These excerpts are from the 185th Semiannual General Conference General Women’s Session
Discovering the Divinity Within
General Primary President
Elaine Cannon, a former Young Women general president, said, “There are two important days in a woman’s life: The day she is born and the day she finds out why.”
We know why. We have come to help build His kingdom on this earth and to prepare for the Second Coming of His Son, Jesus Christ. With every breath we take, we strive to follow Him. The divine nature within each one of us is refined and magnified by the effort we make to draw nearer to our Father and His Son.
Our divine nature has nothing to do with our personal accomplishments, the status we achieve, the number of marathons we run, or our popularity and self-esteem. Our divine nature comes from God. It was established in an existence that preceded our birth and will continue on into eternity.
We identify with our divine nature as we feel and give the love of our Father in Heaven. We have the agency to nurture it, let it flourish, and help it grow. Peter said we are given “precious promises” that we “might be partakers of the divine nature.” As we understand who we are, daughters of God, we begin to feel those precious promises. Looking out through a window, not just into a mirror, allows us to see ourselves as His. We naturally turn to Him in prayer, and we are eager to read His words and to do His will. We are able to take our validation vertically from Him, not horizontally from the world around us or from those on Facebook or Instagram.
If you ever question that spark of divinity within you, kneel in prayer and ask Heavenly Father, “Am I really Thy daughter, and dost Thou love me?” Elder M. Russell Ballard said, “One of the sweetest messages the Spirit will relay is how the Lord feels about you.”
Worthy of Our Promised Blessings
By Linda S. Reeves
Of the Relief Society General Presidency
My dear sisters, both young and not-as-young, I have felt a great anxiety as I have prepared this talk. As Alma the Younger expressed: “I wish from the inmost part of my heart … that ye would call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, … that ye may be lifted up at the last day.”2
Later, Mormon also testified that in Alma’s day, Korihor, the anti-Christ, “did preach …, leading away the hearts of many women.”3
Sisters, Satan has raised a “Korihor-like” banner in our day with increasing success. What are some of his tools? Seductive romance novels, TV soap operas, married women and old boyfriends connecting on social media, and pornography. We must be so careful, dear sisters! We cannot play with Satan’s fiery darts and not get burned. I know nothing that will qualify us for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost as much as virtue.
Many in today’s world are looking for instant gratification and instant knowledge on the Internet. In contrast, we will be exceedingly blessed if we exercise faith and patience and go to our Heavenly Father, the source of all truth. So many answers and assurances can come through daily searching and studying the scriptures and with sincere and pleading prayer, but there are no such promises for the Internet. The prophet Jacob testifies, “For the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be.”4
When we are involved in watching, reading, or experiencing anything that is below our Heavenly Father’s standards, it weakens us, dear sisters. Regardless of our age, if what we look at, read, listen to, or choose to do does not meet the Lord’s standards in For the Strength of Youth, turn it off, throw it out, rip it up, and slam the door.
None of us are perfect, but when we have sinned, President Packer has reminded us that, [quote] “. . . The promise is: ‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.’
Here to Serve a Righteous Cause
By Sister Carol F. McConkie
Of the Young Women General Presidency
Over the summer I visited with a lovely young mother of daughters. She shared with me her feeling that our young women need a cause, something to help them feel valued. She knew that we may discover our individual and eternal worth by acting in accordance with our divine purpose in mortality. This remarkable choir has just sung words that teach our purpose. Through test and trial, even through fear and in the midst of despair, we have valiant hearts. We are resolved to do our part. We are here to serve a righteous cause. Sisters, in this cause we are valued. We are needed.
The righteous cause we serve is the cause of Christ. It is the work of salvation. The Lord taught, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” We are the cause for which Jesus Christ suffered, bled from every pore, and in perfect love gave His life. His cause is the good news, “the glad tidings, . . . that he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; That through him all might be saved.” Our Savior has “marked the path and led the way.” I testify that as we follow His example, love God, and serve one another with kindness and compassion, we may stand in purity, “blameless before God at the last day.” We choose to serve the Lord in His righteous cause that we may become one with the Father and the Son.
The prophet Mormon boldly declared, “For we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.” The early Church leaders and pioneers of the past pressed forward with heroic courage and determined faithfulness to establish the restored gospel and build temples where ordinances of exaltation could be performed. The pioneers of the present, meaning you and me, we also press forward in faith, to “labor in [the Lord’s] vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.” And, as President Gordon B. Hinckley taught, “how magnificent will be the future as the Almighty rolls on His glorious work . . . through the selfless [service] of those whose hearts are filled with love for the Redeemer of the world.” We join with faithful sisters of the past, the present, and of the rising generation in the work of salvation!
A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Of the First Presidency
President Uchtdorf told the story of 11-year-old Eva who went to spend the summer with her Great-Aunt Rose, who she came to see was the happiest person she knew. When Eva wanted to know why, here are some of the insights Rose shared:
“There were so many things I wished for in my life… Most of them never happened. It was one heartbreak after another. One day I realized that it would never be the way I had hoped for. That was a depressing day. I was ready to give up and be miserable. ..
“It’s not fair’ was the song I sang over and over in my head. But eventually I discovered something that turned my whole life around.
“What was it?” [Eva asked.]
“Faith,” Aunt Rose smiled. “I discovered faith. And faith led to hope. And faith and hope gave me confidence that one day everything would make sense, that because of the Savior, all the wrongs would be made right. After that, I saw that the path before me wasn’t as dreary and dusty as I had thought.
“I don’t think I was clinically depressed—I’m not sure you can talk yourself out of that. But I sure had talked myself into being miserable! Yes, I had some dark days, but all my brooding and worrying wasn’t going to change that—it was only making things worse. Faith in the Savior taught me that no matter what happened in the past, my story could have a happy ending.”
“How do you know that?” Eva asked.
Aunt Rose turned a page in her Bible and said, “It says it right here. ‘God … will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4)
…Aunt Rose turned a few pages and pointed to a verse for Eva to read: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
“With such a glorious future,” Aunt Rose said, “why get swallowed up in the past or present things that don’t go quite the way we planned?”
Eva furrowed her brow. “But wait a minute,” she said. “Are you saying that being happy means just looking forward to happiness in the future? Is all our happiness in eternity? Can’t some of it happen now?”
“Oh, of course it can!” Aunt Rose exclaimed. “Dear child, now is part of eternity. It doesn’t only begin after we die! Faith and hope will open your eyes to the happiness that is placed before you now.
Listen to the entire conference here.