We read a statement of President Harold B. Lee today in Seminary that brought this subject to my mind.
"You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name's glory.' (D&C 21:6)" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1970, 152-53).
I think too many sisters in the church today find that the things Sister Beck says contradict their views about the role of a woman; and interfere with their desires for career and social life. But if we listen to what she says as if it was the Lord himself is talking to us (and when she speaks in General Conference it is as if the Lord is speaking to us) than we can feel called to repentance and change ourselves to better fit the pattern of a covenant woman, rather than expending energy to try to change the commandments and covenants to fit our "natural [wo]man" selves.
We can know how closely we fit the pattern of a covenant saint by how comfortable we feel as we listen to the general conference addresses. When I feel uncomfortable and wish that the general authority speaker would talk about something else, and begin to let my mind wander and be distracted, I know that I need to change my life. I can feel the call to repentance. When I have tears of joy and a burning in my bosom I know that I am in compliance with whatever is being preached. I had this experience when Sister Beck gave her talk "Mothers Who Know." I remember feeling that I had made the right choices and done the right things raising our children. Inside I was cheering and exulting, on the outside I was crying! Tears of joy and gratitude!
In preparation for teaching a Sunday School lesson to a group of sixteen and seventeen year olds in Mount Vernon, Washington, in 1994, I wrote this:
- One of the greatest stumbling blocks for us members of the church is that we like to think of ourselves as exceptions to the rule. We rationalize and maneuver to fit the standards and commandments to us, when we should be using our energy to fit ourselves to the standards and commandments. We will never be let into the Celestial Kingdom as an exception. We will be let in only when we fully conform to the standards set for admittance by our Father in Heaven.
"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to this father." (Mosiah 3:19)
"And they shall overcome all things." (Doctrine and Covenants 76:60)