Prepared to stand: Parents and leaders strengthen young women to fulfill divine roles
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Recently I attended a sacrament meeting in Arizona where I listened to a very happy young man share his testimony of the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ in his life. He had just been baptized. He said he owed his joy to the example of a young woman named Kirsten. She had refused to go on a date with him because she was 15, explaining that Mormons do not date until they are 16. This young man had never heard of Mormons before.
Kirsten's resolve to wait until age 16 to date intrigued him and he began asking questions about the Church. After a while, Kirsten invited him to attend Mutual. There, he met more youth who had made the choice to live the standards in For the Strength of Youth. Because he continued to ask questions, they gave him a Book of Mormon and encouraged him to take the lessons from the missionaries. While attending a youth conference, he read Moroni's invitation to pray with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, to ask God if the Book of Mormon was true. As he prayed, he felt a peaceful assurance that it was. He decided to be baptized.
One young man became interested in the Church because one young woman chose, to "stand in holy places and be not moved" (Doctrine and Covenants 87:8). When a young woman chooses to stand steadfastly for truth and righteousness, she becomes a powerful emissary in the cause of Christ. When a young woman chooses to live the standards and keep the commandments of God, the influence of her sweet example and the effectiveness of her Spirit-filled words, enable her to fulfill her covenant responsibility in the work of salvation. The Lord has spoken, "keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion; ... Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, ... do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, ... for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation" (Doctrine and Covenants 6:6, 9, 13).
As parents and leaders, we strengthen and prepare young women to fulfill their divine roles in the work of salvation. Help young women know that in premortality, they made a covenant with God. "We agreed, right then and there, to be ... saviors for the whole human family. ... The working out of the plan became ... not merely the Father's work, and the Savior's work, but also our work" (John A. Widtsoe, Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Oct. 1934, p. 189). I believe that before they were born, young women "received … first lessons …. and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men" (Doctrine and Covenants 138:56).
In mortality, young women covenant at baptism "to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places" (Mosiah 18:9). Leaders teach lessons in Come, Follow Me: Learning Resources for Youth to help them build a firm foundation of faith and testimony based on the scriptures and the words of the prophets. They read and study them to find answers to their questions. They feast upon the words of Christ that will tell them all things that they should do (see 2 Nephi 32:3). They seek and find the truth. They learn to stand on the "word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil" (Helaman 3:29).
Additionally, leaders invite young women to share the things they have learned. The Lord has commanded, "Teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom. Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand" (Doctrine and Covenants 88:77-78). As young women teach, they are instructed. As they teach and testify of gospel principles, the Holy Ghost has the opportunity to confirm to their hearts and minds that what they have said is true. As they teach, they become "ready always to give an answer to every [one] that asketh [them] a reason of the hope that is in [them]" (1 Peter 3:15).
But most importantly, leaders invite young women to act upon the doctrinal principles they have studied in class and apply them in their daily decisions. Young women who choose to humbly obey the commandments and willingly live the standards enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost. They feel the love of God and the grace of the Savior's Atonement in their hearts and minds. As they conform their lives to the will of God and faithfully keep their covenants, they become disciples of Jesus Christ, firmly resolved to be true to His gospel.
As I observed the joy of one young man eternally blessed by the faithfulness of one young woman, I envisioned the power of thousands of young women throughout the Church who have received lessons and are prepared to labor in the Lord's vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men. They are young women prepared to stand in holy places and prepared to stand for the Savior as a bright testimony of His gospel.