“Do you want to be in my club?” was one of my favorite questions as a child, whether it was whispered in a class, spoken on the playground or written in a note. It was so exciting to be included and wanted. I made up clubs myself and asked that magical question of friends and even used the threat, “You can’t be in my club anymore!” It didn’t matter what the club was about, just that I was part of it. Most of my childhood clubs didn’t last very long, but they were a delightful part of growing up.
Not long ago I discovered that I was a part of another kind of club, a sorority. Elder Matthew Cowley told the sisters of the Relief Society, “You sisters . . . belong to the great sorority of Saviorhood . . . men have to have something given to them to make them saviors of men, not mothers, not women. You are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls. You are the co-creators with God of his children. Therefore, it is expected of you by a right divine that you be the saviors and the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children here upon the earth.”[i]
This is the kind of sorority that I would gladly join, but find that I am part of simply because I am a woman enrolled in the school of life. Belonging to this “sorority of Saviorhood” gives me certain privileges, inherent rights and authority. But there are expectations “by a right divine” Elder Cowley says, to “be the saviors and the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children.” This thrills and humbles me. How can I be a savior and a regenerating force? What can an ordinary woman like me do to save human souls?
When the Savior was on the earth he taught his disciples, “Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth . . . him that sent me.”
We receive these little children by allowing them to come into our homes. The Family: A Proclamation to the World states, “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.”[ii] This first commandment is one of the main ways that we act as a regenerating force in the lives of God’s children. Without our willingness to receive children into our homes how would they ever have this earthly experience, an experience that is essential to their salvation?
Society downplays the importance of this call to motherhood. It tells us to wait, we need to live a little first and discover ourselves. It tells us that we can’t make a difference in the world or reach our goals with a baby in tow. It tells us that we mustn’t lose our beautiful figure. It tells us that we simply can’t afford it. All of these are lies.
The truth is that we find ourselves in the eyes of our newborn babies and in the soul stretching work of raising them. We become the true movers and shakers of this world when we patiently raise a child who will one day right wrongs and stand strong. We will become the most beautiful person in the world to the ones who matter most. And having babies isn’t about having money, it’s about having faith.
The truth is that “there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God, in bringing to pass the mortality and earthly life of His daughters and sons, so that immortality and eternal life can come in those celestial realms on high.”[iii]
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “Our Heavenly Father placed the responsibility upon parents to see that their children are well fed, well groomed and clothed, well trained and well taught. Most parents protect their children with shelter – they tend and care for their diseases, provide clothes for their safety and their comfort and supply food for their health and growth. But what do they do for their souls?”[iv]
Caring for the souls of our children is a saving work. It takes daily care and persistence. It isn’t a one-time event. It is accomplished in all the little ways we nurture our children every day. We point their hearts towards Christ when “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”[v]
So much of what the world offers our children is darkness. It is our opportunity and obligation as saviors to offer them light over and over and over again. Elder L. Tom Perry put it this way, “Parents must bring light and truth into their homes by one family prayer, one scripture study session, one family home evening, one book read aloud, one song, and one family meal at a time. They know that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily parenting is among the most powerful and sustaining forces for good in the world.”[vi]
As we bring light and truth into our homes we must also be careful to guard against letting darkness enter in as well. This is another way that we save. We become warriors on the front lines in defense of our homes. Some of this guarding comes in our efforts to eliminate from our lives and homes the vulgar, ugly and mindless media and activities promoted by the world as fun and desirable. And replace them with ones that are wholesome, uplifting and beautiful.
Protecting our children is also found in the efforts we make to teach and arm them with the truth. Sister Patricia P. Pinegar asks these questions of herself when evaluating how she is doing in guarding her children, “Do I leave my children exposed to danger when I don’t teach them the truths of the gospel? Do I neglect their souls when I don’t help them recognize the promptings of the Spirit and the guidance they can receive? Do I leave my children exposed to danger when my example is not the same as my words or when I don’t share my love in such a way that each child feels it deeply?” These are questions we can all ask ourselves as we engage in this saving work.
Women act as saviors when they guard the institution of the family. “To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior is an especially noble calling . . . She has been placed here to help to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home – which is society’s basic and most noble institution.”[vii] Protecting and guarding the home sometimes moves us beyond the walls of our home to defend in the public arena this basic institution. We must stand up for the family, rejoice in the family and protect the rights of the family in helping to preserve it.
We do this in schools, governments and communities. This is part of our saving work, to be articulate and active in defending the family.
Do You Want to Be in My Club?
This work of saving starts in our homes, but it extends to others outside our homes as well. When we receive each other in love and kindness, when we teach each other the truths of the gospel and rejoice in Christ together, when we guard and defend each other we are acting as saviors.
The best part of being part of this work is that it is a “sorority,” a sisterhood, not just an individual effort. We become saviors as we work together. Not all of us are in the midst of having babies, but we can reach out and support, nurture and lift those of us who are. Not all of us have children at home, but we can all reach out to the children around us and strengthen and love them.
The power of the stripling warriors wasn’t in the bestowal of faith by one mother, but by 2,000 mothers. The creation of a covenant people wasn’t the work of one Sarah, but the passing of that torch of faith from Sarah, to Rebekah, to Rachel and so on down through the generations. We are not alone. We are a sisterhood and we have the combined power of each of our efforts, each of our hearts and each of our faith. So, do you want to be in my club? You already are.