Linda S. Reeves, who serves in the General Relief Society Presidency, spoke at Women’s Conference on living virtuous lives. I loved the perspective she lent to the topic, and how inclusive she was of women in the pitfalls and dangers of the modern-day attack on virtue. The female journey through the dreary world is as perilous as the male journey: our exposure to the darkness and the raging temper of the adversary is just as threatening. I’ve broken down my favourite parts from her talk:
Sisters, Satan has raised a “Korihor-like” banner in our day with increasing success. What are some of his tools? Seductive romance novels, TV soap operas, married women and old boyfriends connecting on social media, and pornography. We must be so careful, dear sisters! We cannot play with Satan’s fiery darts and not get burned. I know nothing that will qualify us for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost as much as virtue.
… When we are involved in watching, reading, or experiencing anything that is below our Heavenly Father’s standards, it weakens us, dear sisters. Regardless of our age, if what we look at, read, listen to, or choose to do does not meet the Lord’s standards in For the Strength of Youth, turn it off, throw it out, rip it up, and slam the door.
Sister Reeves emphasises- most importantly- the need for our companionship with the spirit. He is given to us at baptism as a guide and an influence, with the promise that He can be a constant companion if we remain worthy of that presence. How often to we seek His counsel and support? How often do we qualify for it? Do we invite Him around sporadically? Or do we work to keep Him with us?
I love Reeves’ candor in specifying that age has no advantage in Satan’s attack on our souls. No matter our maturity or experience in the gospel, we are a target. In fact, the harder we work, the more we learn and the better we become; the more desirable a target we are to the throes of the tempter. He follows us exponentially. This surely cannot be fair! Reeves admits this truth, but encourages our plight:
… I don’t know why we have the many trials that we have, but it is my personal feeling, sisters, that the reward is so great, so eternal and so everlasting, so joyful and beyond our understanding that in the day of reward, we may feel to say to our merciful, loving Father, ‘Was that all that was required?’ I believe that if we could daily remember and recognize the depth of the love that our Father in Heaven and our Saviour have for us, we would be willing to do anything they asked to be back in their presence again, surrounded by their love eternally.
…What will it matter, dear sisters, what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with our Father and Saviour.
I testify that our bodies are sacred gifts from our Heavenly Father and that as we keep our lives pure and clean through the atoning sacrifice of our saviour, and keep the vision of our father’s promised rewards daily in front of us, we will one day receive ‘all that [the] father hath.'”
This is maybe the best approach to the matter that I’ve ever seen- and it resonates as true and quite logical with me: God loves us! Our Heavenly Parent’s did not create us to merely have it easy. They created us as heirs to all that They have and all that They are. A surgeon could not qualify to operate on people and hold life in His hands without earning near perfect grades, learning difficult lessons, staying up late and practicing deep in the trenches. At least no surgeon I’d want. We are here to accomplish real greatness, and that schooling is difficult! But of whom much is required… much is given.