Thank you to MacKenzie Ostler for putting together this study guide of Sis. Joy D. Jones’s talk from April 2020 conference! This is an amazing message from one of our sister leaders. To read/study this talk click HERE. Feel free to comment below on insights you have/had when studying this message.
As I began studying this talk, here were multiple quotes I found in the talk that jumped out to me that really gave purpose to our mission as women, not only in the church, but in God’s eternal plan for His children. Knowing that our mission is an eternal calling helps put into perspective God’s love for us as women. I testify that He has an eternal plan for us.
President Russell M. Nelson taught, “It would be impossible to measure the influence that… women have, not only on families but also on the Lord’s Church, as wives, mothers, and grandmothers; as sisters and aunts; as teachers and leaders; and especially as exemplars and devout defenders of the faith.” And I would add, representatives of the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
In these days, we have a profound calling and role given to us to love those around us like our Savior loves us. There is so much separation and divers opinions in the world, and we can show our love and His love to those around us, even when they have a different opinion than us.
It seems like more and more hardship comes on us each and every day. President Spencer W. Kimball explained, ““To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times.”3
Am I the only person who feels like these are tranquil times? I am sure I am not. Our strength and influence will be multiplied when we do what the Lord has asked, through our Prophet.
President Nelson has asked us to “STEP FORWARD! Take your rightful and needful place in your:
Once you have filled in the blanks, take a moment and write down 1 thing you can do this week to step forward in each of these 3 areas and make a plan of action. I know that as we take these “steps forward”, we will be blessed, because that is what happens when we follow the Prophet of the Lord.
President Nelson and Sister Jones has a conversation with some primary children about progress vs. perfection. This comment gives me hope, especially in these times where I feel very inadequate to fulfill my roles as mother, sister, friend, wife, minister, teacher… and the list goes on.
“The Lord loves effort, and effort brings rewards. We keep practicing. We are always progressing as long as we are striving to follow the Lord.5 He doesn’t expect perfection today. We keep climbing our personal Mount Sinai. As in times past, our journey does indeed take effort, hard work, and study, but our commitment to progress brings eternal rewards.6”
These are the rewards we yearn for, right? We will not receive the medal at the end of the race, or “teacher of the year” or “best mother on the block”, yet as we continue trying, the Lord will magnify our efforts because we have proven to Him we won’t give up, even when it is hard. The rewards are eternal.
“What more do we learn from the Prophet Joseph Smith and the First Vision about effort, hard work, and study? The First Vision gives us direction in our unique, continuing roles. As women of faith, we can draw principles of truth from the Prophet Joseph’s experiences that provide insights for receiving our own revelation. For example:
- We labor _____________.
- We turn to the _____________ to receive ___________ to _____.
- We demonstrate our ________ and ________ in God.
- We exert our _________ to plead with God to help us thwart the adversary’s influence.
- We offer up the ________ of our _________ to God.
- We focus on His _______ guiding our life choices and ___________ upon us when we turn to Him.
- We realize He _________ each of us by ________ and has __________ roles for us to fulfill.
As I wrote out those items Sister Jones expressed, I looked at the first 2 words of the sentence and they are ALL expressing VERBS, something we CHOOSE to do! We labor… We turn to…. We demonstrate…. We exert… We offer up… We focus…. We realize. These are all things we choose to do. Our choice = our power. And He will continue to magnify our efforts!
“In addition, Joseph Smith restored the knowledge that we have divine potential and eternal worth. Because of that relationship with our Heavenly Father, I believe He expects us to receive revelation from Him.”
“President Nelson said, “I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation.”9 Our prophet’s words are continually with me as I contemplate women’s ability to step forward. He pleads with us, which indicates priority. He is teaching us how to survive spiritually in a sin-sick world by receiving and acting on revelation.10”
“The Prophet Joseph taught of the importance of knowing that the path we are pursuing in this lifetime is approved of God. Without that knowledge, we “will grow weary in [our] minds, and faint.”12”
I never want to grow weary in my mind, and feel faint when it comes to the gospel of the Lord, Jesus Christ. He has promised us that He can empower us to be better and do better, as we rely on Him.
She goes on to express the necessity for personal revelation in order for us to progress in the way the Lord needs. We can study the scriptures, conference talks, pray, and listen for the answers He has, which will guide us to become who He needs us to become, in the process.
“As we attain a greater degree of proficiency at doing so, we can receive more power in our individual roles to minister and accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation—to truly “lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.”17 We can then more effectively inspire our rising generation to do the same.” This is POWER. What more do we want than to inspire the rising generation to do the same?
We have power in the Priesthood. Are we accessing that power? Do we understand it? Emily Belle Freeman did a 6 month study on Women in the Priesthood on her Instagram Account called “Inklings” and she referenced the book “The Priesthood Power of Women” by Barbara Morgan Gardner (one that is still on my list of books to read.) What a powerful topic to study, which will empower us to rely more on the Priesthood, which He has given us all, as a tool for progression.
In closing, I will share her closing remarks: “Elder James E. Talmage tenderly reminded us, “The world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ.”24 In the final analysis of women’s continuing roles in the Restoration, and for us all, what role is preeminent? I testify that it is to hear Him,25 to follow Him,26 to trust Him,27 and to become an extension of His love.28 I know He lives.29 In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
We have so much opportunity at this time and in the circumstances of the world, to become an extension of His love. I pray we will do so.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
MacKenzie Ostler, RS Teacher