Sister Carol F. McConkie: Young Women Can Extend Love to All Who Feel They “Don’t Belong”
Contributed By Sister Carol F. McConkie, Young Women General Presidency
- Young women have a covenant responsibility to reach out to those who feel they don’t belong.
- Never underestimate the power of a kind word or friendly invitation.
- It is not always obvious when someone feels alone, but through prayer you can know who needs your help.
“Follow the Savior’s example by being kind, loving, and charitable. And as we do so, we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers in this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home.” —President Thomas S. Monson
Whenever I hear a young woman say, “I don’t belong here,” or Young Women leaders say that they have young women who do not feel accepted, my heart just breaks. But I remember the Savior’s many invitations to come unto Him. His arm of love and mercy is stretched out to all and none are turned away. The Savior’s love is most desirable above all things and most joyous to the soul (see 1 Nephi 11:22–23).
A sacred responsibility
Our young women have a covenant responsibility to reach out to those who are struggling with a sense of belonging and extend to them the Savior’s love. In sacred priesthood ordinances, they have promised Heavenly Father that they are willing to bear the Savior’s name, remember Him, and keep His commandments. They have been commanded to do the works the Savior has done (see 3 Nephi 27:21).
Young women have the power to do so. In the April 2017 general conference, President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught: “We … increase the Savior’s power in our lives when we make sacred covenants and keep those covenants with precision. Our covenants bind us to Him and give us godly power” (“Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into our Lives”).
As young women are true to the covenants they have made, they have the Spirit to be with them. They have the right to receive revelation and be inspired to know how to act. They follow Jesus Christ’s example to help others feel His love and become His true followers.
So shall ye do unto the world
Jesus Christ taught:
“Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed.
“And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world” (3 Nephi 18:24–25).
By covenant, young women extend the Savior’s invitation to all, without judgment for those who may look, think, or act differently.
I have seen the powerful influence and example of young women who hold up the Light of Christ. They radiate joy even when they face challenges and difficulties of their own. They are aware of the needs of others. They pray for others and listen and respond to the promptings of the Holy Ghost to lift and serve.
These young women remember their commitment to represent Jesus Christ. They comfort those that need comfort and mourn with those that mourn. Compassionate and kind, they stand as His witnesses, never deviating from truth and righteousness, but inviting those who feel they do not belong to come see, feel, and know God’s love for them.
Spread the love of the gospel
While traveling, I witnessed Sophia Juell’s baptism. She glowed with the Spirit of the Lord. I asked her how she had become interested in the gospel of Jesus Christ. She shared that it was because of the invitation of one of her friends and the example of her family.
She wrote, “I am 15 years old and I started going to church with a dear friend of mine about 6 months ago. I fell in love with the gospel and the Church community. I was announced to [Young Women] at New Beginnings at around 5 months of going to church. My friend’s father, Brother Ryan Hall, is the one who spoke about me, having been a bishop about a year ago. He has been a huge part of helping me choose baptism and learn the gospel. None of my family are members, but I try my best to answer any of their questions and be an example.”
Whether a young woman is less active, a new convert, a member of another faith, or for whatever reason is struggling with feeling different from everyone else, she needs a friend who represents the love of God.
A sure method to repel sin
Joseph Smith taught, “Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind” (History of the Church, 5:23–24).
I know of the miracles we witness and the joy we feel when we help others feel the redeeming, healing, and enabling love of our Savior. Our young women may experience the exquisite joy of helping others belong in the association of the gospel of Christ if they will follow our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, who taught: “Follow the Savior’s example by being kind, loving, and charitable. And as we do so, we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers in this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home” (“Kindness, Charity, and Love,” Apr. 2017 general conference).