Saturday, May 13, 2017

The First Presidency on the holy calling of motherhood

During the opening session of the October 1942 general conference, a message from the First Presidency (President Heber J. Grant, 1st Counselor J. Reuben Clark Jr., and 2nd Counselor David O. McKay) was read by President Clark.
"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' (Abr. 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' (Abr. 3:26).
"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' (Prov. 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."
- Message of the First Presidency (Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., David O. McKay), General Conference, October 1942; see Conference Report, October 1942, pp. 12-13; see Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 6:170-185
Click here to read the full talk

This remarkable statement, coming in a sad and troubled time as a World War raged on, gives us an amazing vision and understanding of the sacred role of motherhood in the Lord's plan. These phrases indicate a little of that vision, that seems hardly to be understood in the world of our day:

  • holy calling
  • sacred devotion
  • consecration of devotion
  • nurturing in body, mind, and spirit
  • divine service
  • watchful care
  • near to divinity
  • highest, holiest service

What an amazing, sacred, precious gift this is! What an eternal responsibility and duty! How fortunate we are, in contrast to the world at large, to see so many around us who grasp that concept and magnify the holy calling with faith and personal sacrifice. Surely, God will "bless and protect" those who demonstrate "the strength and courage, the faith and knowledge, the holy love and consecration to duty" of motherhood.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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