The Influence of Women

The Influence of Women

2024 Worldwide Relief Society Devotional

Sunday, March 17, 2024

My dear sisters of Relief Society, I am grateful to speak with you today. You are often on my mind. I am deeply grateful for you and feel indebted to you. So much of the good this Church accomplishes—and so much of the good that happens in the world—takes place because of you! Thank you for your devotion to the Lord as well as your efforts to ennoble others. I know how much the Lord loves you and depends upon you.

I marvel at your faith and sensitivity to things of the Spirit. I am inspired by your diligence, dynamic leadership, and your ability to see a need and meet it. Whether it be illiteracy, malnutrition, mental health concerns, or the day-to-day needs of others, you tackle real-life issues with a rare combination of skill, compassion, insight, and love. The entire mission of the Lord’s Church is strengthened by you.

Sisters, you have a divine endowment that allows you literally to change lives! This is particularly true as we are anxiously engaged in the divine mandate to gather Israel. Anytime we help anyone find the covenant path and stay on it, we are helping to gather Israel. No one does this better than you do—as mothers, leaders, teachers, sisters, and friends. You are preparing future generations of the Lord’s Church and the world!

Recently, we learned of a little three-year old girl who awakened from her nap. To entertain her, her brother brought her one stuffed animal after another. But what finally brought her comfort and joy? Her very own copy of the Book of Mormon! This little girl watches her mother read from the Book of Mormon every day. She wanted to be like her mother!

It is simply not possible to quantify the life-refining influence of covenant women of God. I love my Brethren, and I cherish the privilege of working with them. However, the two people on earth who have influenced me most are my wife Dantzel, mother of our 10 children, who passed away suddenly at age 78, and, for the past 18 years, my wonderful wife Wendy.

During my recent strenuous recovery from a fall, Wendy has cared for me tirelessly both physically and spiritually. She has done it in ways no one else could. The enormous influence that Dantzel and Wendy have had on me cannot be overstated. They have changed my life! They have made my life more complete.

Women have been at the center of our Heavenly Father’s plan from the beginning. God’s plan of salvation was dependent upon the heroic actions of two valiant women—Eve,1 “the mother of all living,”2 and Mary,3 the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sisters, please never underestimate the extraordinary power within you to influence others for good. It is a gift with which our Heavenly Father has endowed every covenant woman. As a covenant daughter of God, you have receptivity to the Spirit and an enhanced moral compass that give you the capacity to receive personal revelation and to discern truth from error. In saying this, I do not absolve men from distinguishing right from wrong or from doing the spiritual work to receive revelation. However, if the world should ever lose the moral rectitude of its women, the world would never recover.4

Sisters, we need your voices teaching the doctrine of Christ. We need your ability as women to detect deception and to articulate truth. We need your inspired wisdom in your family, ward, and stake councils, as well as in other places of influence throughout the world. Your family, the Church, and the world need you! Sisters, no one can do everything, nor should you try. However, I know how crucial your part is in building up the kingdom of God.

So, today, I invite you to make the scriptures your personal Liahona,5 the temple your place of refuge and recalibration, and your personal prayers the way you learn where the Lord needs you to be that day. Over time, you will be astonished by how He will guide you to be exactly where you can lead, guide, and walk beside someone who needs you.

To that end, I bless you with increased spiritual discernment and the ability to find joy in offering relief to others. I bless you with the wisdom to discern what is needful and not to run faster than you are able. I bless you with the courage to live up to your divine privileges as a covenant daughter of God. I bless you to feel deeply that Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, know you and love you. They sent you to earth now because you are vital to the kingdom of God now! I bless you to realize that your divine gifts as a daughter of God give you the power not only to change lives but to change the world!

I love you, my dear sisters. These things are true. We are all engaged in the work of the Lord. I testify that Jesus Christ lives! He stands at the head of this Church. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.