Although I don't think it likely that anyone is reading my blog anymore, I did commit to posting each Friday. Yesterday, I left early in the morning to catch a ferry for a doctor's appointment. Because I am a small stature woman, I sustained a skeletal stress injury driving the tractor for hours a day. It's really rotten to go off island into the noise and confusion of the city, especially to see a doctor. So...
This morning I'm reporting on the sermon of focus this week, The Moral Force of Women by D. Todd Christoppherson. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes come from this sermon.
"From age immemorial, societies have relied on the moral force of women. While certainly not the only positive influence at work in society, the moral foundation provided by women has proved uniquely beneficial to the common good. Perhaps, because it is pervasive, this contribution of women is often underappreciated. I wish to express gratitude for the influence of good women, identify some of the philosophies and trends that threaten women’s strength and standing, and voice a plea to women to cultivate the innate moral power within them. Women bring with them into the world a certain virtue, a divine gift that makes them adept at instilling such qualities as faith, courage, empathy, and refinement in relationships and in cultures. When praising the “unfeigned faith” he found in Timothy, Paul noted that this faith 'dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice.' 2 Timothy 1:5"
"...whether you are single or married, whether you have borne children or not, whether you are old, young, or in between, your moral authority is vital, and perhaps we have begun to take it and you for granted. Certainly there are trends and forces at work that would weaken and even eliminate your influence, to the great detriment of individuals, families, and society at large. Let me mention three as a caution and a warning."
"A pernicious philosophy that undermines women’s moral influence is the devaluation of marriage and of motherhood and homemaking as a career." I can attest to the truthfulness of this statement. While raising my children, rude remarks and dirty looks were not infrequent. Because I didn't want these things to affect me, I developed kind, joyful, pointed responses. For instance when unkind, judgmental persons said with disgust that I sure had my hands full, I replied that I have my heart full--that I loved being a mom. Nothing like cheerfulness and positivity to disarm discourtesy.
"...sexual immorality and revealing dress debases women and reinforces the lie that a woman’s sexuality is what defines her worth...women and girls are now encouraged to be as promiscuous as the double standard expected men to be...Equal-opportunity promiscuity simply robs women of their moral influence and degrades all of society. In this hollow bargain, it is men who are “liberated” and women and children who suffer most." The ideas of little girls and ladies is all but dead in Western society. Little girls dress up like provokative prostitutes, Proverbs 7:10, 2 Samuel 11:2. Women and their children suffer as they attempt to be both mother and father in singly parented homes. Often the children never see their birth father and don't even know who they are. Proverb 7:25-27 I've always been a trend shunner. I wear skirts and modest tops and long hair, because they are the opposite of today's self-centered, over-sexed behavior. 1 Timothy 2:9, Deuteronomy 22:5, 1 Corinthians 11:15 It's not that I think I'm better than others but that I want to demonstrate a possible solution.
"A third area of concern comes from those who, in the name of equality, want to erase all differences between the masculine and the feminine. Often this takes the form of pushing women to adopt more masculine traits—be more aggressive, tough, and confrontational."
I remember years ago, when lady-like became a cuss word and the behavior of a lady was replaced with assertiveness training. I am old enough to remember how my grandmothers and great aunts acted as strong but ladylike women. This whole thing confused me until I heard Margaret Nadauld teach women to become ladylike once again. “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.” When she said this, it reminded me of a little talk given to me by my grandfather. He was a rather shy man rarely speaking directly to me. Not long after my grandmothers death, we were out to dinner. At ten, I was acting a little rude and rough, as we waited on the patio before being seated. He asked me to take a walk with him. As vivid as day I can remember his instructions on how to carry my cardigan when not in use. I still carry it this way to this very day. I remember how he taught me to speak to adults even if I didn't agree with them. True, I didn't take this part to heart as much. However, over the years, his advice toward gentle speaking has haunted me whenever I don't follow his advice. He taught what Sister Nadauld taught.
"My plea to women and girls today is to protect and cultivate the moral force that is within you. Preserve that innate virtue and the unique gifts you bring with you into the world. Your intuition is to do good and to be good, and as you follow the Holy Spirit, your moral authority and influence will grow...don’t lose that moral force even before you have it in full measure. Take particular care that your language is clean, not coarse; that your dress reflects modesty, not vanity; and that your conduct manifests purity, not promiscuity. You cannot lift others to virtue on the one hand if you are entertaining vice on the other...it is your relationship with God, your Heavenly Father, who is the source of your moral power, that you must always put first in your life. Remember that Jesus’s power came through His single-minded devotion to the will of the Father. He never varied from that which pleased His Father. Strive to be that kind of disciple of the Father and the Son, and your influence will never fade." John 8:29, 1 Peter 3:15, 2 Timothy 4:2
I love messages of this type that encourage and inspire women. This gives me some things to think about and change in my life. That's what I love about the gospel. Each and every sermon I hear or scripture I read teaches me how to do and be better, how to be happier, and how to change the world in my own little sphere.