In order to be virtuous and remain virtuous, young women must be true to their divine identity and establish patterns of thought and behavior based on high moral standards, said Sister Elaine S. Dalton on March 28.
Speaking during the General Young Women Meeting, Sister Dalton, Young Women general president, said the standards taught by prophets of God are eternal and do not change. "In a world filled with relative truth, the Lord's standards are absolute. They are given to each of us to keep us on the path leading back to the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ."
Sister Dalton noted that it was almost a year ago that her presidency climbed a mountain and unfurled a gold banner calling for a return to virtue. As a result, the value of virtue has been added to the Young Women theme and to Personal Progress.
"The value of virtue has been given a symbolic color — gold. "Gold is pure," she said. "It shines. It is soft, not harsh or brash. It is precious. Gold must be refined. As you live a pure and virtuous life, you will be refined by your life experiences."
What does it mean to call for a return to virtue? she asked.
"We are calling for a return to moral purity and chastity," she said. "Virtue is purity. Virtue is chastity."
Sister Dalton said the core of a virtuous life is sexual purity.
"You are not common," she said. "You are not ordinary. You are daughters of God. You carry within yourselves the sacred power to create life. It is one of God's greatest gifts to His precious daughters, and you must safeguard that power by living the standards and remaining virtuous. You must safeguard your power through purity of thought and action. By so doing, you, your family, and the generations that follow will be strengthened and blessed."
Sister Dalton said, in essence, young women are guardians of virtue.
She recalled a backpacking trip in the Teton Mountains with her daughter and some friends. The group was instructed to stay high on the mountain and avoid the willows and the bears. Cairns, or trail markers, showed them the way. When they reached their beautiful destination they realized "the strenuous hike was worth it."
"The path of virtue is less traveled; it will take us through life's meadows and streams and pristine lakes — even boulder fields. We will need to lift and hoist each other up. The path may be strenuous but, if we are willing, the rewards will be eternal.
"When you climb, don't allow yourself to descend into the willows. Stay high on the mountain. You are God's precious daughters. Because of the knowledge of our divine identity, everything must be different for us: our dress, our language, our priorities, and our focus. We must not seek guidance from the world, and if our true identity has been clouded by mistakes or sins, we can change. We can turn around and repent, and return to virtue."