>My response to Eric Black, a Jewish blogger and writer, following a reading of his visits with the Republican women caucus throughout California. Eric knows that I am a Mormon, member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka Mormon, and I respect his Jewish faith. I love my association with him and I believe he loves to hear from me also.
Your recent articles about women of the Republican Party
|Eric, I read with great interest how you have successfully gone to the various caucuses and Republican women groups, which you lauded warmly. I admire your writing but I admire you far more as a human being.
In keeping with our respect for women including our wives and our mothers, scarcely more than a year ago a Mormon prophet died at age 98, Gordon B. Hinkley, whom I had known for the past 50 years or so. He was an extremely talented and spiritual man. He spoke briefly of the passing of his wife, and he lived as prophet of the Mormon Church for several years after she died. He reverently, and kindly spoke in a talk thereafter about his wife and also all women, something I want to share with you:
“I am grateful to be able to say that in our long life together I cannot remember a serious quarrel. Small differences occasionally, yes, but nothing of a serious nature. I believe our marriage has been as idyllic as anyone’s could possibly be.
“I recognize that many of you are similarly blessed, and I compliment you most warmly, for when all is said and done there is no association richer than the companionship of husband and wife, and nothing more portentous for good or evil than the unending consequences of marriage.
“I see those consequences constantly. I see both beauty and tragedy. And so I have chosen to say a few words today on the women in our lives.
I begin with the Creation of the world.
We read in the book of Genesis and in the book of Moses of that great, singular, and remarkable undertaking. The Almighty was the architect of that creation. Under His direction it was executed by His Beloved Son, the Great Jehovah, who was assisted by Michael, the archangel.
There came first the forming of heaven and earth, to be followed by the separation of the light from the darkness. The waters were removed from the land. Then came vegetation, followed by the animals. There followed the crowning creation of man. Genesis records that “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).
But the process was not complete.
“For Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
“And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman” (Gen. 2:20–23).
And so Eve became God’s final creation, the grand summation of all of the marvelous work that had gone before.
Notwithstanding this preeminence given the creation of woman, she has so frequently through the ages been relegated to a secondary position. She has been put down. She has been denigrated. She has been enslaved. She has been abused. And yet some few of the greatest characters of scripture have been women of integrity, accomplishment, and faith.
We have Esther, Naomi, and Ruth of the 1 Ne. 11:15).. We have Sariah of the . We have Mary, the very mother of the Redeemer of the world. We have her as the chosen of God, described by Nephi as “a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins” (
She it was who carried the child Jesus into Egypt to save His life from the wrath of Herod. She it was who nurtured Him in His boyhood and young manhood. She stood before Him when His pain-wracked body hung upon the cross on Calvary’s hill. In His suffering He said to her, “Woman, behold thy son!” And to His disciple in a plea that he care for her, He said, “Behold thy mother!” (John 19:26–27).
Crossing through His life we have Mary and Martha, and Mary of Magdala. She it was who came to the tomb that first Easter morning. And to her, a woman, He first appeared as the resurrected Lord. Why is it that even though Jesus placed woman in a position of preeminence, so many men who profess His name fail to do so?
In His grand design, when God first created man, He created a duality of the sexes. The ennobling expression of that duality is found in marriage. One individual is complementary to the other. As Paul stated, “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:11).
There is no other arrangement that meets the divine purposes of the Almighty. Man and woman are His creations. Their duality is His design. Their complementary relationships and functions are fundamental to His purposes. One is incomplete without the other.
I recognize that we have many wonderful women among us who do not have the opportunity of marriage. But they, too, make such a tremendous contribution. They serve the Church faithfully and ably. They teach in the organizations. They stand as officers.
I witnessed a very interesting thing the other day. The General Authorities were in a meeting, and the presidency of thewere there with us. These able women stood in our council room and shared with us principles of welfare and of helping those who are in distress. Our stature as officers of this Church was not diminished by what they did. Our capacities to serve were increased.
There are some men who, in a spirit of arrogance, think they are superior to women. They do not seem to realize that they would not exist but for the mother who gave them birth. When they assert their superiority they demean her. It has been said, “Man can not degrade woman without himself falling into degradation; he can not elevate her without at the same time elevating himself” (Alexander Walker, in’s Scrap Book , 204).
How very true that is. We see the bitter fruit of that degradation all about us. Divorce is one of its results. This evil runs rampant through our society. It is the outcome of disrespect for one’s marriage partner. It manifests itself in neglect, in criticism, in abuse, in abandonment. We in the Church are not immune from it.
Jesus declared, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).
The word man is used in the generic sense, but the fact is that it is predominantly men who bring about the conditions that lead to divorce.
After dealing with hundreds of divorce situations through the years, I am satisfied that the application of a single practice would do more than all else to solve this grievous problem.
If every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any, divorce. Argument would never be heard. Accusations would never be leveled. Angry explosions would not occur. Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness.
There was a popular song we sang many years ago, the lyrics of which said:
I want to be happy,
How true this is.
Every woman is a daughter of God. You cannot offend her without offending Him. I plead with the men of this Church to look for and nurture the divinity that lies within their companions. To the degree that happens, there will be harmony, peace, enrichment of family life, nurturing love.
Well did President McKay remind us that “no other success [in life] can compensate for failure in the home” (quoted from J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization , 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116).
Likewise, the truth of which President Lee reminded us: “The [greatest] work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home” (“Maintain Your Place as a Woman,” Ensign, Feb. 1972, 51).
The cure for most marital troubles does not lie in divorce. It lies in repentance and forgiveness, in expressions of kindness and concern. It is to be found in application of the Golden Rule.
It is a scene of great beauty when a young man and a young woman join hands at the altar in a covenant before God that they will honor and love one another. Then how dismal the picture when a few months later, or a few years later, there are offensive remarks, mean and cutting words, raised voices, bitter accusations.
It need not be, my dear brothers and sisters. We can rise above these mean and beggarly elements in our lives (see Gal. 4:9). We can look for and recognize the divine nature in one another, which comes to us as children of our Father in Heaven. We can live together in the God-given pattern of marriage in accomplishing that of which we are capable if we will exercise discipline of self and refrain from trying to discipline our companion.
The women in our lives are creatures endowed with particular qualities, divine qualities, which cause them to reach out in kindness and with love to those about them. We can encourage that outreach if we will give them opportunity to give expression to the talents and impulses that lie within them. In our old age my beloved companion said to me quietly one evening, “You have always given me wings to fly, and I have loved you for it.”
Eric, I hope that you felt the spirit of this great man, who was an example to all of us. I felt some of his kindly spirit in the words that you wrote about the stature and quality of our Republican women who are strong in their faith and in their belief in Independence and the things which we value and cherish as Americans.
Keep up the good work, Eric.
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