LDS Women in the Church

If you asked me when I was little girl what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you, “A Mother.” I dreamed of marrying my Prince Charming, living happily ever after, and then bringing a few children into the mix.

The Family, A Proclamation to the World states, “Marriage between a man and a woman is ESSENTIAL to (God’s) eternal plan.

And President of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, Russell M. Nelson said, “My opinion is that the highest and noblest work in this life, is that of a mother.”

I clung to those quotes, excited for a bright future that included being a wife and a mother.

Colten and I just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary in August, we’ve had our ups and downs, but our marriage makes us holier AND happier.

For almost half of our married life we have tried to conceive, only to be met with the many intense emotions that come with infertility.

This has led to my own spiritual wrestle with God. I wondered, “What if I am never able to bear children? Am I worthless? Is there no place for me in God’s plan?” Which has THEN led me to wonder about the incredible, faithful women who remain single throughout their lives; as well as the women whose own personal trials have led to the death of a spouse or to divorce. Where do THEY fit in in God’s plan? The importance, and glory of being a wife and mother is not lost on me and I have a testimony of the significance of those callings. However, I did start to feel lost, and lonely, and left out within my own congregation.

For the last year or so, I’ve studied endlessly about the roles of women & read countless books about our place in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. While this information applies to women who may not fit the cultural “norm” of married with kids, this information ALSO applies to those of you who are in the thick of marriage and motherhood, so don’t let me lose you here. And if you are NOT a woman, listen up, because I GUARANTEE that you KNOW a woman who could use your testimony of the incredible place that women have in this gospel. While marriage and motherhood are wonderful goals, and SO important in God’s plan, there are other roles for us, other opportunities that God wants for us. And that’s what I want to explore with you today.

  1. LDS Women are to Receive an Education

In 1974, Dallin H. Oaks, then President of Brigham Young University, said this, “One of the most important purposes of a university education is to prepare men and women to be responsible and intelligent leaders and participants in the lives of their families, in their Church, and in their communities. That kind of education is needed by young men and young women alike. In short, we make no distinction between young men and young women in our conviction about the importance of an education.”

Speaking specifically to women, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “You must get all of the education that you possibly can.”  

Women are often taught to seek education “just in case” they may need to become the breadwinner of their home. While this does happen, and having an education can absolutely assist in times of need, our pursuit of an education helps develop our spirits and our spiritual gifts whether or not we ever enter the paid work force. Our knowledge gained from education has it’s own spiritual value.

While education can happen in a formal setting- such as at a university, college, or trade school; education can certainly look different and less formal. It’s using an app on your phone to study a second language, it’s researching budgeting and wise financial practices, or reading the scriptures and having discussions about what you are reading. Pick a podcast to start listening to, check out books from the library, or research a topic you are interested in. This all counts as learning!

Last weekend we went on a family trip to Island Park, Idaho. I had a book with me called “The Nine”, which is all about the inner-workings of the Supreme Court. I have been saying for YEARS that I wanted to learn more about our government, and now I can finally say that I am learning! (Even though I’m pretty sure every single family member was shocked to find out it was MY book, and not my Grandpa’s.)

In a BYU Speech, Eva Witesman said, “Our intellectual and spiritual growth through education is a righteous pursuit and represents our willingness to fulfill a commandment of God. Investments in our own development are worthwhile because we are daughters of God, and He wants us to reach our divine potential in every possible way. We seek knowledge because it makes us more like God and brings us closer to Him”

2. LDS Women are to Participate in Temple Ordinances

Ever since Joseph Smith received the revelation to begin temple ordinances, women have been invited to participate. Women have every access to the temple ordinances, which give us access to some of the Lord’s greatest blessings. states, “Women continue to officiate in sacred ordinances in the temple much as they did in Joseph Smith’s day.” No temple blessing is withheld from women.

Elder M. Russell Ballard, speaking to the sisters of the Church at last year’s BYU Women’s Conference, said, “Like faithful sisters in the past, you need to learn how to use the Priesthood authority, with which you have been endowed, to obtain every eternal blessing that will be yours.” In the October 2015 General Conference he said: “The Kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God.”

I’ll spend my whole life learning about the temple endowment and will probably just scratch the surface, but when I am there, I recognize the LOVE that God has for His daughters. He does not want us to stand by idly while the men do the work. He knows we are TOUGH, and He knows the glorious futures that are prepared for us.

In Daughters in My Kingdom we read this quote by President Joseph Fielding Smith, “It is within the privilege of the sisters of this Church to receive exaltation in the kingdom of God and receive authority and power as queens and priestesses.”

3. LDS Women Can Serve as Full-Time Proselyting Missionaries & as Member Missionaries

A 1980 Ensign article taught me this “We have record of missionary activity by more than 200 Latter-day Saint women prior to 1898.  Many elders called to the Hawaiian Islands were accompanied by their wives, often even with an official calling. Some sisters were sent to teach in the mission school in Hawaii. Some traveled to other lands as genealogical missionaries, and some women were even given missionary callings before they traveled abroad or went to study at distant universities. However, none of these sisters was called in a strictly proselyting capacity, and none is listed on the official missionary records of the Church.

But in 1898, inspired by the unique contributions of lady missionaries in the field and the favorable impressions they made, President George Q. Cannon announced: “‘It has been decided to call some of our wise and prudent women into the missionary field.”

Think about this,1898 was still 22 years before 1920, which is when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote. LDS Women were serving proselyting missions 22 YEARS before the United State’s government let them vote for their political leaders.

In October 2012, our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson announced the missionary age change, allowing women to begin serving missions at age 19. An answer to the prayers of so many, including my own sister, who left on her mission to Halifax, Canada just one year after the announcement, at age 19.

All of us, women included, are encouraged to be “member missionaries” wherever we go. Women participate in the work of salvation, which includes member missionary work, convert retention, activation efforts, temple and family history work, teaching the gospel, and caring for the poor and needy.

What a wonderful spirit women bring to missionary work, both as full-time sister missionaries, and as daily member missionaries.

4. LDS Women are to be Leaders

LDS Women are called to leadership positions in the Relief Society, Young Women’s Organizations, and the Primary. We are given the opportunity to pray in church meetings, and speak in meetings at the local level (such as in sacrament) and on the general level (like in General Conference.) Women are called to teach Sunday School and Primary which allows them to instruct both males and females. When women serve as the president of the Relief Society, Young Women, or Primary, they also participate in council meetings and decisions that are made concerning the members of the Church in their ward, stake, branch, etc.

When the missionary age change announcement was made, sister missionaries began serving as leaders in the field (positions previously only filled by Elders) and the Mission President’s wife was given more responsibility as well.

In my years as a young woman, I had a leader named Sister Gentry. I remember one time for an activity, we went on a hike that seemed to go on for ages. We were climbing Malan’s Peak and let’s just say I wasn’t the most cheerful to be around. Sister Gentry stayed behind with me as I took my time going up the mountain. While catching my breath I said, “Do you know how much farther it is?” she said, “Just look Brooklyn. Look at how far we’ve come. THAT is what I want you to focus on.” Sometimes when I start the negative self-talk that often comes, I remember her words, spoke to me 10 years ago, and I try to focus on how far I have come and the progress I am making.

She took her calling seriously, and her leadership inspires me to this day.

5. LDS Women are called to be disciples of Jesus Christ has a section about Women in the Church that states, “As a disciple of Jesus Christ, every woman in the Church is given the responsibility to know and defend the divine roles of women, which include that of wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. They stand strong and immovable in faith, in family, and in relief.”  

While preparing this talk, I asked around for any resources in regards to my topic, one woman told me that she has spent a few months studying every single interaction that Jesus had with women. She bore her testimony of the LOVE Christ has for us, and I was reminded of a quote by Elder James E. Talmage, “The world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ.”

The Savior taught women in multitudes and as individuals. Women journeyed with Jesus and His Twelve Apostles. They gave what they had to assist in his ministry. Even after his death and resurrection, they continued to be faithful disciples and met and prayed together with the apostles. They valiantly participated in the work of saving souls, temporally and spiritually.   

The apostle Paul wrote of women who, both in Church positions, and by their own choice, served the Saints of his time. His description of one righteous widow identified characteristics of many women in the early church: “Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.”

Sister Julie B. Beck, the fifteenth Relief Society general President taught, “Through Relief Society we practice being disciples of Christ. We learn what He would have us learn, we do what He would have us do, and we become what He would have us become.”


I testify of the remarkable place that God has for women in his gospel. After months and months of studying, I have come to believe that it is an honor, and a privilege to be a woman. And I believe that the honor and glory of womanhood is not reserved ONLY for the women who become wives and mothers, but is there for all of us, if we strive to live the words of Jesus Christ, of our prophet, and of our leaders. These things I say, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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