Sister Elaine S. Dalton: 'We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father'

Published: Saturday, April 6 2013 10:55 a.m. MDT

Young Women's General President, Sister Elaine S. Dalton speaks during the morning session of 183 annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Saturday, April 6, 2013 inside the Conference Center.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

When she was in college, Sister Elaine S. Dalton, general Young Women president, travelled to Scotland with the BYU International Folk Dancers. Her father had recently passed away, and she felt alone and discouraged. One night, the group visited the mission home, where Sister Dalton saw a stone with words etched into it: "What e'er thou art, act well thy part."

"That simple statement renewed my vision that Heavenly Father knew me and had a plan for my life and the spirit I felt helped me understand that my part mattered."

Sister Dalton said her mother had recently passed away at age 92. She was a widow for 47 years, supporting her family by teaching school during the day and teaching piano lessons at night and cared for her aging father who lived next door. She made sure her three children were all college educated.

"She kept her covenants and, because she did, she called down the power of heaven to bless our home and to send miracles. … She understood who she was and whose she was — a daughter of God. Indeed it can be said of our mother that she acted well her part."

Sister Dalton asked how parents can help instill in their daughters that they are daughters of God and help them step out of the world and into the kingdom of God. She said they need to "stand as witnesses of God at all time and in all things, and in all places" (Mosiah 18:9). She emphasized the importance of virtue.

"What would the world be like if virtue … were reinstated in our society as a most highly prized value? If immorality, pornography and abuse decreased, would there be fewer broken marriages, broken lives and broken hearts? Would media ennoble and enable rather than objectify and degrade God's precious daughters? If all humanity really understood the importance of the statement, 'We are daughters of our Heavenly Father,' how would women be regarded and treated?"

She told of how she helped vacuum the new carpet installed in the Conference Center when it was first built. Her husband, who was installing the last piece of carpet under the pulpit, asked what scripture she would like him to write on the back of the carpet. She told him Mosiah 18:9, "Stand as [a] witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places." She said she never realized she would one day stand with her feet on the carpet at that pulpit.

"And I shall ever be grateful for the strength I received through the enabling power of the Savior's infinite Atonement, as I continue to strive to 'act well [my] part.'"

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