April: Matthew 15–17; Mark 7–9
Pres Nelson said the following, “…my dear sisters, your ability to discern truth from error, to be society’s guardians of morality, is crucial in these latter days. And we depend upon you to teach others to do likewise. Let me be very clear about this: if the world loses the moral rectitude of its women, the world will never recover.”
Adam was given the priesthood shortly after leaving the garden of Eden. Eve’s charge was different, it was to be a helpmeet to Adam both as his husband and a partner in his priesthood covenant. The word helpmeet in Hebrew is based on two words Ezer and Kenegdo.
Ezer means rescuer or Israel’s helper. Some examples of when the word was used in the scriptures include, “But I am poor and needy… O God: thou art my help” (Ps. 70:5); “My help cometh from the Lord” (Ps. 121:2); and “Happy art thou…saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help.” (Deut. 33:29) Sister Angela Ashurst-McGee made the point that “God doesn’t see me as an assistant or sidekick with a role to merely please others and fill their wishes…Ezer describes the way God offers help to rescue mankind.” (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2020/09/help-meet-womens-power-to-serve?lang=eng) In this context, how appropriate is the phrase from the hymn As Sister’s in Zion that reads “the errand of angels is given to women.” That is the sort of help that women have the role to offer.
Kenegdo means opposite, corresponding, equal but in a different way or complementary. Women’s role as the “guardians of morality” or as a helpmeet that delivers the rescue that God would provide is a role of strength and importance.
Joseph Fielding Smith made the point that, “While the sisters have not been given the Priesthood… that does not mean that the Lord has not given unto them authority. … A person may have authority given to him, or a sister to her, to do certain things in the Church that are binding and absolutely necessary for our salvation, such as the work that our sisters do in the House of the Lord. They have authority given unto them to do some great and wonderful things, sacred unto the Lord, and binding just as thoroughly as are the blessings that are given by the men who hold the Priesthood.”7
Through the priesthood, women are as blessed as men are. Women receive saving ordinances and priesthood blessings, gifts of the spirit and personal revelation over their areas of responsibility. Women are also given callings through priesthood keys. All the blessings of the priesthood are ours as women, in addition to our divine role to assist priesthood leaders in performing their role.
Pres. Nelson has reaffirmed this when he taught, ““My dear sisters, whatever your calling, whatever your circumstances, we need your impressions, your insights, and your inspiration. We need you to speak up and speak out in ward and stake councils. … Married or single, you sisters possess distinctive capabilities and special intuition you have received as gifts from God.” (President Russell M. Nelson, “A Plea to My Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 2015, 97.)
Moving mountains in the scriptures is a rare event. We only have scriptural evidence of two of these miracles taking place.
- The brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove—and it was removed. (Ether 12:30)
- The enemies of Enoch’s people “came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command.” (Moses 7:13)
Still, Jesus said unto those that followed him, “If ye have bfaith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this cmountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be dimpossible unto you. (Matt. 17:20)
In April 2021 Pres. Nelson talked to us about moving symbolic mountains in our lives. He said, “Your mountains may be loneliness, doubt, illness, or other personal problems. Your mountains will vary, and yet the answer to each of your challenges is to increase your faith.”
Then he encouraged us to do the work necessary to make this happen. He gave five suggestions of how we can increase our faith in Jesus Christ that will allow us to face our personal challenges.
- Study- Moving mountains may require a miracle, so learn about them. President Nelson told us to study out how miracles happen. As we look at the miracles of Christ, specific patterns emerge that will help us understand longsuffering, patience, the humility to ask and the meekness to follow difficult promptings.
- Choose to Believe in Jesus Christ- Stop increasing your doubts by rehearsing them with other doubters! In Elder Bednar’s talk, “But We Not Heeded Them Not,” he said, “The word heed suggests taking notice of or paying attention to someone or something.” As we choose to focus on the Savior, the Lord will lead us on our own personal discoveries.
- Act in Faith- What would you do if you had more faith? Think about it and then do that thing. Sometimes as we stretch and do something beyond what we are comfortable with, that is when we see miracles.
- Partake of Sacred Ordinances- Like trying to cut trees without turning on your chain saw, we are living beneath our privileges when we don’t utilize the power of partaking of the sacrament weekly and participating in temple work on a regular basis as our personal situations permit. Pres. Nelson encouraged us to “unlock the power of God in your life” by participating in these ordinances.
- Ask for help- Everyone that asketh receiveth. When it comes to the miracles of Christ, everyone that had the ability to ask, did in order to be healed. Think of the man blind since birth, the woman with the issue of blood reaching for Christ’s hem, and the ten lepers. On a few occasions where people could not, their friends or family came and asked the Savior in their stead. Think of the centurion’s servant, Mary and Martha of their brother Lazarus, and Jairus’s daughter. Sometimes, the answer to your asking will be you’re doing okay, or you haven’t learned what this challenge has to teach you, but other times the windows of heaven will open, and healing will come.
President Nelson added this promise. “The mountains in our lives do not always move how or when we would like. But our faith will always propel us forward. Faith always increases our access to godly power.”
Mountains are not little problems. In 2005, I was a mother of seven young children and contracted “Guillian-Barre Syndrome,” which left me paralyzed. Though I received a blessing and wanted immediate healing, my Relief Society did come immediately and assisted so my husband could continue to work until the school year ended and my older sons were out of school. Over the next year my sons who had been very active in clubs and sports, spent more time at home assisting me as I began walking with a limp.
My oldest son helped keep the house in order and my second son who was fourteen at the time did all the cooking. At the time I felt God had forgotten us, but by the time summer ended I could get around and by Christmas was mostly healed.
Now years later, I can see that my family was healed in different ways during that time of sickness. My second son married a sweet woman who had complications with her pregnancies. His skills cooking that he honed during my time of illness, allowed him to cook for his family with joy during that time. My other children became better friends and pulled closer to the Lord as we prayed for healing. As the mountain of my illness moved, so did other little mountains that I wasn’t even aware of.