We have a saying in my family, “Do all the good you can…” It is a phrase that I ponder often and it has affected the profession I’ve chosen, the callings I try to fulfill, the way I mother my children and interact with the people around me. This simple, yet expansive personal mantra has become the cause of my life and it is something that is incredibly meaningful to me.
I was thrilled when Sister Carol F. McConkie, 1st counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, began her talk by encouraging the young women, and by extension all the women of the Church, to have a cause. She argued that having a cause gives us a reason to act and serve in the glorious work of the gospel.
One thing I especially appreciated was that Sister McConkie immediately tied this great cause to Jesus Christ. After two talks focused on other issues, it was refreshing to hear such powerful words about the mission and atonement of our Savior and the role we can play in that.
I loved how McConkie emphasized that we are all valued and needed in the cause of Christ. She urged us to love one another and see the beauty in the lives and experiences of all of our sisters. She wisely counseled us not to compare ourselves to one another for that is wasted energy and doesn’t further the work of God.
There was an incredibly important moment in her talk when Sister McConkie spoke, without qualification, of young women ministering to each other. So much of the work of women is ministering, yet it is rarely called such. I am grateful to Sister McConkie for recognizing that words have power and using her podium to broaden the rhetoric surrounding women’s service.
McConkie quoted John Widstoe as saying, “Since the plan is intended for all, we become parties to the salvation of every person on the planet. We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves, but measurably saviors for the whole human family.” It is a powerful quote and I loved that she tied it to the image of sisters,–past, present and future–united in the cause of human salvation.
As wonderful as most of Carol McConkie’s talk was, I was disappointed to hear her repeat the common adage that marriage and family are the most important cause for women. While certainly important for some women, it just isn’t true for all women and can therefore be incredibly hurtful.
Though unsaid by Sister McConkie, I think it is clear that individual women’s causes will often look and be different. We need to take her at her word that the individual experiences, service and faith that comprise the causes of women are indeed beautiful and valuable, even when they are different.
I echo Sister McConkie in the hope that we can all stand together with a song in our hearts and build the Kingdom of God–knowing that the most beautiful songs have harmonies.