Approaching a checkout line this morning I was once again greeted by magazines of the world depicting women far from their divine potential. Such magazines appeal to baseness rather than virtue. They teach our mothers, our wives, and our daughters nothing of everlasting value.
Margaret D. Nadauld, former young women’s General President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lovingly urged: “Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”
Such a need was foreseen in the early 1840’s. On March 17, 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith organized the “Female Relief Society of Nauvoo.” Today, 170 years later the society is much larger and much broader than it was in Nauvoo Illinois. But the core of the society’s name has held. It is known as “Relief Society” (To learn more about the history and the work of the Relief Society read here).
Over the years members of this society have exemplified hard word and sacrifice, along with making and honoring covenants. They have extended untold hours of service and resources. They have sought the spiritual and temporal welfare of children, women, and families throughout the world.
Much of their work isn’t recognized by magazines and journalists. This is because their work revolves around virtue not vanity. It is about reaching women and helping them understand their divine identity instead of tricking them into something they’ll never be or even ought to be. So don’t expect to see the work of this Relief Society highlighted as you pass through checkout stands. Their work doesn’t sell—it saves.
The second president of the Relief Society, Eliza R. Snow (1804–1887) exhorted [sic]: “We want to be ladys in very deed not according to the term of the word as the world Judges but fit companions of the Gods and the Holy ones.” Sister Snow understood: “We are here in this dispensation to cooperate with God and our brethren in saving the human family….Woman has her part to perform, which is a significant part, we are apt to think little of these responsibilities that rest upon us. Woman is designed to be a help meet for man, and the work of the last days cannot be accomplished without our assistance.”
Though it isn’t always evident in our culture there are women who are tender, kind, refined, full of faith and goodness, and who live according to virtue and purity. We just need more of them, especially as a disturbing coarseness becomes more and more evident in men and children. A woman, a mother, a wife cooperating with God has a significant way of subduing the waywardness of man and child.
As men we must better appreciate the tender, chaste, and delicate feelings of women, even when they choose a tough, coarse, rude, and fortune, vanity and popularity driven life.
We need more women of God. And we need more men honoring them.