We Are Daughters of Influence
When our children were young, we used to play a made-up game for FHE. At dinnertime, my husband would announce, “Let’s play Nephites and Lamanites tonight!” and a whoop would rise to the rafters while I would silently moan unnoticed and ignored.
The family would divide into two teams. It wasn’t about being on the good team or the bad team, because both teams had to be sneaky, cunning, and daring. After hiding a washcloth somewhere in their territory (living room or family room), the objective was to send scouts out to find the other team’s washcloth while guards stayed back to protect their own.
There were two serious problems with this well-loved game:
- The house was rarely clean enough to recognize what constituted a good hiding place.
- Without fail, someone would get hurt and end up crying, which usually ended the game.
Because I was always outvoted by four boys, plus one adult boy, (the girls just went along with it), I created a unique role for myself. The kitchen and hallway (each situated between the family room and living room) were neutral zones where both teams could pass without getting tagged. This is where I roamed, waiting for the inevitable hurt child who needed comfort before jumping back into the fray. Eventually, someone would end up getting really hurt, and we knew it was time to quit the game.
So, why do I share this ugly picture of our deranged family? Woman’s place is extremely important in the household. She is the ever-present entity in the neutral zone, waiting with open arms.
Sis. Elaine S. Dalton, at General Conference spoke on the topic We are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father. She reminded us “who we are and whose we are” and how we should “act well thy part.”
Recently, I have been studying the woman’s role in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a significant role of stability and influence. In a speech at BYU, Belle Spafford (former Relief Society General President) said,
After having a minor run in with a Bishop, I complained to a friend, “in this church men have all the power, the women are helpless.”
She taught me a great lesson with these words, “Oh no, my dear, the women are not helpless. If someone came to you and had a great but different gift in each hand, one was power and the other was influence, which gift would you choose?”
I thought seriously for a moment and then I said, “I think I would choose influence.”
“You probably did, my dear.” she said. “Influence is a great gift of God to women.”
For women, to have influence is a power all its own. The world minimizes our role as nurturers, but we all have seen the toll family life has taken as women forget the influence they have over their children and seek to fulfill their own desires. For those women who raise their children with consistent loving boundaries, know that the blessings of heaven are at your fingertips.
When speaking of her mother, Sis. Dalton said,
She kept her covenants, and because she did, she called down the powers of heaven to bless our home and to send miracles. She relied on the power of prayer, priesthood, and covenant promises. She was faithful in her service to the Lord. Her steadfast devotion steadied us, her children…She understood what it meant to be a covenant keeper.
This reminds me of the people of Ammon, formerly Lamanites, who buried their weapons of war, covenanting with the Lord that they would forever hold to peace and righteousness, which they did. And they diligently taught it to the next generation.
Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them. (Alma 57:21)
It takes concentrated effort on a mother’s part to teach consistently the ways of the Lord. A child needs her hand held for the first several years, but once they are grown and successful, it is mother they thank and are beholden to for that valiant start in life.
Brigham Young spoke volumes about the role of men and women. He said,
The men are the lords of the earth, and they are more inclined to reject the Gospel than the women. The women are a great deal more inclined to believe the truth than the men; they comprehend it more quickly, and they are submissive and easy to teach… (JD 14:120)
My husband enjoys finding gospel truth in the Hebrew language. The following is one of his discoveries:
The words KING and QUEEN, in Hebrew, are almost the same and look like this:
It is clear that in our day, we must choose the side on which we desire to stand. Satan’s influence is strong, calling us to so-called greener pastures or more glorious heights. Mothers are weakened with earthly trials that seek shortened corners and minimal strains. It is often easier to just give in than stand as witnesses.
But Sis. Dalton reminds us,
Young women need women and men to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places. Never before has this been more important than now. Young women need mothers and mentors who exemplify virtuous womanhood. Mothers, your relationship with your daughter is of paramount importance, and so is your example. How you love and honor her father, his priesthood, and his divine role will be reflected and perhaps amplified in your daughter’s attitudes and behavior.
In my research I have collected some quotes that show me how prophets and apostles feel about the women of the Church. It is very clear that they want women to feel and know of their glorious heritage and destiny, just as they do the men. And like the men, we are given warnings to prevent our failing. We need to diligently stand in our holy places.
Brigham Young said,
It is the mother’s influence that is most effective in moulding the mind of the child for good or for evil. If she treat lightly the things of God, it is more than likely her children will be inclined to do the same, and the Lord will not hold her guiltless when he comes to make up his jewels; he will disown all such when he comes to claim his own, and will say, Go hence, I never knew you. (Brigham Young, JD 18:263)
From Joseph F. Smith:
The influence of women is far more potent than [that] of man. The influence of the mother is far more deep and lasting than any that can possibly be exerted; that of the father is nothing like equal to it. (Joseph F. Smith, Young Woman’s Journal 3:143)
And J. Reuben Clark stated,
And then the priesthood will wish to proclaim their debt to these their helpmeets without whom the priesthood could not have worked out their destiny. And the priesthood shall bow in reverence and love unbounded before these mothers who did the service the priesthood could not do, and thank and praise them for bearing their children… (J. Reuben Clark, Relief Society Magazine, 33:804)
Our role, as a woman, a wife, and a mother is often taken for granted, but Heavenly Father watches over his daughters. He is always there to strengthen us and encourage us to fight for light and truth, teach the pure doctrines of the Lord, and hold the whimpering child. And like Sis. Dalton, I too hope to “return to live with Him—proven, pure, and sealed in an eternal family. [We] shall ever praise Him for the privilege of being a woman, a wife, and a mother.”
- Women, in general, have been treated poorly over the centuries, so how do you personally stand as a witness of grand womanhood?