Do We Recognize the Nobility of Motherhood?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.

Motherhood is one of the greatest challenges and most amazing blessings of a woman’s life. I cannot say that I have often considered it something of nobility. When I think of nobility, I typically think of those who are born of a higher class, which seems like an odd association, but I do recognize that a woman who chooses to accept her divine calling from God, to bear and raise a child, has accepted a higher place on her eternal path. I believe that as women, one of our most important responsibilities is to be the be a part of that amazing creation process by having children. That is why it was one of the first commandments given to Eve in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 1:28 we read, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it . . .”. We continue today, to have the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, as we are able. I recognize that all people are eternally of noble birth, because we are all children of God. However, I feel that if we selfishly choose to deny ourselves the blessings of becoming mothers in this life, we choose to forfeit some of our inheritance and perhaps give up a certain portion of the glorious title that would await us otherwise.

Another meaning of the word nobility, is being noble in our character and mind. Somehow, I think that this is more in the direction that this declaration is going. It is about having higher character, ideals, moral principles and conduct. It is also about having a more excellent quality. It is about living like the queen that we can become. In Doctrine and Covenants, when Christ’s church was reorganized upon the earth, a promise was given to those who would receive the fullness of the gospel (found in the scriptures). This promise is conditional upon our choice to live the principles of the gospel in faith and it says, “And those who receive it in faith, and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life” (D&C 20:14). Also, a promise was given to Emma Smith, which applies to all women. In Doctrine and Covenants section 25 we read the following:

13 Wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made.
14 Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride. …
15 Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive.

I believe that the crown received will be that of a queen, especially for those righteous and faithful women who recognize their eternal nobility in this life.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a talk recently titled “Your Happily Ever After”. I love the message he shares, because it is a reminder of our noble birthright. He said the following:

We all search for happiness, and we all try to find our own “happily ever after.” The truth is, God knows how to get there! And He has created a map for you; He knows the way. He is your beloved Heavenly Father, who seeks your good, your happiness. He desires with all the love of a perfect and pure Father that you reach your supernal destination. The map is available to all. It gives explicit directions of what to do and where to go to everyone who is striving to come unto Christ and “stand as [a witness] of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.” All you have to do is trust your Heavenly Father. Trust Him enough to follow His plan. … Sisters, we love you. We pray for you. Be strong and of good courage. You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God. You are princesses, destined to become queens. Your own wondrous story has already begun. Your “once upon a time” is now.

Motherhood is the thing that brings real growth in a woman. Before having children, we do not have anyone who looks to us every day for an example of how to live. Once a child enters our everyday lives, we have to be more aware of the things we say and do. Recognizing the nobility of motherhood, is evaluating our character, ideals, moral principles and conduct and making the effort to align them more with the way God would have us be, so that we can be the right kind of example that our children need. I love the verses in proverbs 3 which say the following:

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

God understands what is best for us, as well as our children, with perfection. When we look at ourselves and see what kind of person we are being, the best way to align ourselves with God, is to trust in the Lord and allow Him to help us be the woman and mother he would have us be. Women have a duty and responsibility to guide our families in those things that will draw them closer to the Lord. We should be helping our families to find value in prayer and scripture study. We should be striving to live the righteous principles we teach. Sister Mary Ellen Smoot had the following to say:

Each of us has a vital role, even a sacred mission to perform as a daughter in Zion. … It is our destiny to rejoice as we fill the earth with greater kindness and gentleness, greater love and compassion, greater sympathy and empathy than have ever been known before. It is time to give ourselves to the Master and allow Him to lead us into fruitful fields where we can enrich a world filled with darkness and misery” (“Rejoice, Daughters of Zion,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 94).

The nobility of motherhood is found and developed on the faithful path of righteousness.

President David O. McKay once said this:

[The] ability and willingness properly to rear children, the gift to love, and eagerness … to express it in soul development, make motherhood the noblest office or calling in the world. She who can paint a masterpiece or write a book that will influence millions deserves the admiration and the plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence will be felt through generations to come, … deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God (Gospel Ideals [1954], 453–54).

Motherhood can be a part of our lives even if we are unable to have children of our own. The calling belongs to all women if they would have it. I think without raising our own children, it is a lot more difficult to find this nobility because it takes a more considered effort to choose to have children as a part of your life. I have seen some truly amazing examples of women who have been unable to have children for some reason or another, and yet they have shown me the divine qualities of motherhood in their choice to nurture and lead the children that come into their lives by many other means, with gospel principles as their guide. Sister Smoot related a beautiful example from the life of President Joseph F. Smith:

President Joseph F. Smith was left an orphan at the early age of 13. He was later sent on a mission to the Hawaiian Islands. On the island of Molokai he contracted a severe fever and was seriously ill for three months. A wonderful Hawaiian sister took him into her home and tended him as lovingly as though he were her own son.

Many years later President Smith visited the islands as President of the Church. Charles Nibley tenderly described the experience:

“It was a beautiful sight to see the deep-seated love, the even tearful affection, that these people had for him. In the midst of it all I noticed a poor, old, blind woman, tottering under the weight of about ninety years, being led in. She had a few choice bananas in her hand. It was her all—her offering. She was calling, ‘Iosepa, Iosepa.’ Instantly, when he saw her, he ran to her and clasped her in his arms, hugged her, and kissed her, … patting her on the head saying, ‘Mama, Mama, my dear old Mama.’

“And with tears streaming down his cheeks he turned to me and said, ‘Charlie, she nursed me when I was a boy, sick and without anyone to care for me. She took me in and was a mother to me’” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], xvi, 192).

We can all extend our arms in love to others and give gifts of compassion and tenderness that can only flow from a woman’s heart.

Motherhood is for all women, because it is part of our spiritual design, and as such it should be one of the strong desires of our hearts. Psalms 37:4 teaches us, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” If a woman sincerely desires to fulfill her calling in motherhood, and lives in faith, I believe the Lord will someday bless her with that desire.

Sister Smoot also said the following:

I suggest that you … humbly ask the Lord what he would have you do and why you are uniquely suited to serve. Ask yourself questions like these: ‘What can I contribute?’ ‘Why was I chosen to be the mother of these children?’ … and so forth. We each have purpose and reason for being. Every sister has a thread to weave in the tapestry of time. Discover your thread and begin to weave (Relief Society, the Possible Dream [address delivered at the 1998 Brigham Young University women’s conference]).

Being a mother, whether to our own children or others, does not end when those children become adults and leave home. It is a calling that lasts through this life and into the next. Our eternal reward can be of nobility in motherhood if we truly have that desire in our mortal lives. I believe that righteous women, of both queenly character and heritage, were among the great ones before life on this earth began. In Abraham 3:22 we read, “Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones”. And I also believe that in the eternities we will find noble mothers standing beside great fathers doing the work of Gods. I am so glad to be a mother and to continually strive to live the life that God would have me live so that I can become the great and noble woman and mother that I am destined to be.


1 Response to “Do We Recognize the Nobility of Motherhood?”

  1. 1 Anna July 31, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I am giving a lesson on this topic this Sunday and some of your quotes and stories will help me greatly… Thank you.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.


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