God Needs You

Written by Dr. Susan R. Madsen, author of A Future Only God Can See for You: A Guide for Young Women on Preparing to Influence and Lead.

In his powerful 2015 general conference talk titled “A Plea to My Sisters,” President Russell M. Nelson made a statement that I think about often: “It would be impossible to measure the influence that such 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. This has been true in every gospel dispensation since the days of Adam and Eve. Yet the women of this dispensation are distinct from the women of any other because this dispensation is distinct from any other. This distinction brings both privileges and responsibilities.”(1)

President Nelson is saying that women in the Church right now are distinct from women who have lived on this earth at any other time. It is a different time and a different world. We have different temptations and different challenges. We need to be prepared in different ways for different opportunities. This book will explore what all that means for teen and young adult women today. Our homes, schools, universities, workplaces, communities, and governments are different than they used to be. However, “different” doesn’t mean bad; it just means differ- ent. As you may remember, President Nelson has also encouraged us to take our vitamins and get some rest because exciting days are ahead.(2)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also changing. Although doctrines remain consistent, policies and practices are changing more quickly than ever before. In 2014, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “If the Lord is hastening His work, we cannot keep doing things the same way we have always done them.”(3) He was right. In recent years, we have seen so many changes in Church policies and practices that directly impact women. Consider these examples:

  • 2012: Sister missionaries began serving at age nineteen instead of having to wait until they are twenty-one.

  • 2013: The role of Sister Training Leader was created for sister missionaries, and these leaders were invited to attend the newly formed Mission Leadership Council.

  • 2017: It was announced that both the women and priest- hood sessions at general conference would be held annually (instead of priesthood sessions being held more often).

  • 2018: Visiting teaching was changed to ministering, and young women were included in those assignments.

  • 2018: The First Presidency updated missionary dress and grooming standards, which included the opportunity for sister missionaries to wear pants.

  • 2019: The temple ceremony language was changed to be more inclusive to women.

  • 2021: Girls and women who have been baptized began serving as witnesses for baptisms. Sisters began serving as witnesses in the temple for baptisms (including limited-use recommends) and sealings (endowed members). 

  • 2019: A new Young Women theme, class name, and struc

    ture changes were announced.

  • 2021: The position of international area organization advi

    sors for sisters was created.

  • 2021: Saturday evening women and priesthood sessions of 

    general conference were dissolved. The Saturday evening session is now for a general audience.
Of course, many foundational elements of the Church are consistent and unchanging, but some shifts are important for the growth of the Church. And all of them impact you.

Finally, in her book Women and the Priesthood, Sheri L. Dew said: “I believe that the moment we learn to unleash the full influence of converted, covenant-keeping women, the kingdom of God will change overnight.”(4) This includes converted, covenant-keeping young women too! Isn’t this powerful?

So, let’s summarize: President Nelson said that women today are distinct from the women of any other dispensation, Elder Bednar told us that we cannot keep doing things the same way we have always done them, and Sister Dew proclaimed that things will change overnight when converted, covenant-keeping women are unleashed. The time is now, and you need to be prepared to influence in ways women in the Church have never done before. Are you ready to get started? I hope so!


      1. Nelson, “A Plea to My Sisters,” 95–96, emphasis added.

      2. “President Nelson About the Church in the Coming Years: ‘Eat Your Vita- min Pills. Get Some Rest. It’s Going to Be Exciting,’” in LDS Living.

      3. “Apostle Instructs Hundreds in Uganda,” in Newsroom.

      4. Dew, Women and the Priesthood, 163.