Elevating the Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder William K. Jackson of the Seventy talk this last General Conference was titled "The Culture of Christ" and discussed how to live like the Savior Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. It is a culture of learning and study, faith and obedience, prayer, and covenants and ordinances.


“The culture of Christ helps us to see ourselves as we really are, and when seen through the lens of eternity, tempered with righteousness, it serves to increase our ability to fulfill the great plan of happiness. In the culture of Christ, women are elevated to their proper and eternal status."


“An over-fixation on one’s cultural identity may lead to the rejection of worthwhile — even godly — ideas, attributes and behavior.”




In the book, Royal Daughters with the Priesthood, author Robert C. Line discusses the worth of women in the Church, and how they are able to be elevated to their proper and eternal status in modern-day society.
One thing that Line points out is how as husbands sometimes (and more frequently than we want to admit) do not notice the elevated status of our wives and women. This isn't because men are bad. This isn't because men hate women or think of them as lower status. Line points out it is because sometimes throughout the day-to-day matters, and putting our own needs before our wives and the women in our lives. Line recounts a story from his life saying:


Many years ago, when my wife and I were in the first years of our marriage, I had a perplexing and poignant experience that caused me to deeply ponder and reflect on my priorities. I had just come home from work—tired and hungry, yet very excited. The reason for my excitement was that one of the local sports teams had a big game that would be televised that night. The game was starting just as I pulled into the driveway. I was in a hurry to get inside to watch it.


As I opened the door, I was greeted by my wife. Although I didn’t realize it fully at the time, she was all dressed up and had done the same with our two-year-old daughter. Additionally, she had prepared a wonderful dinner with all the trimmings. The house had been cleaned spotlessly, and soft music was drifting through the air. To all of this thoughtful preparation I was completely oblivious. Little did I realize that she had prepared a wonderful evening just to express her love for me, as I would painfully realize a little later.


I quickly gave her a hug, asked in a somewhat casual way how her day had gone, and proceeded to go to the TV to turn on the game. I selected the station, and sure enough, the game had started. I loosened my tie, sat back on the sofa, and started taking in the game. Honestly, it took several minutes before I realized that she was still standing near the door where she greeted me, not watching the game, but watching me watch the game.


I will never forget the disappointed look on her face. Although I would turn off the game and attempt a half-baked apology, the night (though not totally ruined) had been soured by my insensitive actions. The worst part of all was the discussion we had later that evening as she simply explained to me that she sometimes felt she was number two in my life.


I was ashamed. My heart ached. I silently vowed that evening that somehow, someway, this would never happen again.


My experience that night caused me some serious soul searching. I knew my wife loved me, and I knew she knew I loved her. Yet, my actions have sometimes betrayed my expressions of love and commitment. That night caused me to ask myself many questions. The questions were easy to ask, but their answers were much more difficult to obtain. They included such things as “What is our most important priority in life? Is it our Church calling? Is it our spouse, or children? Is it our occupation? Is it possible or even wise to rank these priorities?”


Frequently our choices in life consist of simple distinctions between good and evil. At other times, they do not. Often we find that decision- making is actually fraught with perplexing choices between good vs. better, important vs. vital, and needful vs. essential. Perhaps this dilemma is one of the very reasons we come to this mortal sphere, despite the anxiety, to experience the interplay between time, talents, and agency. Fortunately, Latter-day prophets and Seers have given us ample guidance with these matters and have even taught in clear terms not only what our specific priorities should be but also how we can establish and balance them.


After the conclusion of an LDS Church Educational System (CES) fireside on February 5, 1999, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave additional counsel to CES faculty and guests  that remained in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. Among other things, he gave the following ranking of priorities that we should seek to establish in our lives:


1. Our own physical and spiritual needs

2. Our spouse’s needs

3. Our children’s needs

4. Our Church callings

5. Our professional life

6. Our civic responsibilities


Elder Holland assured those assembled that this list is nothing new and that prior prophets have taught the same. In 1972, President Harold B. Lee counseled, “Most men do not set priorities to guide them in allocating their time, and most men forget that the first priority should be to maintain their own physical and spiritual strength. Then comes their family, then the Church, and then their professions—and all need time.”


In order to have a culture of Christ in our homes, we need to prioritize the needs that are in our homes, and that includes the women in our lives, our mothers, wives, and daughters, and to elevate them the way the Savior wants to elevate them. Prioritize them, prioritize their voice, and prioritize their hopes and dreams. Elevate them by noticing them, their actions, their opinions, their views, and their goals. Like  Elder William K. Jackson said, "In the culture of Christ, women are elevated to their proper and eternal status."


Friends, sweethearts, and spouses need to be able to monitor each other’s stress and recognize the different tides and seasons of life. We owe it to each other to declare some limits and then help jettison some things if emotional health and the strength of loving relationships are at risk. —Jeffrey R. Holland