faith? Can you bear being distinct and different? Will your happiness in spite of your trials draw others who are good and noble and who need your friendship? Will you turn on your light? I testify the Lord Jesus Christ will go before us and be in our midst.