Saturday, May 12, 2018

President Russell M. Nelson on responsibilities and opportunities of motherhood

President Russell M. Nelson (born Sept 9, 1924) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He became president of that quorum on July 15, 2015. Following the death of President Monson, he was set apart as president of the Church on January 14, 2018.
"As Adam bore responsibilities of fatherhood, so Eve bore the responsibilities of motherhood. She did not shirk them. So with welcome arms you may gratefully greet those children God may send, through your divine design as cocreator. With your husband, be obedient to the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, as your opportunity, your spiritual guidance, your wisdom, and your health allow. You will gain joy and rejoicing in your posterity. That enrichment becomes more beautiful and precious with each passing year.
"For you childless sisters and those without companions, remember the eternal timetable of the Lord is much longer than the lonely hours of your preparation or the total of this mortal life. These are only as microseconds when compared to eternity. Your willingness and worthiness are surely known to Him. The spiritual rewards of motherhood are available to all women. Nurturing the young, comforting the frightened, protecting the vulnerable, teaching and giving encouragement need not—and should not—be limited to our own children.
"Sisters, be patient. I know something of the pressures you feel. Your kitchens are too small. Your budgets are too tight. Demands upon you exceed your capacity to help all who cry out to you. Through it all, 'Improve the shining moments; Don’t let them pass you by' (Hymns, 1985, no. 226). Take time for spiritual regeneration....
"I’m glad Sister Nelson has not tried to be a 'supermom.' But she has been a 'soothing' mom. This she has done simply by being herself.
"When priorities are in place, one can more patiently tolerate unfinished business."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Lessons from Eve," General Conference October 1987
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Nelson has addressed the sacred roles of women and mothers on a number of occasions; this talk is worth reviewing for the five lessons he draws from the example of the first woman and mother on earth, largely from the description in Moses 5:

  • She labored beside her companion
  • She and Adam bore the responsibilities of parenthood
  • She and her partner worshipped the Lord in prayer
  • She and Adam heeded divine commandments of obedience and sacrifice
  • She and her husband taught the gospel to their children

The excerpt quoted above is drawn from the second of those five points. President Nelson acknowledges the challenges that motherhood can present; but also recognizes the challenge faced by women who do not have the privilege of being mothers at the present time, helping share some eternal perspective on that aspect. He points out that "the spiritual rewards of motherhood are available to all women."

In discussing the challenges of coping with the many demands that come to mothers, President Nelson encouraged perspective and patience. Mothers can't do everything, and shouldn't try! They should, however, seek spiritual strength and keep a perspective on what matters most:

There are often things "left undone" in the midst of the demands of life. President Nelson reassures mothers in particular that they should not try to do everything. But as they seek for the most important part of their sacred role, they will be blessed and inspired to make those choices in ways that will truly make a difference in this life and in eternity.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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