Hello Brothers and Sister’s I’m grateful for the privilege it is to speak today. It’s humbling to speak on Mother’s day. As you can see I’m not a Mom. The facial hair I have was probably a dead giveaway. I’m completely unqualified to give motherly advice!
No brother’s and sisters I won’t be attempting to give any advice to Mom’s today I also won’t be going to great detail about my own mother although I could give many examples of what I think a mother should be from her remarkable life.
I remember one Mother’s day on my Mission where a woman spoke in Sacrament meeting. She gave a great talk, the only problem was that she spoke about how great her Dad was the whole time. It was quite confusing.
Instead, I’ll be asking the question “How can we better support the Mother’s in our lives fulfill their sacred roles.”
Before I get into that, let me define what I mean by the word “Mother”
The first presidency message of November 1942 said:
“Motherhood is the highest, holiest service … assumed by mankind.”
Think of that. The prophets of God said the Motherhood is the quote “Holiest service.” There is no service in the church or the world that is more holy than Motherhood, not even Priesthood service.
Also former General Relief Society Presidency member Sheri Dew said:
“While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language,the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve “the mother of all living” 3 and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, motherhood begins before birth. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, 4 righteous women were endowed pre-mortally with the privilege of motherhood. 5 Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who women are. It defines their very identity, their divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave them.”
So today I would like to explore some ways we can better support the Mothers in our lives. This includes all righteous women who may or may not have given birth because we know that no blessing will be permanently withheld from those who keep their covenants. Blessings will come either in this life or the next. In addition to this, all women can “mother” others now.
When our first parents, Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit, they were both given “Curses”. In fact when God is explaining the curse to Adam he says that he will “Curse the ground for his sake.” Note the phrase “for your sake”. These curses would in the end benefit Adam and Eve and their posterity. It seems that the Lord is so loving that even when he curses, it does it for our benefit. But what about Eve’s curse?
Let’s read In Genesis 3:16 :
Although the language of the old testament might not be politically correct today let’s dive into it’s meaning.
1. Women will will have the possibility of great sorrow (and by connection great joy) connected to childbearing
2. Women will struggle at times with the desire to take over their husbands job of presiding because many men won’t be worthy to preside or we could say to hold the Priesthood.
3. Yet It is given to the husband to preside in the home.
Notice that both “curses” give human beings the possibility of both the terrible and the good. For the man, his work could enslave him, or it could empower him. For the woman, the prospect or having children could bring the greatest sorrow or the greatest Joy.
The Woman is faced with the choice of making mothering her first priority on the one hand, or trying to take over the role of the Man on the other.
Much later in the New Testament, the possibilities of this curse are put into perspective by the apostle Paul:
In 1 Timothy 2:15 Paul has been discussing those women who want to rule in the church and decides to use the curse of Adam and Eve to help us understand each divine role. He and ends the discussion with this:
15 Notwithstanding she (the woman) shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
Paul gives a key here. Certainly Paul is not saying that only women who give birth can be saved. He is also not saying that giving birth forgives a woman of her sins. Instead he is talking about this in reference to the curse of Eve and the choices she has surrounding her role. He is showing that a when a woman fulfills her motherly role, instead of trading it for other possibilities a woman might have or desire, it can lead her to a closer relationship with Christ and thereby save her. She can either look at motherhood as a curse or a blessing. She can either use this to bring her great benefit or to bring her great sorrow. She can use motherhood as a tool to change herself for the better, or try to trade it for a role that could give her some happiness but will never bring her complete fulfillment. Remember that every woman regardless of her current circumstances, if she is faithful with eventually have all the blessings associated with Motherhood.
I think it’s only fair here to say that if we expect women to be content with their divine role of motherhood, we had better do everything in our power glorify, give honor to, and to help them fulfill that role. We as men better by worthy to fulfill our role. For Women are under no obligation to follow husbands or Priesthood leaders who are not worthy.
In Doctrine and Covenants section 121 we read:
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
So back to my question: How can the rest of us help the mother’s in our lives fulfill this holiest of services, and thereby turn this curse for their sake into the greatest of blessings?
I have 5 suggestions:
My list is certainly not exhaustive, but I think it touches on some important points:
1. She doesn’t have time to fill your role so husbands make sure your role is filled.
As husbands, our job is to Provide, Preside, and Protect…
2. Let her have time for herself
One characteristic I’ve observed in both my wife and my mother is the tendency to always put her children or others needs before her own. This can be a blessing and a curse. Sometimes Mother’s need to be reminded that they are people too! They need time for themselves to relax. They need time to spend with friends. They need time to work on their own interests and dreams. But in my experience, it is unlikely that they will do this if they feel that their more important roles are not taken care of. Their best of intentions can lead to burn out if we are not their to help facilitate their need for “me” time. We can help by watching the kids. We can help by being better home and visiting teachers. We can help by taking giving them regular breaks.
3. Help her see that what she is doing has eternal value
Elder JeffereyR. Holland said:
“May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.””
4. If the House is dirty, or something else needs to be done, clean it.
If the house is dirty, chances are the Mother’s in your life haven’t sitting around all day watching TV. It’s most likely that cleaning ended up being the least important thing on their very long list. Instead of spending time trying to find out why.. just jump in and lend a hand.
5. Husbands, treat her like you did when you were dating and Love her.
President David O. McKay often quoted this statement of Theodore Hesburg:
“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
I would like to thank the Mother’s in my life. For every time they’ve cleaned up after me. For every time they have eased my burdens. For every time they’ve lifted my mind to higher thinking. For their great wisdom and love. For their sacred nurturing natures. I testify that the woman can truly can receive the greatest of joys through her divine service as a mother. I pray that the rest of us will do all we can to support mothers in their most sacred and holiest of roles.
Thank you Mother’s
In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.