Bruce K. Satterfield
Brigham Young University - Idaho
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[The following is the complete text of a presentation given at Ricks College Education Week, June 7, 2001. Due to time restrains, some of the discussion and quotes found in the printed text were not used in the presentation that aired on KBYU and BYU-TV]
I. The Siege of Wickedness
In a vision concerning our day, Nephi saw two opposing forces. The angel guiding him through the vision said of our day: "Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth"(1 Ne. 14:10).
The biblical terms(1) translated "church" are more generic in meaning than the English word "church." These words simply mean an assembly. In and of themselves these words are relatively neutral and colorless and convey no religious meaning.(2) The same is probably true of the original word found on the gold plates translated "church" in the Book of Mormon. If so, the statement made by the angel to Nephi would suggest that in the last days there are two assemblages of people: those who are of God and those who are of the devil. The church of the Lamb ought to include members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though it would also encompass others who are devoted to God.(3) Likewise, the church of the devil comprises all who live and promote evil, even though they may be members of the true Church (see D&C 41:1; 50:4-8; 56:1; 112:26).
The angel described the church of the devil as "the mother of abominations" and "the whore of all the earth." These designations describe what the church of the devil is and does. As "the mother of abominations," the church of the devil produces abominations (or things the Lord hates). And like a whore, she makes those abominations look enticing so that the people of the earth will buy what she is selling. Further, like a whore, she will dress the abominations to the clientele she is after.
Nephi saw that the church of the devil "sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people" (1 Ne. 14:11). Likewise, the church of the Lamb was "also upon all the face of the earth" though "its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters" (1 Ne. 14:12).
To his horror, Nephi saw "that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God." However, he also saw that "the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory" (1 Ne. 14:13-14).
Latter-day prophets have given vivid warnings relative to this war between good and evil. The following are graphic statements that reveal the magnitude of this war. In October 1971 General Conference, President Harold B. Lee said:
"You leaders, put into full gear the total programs that are heaven-sent in these days to stem the tide of wickedness that is rolling over the earth as an avalanche."(4)
Seven years later, in October 1978 General Conference, President Spencer W. Kimball said,
"The forces of good are clearly and continually under attack. There are times when it seems the world is almost drowning in a flood of filth and degradation. And I want to cry out, "Hold on! Hold on to what is right and true. Therein is safety. Don't let yourself be swept away." In 1946 I visited Hawaii shortly after a huge tidal wave, where walls of water some forty feet high struck Hilo and the Hamakua coast, and I saw the devastation that resulted. . . .We, too, are faced with powerful, destructive forces unleashed by the adversary. Waves of sin, wickedness, immorality, degradation, tyranny, deceitfulness, conspiracy, and dishonesty threaten all of us. They come with great power and speed and will destroy us if we are not watchful."(5)
Ten years later, in October 1988 General Conference, President Ezra Taft Benson spoke of the war between the church of the Lamb and the church of the devil in these words:
"I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society (see D&C 1:14-16, 84:49-53). It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. . . . I testify that the church and kingdom of God is increasing in strength. Its numbers are growing, as is the faithfulness of its faithful members. It has never been better organized or equipped to perform its divine mission. I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer's leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the final confrontation. As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil. As these conflicts rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested. God's wrath will soon shake the nations of the earth and will be poured out on the wicked without measure (see Joseph Smith--History 1:45, D&C 1:9). But God will provide strength for the righteous and the means of escape; and eventually and finally truth will triumph (see 1 Nephi 22:15-23). I testify that it is time for every man to set in order his own house both temporally and spiritually."(6)
Again, ten years later, at the General Relief Society Meeting of September 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley, stated:
"Never before, at least not in our generation, have the forces of evil been so blatant, so brazen, so aggressive as they are today. Things we dared not speak about in earlier times are now constantly projected into our living rooms. All sensitivity is cast aside as reporters and pundits speak with a disgusting plainness of things that can only stir curiosity and lead to evil. . . . The home is under siege. So many families are being destroyed. . . . Sisters, guard your children. They live in a world of evil. The forces are all about them."(7)
"The home is under siege." When I first read this statement by a prophet of God, chills ran up and down my spine. Having received various degrees regarding the Ancient Near East (called the middle east in the USA), I have studied siege warfare. I have been to numbers of ancient sites in the middle east which were destroyed through siege warfare. To protect themselves, ancient peoples often built walls around their cities. When possible these walled cities were built on tops of hills making it even more difficult for attacking armies to destroy them. In order to attempt to destroy these well protected cities, opposing armies often used the tactic of siege warfare. The city would be entirely blockaded, cutting off all communications as well as separating the inhabitants from their basic necessities. The city was then starved into surrender. If however the inhabitants had prepared themselves for a long siege by stockpiling food and water, then the attacking army would build ramps and use siege platforms, battering rams, and catapults to break through the walls and reduce the city to surrender.(8)
President Hinckley said, "The home is under siege. . . They live in a world of evil. The forces are all about them." Such a statement is frightening in its implication and cannot be taken lightly. Every family in every part of the world is under siege. To destroy families is the supreme goal of Satan. Elder Boyd K. Packer stated: "The ultimate purpose of the adversary. . . is to disrupt, disturb, and destroy the home and the family."(9) He does so by besieging families with wickedness. Every home is surrounded by filth and degradation of every kind. Through the battering rams and catapults of TV, movies, internet, educational institutions, and the like, the fortifications of the home are being pulverized. Often, the walls are broken down and families are destroyed.
II. Understanding Doctrine Helps Fortify Families
In light of Nephi's vision wherein he saw that the great and abominable church vastly outnumbered the church of the Lamb (1 Ne. 14:11-12), one might wonder if it is possible to win a war against such odds. But recall that Nephi was also shown "the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory" (1 Ne. 14:13-14).
The power of God to fortify
families against the siege of wickedness comes in part through an understanding
of the doctrines of the kingdom as taught in the scriptures and from the
latter-day prophets. Speaking of the rod of iron or the word of God that
led to the tree of life portrayed in the dream given to Lehi (1 Nephi 8:20-24),
President Ezra Taft Benson said, "Not only will the word of God lead us
to the fruit which is desirable above all others, but in the word of God
and through it we can find the power to resist temptation, the power
to thwart the work of Satan and his emissaries. . . .The word of God,
as found in the scriptures, in the words of living prophets, and in personal
revelation, has the power to fortify the Saints and arm them with the
Spirit so they can resist evil, hold fast to the good and find joy in this
III. Parenthood, the Test of Godhood
Speaking of the family, Elder Robert D. Hales said: "Because of the importance of the family to the eternal plan of happiness, Satan makes a major effort to destroy the sanctity of the family, demean the importance of the role of men and women, encourage moral uncleanliness and violations of the sacred law of chastity, and to discourage parents from placing the bearing and rearing of children as one of their highest priorities."(11) During the last several decades, as the war against the family has raged, the prophets have taught that men and women need to refocus their sights on their roles as mothers and fathers. Over and over they have taught the doctrine of parenthood.(12) An understanding of this doctrine will give great power to parents to fortify themselves and their families against the siege of wickedness.
The role of mother and father is best understood in light of the overall plan of salvation. Brigham Young taught: "The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like Himself; when we have been proved in our present capacity, and been faithful with all things He puts into our possession."(13) Among the most important things God has put into our possession centers on the family. God has given to each of us a portion of His power to create. In so doing, men and women have the capacity to create mortal bodies for God's spirit children. Upon the creation of a mortal body, parents begin one of the most important tests of not only mortality but of their eternal existence: to see if they will do all they can to raise a righteous family. Ultimately, it is through righteous parenthood that men and women can prove themselves worthy of godhood, for I believe that the ultimate test of godhood is parenthood!
In the premortal state, we, the spirit offspring of our Heavenly Father and Mother, dwelt in the presence of our divine parents. In that world, we saw our Heavenly Father and Mother. We saw their glory. We saw their majesty. We saw what they did. We saw that they created offspring, and earths, and stars, and galaxies, and universes. We saw that our Heavenly Parents devoted themselves to the task of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of us, their children. And we desired to become like them! So we progressed as far as we could in our quest to become as God by being obedient to all that we were taught in that premortal realm.
We understood that if we were faithful, we eventually would be made "equal in power, and in might, and in dominion" with God (D&C 76:95). Think of that! Let the meaning of this statement sink in! To be made equal in power, might, and dominion with God boggles the mortal mind. Yet that has always has been the goal. That is what God desires for each of his children.
But before God could grant the fulness of His kingdom to us, before He could make us "equal in power, and in might, and in dominion" with Himself, we had to be placed into a position where we could prove ourselves worthy of equality with Him. The only way we could prove ourselves worthy of equality with God was to demonstrate that His work and glory is our work and glory. Since God's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children (see Moses 1:39), then those desiring to become like Heavenly Father and Mother must also devote themselves to the bearing of children and raising them righteously.
Mortality was designed to facilitate the test of godhood. President Benson taught that "this life is intended to provide an opportunity to help our Father in Heaven with His great plan, and we do that through honorable parenthood. We cooperate with our Heavenly Father in helping to prepare tabernacles to house spirits of His children. So the matter of marriage, the home, and the family is a vital part of the plan of our Heavenly Father, and by keeping this . . . purpose of life in mind constantly and carrying out these purposes to have a fulness of joy in mortal life, and we prepare ourselves for exaltation in the celestial kingdom where we will receive a fulness of joy."(14)
In line with this, President N. Eldon Tanner taught:
"The whole purpose of the creation of the earth was to provide a dwelling place where the spirit children of God might come and be clothed in mortal bodies and, by keeping their second estate, prepare themselves for salvation and exaltation. The whole purpose of the mission of Jesus Christ was to make possible the immortality and eternal life of man. The whole purpose of mothers and fathers should be to live worthy of this blessing and to assist God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ in their work. No greater honor could be given to [men and] women than to assist in this divine plan, and I wish to say without equivocation that a woman will find greater satisfaction and joy and make a greater contribution to mankind by being a wise and worthy mother raising good children than she could make in any other vocation."(15)
Why is mortality the place for the test of parenthood? There are at least three reasons. First, spirit bodies have no capacity to bear offspring.(16) Therefore, each spirit would be given a physical body endowed by God with the power to propagate.
Second, it is essential that the bodies given to God's spirit offspring were to be mortal and finite because the power to procreate would be granted on a limited basis and only for time. If, while in mortality, God's children use the procreative powers within the bounds he has set, and if they devote their best efforts to the raising of a righteous family unto God, then they will be found worthy of Godhood and granted the fulness of God's creative powers in the eternities.(17) If, however, they are found unworthy by misusing these powers, or foregoing the opportunity to bear children, or attach greater importance to worldly things over the raising of a righteous family, the creative powers will be forever removed from them.(18)
Third, only in the face of good and evil, can we choose for ourselves the priority of righteous parenthood. One of the reasons we have come to mortality is to experience the knowledge of good and evil.(19) With the contrasts of these opposites plainly discernible, we demonstrate by our choices what we really desire. Only when we overcome the opposition of worldly concerns and focus our lives on the raising of a righteous family, can we prove to God (and ourselves!) that His work and glory is our work and glory.
Thus the central focus of our coming into this mortal probation is to marry and raise a righteous family. This is the central purpose of our existence. For this reason, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World:
We, the First Presidency
and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a
woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's
plan for the eternal destiny of his children.(20)
IV. Husband and Wives as Equal Partners
The proclamation further states that "Marriage between man and woman is essential to [God's] eternal plan." As "fathers and mothers [they] are obligated to help one another as equal partners" (emphasis added).
The equality between husband and wife is portrayed in the account of the creation of Adam and Eve. In the Mosaic account of the creation, the earth was first created in six creative periods (Gen. 1; Moses 2). On the sixth day of creation, the record states: "And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and it was so. And I, God, said: Let them have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth"(Moses 2:26; see also Gen. 1:26). Then God created Adam: "And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also" (Moses 3:7).
Before Eve was created, the account reads: "And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten, that it was not good that the man should be alone; wherefore, I will make an help meet for him." (Moses 3:18; see also Gen. 2:18). The phrase "help meet for him" translates the Hebrew words ezer kenegdo. These words are a little difficult for me to translate. Ezer literally means, "help" and is similar in meaning to the English word 'help.' However, kenegdo, translated 'meet for him', is more difficult to translate. The root word, neged(21), literally means 'opposite', 'in the presence of', 'over against', 'in front of', 'corresponding to', or 'aside'.(22) Literally, kenegdo means, 'opposite as to him' or 'corresponding as to him'.
The sense of the phrase ezer kenegdo is 'an equal but opposite helper to him'. For example, my left hand is the ezer kenegdo to my right hand; both hands look alike except they are exactly opposite. Both hands are equal but opposite. This is so that they might work better together. Imagine trying to pick up a shovel with two hands that are positioned the same! Again, the ezer kenegdo of the right wing of an airplane is the left wing; they look exactly the same except they are opposite each other. Both wings are equal but opposite. This is so that the airplane can fly. One wing is no more important than the other. The same is true with man and woman. Man's ezer kenegdo is woman. Both are equal but opposite. It requires both to fulfill the role of parenthood!
After declaring the need for "an helpmeet" for Adam, the account states: "And out of the ground I, the Lord God, formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and commanded that they should come unto Adam, to see what he would call them; and they were also living souls; for I, God, breathed into them the breath of life, and commanded that whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that should be the name thereof" (Gen. 2:19; Moses 3:19). This verse seems out of place in the story! Why does the account tell us what Adam would name the animals when he was looking for an help meet? The answer is found at the end of verse 20. "And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but as for Adam, there was not found an help meet for him" (emphasis added). Adam's helpmeet was not to be found among the things he was given dominion over!
The account then speaks of Eve's creation in these words: "And I, the Lord God, caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and he slept, and I took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in the stead thereof; And the rib which I, the Lord God, had taken from man, made I a woman, and brought her unto the man" (Gen. 2: 21-22; Moses 3:21-22). President Kimball taught that the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam was figurative.(23) It suggests that Eve was created from the same "dust of the earth" that Adam was created.(24) Further she was created from his side to symbolize their "oneness" as partners in bringing forth children and raising them righteously. As one biblical scholar noted: "The rib taken from man's side thus connotes physical union and signifies that she is his companion and partner, ever at his side."(25) Therefore, after Eve was created and brought to Adam, he said: "This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman [Heb. ishah], because she was taken out of man [Heb. ish].(26) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:23-24; Moses 3:23-24).
The equality of husband and wife has often been expressed by the Brethren. President Howard W. Hunter counseled the husbands and fathers of the Church saying: "A man who holds the priesthood accepts his wife as a partner in the leadership of the home and family with full knowledge of and full participation in all decisions relating thereto."(27) Likewise, Elder Boyd K. Packer counseled Fathers to remember that "Your wife is your partner in the leadership of the family and should have full knowledge of and full participation in all decisions relating to your home."(28) Also, Elder L. Tom Perry told husbands that their "first and most responsible role in life and in the eternities is to be a righteous husband." He told them that a wife is "your companion, your best friend, your full partner."(29)
The equality between man
and woman was destroyed over time. In many cultures, man overstepped his
authority and gained dominion over woman. This has demeaned the role of
woman. In the last few centuries there has been great effort by many to
bring women out from under the dominionship of men. I applaud much that
has resulted from these efforts. However, many of these women's movements
have tried to bring about equality with men by making women the same as
men. But, as we have seen, they are not the same. They were not created
to be the same. They were created to be equal partners in doing the Lord's
work. Hence, many of the goals of various women's movements have missed
V. The Roles of Man and Woman
The proclamation on the family states the general role of man and woman in these terms: "Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity." The individual role of mother and father is stated in these words: "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children."
The roles men and women would play as mother and father were first outlined to Adam and Eve. After Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit, and therefore would begin to bear children, God gave them instructions concerning their role as man and woman. To Eve, He said: "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" (Moses 4:22). Two important aspects of the role of woman are mentioned in these instructions.
First, Eve was given to understand that her role as woman would be to bear and nurture God's children in mortality. The bearing of children would be in sorrow. The Hebrew word translated "sorrow" is etseb, which means 'to hurt', 'to be troubled', 'to deeply grieve', or 'to be distressed'.(31) Why would God make a point about bearing children in pain and distress? It is true that the act of child bearing is one of the most painful experiences a mortal can go through. Yet the bearing of a child is a type of the suffering of Christ. Moses 6:62-63 teaches that "all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record" of the Father, the Son, and the plan of salvation.
In the great messianic prophecy found in Isaiah 53, Isaiah foresaw that Christ would be "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." He also foresaw the great suffering of Christ in Gethsemane and on Golgotha in these words: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him" (Is. 53:3-5). Isaiah also revealed that when Christ made "his soul an offering for sin" - when he suffered the greatest pain, grief, distress, and sorrow known to man - he looked upon "his seed" (Is. 53:10).
Upon quoting this prophecy, Abinadi asked: "And who shall be his seed?" He answered his own question:
"Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord--I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God. For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?" (Mosiah 15:10-12)
The labor of Jesus Christ was not just to create an earth where mortals may dwell. His labor was to enact a plan that would redeem mankind. As their redeemer He would labor with his people, teaching them, encouraging them, and helping them to be obedient to the laws and ordinances that would exalt them. Ultimately, His labor was to take upon himself the sins, sorrows, and griefs of his people to free them from the eternal consequences of their sinful actions. Those who accept the atonement of Jesus Christ become His offspring, having been born in great travail and suffering.
Likewise, when a woman bears a child it is in great pain and suffering. After the stings and aches of the contractions have brought forth the child, she looks upon her child with joy. This act symbolizes her role as a mother. Like Christ, the mother will nurture, teach, encourage, and protect the child from wicked influences. Devotedly, she will do all she can to help that child to be obedient to all the laws and ordinances that will enable the child to be exalted in the kingdom of God. And like the Savior who said to the Father, "not what I will, but what thou wilt" (Mark 14:36), the mother sacrifices her personal desires to accomplish the work and glory of the Father. Eventually, through the pains, suffering, and often sorrow associated with her sacrifice of selfless work and devotion, she brings forth a child that will eventually be fit for equality with God.
The second thing mentioned in the Lord's instruction to Eve was that her desire should be to her husband who was to rule over her. This seems to contradict the equality God established between man and woman. However, it should be understood that the man represents the priesthood. As a priesthood holder, he would insure that the mind and will of the Lord would be taught and followed in his home. The desire of the woman (and her offspring, all mankind!) should be to follow the priesthood that presides over her in righteousness.
Thus Adam learned that he would be responsible to rule over Eve and their children. Of this President Kimball taught: "I have a question about the word rule. It gives the wrong impression. I would prefer to use the word preside because that's what he does. A righteous husband presides over his wife and family."(32) President Hinckley decried those who use this verse to justify unrighteous dominion over their wives:
"My own interpretation of that sentence is that the husband shall have a governing responsibility to provide for, to protect, to strengthen and shield the wife. Any man who belittles or abuses or terrorizes, or who rules in unrighteousness, will deserve and, I believe, receive the reprimand of a just God who is the Eternal Father of both His sons and daughters."(33)
Again, he said:
"Some men who are evidently unable to gain respect by the goodness of their lives, use as justification for their actions the statement that Eve was told that Adam should rule over her. How much sadness, how much tragedy, how much heartbreak has been caused through centuries of time by weak men who have used that as a scriptural warrant for atrocious behavior! They do not recognize that the same account indicates that Eve was given as a helpmeet to Adam. The facts are that they stood, side by side, in the garden. They were expelled from the garden together, and they worked together side by side in gaining their bread by the sweat of their brows."(34)
As the priesthood holder, Adam would be expected to teach and train his family in spiritual things. This is true of all fathers. President Hunter, when speaking to fathers, said:
"Take seriously your responsibility to teach the gospel to your family through regular family home evening, family prayer, devotional and scripture reading time, and other teaching moments. Give special emphasis to preparation for missionary service and temple marriage. As patriarch in the home, exercise your priesthood through performing the appropriate ordinances for your family and by giving blessings to your wife and children. Next to your own salvation, brethren, there is nothing so important to you as the salvation of your wife and children."(35)
Adam also learned that he was directly responsible to provide his family with the necessities of life. The Lord told him: "By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground--for thou shalt surely die--for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou wast, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Moses 4:25). As the proclamation on the family states, this directive is still in effect today. The prophets have often reinforced this concept. For instance, President Hunter said:
"You who hold the priesthood have the responsibility, unless disabled, to provide temporal support for your wife and children. No man can shift the burden of responsibility to another, not even to his wife. The Lord has commanded that women and children have claim on their husbands and fathers for their maintenance (see D&C 83; 1 Timothy 5:8). President Ezra Taft Benson has stated that when a husband encourages or insists that his wife work out of the home for their convenience, "not only will the family suffer in such instances, . . . but [his] own spiritual growth and progression will be hampered" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, pp. 60-61; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, p. 49). We urge you to do all in your power to allow your wife to remain in the home, caring for the children while you provide for the family the best you can."(36)
There is a danger in man's role to provide for his family. Often, his work becomes more important to him than his family. Likewise, other things often take priority over his interest in wife and children. President David O. McKay warned that those who find themselves in this position are in danger of failing the test of parenthood:
When one puts business or
pleasure above his home, he that moment starts on the downgrade to soul-weakness.
When the club becomes more attractive to any man than his home, it is time
for him to confess in bitter shame that he has failed to measure up to
the supreme opportunity of his life and flunked in the final test of true
manhood. No other success can compensate for failure in the home. The poorest
shack in which love prevails over a united family is of greater value to
God and future humanity than any other riches.(37)
VI. The October 1942 First Presidency Statement on Parenthood
Now, let us look at one of the great statements made by the First Presidency relative to the role of man and woman. In December of 1941, the United States entered into World War II. The war reeked havoc upon the world in many ways. However, one of the most devastating aspects of World War II is rarely, if ever, talked about in history books. I believe World War II's most desolating blow was upon the family. Many aspects of family life were affected by war-time marriages, loss of the father in the home, and mothers joining the work force or participating in civic duties.
As the war progressed, the First Presidency of the Church, sustained as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, consisting of Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and David O, McKay, could see that this blow to the family was affecting families within the Church. In October 1942 General Conference the First Presidency issued a statement(38) that was read in the opening moments of the conference. The statement dealt with many concerns the First Presidency had as a result of the war. One concern was parenthood. In the statement, the First Presidency made several points that are essential in understanding the doctrine of parenthood. Each point will be individually considered.
1. "Amongst His earliest commands to Adam and Eve, the Lord said: 'Multiply and replenish the earth.' He has repeated that command in our day. He has again revealed in this, the last dispensation, the principle of the eternity of the marriage covenant. He has restored to earth the authority for entering into that covenant, and has declared that it is the only due and proper way of joining husband and wife, and the only means by which the sacred family relationship may be carried beyond the grave and through eternity. He has declared that this eternal relationship may be created only by the ordinances which are administered in the holy temples of the Lord, and therefore that His people should marry only in His temple in accordance with such ordinances."
One of the things that characterized World War II was war-time marriages. These basically consisted of two kinds: those who married quickly before leaving for the war and those who were married in foreign countries where they were serving. In both cases, the marriages were performed hurriedly and by a local ecclesiastical or civic authorities. In response to this, the First Presidency made it clear that "the only due and proper way of joining husband and wife" is in sacred temples where those holding authority to act in behalf of God could solemnize the marriage.
The temple ordinances are designed to bring man and woman into a sacred relationship with God where they would be authorized to use the sacred creative powers to bring forth children. Recall that this power to create is God's power.(39) It should only be used when He authorizes its use. (This does not mean that God views those who use this power in a marriage relationship created outside of the temple as sinful. Yet that marriage will not endure in the eternities. Nor does it have the power to exalt the husband and wife.)
Temple marriage is known as "the new and everlasting covenant of marriage" (D&C 131:2). A temple marriage is the final ordinance(40) of a series of ordinances designed to put God and His work and glory at the center of the life of both the man and woman by covenant. If the couple are faithful in honoring their covenants they will eventually be empowered to become like God.
2. "The Lord has told us that it is the duty of every husband and wife to obey the command given to Adam to multiply and replenish the earth, so that the legions of choice spirits waiting for their tabernacles of flesh may come here and move forward under God's great design to become perfect souls, for without these fleshly tabernacles they cannot progress to their God-planned destiny. Thus, every husband and wife should become a father and mother in Israel to children born under the holy, eternal covenant."
In our world today, the purpose of marriage is lost to most people. But the revealed truths of the gospel teach plainly the purpose of marriage. As we have seen, we have come to mortality to prove ourselves worthy of godhood, that we might be "equal in power, and in might, and in dominion" with God. And we prove ourselves worthy of godhood through righteous parenthood. Therefore, central to marriage is having children. President David O. McKay taught: "The principal reason for marriage is to rear a family. Failure to do so is one of the conditions that cause love to wilt and eventually to die."(42) Again, Elder Richard G. Scott said: "Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. The family is ordained of God. As husband and wife, you have the responsibility to bear children and to nurture and train them spiritually, emotionally, and physically."(43)
Those who devote themselves to having children and doing all they can to raise them righteously will be crowned with the greatest blessings God can give to His offspring: full equality with Him. They will be granted the full extent of His creative power. Therefore, President Harold B. Lee warned: "Those who refuse as husbands and wives to have children are proving themselves already too small for the infinitude of God's creative powers."(44)
Often, young people who marry postpone having children for one reason or another. The prophets have warned against this practice. President Kimball often spoke of this.
"You came knowing full well your responsibilities. You came to get for yourself a mortal body which could become perfected and immortalized, and you understood that you were to act in partnership with God in providing bodies for other spirits equally anxious to come to the earth for righteous purposes. And so you will not postpone parenthood. There will be rationalists who will name to you numerous reasons for postponement. Of course, it will be harder to get your college degrees or your financial starts with a family, but strength like yours will be undaunted in the face of difficult obstacles. Have your family as the Lord intended. Of course it is expensive, but you will find a way, and besides, it is often those children who grow up with responsibility and hardships who carry on the world and its work."(45)
"In a properly charted Latter-day Saint marriage, one must be conscious of the need to forget self and love one's companion more than self. There will not be postponement of parenthood, but a desire for children as the Lord intended, and without limiting the family as the world does. The children will be wanted and loved."(46)
"Young married couples who postpone parenthood until their degrees are attained might be shocked if their expressed preference were labeled idolatry."(47)
President Benson also counseled: "Do not postpone the blessings of honorable parenthood following marriage. When God said it was our responsibility to multiply and replenish the earth, that marriage was primarily for that purpose, He didn't insert any provisions."(48) Again, he taught: "Young mothers and fathers, with all my heart I counsel you not to postpone having your children. Do not use the reasoning of the world, such as, 'We'll wait until we can better afford having children, until we are more secure, until John has completed his education, until he has a better paying job, until we have a larger home, until we've obtained a few of the material conveniences,' and on and on."(49)
Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave us this warning and reminder: "When married couples postpone childbearing until after they have satisfied their material goals, the mere passage of time assures that they seriously reduce their potential to participate in furthering our Heavenly Father's plan for all of his spirit children. Faithful Latter-day Saints cannot afford to look upon children as an interference with what the world calls 'self-fulfillment.' Our covenants with God and the ultimate purpose of life are tied up in those little ones who reach for our time, our love, and our sacrifices."(50)
3. "By bringing these choice spirits to earth, each father and each mother assume towards the tabernacled spirit and towards the Lord Himself by having taken advantage of the opportunity He offered, an obligation of the most sacred kind, because the fate of that spirit in the eternities to come, the blessings or punishments which shall await it in the hereafter, depend, in great part, upon the care, the teachings, the training which the parents shall give to that spirit. No parent can escape that obligation and that responsibility, and for the proper meeting thereof, the Lord will hold us to a strict accountability. No loftier duty than this can be assumed by mortals." (Emphasis added.)
The greatest work that men and women can do is to raise a righteous family! Hence the prophets have taught: "The greatest Church work you will ever do is within the walls of your own home",(51) and "No other success can compensate for failure in the home."(52)
The granting of children to a man and a woman who are married is a stewardship given them of God. The nature of this stewardship is vividly taught in the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. A rich man, who was "travelling into a far country" brought together three of his servants and "delivered unto them his goods" in the form of talents. A talent was a measure of weight (about 76 lbs). So he gave to one servant five talents (either of gold, silver, or copper), to another he gave two talents, and another he gave one.
The three were expected to increase the amount given them through business transactions. But it should be noted that the talents were not given the servants for them to keep. The talents belonged to the lord of the servants. Each servant had only been given a stewardship over a portion of the lord's talents.
Upon his return, the three servants made an accounting of their stewardship. The first brought to the lord the original five talents he had been given stewardship over. Through hard work, he had increased the five talents to ten. The lord of the servant said to him: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." The same was said of the second servant who had increased his stewardship of two talents to four. But the third servant failed to magnify his stewardship. Therefore, he lost the stewardship and was given no part in the lord's kingdom.
Joseph Smith taught that this parable had reference to marriage and children.(53) As in the parable, each father and mother have been given a stewardship over a certain number of spirit children of our Heavenly Parents. Through the power of procreation, they create physical bodies for each of these spirits. They magnify their stewardship by nurturing and training each child physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. If their stewardship is magnified, then the Lord will say to them: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." "And thus we see" that parents prove themselves worthy of godhood through righteous parenthood.
My wife and I have been given a stewardship of five of our Heavenly Parents spirit offspring. As the October 1942 First Presidency statement teaches: "the fate of [those] spirit[s] in the eternities to come, the blessings or punishments which shall await [them] in the hereafter, depend, in great part, upon the care, the teachings, the training which [we as their] parents shall give to [them]." Yet those children do not represent five individual spirits alone. They have the potential of becoming gods and goddesses with an eternity of worlds to come from them. It is an awesome responsibility to be a parent to a child.
It should be noted, however, that the Lord's judgment of us as parents is not based entirely upon how each child turns out. Elder Boyd K. Packer taught: "The measure of our success as parents, however, will not rest solely on how our children turn out. That judgment would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible."(54) However, we will be judged on how we carry out our stewardship. We will be judged on our "devotion to duty."
If parents honor their temple covenants of obedience, sacrifice, and consecration, they will be found worthy. These three covenants (along with all others made in the sacred ordinances of the priesthood) focus mother and father properly upon their duties as parents. As parents honor these covenants, they will obey "every word that proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God" (D&C 84:44). Further, they will sacrifice whatever it takes to be obedient to the Lord. Finally, they will consecrate that obedience and sacrifice to the building of the kingdom of God on the earth, first and foremost within the walls of their own home, and secondarily, within the kingdom of God generally.
4. Motherhood thus becomes a holy calling, a sacred dedication for carrying out the Lord's plans, a consecration of devotion to the uprearing and fostering, the nurturing in body, mind, and spirit, of those who kept their first estate and who come to this earth for their second estate "to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them." (Abraham 3:25 ) To lead them to keep their second estate is the work of motherhood and "they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever." (op. cit.)
This divine service of motherhood can be rendered only by mothers. It may not be passed to others. Nurses cannot do it; public nurseries cannot do it; hired help cannot do it--only mother, aided as much as may be by the loving hands of father, brothers, and sisters, can give the full needed measure of watchful care.
The mother who entrusts her child to the care of others, that she may do non-motherly work, whether for gold, for fame, or for civic service, should remember that "a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." (Prop. 29: 15) In our day the Lord has said that unless parents teach their children the doctrines of the Church "the sin be upon the heads of the parents." (D. & C 68:25)
Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels. To you mothers in Israel we say God bless and protect you, and give you the strength and courage, the faith and knowledge, the holy love and consecration to duty, that shall enable you to fill to the fullest measure the sacred calling which is yours. To you mothers and mothers-to-be we say: Be chaste, keep pure, live righteously, that your posterity to the last generation may call you blessed. (Emphasis added).
The role of motherhood cannot be over emphasized. "It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind." This seems to be emphasized in the account of the creation. President Hinckley observed:
"In the sequence of events as set forth in the scripture, God first created the earth, and the earth was without form, and void." (Gen. 1:2.) He then separated the light from the darkness, and the waters from the land. Then came the creation of vegetation of all kinds, giving the beauty of trees and grass, flowers and shrubs. Then followed the creation of animal life in the sea and upon the land.
"Having looked over all of this, He declared it to be good. He then created man in His own likeness and image. Then as His final creation, the crowning of His glorious work, He created woman. I like to regard Eve as His masterpiece after all that had gone before, the final work before He rested from His labors."(55)
The October 1942 First Presidency statement emphasized that the "divine service of motherhood can be rendered only by mothers. It may not be passed to others. Nurses cannot do it; public nurseries cannot do it; hired help cannot do it--only mother, aided as much as may be by the loving hands of father, brothers, and sisters, can give the full needed measure of watchful care." This counsel has been repeated over and over since 1942. For example, in October 1996 General Conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley has said:
"Some years ago President Benson delivered a message to the women of the Church. He encouraged them to leave their employment and give their individual time to their children. I sustain the position which he took.
"Nevertheless, I recognize, as he recognized, that there are some women (it has become very many, in fact) who have to work to provide for the needs of their families. To you I say, do the very best you can. I hope that if you are employed full-time you are doing it to ensure that basic needs are met and not simply to indulge a taste for an elaborate home, fancy cars, and other luxuries. The greatest job that any mother will ever do will be in nurturing, teaching, lifting, encouraging, and rearing her children in righteousness and truth. None other can adequately take her place.
"It is well-nigh impossible to be a full-time homemaker and a full-time employee. I know how some of you struggle with decisions concerning this matter.
"I repeat, do the very best you can. You know your circumstances, and I know that you are deeply concerned for the welfare of your children. Each of you has a bishop who will counsel with you and assist you. If you feel you need to speak with an understanding woman, do not hesitate to get in touch with your Relief Society president.
"To the mothers of this Church, every mother who is here today, I want to say that as the years pass, you will become increasingly grateful for that which you did in molding the lives of your children in the direction of righteousness and goodness, integrity and faith. That is most likely to happen if you can spend adequate time with them."(56)
In that same conference, Elder Richard G. Scott said:
"Beware of the subtle ways Satan employs to take you from the plan of God and true happiness. One of Satan's most effective approaches is to demean the role of wife and mother in the home. This is an attack at the very heart of God's plan to foster love between husband and wife and to nurture children in an atmosphere of understanding, peace, appreciation, and support. Much of the violence that is rampant in the world today is the harvest of weakened homes. Government and social plans will not effectively correct that, nor can the best efforts of schools and churches fully compensate for the absence of the tender care of a compassionate mother and wife in the home.
"This morning President Hinckley spoke of the importance of a mother in the home. Study his message. As a mother guided by the Lord, you weave a fabric of character in your children from threads of truth through careful instruction and worthy example. You imbue the traits of honesty, faith in God, duty, respect for others, kindness, self-confidence, and the desire to contribute, to learn, and to give in your trusting children's minds and hearts. No day-care center can do that. It is your sacred right and privilege.
"Of course, as a woman you
can do exceptionally well in the workplace, but is that the best use of
your divinely appointed talents and feminine traits? As a husband, don't
encourage your wife to go to work to help in your divinely appointed responsibility
of providing resources for the family, if you can possibly avoid it. As
the prophets have counseled, to the extent possible with the help of the
Lord, as parents, work together to keep Mother in the home. Your presence
there will strengthen the self-confidence of your children and decrease
the chance of emotional challenges. Moreover, as you teach truth by word
and example, those children will come to understand who they are and what
they can obtain as divine children of Father in Heaven."(57)
If mothers and fathers are to defend their families against the siege of wickedness encircling them, they must come to understand the doctrines of the kingdom. Key among those doctrines is the doctrine of parenthood. We must remember that we have come to mortality to prove ourselves worthy of godhood through righteous parenthood. Likewise we must remember that the most important work and man and a woman can do is the raising of a righteous family. Do not forget that. "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least."(58)
This means that we must first enter into a sacred marriage relationship. Marriage should be entered into for the right reason. I often have young people come to my office to announce to me that they are getting married. The conversation goes somewhat like this: "Bro. Satterfield, guess what?" Now I know what they are going to tell me because I have seen that look many times before. However, I reply: "What?" Then he or she says, "I am getting married." I respond, "Oh, that is wonderful." Then I say, "Why are you getting married?" They are always shocked at my response. He or she responds, "Because I am in love." I then say, "That is wonderful. That will help. But why are you getting married?" I am often bothered that their answer to why they are getting married is not based on a clear understanding of the doctrine of parenthood. The romance of it all has clouded their vision. I then talk with them about the doctrine of marriage and parenthood; that marriage is first and foremost for raising a righteous family.
I suggest that any young
couple who are considering marriage ought to sit down together and read
and discuss the proclamation on the family. They ought to look at every
point and discuss how they feel about those points. Then when the time
is right, their relationship should be solemnized in a sacred temple by
one holding proper authority. Those who enter this relationship must be
worthy. In the temple setting they will enter into sacred covenants that
place God and his work and glory at the center of their lives. Then, while
kneeling across the altar, they will be married for time and all eternity.
They will then be authorized to use the powers of procreation. Through
these powers they will symbolize the relationship they have entered into
between each other and God. Through these powers they will bring forth
children. Then begins their quest of raising a righteous family. If they
focus their energies in rearing a righteous family, if they do all they
can to teach and train their children in the things of God, then the power
of God will descend upon that family to withstand the siege of wickedness.
At the same time, the mother and father prove that their work and glory
is the same as their Heavenly Parents. Consequently, at a future time,
they will be granted equality with God. To that I testify in the name of
Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. The term "church" appears in the King James Version (KJV) of the New Testament but does not appear in the KJV of the Old Testament. However, the Greek words translated "church" in the New Testament, ekklesia and sunagogue, appear in the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament translated about 200 B.C.). They are most often used to translate for the Hebrew term qahal which means 'an assembly' (see -%8 in William L. Holladay, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 1971), p.874). Ekklesia is most often the Greek word used in the Greek New Testament (the original language of the New Testmanet) which is translated into English as 'church.' Like qahal, ekklesia means 'an assembly' (see ekklhsia in Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon [Oxford: Oxford, 1978] p. 509) as does 'sunagogue' (see sunagwgh in A Greek-English Lexicon, p. 1692).
2. See P. S. Minear, "Church, Idea of," in The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, 4 Vol.s plus Supplement (Nashville, TN.: Abingdon, 1962), 1:607-617.
3. In April 1972 General Conference, Ezra Taft Benson said, "God, the Father of us all, uses the men of the earth, especially good men, to accomplish his purposes. It has been true in the past, it is true today, it will be true in the future. 'Perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of His Church to help it along,' said the late Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve. 'They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else. . . . Hence, some are drawn into the fold and receive a testimony of the truth; while others remain unconverted . . . the beauties and glories of the gospel being veiled temporarily from their view, for a wise purpose. The Lord will open their eyes in His own due time. God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous for any one people. . . . We have no quarrel with the Gentiles. They are our partners in a certain sense.' (Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, April 1928, p. 59.)" [Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1972, p, 48, or Ensign (July 1972), p. 59]
4. Conference Report (Oct. 1971),p. 62, or "Watch, That Ye May Be Ready,"in Ensign (Dec. 1971), p. 31; emphasis added.
5. Conference Report, September-October 1978, pp. 3-8, or "Hold Fast to the Iron Rod,"in Ensign (Nov. 1978), pp. 5-6.
6. Conference Report, Oct. 1988, p.103, or "I Testify,"in Ensign (Nov. 1988), p.87; emphasis added.
7. From "Walking in the Light of the Lord," in Ensign (Nov. 1998), pp.97-100; emphasis added.
8. Concerning siege warfare, see Paul Bentley Kern. Ancient Siege Warfare (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999); J. W. Wevers, "War, methods of," in The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, 4:804; Peter Connolly, Living in the Time of Jesus of Nazareth (Bnei Brak, Israel: Steimatsky, 1993), pp. 77, 79, 81.
9. From "The Father and the Family,"in Ensign (May 1994), p. 19.
10. From "The Power of the Word,"in Ensign (May 1986), pp. 80; emphasis added.
11. "The Eternal Family,"in Ensign (Nov. 1996), p. 65; emphasis added.
12. For excellent examples of this, see Spencer W. Kimball, "The Lord's Plan for Men and Women," in Ensign (Oct. 1975), pp. 2-5; Spencer W. Kimball, "The Marriage Decision,"in Ensign (Feb. 1975), pp. 2-6; Spencer W. Kimball, "Ocean Currents and Family Influences," in Ensign (Jan. 1984), pp. 3-5, also in Ensign (Nov. 1974), pp. 110-113; Howard W. Hunter, "Being a Righteous Husband and Father," in Ensign (Nov. 1994), pp. 49-51; Ezra Taft Benson, "Salvation--A Family Affair," in Ensign (July 1992), pp.2-5; Ezra Taft Benson, "The Honored Place of Woman," in Ensign (Nov. 1981), pp. 104-107; N. Eldon Tanner, "Celestial Marriages and Eternal Families," in Ensign (May 1980), pp. 15-18; Boyd K. Packer, "Parents in Zion," in Ensign (Nov. 1998), p. 22-24; Boyd K. Packer, "The Father and the Family," in Ensign, (May 1994), pp. 19-21; Boyd K. Packer, "For Time and All Eternity," in Ensign (Nov. 1993), pp. 21-24; Henry B. Eyring, "The Family," in Ensign (Feb. 1998), 10-18; Robert D. Hales, "The Eternal Family," in Ensign (Nov. 1996), pp. 64-67; Dallin H. Oaks, "Parental Leadership in the Family," in Ensign (June 1985), pp. 7-11; James E. Faust, "Father, Come Home," in Ensign (May 1993), pp. 35-37; James E. Faust, "How Near to the Angels," in Ensign (May 1998), pp. 95-97; James E. Faust, "The Greatest Challenge in the World--Good Parenting," in Ensign (Nov. 1990), pp. 32-35; Jeffrey R. Holland, "Because She Is a Mother," in Ensign (May 1997), pp. 35-37; Neal A. Maxwell, "Take Especial Care of Your Family," in Ensign (May 1994), pp.88-91; M. Russell Ballard, "Equality through Diversity," in Ensign (Nov. 1993), pp. 89-91; M. Russell Ballard, "Teach the Children," in Ensign, (May 1991), pp. 78-80.
13. Journal of Discourses , 26 vols. (London: Latter-day Saint's Book Depot, 1854-86), 3:93.
14. The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), pp. 27-28.
15. Conference Report, Oct. 1973, 126, or "No Greater Honor: The Woman's Role,"in Ensign (Jan. 1974), pp. 8, 10; emphasis added.
16. Orson F. Whitney taught: "The spirit without the body is incomplete; it cannot propagate" (Cowley and Whitney on Doctrine, Compiled by Forace Green [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1963] p. 283).
17. President Harold B. Lee stated: "Those who refuse as husbands and wives to have children are proving themselves already too small for the infinitude of God's creative powers" (Ye Are the Light of the World, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974] p. 267; also The Teachings of Harold B. Lee [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], p. 283).
18. Joseph Fielding Smith taught: "Some will gain celestial bodies with all the powers of exaltation and eternal increase. These bodies will shine like the sun as our Savior's does, as described by John. Those who enter the terrestrial kingdom will have terrestrial bodies, and they will not shine like the sun, but they will be more glorious than the bodies of those who receive the telestial glory. In both of these kingdoms there will be changes in the bodies and limitations. They will not have the power of increase, neither the power or nature to live as husbands and wives, for this will be denied them and they cannot increase. Those who receive the exaltation in the celestial kingdom will have the 'continuation of the seeds forever.' They will live in the family relationship. In the terrestrial and in the telestial kingdoms there will be no marriage. Those who enter there will remain 'separately and singly' forever. Some of the functions in the celestial body will not appear in the terrestrial body, neither in the telestial body, and the power of procreation will be removed. I take it that men and women will, in these kingdoms, be just what the so-called Christian world expects us all to be -- neither man nor woman, merely immortal beings having received the resurrection."(Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith. 3 vols. Edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 2:288)
19. Concerning this, Elder James E. Talmage wrote: "A knowledge of good and evil is essential to the advancement that God has made possible for His children to achieve; and this knowledge can be best gained by actual experience, with the contrasts of good and its opposite plainly discernible" ( A Study of the Articles of Faith. 12th ed., rev. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1978], p. 54.; emphasis added) On another occasion, he said: "A knowledge of good and evil is essential to progress, and the school of experience in mortality has been provided for the acquirement of such knowledge" (The Vitality of Mormonism [Boston: The Gorham Press, 1919], p. 46.). Likewise, President George Q. Cannon said: "In our pre-existent state, in our spiritual existence, I do not know how extensive our knowledge of good and evil was. That is not fully revealed. But this I do know, that when we come to earth and become clothed with mortality we do arrive at a knowledge of good and evil, and that knowledge prepares us for that future existence which we will have in the eternal worlds; it will enable us to enter upon a career that is never ending, that will continue onward and upward throughout all the ages of eternity. It is for this purpose that we are here. God has given unto us this probation for the express purpose of obtaining a knowledge of good and evil--of understanding evil and being able to overcome the evil--and by overcoming it receive the exaltation and glory that He has in store for us" (Journal of Discourses, 26:190-191).
20. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," in Ensign (Nov. 1995), p. 102, emphasis added. This was first presented in the General Relief Society Meeting, 23 Sept. 1995, by President Gordon B. Hinckley. See "Stand Strong Against the Wiles of the World,"in Ensign (Nov. 1995), p. 101.
21. The root word of kenegdo is neged. Added to the root word is ke, a prepositional prefix, and do, a pronominal suffix.
22. See $#1 in A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, p. 226.
23. Of this President Kimball said: "And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them. [The story of the rib, of course, is figurative.]" (in "The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,"in Ensign (Mar. 1976), p. 71).
24. Adam's creation from the "dust of the earth" is to be taken figuratively. In the November 1909 First Presidency statement entitled, "The Origin of Man," the First Presidency states: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity" (James R. Clark, ed. Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [1833-1951]. 6 vols.[Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1975], 4:206).
25. Nahum M. Sarna, Genesis: The Traditional Hebrew Text with new JPS Translation/ Commentary by Nahum M. Sarna (Philadelphia, New York, Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989), p. 22.
26. The normal Hebrew word for female is neqeba and the word for male is zakar. But the account uses the Hebrew terms for husband and wife which also mean man and woman. Recall in Gen. 2:19-20 and Moses 3:19-20 that Adam gave names to all the animals but among them his "help meet" was not found; i.e., Adam's equal was not found among the animal kingdom. Now, after Eve has been created and brought to Adam, he has found his equal and therefore gives her a name: Woman! Unfortunately, the full intent of her name is lost in English. In Hebrew, the term for man/husband is ish. To make the word for woman/wife, a feminine ending, ah, is added to ish. Since Eve was created from the same material as Adam, she is his equal and therefore she is called ishah (meaning woman/wife). Regarding this, Nahum Sarna makes an interesting observation. The name Adam is a Hebrew generic term that means 'man' or 'people (mankind).' "In naming her ishah, he [Adam] simultaneously names himself. Hitherto he is consistently called adam; he now calls himself ish for the first time. Thus he discovers his own manhood and fulfillment only when he faces woman, the human being who is to be his partner for life" (Genesis: The Traditional Hebrew Text with new JPS Translation/ Commentary by Nahum M. Sarna, p. 23).
27. Conference Report, Oct. 1994, p. 68, or "Being a Righteous Husband and Father," in Ensign (Nov. 1994), pp. 50-51.
28. Conference Report, Apr. 1994, p. 26, or "The Father and the Family," in Ensign (May 1994), p. 21.
29. Conference Report, Oct. 1977, p. 96, or "Father - Your Role, Your Responsibility," in Ensign (Nov. 1977), p. 63.
30. One such movement was the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). When the debates over the ERA were raging throughout the United States, the First Presidency stated: "There have been injustices to women before the law [the Nineteenth Amendment] and in society generally. These we deplore. There are additional rights to which women are entitled. . . .We recognize men and women as equally important before the Lord, but with differences biologically, emotionally, and in other ways. ERA, we believe, does not recognize these differences. There are better means for giving women, and men, the rights they deserve"(quoted from Boyd K. Packer's talk, "The Equal Rights Amendment," in Ensign, [Mar. 1977], p. 6).
31. See v73 in A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, pp. 279-280.
32. "The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood," in Ensign (Mar. 1976), p. 72.
33. "Daughters of God," in Ensign (Nov. 1991), p. 99.
34. "Our Solemn Responsibilities," in Ensign (Nov. 1991), p. 51.
35. Conference Report, Oct. 1994, pp. 69-70, or "Being a Righteous Husband and Father," in Ensign (Nov. 1994), p. 51.
36. Conference Report, Oct. 1994, pp. 69-70, or "Being a Righteous Husband and Father," in Ensign (Nov. 1994), p. 51.
37. Conference Report, April 1964, p.5
38. The statement can be found in the Conference Report, October 1942, p.12-13; and Messages of the First Presidency, 6:177-178. Also, Elder Boyd K. Packer quoted the statement in November 1993 General Conference ("For Time and All Eternity," in Ensign [Nov., 1993], p. 23). President Kimball quotes a portion of the statement in the April 1974 General Conference where he was sustained as the President of the Church ("Guidelines to Carry Forth the Work of God in Cleanliness," in Ensign [May 1974], p. 8).
39. Procreation as a God given power has been taught repeatedly. The following are some examples, George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, 13:207; Conference Report, April 1899, p.20, or Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, First Counselor to Presidents John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow (1880-1901). Compiled by Jerreld L. Newquist. Volume 1 (Salt Lake City: Zion's Book Store, 1957), 1:119; James E. Faust, in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p. 40, or Ensign (May 1975), p. 27; Russell M. Nelson, in Conference Report, Apr. 1985, p. 15; Conference Report, Oct. 1985, p. 40, or Ensign (Nov. 1985), p. 31, or Ensign (May 1985), p. 13; Mark E. Petersen, in Conference Report, Apr. 1969, p. 64, or Improvement Era (June 1969), p. 78; Sterling W. Sill, in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, p. 79, or Ensign (Jan. 1974), p. 61.
40. Elder Marion D. Hanks taught: "temple marriage is not an isolated ordinance. It serves both as a culmination of other ordinances and the foundation for family and the eternal future" (Conference Report, Oct. 1984, 48, or "Eternal Marriage," in Ensign (Nov. 1984), p. 37).(41)
41. Conference Report, Oct. 1984, 48; or Ensign, Nov. 1984, 37. " -- " - " " " "
42. Gospel Ideals. Compiled by G. Homer Durham. (Salt Lake City: The Improvement Era, 1953), p.466.
43. Conference Report, Oct. 1996, p. 100, or "The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness," in Ensign, (Nov. 1996), p. 73.
44. Ye Are the Light of the World, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974) p. 267; also The Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), p. 283.
45. The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball. Compiled by Edward L. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), p.324. President Kimball was talking to an imaginary couple who were getting ready to be married in the temple. The advice he was giving was to all young couples who are getting married. The original talk is entitled, "John and Mary, Beginning Life Together," and can be found in Faith Precedes the Miracle (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972), pp.125-135.
46. The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.307.
47. The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.244.
48. Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), p.540.
49. "News of the Church," in Ensign (May 1987), p. 97.
50. Conference Report, Oct. 1993, pp. 100-101, or "The Great Plan of Happiness," in Ensign (Nov. 1993), p. 75; emphasis added.
51. Harold B. Lee, Strengthening the Home, pamphlet, 1973, p. 7; also see, Conference Report, Apr. 1973, p. 130, or Ensign (July 1973), pp. 98-99; Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Oct. 1979, p. 71, or Ensign, (Nov. 1979), p. 49; James E. Faust, in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, p. 59, or Ensign (May 1983), p. 42; Joseph B. Wirthlin, in Conference Report, Oct. 1988, pp. 46-47, or Ensign (Nov. 1988), p.37; Dallin H. Oaks, in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, pp. 50-51, or Ensign (May 1992), p. 36; Boyd K. Packer, in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, p. 94, or Ensign (May 1992), p. 68.
52. David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1964, p.5
53. In April of 1843, the Prophet told Benjamin F. Johnson "that he would preach a sermon that day for me, which I would understand, while the rest of the congregation would not comprehend his meaning. His subject was the ten talents spoken of by the Savior, 'unto him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundantly, but from that hath not (or will not receive) shall be taken away that which he hath, (or might have had.)' Plainly giving me to understand that the talents represented wives and children as the principle of enlargement throughout the great future, to those who were heirs of Salvation" (Andrew F. Ehat, and Lyndon W. Cook, eds. The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph [Orem, Utah: Grandin Book Company, 1980], 2 April 1843  Note, No. 9., p.269).
54. Conference Report, Apr. 1992, p. 94, or "Our Moral Environment," in Ensign (May 1992), p. 68.
55. "Daughters of God," in Ensign (Nov. 1991), p. 99.
56. Conference Report, Oct. 1996, p. 93, or "Women of the Church," in Ensign (Nov. 1996), p. 69; emphasis added.
57. Conference Report, Oct. 1996, p. 102, or "The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness," in Ensign (Nov. 1996), p. 74.
58. This quote is normally attributed to Goethe.