A Plea to My Sisters (Nelson)

General Conference, October 2015
We need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices.
President Russell M. Nelson
President Russell M. Nelson

Excerpts from "A Plea to My Sisters" 

The women of this dispensation are distinct from the women of any other because this dispensation is distinct from any other.4 This distinction brings both privileges and responsibilities.

Thirty-six years ago, in 1979, President Spencer W. Kimball made a profound prophecy about the impact that covenant-keeping women would have on the future of the Lord’s Church. He prophesied: “Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.”5

My dear sisters, you who are our vital associates during this winding-up scene, the day that President Kimball foresaw is today. You are the women he foresaw! Your virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith, and righteous lives will draw good women of the world, along with their families, to the Church in unprecedented numbers!6

We, your brethren, need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices. The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God!7

President Packer declared:

“We need women who are organized and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct and administer; women who can teach, women who can speak out.

“We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.”8

Today, let me add that we need women who knowhow to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly.

My dear sisters, whatever your calling, what every our circumstances, we need your impressions, your insights, and your inspiration. We need you to speak up and speak out in ward and stake councils. We need each married sister to speak as “a contributing and full partner”10 as you unite with your husband in governing your family. Married or single, you sisters possess distinctive capabilities and special intuition you have received as gifts from God. We brethren cannot duplicate your unique influence.

We know that the culminating act of all creation was the creation of woman!11 We need your strength!

My dear sisters, nothing is more crucial to your eternal life than your own conversion. It is converted, covenant-keeping women—women like my dear wife Wendy—whose righteous lives will increasingly stand out in a deteriorating world and who will thus be seen as different and distinct in the happiest of ways.

A Plea to My Sisters (Nelson) General Conference, October 2015

  1. See Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. (1957–66), 4:166. Note: All previous dispensations were limited to a small segment of the world and were terminated by apostasy. In contrast, this dispensation will not be limited in location or time. It will fill the world and merge with the Second Coming of the Lord.
  2. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball (2006), 222–23.
  3. When I was born, there were fewer than 600,000 members of the Church. Today there are more than 15 million. That number will continue to increase.
  4. President Joseph Fielding Smith told sisters of the Relief Society, “You can speak with authority, because the Lord has placed authority upon you.” He also said that the Relief Society has “been given power and authority to do a great many things. The work which they do is done by divine authority” (“Relief Society—an Aid to the Priesthood,” Relief Society Magazine, Jan. 1959, 4, 5). These quotations were also cited by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in a conference address, “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 51.
  5. Boyd K. Packer, “The Relief Society,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 8; see also M. Russell Ballard, Counseling with Our Councils: Learning to Minister Together in the Church and in the Family (1997), 93.
  6. See Spencer J. Condie, Russell M. Nelson: Father, Surgeon, Apostle (2003), 146, 153–56. Note: In 1964 President Kimball set me apart as a stake president and blessed me that the mortality rates would decline in my pioneering efforts with operations on the aortic valve. Little did either of us then know that eight years later, I would be doing an operation on President Kimball that included replacement of his incompetent aortic valve.
  7. “When we speak of marriage as a partnership, let us speak of marriage as a full partnership. We do not want our LDS women to be silent partners or limited partners in that eternal assignment! Please be a contributing and full partner” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 106).
  8. “All the purposes of the world and all that was in the world would be brought to naught without woman—a keystone in the priesthood arch of creation” (Russell M. Nelson, “Lessons from Eve,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 87). “Eve became God’s final creation, the grand summation of all of the marvelous work that had gone before” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Women in Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2004, 83).

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