Since the creation, there has been a woman. It was essential that there be both man and woman. When God created man he said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” God then commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth. Even if it didn’t seem so at the time, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil needed to be eaten. Eve, “the mother of all living”, knew that this was essential, and so she ate. It is thanks to this event that we were able to come to earth. Her desire to keep the commandments of God inspires me to do all that must be done to obey them, even when it is difficult.
I love the different relationships and friendships that Jesus Christ had with women. He respected them. In a patriarchal society where women were treated as inferior, Christ was close, kind, and respectful with them. In the March 2015 Liahona, there is an article titled "The Savior's Respect for Women" that discusses these relationships. It shares a story about Mary the mother of Jesus. In John 2 Christ and Mary are at a wedding and Mary worries because there is no more wine. She then asks Jesus for help. He responds, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” The Joseph Smith translation of this verse tells us that Jesus asks Mary what she wants Him to do, and He will do it. The article explains, “The title woman may sound harsh and disrespectful to a modern reader; however, its use here by the Savior was likely meant to convey the opposite meaning. One scholar explains, ‘Woman,’ or, rather, ‘Lady,’ is in Greek a title of respect, used even in addressing queens.” May we all respect women like the Savior.
So what is our role as women? Like Eve, our role is to become mothers. A mother is someone who creates us and gives us life. Only God and women have this ability and responsibility. A mother is also someone who raises us. In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency tells us, “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” What responsibility and power!
In Genesis 17:16 the Lord promises Abraham that his wife Sara will have a son. He tells Abraham, “I will bless her, and, and she shall be a mother of all nations; kings of people shall be of her.” What a beautiful promise! So what do we need to do to raise our children to become kings, or rather, strong and faithful disciples? The family proclamation states, “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live…Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord and Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion work, and wholesome recreational activities.”
Before raising children in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I believe that first, we must strengthen ourselves in the Gospel. We cannot teach good principles or the Gospel if we do not live them. We must have a testimony of the Gospel, knowing why we live it and why our children need it as well. Without our testimonies, our children will have neither motivation nor strength to live the Gospel.
Two mothers that I find admirable are Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist and Mary, the mother of Jesus. They are examples of obedience and humility. Luke 1:6 describes Elizabeth as “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” After learning of her role as the mother to John the Baptist, she graciously accepted it and prepared to raise him well.
We also know that Mary was one worthy to raise a righteous leader. When the angel came to her he said, “Hail, thou art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women…thou hast found favour with God.” Mary responded, “Be it unto me according to they word.”
These two mothers raised their children in righteousness. Elizabeth taught John that his role was to prepare the world for the coming of Christ. In Luke 1:76 she tells him, “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways.” Later Luke explains that John the Baptist “waxed strong in spirit”, and we know that he truly did prepare the world for Jesus Christ. Mary, also knowing the divine role of her Son, “Kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” Mary stayed near Jesus His whole life, always supporting Him, and always His mother.
For us, it is the same. The role of a mother lasts for eternity. No matter their age and no matter how far they are from us, our work and influence never cease. We must always teach, give counsel, serve, and love, following the example of Christ.
I love the story of the 2000 stripling warriors. They fought to protect their families as their parents had made a covenant with the Lord to never take up arms against their brethren.
I would first like to point out that these parents are already excellent examples to their children because they are faithful to their covenants with the Lord. They show their children that covenants that we make with God are sacred, and that we must always keep them.
Second, the courage of these young men is admirable, and we can thank their mothers' teachings for that. Alma 56: 47 says, “Now they had never fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.” The young men testify themselves saying, “Father, our God is with us…We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”
We see here that their mothers raised their sons in the Gospel to the point that they had no doubt that their mothers were anchored in their faith. The end of this story tells us that “Not one soul of them had fallen to the earth; yea , and they had fought as if with the strength of God.” When we too are anchored in our faith and when we rear our children in the Gospel, they cannot and will not fall.
Never forget the influence of mothers. I encourage you all to thank your mothers for the sacrifices they make for you, for their teachings, and their love. No one can replace the role of a mother and no one can replace our own mothers.