Elect young women
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I ran for cheerleader in 7th grade and lost the election. As my mother drove me home from school that day, I remember squeezing my eyes shut as I tried to stop the tears. My 12-year-old reasoning went something like this: "I guess that's it. I'm a loser. I wasn't chosen. I'll never be elected to anything." Eventually, happy times at school did come, but little did I know then, in my misery, that each worthy daughter of God is "elect" in His sight.
He values us. He loves us. Each daughter of God is beloved by Him and He desires to see us all succeed.
Quiet Ways of the Spirit
One hundred eighty-three years ago Emma Smith, wife of the prophet Joseph Smith, heard the voice of the Lord through her husband's blessing, telling her she was an elect lady whom the Lord had called. We read the account in Doctrine and Covenants 25.
Since worthy young women of the Church are 'electable,' they need to understand that they have an essential, critical part in the Lord's work of salvation in these latter days.
They must be ready and willing to work with all their "heart, might, mind, and strength" (Doctrine and Covenants 4:2) in establishing His kingdom on earth. Their part will be accomplished in the quiet ways of the Spirit as well as in more prominent ways. The great things that happen, such as standing as a witness of God, receiving temple blessings, teaching truth, eternal marriage to a worthy priesthood holder and raising a righteous family, may require many small faithful moments — often without fanfare. We must help young women immerse themselves in a selfless work, perhaps receiving little public praise or attention. Instead, they must feel the Lord's great love for them and their efforts through the influence of the Holy Ghost. As these feelings come, faith in Jesus Christ grows. Capacity to serve then increases.
Power of Covenants
Emma Smith was told of much work she would do to build the kingdom. Young women today are no different. They will be told, in various blessings, of work they can do to aid in the building of God's kingdom on earth. They can learn their role in the work of salvation, not only through callings, but also through the personal inspiration of the Holy Ghost. They will receive promptings about what to say, how to testify, when to serve and how to act in faith.
Actually, their role in the work of salvation has already begun. It began with an eternal, powerful covenant made with God at baptism and that covenant is renewed each week as they partake of the sacrament. These priesthood ordinances are at work in their lives as they live the commandments. Young women need to understand that they are already putting effort into this work as they learn to honor their covenants. Their spiritual strength is perhaps greater than they realize.
The Prophet's wife was counseled to keep the commandments and cleave unto the covenants which she had made. Cleaving to covenants is no small matter; to cleave means to hold tightly or to cling. Covenants made with Heavenly Father come through priesthood power and are eternal promises. As such, they connect us with the powers of heaven and enable us to receive all that the Father offers. Service in the work of salvation will be made effective only through covenant power.
Work of Salvation
How can young women be worthy of God's election? What is their place in building the kingdom of God on the earth or, in other words, the work of salvation?
They are here for a great purpose in the Lord's true Church. The very nature of women is to be an influence for good, both spiritually and physically. The Family: A Proclamation to the World states that women have special gifts for nurturing and it is clear that they are the bearers of Heavenly Father's own spirit children. What a great entitlement and trust He gives to His daughters to bring children into the world and teach them truth!
Emma Smith was given quite a list of responsibilities in Section 25. Each person's part in kingdom-building may be different, but notice the advice given to Emma on how to fulfill her work: by comforting, rejoicing, exhorting, and expounding scriptures by the guidance of the Spirit. Those are courageous, perhaps even bold words. Young women can do all of these things now. The more they actually do them, the more they are entering into the work of salvation. And read the warnings to Emma Smith, too: beware of pride, continue in meekness, do not murmur, and keep the commandments continually.
Elect Young Women
In 1 Nephi 19:23, we are taught to "liken all scriptures unto us." As we liken Doctrine and Covenants 25 to ourselves, those sacred words given to Emma Smith can also guide each young woman as an elect daughter of God in becoming effective teachers, gospel nurturers, comforting wives, inspired mothers, lifelong missionaries and courageous leaders.
As we remain true to our covenants, we are chosen, even elected, for the work of the kingdom and joy will be ours.