The first time I heard Sister Julie B. Beck speak as President of the Relief Society was during General Women’s Conference at the end of September. I was amazed by her bold speech and felt myself drawn into something much larger than myself. I knew that she was the woman the Lord had inspired our prophet to call to lead the women of the church for the next little while. I found myself hungry for her strong words. I wanted to do better. I knew I could do better and I was motivated to try. As one sister said to me after the conference, “I felt like she was going to raise The Title of Liberty and gather us all to it.” I felt that feeling. Like she was issuing a rally cry to the women of the church and my heart yearned to answer the call.
When I realized she was speaking at General Conference, I wondered what more she could say. Again, I heard a powerful message directed to the women of the church. I was so grateful to have such a strong leader for our beloved world-wide Relief Society.
Her talk began with the reminder that “Mothers who know” desire children. She quoted from the First Presidency, reiterating that the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth is still in effect today and quoting President Benson who said that we should not postpone our families. This sentiment stands in stark contrast to the culture of selfishness today that results in almost 1,000,000 abortions yearly in the United States alone. We remember that we are not women of the world who are not willing to make the sacrifices or bear the burdens of rearing children. But we recognize the joy and fulfillment that comes through motherhood.
She also reassures those who cannot bear children that their righteous desires and the value they place on motherhood will rise with them in the resurrection where they will be blessed accordingly. And even though mortality seems like a long time to forgo those promised blessings, she promises us that eternity is a much longer time to enjoy them.
Sister Beck continues by telling us that “Mothers who know” honor sacred ordinances and covenants. She tells the story of sisters from poor parts of the world who dress in their Sunday best and take care that their children look nice because of their understanding of the importance of the covenants that they will be renewing in the Lord’s house that day. These mothers point their children towards the temple because of the influence and power they have in their homes to make sure their children are headed towards eternal goals.
She reminds us that “mothers who know” are nurturers. We know this is one of our divine roles from the Proclamation on the Family. With home and family being so precious and sacred, she tells us that we need to create a “house of order” like the Temple where spiritual and temporal growth can abound. This will include gaining and improving homemaking skills and teaching them to our children.
We “Mothers who know” are leaders of our families and our households. We plan for the small, daily spiritual experiences within the walls of our home as well as planning for larger events such as missions, temple marriage and college educations. As leaders of eternal families, we need to be careful about where and how we spend our time. We should also be careful of worldly models of parenting that will undermine our planning.
“Mothers who know” are teachers. Sister Beck encourages us to think of our homes as pre-Missionary Training Centers. Home should be the first and foremost place where the gospel is taught. Everything else is secondary and should merely be for support and review.
“Mothers who know” do less. The world will tell us that we need to “do it all.” But Sister Beck refutes that with the simple idea that we do not have to. Nor, indeed, can we. Instead, we prioritize our time and efforts so that we give the most care to things that are most important—like spending quality time with our families and preparing them to build the Kingdom of God. We can let the rest go.
Sister Beck concludes her talk by quoting President Hinckley who has asked the women of the church to “stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord” and to “begin in [our] own homes.”
Once again, I felt the powerful whisperings of the Holy Ghost confirming to me that Sister Beck is the woman the Lord has called to lead the women of the church today. She is a strong, bold woman of faith and conviction. I have greatly enjoyed re-reading her talks from General Women’s Conference and General Conference. I know that if we women will listen with open hearts to her words and prayerfully ask the Lord how we can follow her inspired counsel in our homes, we will be greatly blessed.