SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked women across the globe Saturday to be joyful, righteous and articulate, to deepen their knowledge of God and to understand their identity as his daughters.
“Let’s not be confused about who we are,” said Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, during the first session of the church’s 187th Semiannual General Conference.
“While it is often easier to be spiritually passive than it is to put forth the spiritual effort to remember and embrace our divine identity, we cannot afford that indulgence in these latter days,” she said.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, also encouraged LDS women to remember who they are and to use that knowledge to find joy.
“I pray that you will choose to lift up your voice and make your life a glorious symphony of praise, rejoicing in what the love of God, the wonders of his church, and the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring to the world,” he said.
Thousands gathered in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City for the general women’s session, which was translated into 90 languages and broadcast via television, radio, satellite and the internet across the world.
In addition to Sister Jones and President Uchtdorf, Sister Sharon Eubank of the Relief Society general presidency and Sister Neill F. Marriott of the Young Women general presidency addressed the capacity congregation.
During his remarks, President Uchtdorf said it is not so much abilities but choices that make the difference in life. “There may be many things about life that are beyond your control,” he said. “But in the end, you have the power to choose both your destination and many of your experiences along the way.”
President Uchtdorf told the worldwide congregation that they can allow circumstances “to make you sad” or “to make you mad.”
Or, he continued, “you can find joy and happiness in the grace of God and in the love of Jesus Christ. You can be glad. I urge you to fill your hearts with gratitude for the abundant and limitless goodness of God.”
Sister Jones addressed the topic “Value Beyond Measure.” When women truly know they are daughters of God, it will affect every aspect of their lives and guide them to service, she said.
She asked the congregation to differentiate between two critical words: worth and worthiness. “They are not the same,” she said. “Spiritual worth means to value ourselves the way Heavenly Father values us, not as the world values us. Our worth was determined before we ever came to this earth.
“ On the other hand, worthiness is achieved through obedience. If we sin, we are less worthy, but we are never worth less. We continue to repent and strive to be like Jesus with our worth intact.”
Sister Eubank said righteous women have a significant part to play in building the kingdom in the latter days. During her remarks, she referenced a talk written in September 1979 by President Spencer W. Kimball. The talk charged Mormon women to be a “significant force” in the last days.
Sister Eubank shared five things women can do to “play our part” in the building of the kingdom: be righteous, articulate, different, distinct and happy.
“The prophets are calling on us,” she said. “Will you be righteous? Will you articulate your faith? Can you bear being distinct and different? Will your happiness in spite of your trials draw others who are good and noble and who need your friendship? Will you turn on your light? I testify that the Lord Jesus Christ will go before us and be in our midst.”
Sister Marriott asked women to continually deepen their knowledge of and obedience to God. “Our relationship with him is eternal,” she said. “We are his beloved children, and that will not change."
Challenges can pull a person off their “course of happiness,” she said.
“A matter of lasting value to the Father is that we learn of him, humble ourselves and grow in obedience to him through earthly experiences,” she said. “He wants us to change our selfishness into service, our fears into faith. These lasting matters can test us to our core. It is now, with our mortal limitations, that the Father asks us to love when loving is most difficult, to serve when serving is inconvenient, to forgive when forgiving is soul stretching.
"How? How will we do it? We earnestly reach for Heavenly Father’s help, in the name of his son, and do things his way instead of pridefully asserting our own will.”