'Moral force of women' noted in Saturday afternoon LDS conference session

Published: Saturday, Oct. 5 2013 6:55 p.m. MDT

Alisa McConkie and her sister in-law Kiersten Walker sit on the grass on Temple Square listening during the Saturday afternoon session of the 183rd Semiannual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 inside the Conference Center.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The afternoon session of the 183rd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints featured remarks from four members of the Quorum of the Twelve on topics ranging from the power of the scriptures, to the need for member involvement in missionary work, to the need for compassion for those who suffer from depression, to the moral force of women.

The session, which was conducted by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and featured a family choir from LDS stakes in Roy, Kanesville, Hooper and West Haven, Utah, also saw the transition of three members of the First Quorum of the Seventy — Elders John B. Dickson, Paul E. Koelliker and F. Michael Watson — to emeritus status and the release of Elder Kent D. Watson of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

The second of the four apostles to speak during the session, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, told the women of the church that "we rely on the moral force you bring to the world, to marriage, to family, to the church. We rely on blessings you bring down from heaven by your prayers and faith."

“From age immemorial, societies have relied on the moral force of women,” Elder Christofferson said in introducing his remarks. “While certainly not the only positive influence at work in society, the moral foundation provided by women has proved uniquely beneficial to the common good.

“Perhaps,” he added, “because it is pervasive, this contribution of women is often under-appreciated.”

He spoke of some of the women who have powerfully shaped his life and observed that “a woman’s moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home.”

“There is no better setting for rearing the rising generation than the traditional family where a father and a mother work in harmony to provide for, teach and nurture their children,” Elder Christofferson said. “Where this ideal does not exist, people strive to duplicate its benefits as best they can in their particular circumstances. In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequalled by any other person or in any other relationship.”

Elder Christofferson denounced those who devalue marriage and motherhood and who ridicule those who choose what they call “the mommy track” as a career.

“We do not diminish the value of what women or men achieve in any worthy endeavor or career, but still recognize that there is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage,” he said. “There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority or public acclaim that can exceed the ultimate rewards of family. Whatever else a woman may accomplish, her moral influence is no more optimally employed than here.”

Elder Christofferson concluded his remarks by urging women and girls to “protect and cultivate the moral force that is within you.”

“Preserve that innate virtue and unique gifts you bring with you into the world,” he said. “Your intuition is to do good and to be good, and as you follow the Holy Spirit, your moral authority and influence will grow.”

And to the men of the church he said, “Men, let us stand with women, share their burdens and cultivate our own companion moral authority.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland focused his remarks in the Saturday afternoon session on “those who suffer from some form of mental illness or emotional disorder, whether those afflictions be slight or severe, or brief duration or persistent over a lifetime.”

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