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Valiant Women

Prologue

Back on mother's day of 2022 I was asked to share a talk in church about valiant women using examples from the scriptures. I decided to use the neurological intelligence model of needs, that I had recently finished, to help me structure my sermon. My original intention with studying the model of needs was to help me understand the gospel better, so I hope that it will do the same for you.



Mother's Day

The Family: A proclamation to the world tells us that the role of fathers is to provide, preside and protect, and the role of mothers is primarily to nurture. Once upon a time I decided to study these different roles, because I didn’t understand why fathers got three responsibilities, and mothers only got one responsibility.


Role of Fathers

I realized that the three responsibilities of fathers each take care of one need. I call these the “outer” or “collective” needs. There is outer completeness, which is the need to have all the things in your life to let you survive, such as food, clothing and shelter. This need is taken care of by the fathers role as a provider. There is outer consistency. This means that the rules that your family follows, and the values that it has have to line up with each other. This need is taken care of by the fathers role to preside over the family. Then there is outer stability. This means that the people in your family get along, and there is no threat to your survival. This is taken care of by the fathers role as a protector.


Role of Mothers

By studying these needs I realized that there are individual needs which mothers are primarily responsible to take care of. They are inner completeness, which is when you have all of the skills you need to live and to contribute to society; inner consistency, which is when your actions line up with your beliefs; and lastly inner stability, which is when you are able to focus on uplifting and positive things in your life regardless of your circumstances. As a nurturer, a mother helps her children to meet these “inner” or “individual” needs.


The father’s role to provide the outer needs, and the mother’s role to provide the inner needs of their children complement and complete each other. “‘Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.’ They are equal partners, equal in their potential for spiritual growth and for acquiring knowledge, and so are unified by helping each other. They are equal in their divine destiny to be exalted together. In fact, men and women cannot be exalted alone.”(Eyering, Women and Gospel Learning in the Home)


In the last general conference a video was shown in the general women’s session reminding us of Sister Camilla Kimball’s speech in the general women’s meeting of 1979. While speaking for her husband, the prophet, she said “Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.”(Camilla Kimball, 1979) Why are good women drawn to the church now more than ever before? It is because the world and the church are changing.


The world is making it harder to meet your inner needs:

  • It is becoming more competitive. Due to social media it is easier than ever to compare yourself to others, and to feel inadequate. This makes it harder to meet your need for internal completeness.

  • We are now in perilous times. Things that are good are taught as evil, and things that are evil are taught as good. These temptations from Babylon make it hard to live the way that you know is correct, attacking our need for internal consistency.

  • With instantaneous connections and global news it is easy to feel like the world is falling apart. It is also easy to get caught up in fake news, which is often spread to stir up hatred and fear. This is making it increasingly important to have internal stability.


Advice from Church Leaders

Many of these changes in the world are made worse by the influence of social media. Maybe this is why in the October 2018 General Women’s session of General conference President Oaks shared a nationwide survey where over half of the teens in the united states reported that they use their cell phones too often, and 40% of them experienced anxiety when they were separated from their cell phones. In the same conference President Nelson encouraged the women to participate in a 10 day fast from social media, and all other media that bring negative thoughts into your mind. Then he shared a story about a woman who was inspired to check her son’s cell phone regularly and taught him to avoid certain degrading things on social media and other apps. Her son’s behavior and attitudes changed quickly and dramatically. He became more helpful at home, smiled more, and was more attentive at church.


Converting the Saints: Ministering

On the other hand, the church has been implementing changes directed at further converting the saints. Ministering replaced home and visiting teaching. President Nelson Taught: “The supreme standard for ministering is that of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Generally, women are, and always have been, closer to that standard than men. When you are truly ministering, you follow your feelings to help someone else experience more of the Savior's love. The inclination to minister is inherent in righteous women. I know women who pray every day, “Whom wouldst Thou have me help today?””(Nelson, Sister’s Participation in the Gathering of Israel) When we minister to others we can help them, and ourselves with our need for internal completeness.


Converting the Saints: Come Follow Me

Come Follow Me has been made part of our home scripture study. This was implemented so that we would learn to study the scriptures, not just read them. By studying the scriptures we learn where to go to find the truth, and we learn how we can repent. This helps us to gain internal consistency. President Eyering noted that this switch to family centered learning makes “faithful sisters a primary force to help the Lord pour out knowledge on his saints” because they are responsible for “nurturing with gospel truth and knowledge.” He encourages “sisters in every stage of life’s journey, in every family situation, and across every culture, [that] the Savior is your perfect example of how you will play a major part in His move to place greater emphasis on gospel learning in the home and family. “You will bring your inherent feeling of charity into changes in activities and practices in your family. That will bring greater spiritual growth. When you pray with and for family members, you will feel your and the Savior's love for them. That will become more and more your spiritual gift as you seek it. Your family members will feel it as you pray with greater faith.” (Eyering, Women and Gospel Learning in the Home)


Converting the Saints: Temple Worship

Temple work has also recently been emphasized in the church. The prophet has invited us to “establish a pattern of regular temple attendance.” and he expounds upon his invitation, saying: “This may require a little more sacrifice in your life. More regular time in the temple will allow the Lord to teach you how to draw upon His priesthood power with which you have been endowed in His temple. For those of you who don’t live near a temple, I invite you to study prayerfully about temples in the scriptures and in the words of living prophets. Seek to know more, to understand more, to feel more about temples than you ever have before.” (Nelson, Sister's Participation in the Gathering of Israel) When we go to the temple we are reminded of our covenants with God, and we make covenants for our ancestors. As we make temple worship a focus in our lives we give ourselves inner stability.


Women in the Scriptures

When we read about valiant women in the scriptures we don’t really see these needs, or nurturing too often, although I am sure that those women were great nurturers. The needs I mentioned before are basic or temporal needs. The heroines in the scriptures show that they have their higher or spiritual needs manifested in them. The spiritual needs start with inner realization. This is when you live in a way that reflects who you are, and the person that you want to become. Valiant women show that they are daughters of God, and that they always live their lives in a righteous manner. The next spiritual need is that of inner observation. This means that you are able to understand your motivations for the things you do, and you will let others know these motivations as well. Valiant women seek to build their testimony of Christ, and they are willing to share it with others. The next spiritual need is the need for inner control. This is the ability to control your thoughts and your actions. As you develop your talents and your spiritual gifts you gain greater control in those areas of your life.


Esther


Queen Esther By Edwin Long

A great example of a lady who has met her spiritual needs is Esther. She was selected to be a queen of the Persians. Despite this title she remembered her ethnic and religious heritage, for she had realized her identity as a Jew. When the king became determined to kill her people she stood up for them by telling the King what he was about to do was wrong, and why it was wrong. She let her obedience to God be observable, yet her act of speaking her mind to the king was not easy. She knew that she could be killed for her actions, so she exercised inner control by fasting with her people for three days before approaching the king.


Abish

Another example is found in the book of Mormon. Abish was a Laminitish woman who had accepted the gospel due to a remarkable vision of her father. Despite there being no other believers in Christ in her nation she realized her identity as a daughter of God by living righteously and keeping her knowledge of Christ alive. She remained hopeful that one day she would be able to share the faith that she cherished. Her chance came when the missionary Ammon preached to the king of the land. When she saw the king’s conversion to the lord she went out to the streets and told everyone what had happened so that they too could experience the same love that the king and queen had felt. This was not without its trials. After the king and queen of the land had accepted the gospel they were so overwhelmed by the spirit of God that they collapsed as if they were dead. The people who came to see them thought that Ammon was a monster, and had killed their monarchs. Abish exercised inner control when she alleviated the situation; taking the queen by the hand, and waking her from her slumber.


Both of these women also act as spiritual mothers for their people because they are able to help their people to acquire their spiritual inner needs. Esther grants her people the ability to freely exercise their religion and culture. They are able to represent themselves and are granted control over their lives. Abish helps her people to understand who they are, and their relationship to God.


God's Plan for Us

Jesus Christ has promised us that if we are faithful to him he will one day let us achieve the last three spiritual needs. For every woman who has made and kept her covenants in this life he has granted to make them a queen and a priestess in the kingdom of God, and every covenant keeping man will become a king and a priest in his kingdom. There you will have an outward realization of your devine identity. As you observe to keep the commandments you are promised to receive light and knowledge from heaven. This fills the need for outward observability, to understand the people, and the world around you. Finally he has promised that we, as God’s heirs, will receive all that our father has. This will grant us outer control, because we will have the means to achieve all of our righteous desires.


I know that Jesus Christ lives, and that he died for us. I know that families play an essential role in God’s plan for our eternal happiness, and that our temple covenants were designed to bring families together. In the name of Jesus Christ amen.


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