Women hold a special place of honor and respect not only in my heart, but throughout the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
We men of the priesthood know that we're not worth much without our women beside us. In fact, it's doctrinal.
Women of the Church belong to the world's largest women's organization, with millions of members worldwide: The Relief Society.
Additionally, women in the Church fulfill many vital roles. From lds.org:
“Every willing member of the Church has many opportunities to render service, share talents, and gain new skills. Every week, women preach, teach, and lead in the Church on local and worldwide levels . . .
Women, therefore have an equal but different role than men - in the Church and in families. In particular, women do not hold the priesthood. Again, I quote from lds.org:
In addition, women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints belong to and lead the Relief Society, an organization of several million women worldwide. Women also lead the Church’s Young Women organization and the Primary, an organization for teaching children. The leaders of these organizations meet regularly in executive councils to help make decisions that affect the worldwide Church. These organizations also exist on the local level, with women participating in council meetings to discuss and direct the work of the Church in local units.
A woman—the president of the Relief Society in each congregation—has a special role in working with the congregational leader, or bishop, to meet the needs of members who may struggle financially or who may face other special challenges in their lives.[Women] also perform a vital work in nurturing and teaching in the home.”
“The priesthood—the authority of God to perform ordinances and act in His name—is conferred only on worthy male members of the Church. Men who hold the priesthood have no advantage over women in qualifying for salvation or eternal life through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”I was going to quote from this talk by President Gordon B. Hinckley,
but having read it through I find it too hard to pull out a single
quote from such a great discourse on honoring the women in our lives.
Instead, I simply invite you to take five minutes and read it.
(Go check it out, then come on back and finish reading this blog post!)
Let it never be said that women hold a secondary place in the Church.
Certainly, men and women are different, with varied strengths and weaknesses in many areas - we are all diverse indeed. But as stated in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Council of the Twelve emphasized the equality of men and women in things of the spirit: "Where spiritual things are concerned, as pertaining to all of the gifts of the Spirit, with reference to the receipt of revelation, the gaining of testimonies, and the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness and which are brought to pass as a result of personal righteousness-in all these things men and women stand in the position of... equality before the Lord.”
I will quote extensively now from a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated that “the world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. , 475). I believe that. The first time the Lord acknowledged Himself to be the Christ, it was to a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. He taught her about living water and proclaimed, simply, “I … am he” (John 4:26). And it was Martha to whom He proclaimed: “I am the resurrection, and the life. … And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25–26).
Then, during His greatest agony as He hung on the cross, the Savior reached out to one person—His mother—when in that terrible but glorious moment He asked John the Beloved to care for her as though she were his own (see John 19:26–27).
Of this you may be certain: The Lord especially loves righteous women—women who are not only faithful but filled with faith, women who are optimistic and cheerful because they know who they are and where they are going, women who are striving to live and serve as women of God.
There are those who suggest that males are favored of the Lord because they are ordained to hold the priesthood. Anyone who believes this does not understand the great plan of happiness. The premortal and mortal natures of men and women were specified by God Himself, and it is simply not within His character to diminish the roles and responsibilities of any of His children.
As President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) explained, “The Lord offers to his daughters every spiritual gift and blessing that can be obtained by his sons” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1970, 59; or “Magnifying Our Callings in the Priesthood,” Improvement Era, June 1970, 66). All of us, men and women alike, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and are entitled to personal revelation. We may all take upon us the Lord’s name, become sons and daughters of Christ, partake of the ordinances of the temple from which we emerge endowed with power, receive the fulness of the gospel, and achieve exaltation in the celestial kingdom. These spiritual blessings are available to men and women alike, according to their faithfulness and their effort to receive them.”
I would also add to that list at the beginning of the quote, that it was to a woman who the resurrected Christ first appeared.
I bear my personal testimony that women are wonderful - to be treated with love, honor and respect, held in the highest regard and esteem. They are not to be objectified, demeaned, belittled, or spoken down to. They are the equal of men. That does not mean (as is so often taught in the world) that they are the same. It's so obvious that men and women are different, it should go without saying. But Satan likes to try to confuse things. To be clear, men and women are equal but different. We have different strengths and weaknesses. Different roles. (For details, check out the Proclamation on the Family.)
I love my beautiful wife, and I am so grateful for her. I am so glad that she and I and Seth (and any other children we may have) will be together forever.