The Value of a Daughter of God

[ 13 ] Comments

by RI Editors

Today’s post in our General Conference Discussion comes from Brenda. If you’d like to start a forum discussion about a different talk please leave a comment on the original post: Reader Led General Conference Discussion.

Brenda wrote:

elaine-s-dalton-407317-printI was moved by Sister Dalton’s talk on the value of being a daughter of God. She beautifully reiterated the different yet equal roles of men and women and the privilege of being a woman, a wife, a mother. Womanhood is devalued not by her role but by the cheapening of virtue in society. How would women be treated and viewed if everyone understood who she is?

What do you think of Sister Dalton’s talk?

While we’re talking about Sister Dalton, what is your favorite thing that has come from her leadership of the Young Women’s organization?

photo credit: lds.org

13 Responses to The Value of a Daughter of God

  1. Paul says:

    My 12-year old daughter was sad at Sister Dalton’s release. Her older (and cynical) brother was amused that such a thing would sadden her, since she has never met Sister Dalton. But I get it. My daughter loves everything about YW — she’s a pretty idealistic 12-year old — and that includes Sister Dalton. It’s a good chance for my daughter to learn about church service and the relationship between people and positions.

    I appreciated her statement, “My part mattered.” And I appreciated that it was echoed later in the conference in President Uchtdorf’s talk. It was a message I really needed to hear, and hearing it from more than one person was meaningful to me.

    I have also always appreciated the YW theme’s beginning — “We are daughters of a Father in Heaven who loves us and we love Him.” I have sought to remind my children of that relationship to their father in Heaven and I’m grateful to have the YW theme reinforce that message so regularly. (Separately, I was intrigued in the interview with the three sister-presidents that the same theme came up when asking about the core message of each organization: from Primary to Relief Society the message is to remember our divine linage and all that it entails.)

  2. Cheryl says:

    I loved how her and her counselors added “virtue” to the values in the theme, as well as their roles in the changes in the new youth curriculum. This shift of attitude in the way we teach our YW is amazing and invaluable! It only reiterates what they face in society, as they have to stand up against very blatant accepted and tolerated (and endorsed!) sin.

    Like you, Brenda, I loved how she stated that if women were valued by simply being women, it would change so much. When I think about all the crimes against women, the ones women themselves even buy into, it shows a great lack of understanding– or does it? Satan may be a jerk, but he’s brilliant. Attack the women! Hate women! Objectify women! Rape women! Abandon women! Hide women! What would happen if the world treated women the way Christ does?

  3. Bonnie says:

    I have also appreciated Sis. Dalton’s focus on virtue as “a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards.” It is chastity, but it is everything. Virtue is purity of the consecrated kind, the kind of character that makes people holy. It is all of the values, and it is the gold in our character. It is enough to change the world. I have seen people step back from their own virtue all my life, living their standards on Sunday but assuming that that is not required on weekdays, and I can testify that patterns of thought and behavior based on high moral standards would be enough to change the world.

    She has also taught me to appreciate something that I’ve struggled to appreciate my whole life. Women who speak sweetly. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I have always turned my ears off when I hear a woman begin talking with that tone and childlike earnestness. It’s odd, because I think I have a tendency to embrace a certain degree of wide-eyed innocence in my own character, but the tone has made it hard for me to focus on the words, almost as if nothing really meaty is likely to proceed. Perhaps it’s because I have a deep voice for a woman. I’ve worked very consciously on that while she has spoken, and always come away with good meat. As I attended the YW broadcast, I worked again, and realized that she is perfect for 12-year-olds, and they need her. I was humbled and brought to tears to think that the Lord is mindful of the tender spirits of young women, and he placed at their head someone who would be safe to listen to. The 12-year-old in me softened a little. I’m so very glad I had the opportunity to listen to her and learn to appreciate her voice.

    • Paul says:

      Bonnie, you reminded me of something else. In one of her “call to virtue” talks, she also spoke to fathers. That was meaningful to me as a dad. I, like you, appreciate her expanded view of virtue in her teaching, as well.

    • Brenda says:

      “She has also taught me to appreciate something that I’ve struggled to appreciate my whole life. Women who speak sweetly.” Bonnie, your entire second paragraph voices something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

      I’ve had a difficult time embracing female speakers in church with soft sweet high-pitched voices. The talks that I identify with always seem to be presented with humor and a little fire in the speaker’s belly. I like those discourses that are powerfully delivered and I didn’t find that much with the female leadership, with the exception of Sherri Dew.

      I think part of it for me came down to a misunderstanding of what I thought the Church wanted the “ideal” woman to be. I was comparing myself to them. The perfectly coiffed hair, the sweet childlike voice, the subject matter always seemingly about domestic issues. None of that was me and I would turn my brain off as soon as they would begin.

      What I came to realize was that those women are in these positions because the Lord wants them there. In his perfect wisdom he called them specifically and inspired them to give those messages at that time. The delivery method was of little importance and I needed to pay attention. Sister Dalton helped me understand that.

  4. Lisa says:

    I missed that she was released as we were traveling to Utah for the Sunday Afternoon session. She was an inspired leader as I am sure her successor will be. I look forward to what the new Young Women’s Presidency has in store.

  5. Liz C says:

    I read a blog post recently that ties into Sr Dalton’s excellent work in teaching about our worth as daughters… it’s a gorgeous bit of testimony about how much God loves us:

    http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/03/after-steubenville-what-our-sons-needs-to-know-about-manhood/

  6. jendoop says:

    I just deeply love Sister Dalton. While I watched her as she was released I saw that her shoulders sag a little more now than when she was first called. What a heavy burden it must be to have such great responsibility. She did it so very well. I’ll miss her but I’m glad she’ll be able to rest and enjoy more time with her family.

    It was great that she reiterated a return to virtue, it reminded me of how obviously missing it was from the Personal Progress program before her leadership.

    I also loved the thought that if everyone around the world viewed women as daughters of God it would change so much. I thought of the Half the Sky movement, which showed the great injustices suffered by women around the world. So many of our sisters in distance places need us to speak up for them, to let our little discomforts here in the states go and focus on our worldwide sisterhood. It gave me a glimpse into why the gospel is the solution for the problems the world faces.

  7. Julia says:

    I didn’t find the same appreciation of this talk, and I have been very uncomfortable with the way “Virtue” was brought in to the YW program. I do think that virtue is important, but I am deeply distressed by the scriptures used in the YW program that deal with virtue, because of the context within those passages of scriptures that surround them. The long-term impact to YW (and older women too) who have been sexually assaulted or raped, who then read passages where virtue is talked about being *taken* by the men who raped and then killed them, is one that haunts many women.

    I know that I am not the only one who has talked to bishops and stake presidents, as well as written letters to the General Young Women’s Board, asking them to remove those specific scriptures, and to spell out, in no uncertain terms, is a YW who has been sexually assaulted retains her virtue. I continue to be disappointed that those specific scriptures continue to be used, especially without clarification. Young Women who have been raped, are often seen by LDS YM as having lost their virtue. I know so many women who were engaged, and have felt their relationship was strong enough, to feel emotionally safe telling their fiancé about being raped, who have their engagement broken off.

    I continue to hope that the YW value of Virtue will be taught without the use of scriptures that say that being raped means virtue is stolen. I hope that YW and YM hear those words from the pulpit at conference, along with the announcement that those scriptures will no longer be part of describing Virtue to YW and YM.

    • Bonnie says:

      Actually, Julia, I think Sis. Dalton has been very careful in recent years to emphasize much more than the chastity element of virtue, as I commented above. I don’t think any of us who have endured sexual assault would argue that the experience doesn’t rob us of something pure and innocent. We have hurting young women, without a doubt, but everyone hurts differently, and I doubt that your wording and hope of individual atonement through the words of the leaders would address every pain. It wouldn’t have touched mine. Instead, those scriptures were balm to my young soul, because they express the outrage our Heavenly Father feels at the mistreatment of the most vulnerable and innocent. I would hope that those scriptures are always taught, and with great intensity, and that if some words of clarification are offered, that those who are hurting can learn to hear the words of comfort they can provide and begin to hope in healing. I think we distract from the supernal power of the Atonement to heal when we split hairs over vocabulary.

  8. Tiffany W. says:

    I haven’t had the opportunity yet to listen or read Sister Dalton’s talk, so I won’t comment about it.

    While I believe I understand the intent of Bonnie’s last comment and I agree with it for the most part, I disagree pretty strongly that vocabulary, semantics and definitions aren’t important. And I disagree that splitting hairs over them distracts from the atonement. Precision in language and definition is important enough that we within in the church and in the country are discussing rather heatedly the definition of marriage. Would you call that a splitting of hairs?

    In speeches the burden of defining terms with clarity should fall on the speaker, not the audience. If the speaker fails to define key terms clearly then unfortunately misunderstanding is sure to follow. Of course, the audience should be charitable and merciful in their interpretation, nor is it wise to automatically assume the worst. Having said that, I cannot imagine the burden it would be to write and deliver a talk that would be heard and criticized by millions. Not to mention the tremendous load our leaders already face in their travels, training, and daily work.

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