Tuesday, April 22, 2014

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.: Our Wives and Our Mothers in the Eternal Plan, One of the Classic Talks In the History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!


I read this talk for the first time on 21 April 2014!  Since it is really one of the great and classic talks in the history of the Church, especially on the subject of the role of women as presented in Church doctrine, I cannot explain why it has taken all of my life to finally come across it!  And I, therefore, am ashamed.  I wish I could have read it when I came home from my mission at age 21 so it would have blessed my whole life.  Having failed to get it early enough to do my wife and family much good, I must now consider it God’s gift of reward for my diligent efforts the past half dozen years.  A reward?  Yes, reward of opportunity–opportunity to repent!  In that spirit I am reproducing it here whole, inasmuch as I have not been able to find an electronic copy on the Internet.  I found it in an archive of The Relief Society Magazine which is online, but I was unable to copy the talk and turn it into electronic format.  I have typed the entire thing for myself and for you.

Why am I so high on this particular talk?  It is difficult to capture my feelings about it in ordinary words and it requires extraordinary words.  Following the introductory background which occupies about 1/3 of the talk, President Clark teaches about women and their role in the Plan of Salvation, particularly their role as mothers.  Do not get discouraged in this first third of the talk–it really is necessary doctrinal foundation upon which to build a correct understanding of woman’s role.  He begins with the point that one of the primary purpose of mortality is to create a family, to reproduce and provide bodies for the myriads of spirits in the premortal life, because the plan was that they should all come to earth to receive a body and have mortal experience.  If this did not happen the creation of the world and all that was in it would have be in vain and the purposes of God would come to naught. Adam, however, was powerless to do this himself; he needed a helpmeet.  President Clark emphasizes this repeatedly. Eve’s role and the role of women in the plan was to provide the bodies for God’s spirit children and he describes at length how the body forms inside the woman and follows the eternal pattern so that, except in rare instances, the body is in perfect order down to the last jot and tittle.  Only woman can do this, and President Clark calls it an act of “service the Priesthood could not do” for God’s plan and to humankind.  Eve’s daughters must build a body for every spirit that is to come into mortality, “a body that the spirit can call its own for the span of time not only, but for the expanse of eternity....”  This is a necessary prerequisite for the perfection of God’s children. One blessed woman had the privilege of “building” the physical tabernacle of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Jehovah of the Old Testament and she was called blessed among women.  President Clark notes that since all men and women possess the potential to become gods and godesses, that every mother potentially has the same opportunity as Mary had! What a vision; what a perspective!  When understood in this light, the bearing of children, though fraught with pain and danger for the woman, becomes the greatest privilege and power God grants to his daughters, and one for which they will earn the unending gratitude and praise of their husbands and children when they arrive with her in the Celestial Kingdom.

President Clark then describes in almost scriptural language the woman’s continuing role of raising, nurturing, teaching, and bringing to maturity her children and he imagines in the most inspired language what the mother might say to her Heavenly Father when she arrives safely in the Kingdom with her children.  These brief expressions capture the true essence and meaning and purpose of woman’s work in mortality and should be posted on every refrigerator in every household in the Church.  He continues on to imagine what the Father will say to these mothers, and that the “Priesthood will wish to proclaim their debt to these helpmeets without whom the Priesthood could not have worked out their destiny.”

This is one of the most breathtaking talks I have read.  It is breathtaking in its vision (my wife even said she thought it sounded like he had seen some of these things in vision), in the scope, depth, breadth and height as well as the grandeur of this noble gospel perspective of motherhood and family. I have not read a more exalted, noble, inspiring view of women and particularly their blessing to create another human body. When we are young we do not, and perhaps for most cannot understand this view.  This perspective seems to be won only by deep study, deep pondering, much time and experience, effort, fasting and prayer, and the blessing of the Spirit. I have been studying the temple and because I am a sealer, temple marriage and family, for over six years and I freely admit that this address not only encapsulated most of what I have learned about the sacredness and eternal nature of marriage and family in that study, but it also has in many ways sent my spirit soaring around in celestial realms and crystalized my understanding of motherhood far beyond my understanding despite the intense effort I have invested prior to today. 

I encourage you to copy this entire address and print it out for your files.  I encourage spouses to discuss it together.  I encourage parents to discuss it with children in Family Home Evening or other appropriate times.  I encourage parents of older children, about to be or already married to share it with them as soon as possible to give them as much time as possible to take advantage of its vision, perspective, and doctrine.  Most of all I encourage all readers of this talk to seek through prayer a testimony of the truthfulness of the doctrines taught in it.  If a man and a woman were to receive a deep, abiding testimony of the truth of President Clark’s teachings and follow them it will change their lives and change the world.  It is calculated to divorce us from the many, many lesser attachments of this world and motivate us to concentrate on that which is really important–an eternal, exalted family.  It will lead to a greater number of God’s children being saved and exalted.  It is truly one of the great addresses in The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints.

Danel W. Bachman

Our Wives and Our Mothers in the Eternal Plan

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

[Delivered at the general session of the general Relief Society conference held in the Tabernacle, Thursday afternoon, October 3, 1946.]

As I look out over this great audience, Sister Spafford, I wonder where you are going to put the Priesthood tomorrow.
I am greatly honored in being asked to address you again.  It seems to me only last conference that this honor was accorded me before.

I would like to endorse all that our good sisters have said here today, and to congratulate Sister Spafford on the far vision which she has of the work of your great organization, the greatest organization of its kind in the world. I pray that the blessings of the Lord may be with the Relief Society, for you do a service which no other organization in the Church can do.

My subject today is a request subject.  Some months ago, before a stake conference, I gave a little  talk which some of your officers heard, and thought that you might be interested if I repeated it, elaborating it somewhat. I apologize for reading it but I had so much to say that I wanted to say reasonably carefully, that I thought my only safety would be in writing it out, and therefore, I shall read it to you.

To find the place of our wives and mothers in the eternal plan, we must trace out the creation and peopling of this earth from “the beginning,” yet remembering the Lord has said that “unto myself my works have no end, neither beginning” (Doc. and Cov. 29:33; and see Doc. and Cov. 39:1; 20:26; 61:1; 76:4; 88; 6:13; 93:8-10; Moses 1:3; Ps. 90:2; 102:27) and remembering also that as to this earth John declared: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God,” (John 1:1-2) and remembering further that, in our day, the Lord has made clear that for this earth “Man was also in the beginning with God” (Doc. and Cov. 93:29).

I shall trace out the account of the creation according to my understanding of the sequence of the scriptures.

The Lord has declared to us in our day that he “looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made” (Doc. and Cov. 38:1).

He told Abraham, having first shown him “the intelligences that were organized before the world was”: “I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen” and “organized” them (Abraham 3:21-22). Thereafter, God held, in the due course of our mundane creation as recorded in scriptural sequence, a Great Council in Heaven, in which it seems all of us may have participated, and he told Abraham that he, God, then stood in the midst of these intelligences, and “among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good ... and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits ... and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born” (Abraham 3:22-23).

In the Great Council, so convened, two plans were presented for creating and peopling an earth. The one by Satan proposed to destroy the agency of man and to redeem all mankind that not one soul be lost. Men were to be mere automatons (Moses 4:1-4). This plan was rejected because all growth and progress come by work and overcoming obstacles.

The other plan, proposed by the Only Begotten, left man his free agency, that he might become strong and advance in learning, knowledge, wisdom, and righteousness by conquering error. As part of his plan the Only Begotten proposed:
We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell” (Abraham 3:24).
This plan was accepted.

“And then,” says the record, “the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth” (Abraham 4:1).

The scriptures hold one language, that the Only Begotten Son was the actual workman who built the world, as well as all that exists upon it, plant, animal, and man. John, in his great hymn opening his Gospel, from which I have already quoted sang:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men ... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (John 1:1-14).
Moreover, in a mighty vision, Moses, by the Spirit of God:

Beheld the earth, yea even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, ... And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore .... And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me. And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth (Moses 1:27-28, 31-32).

We might observe, furthermore, that God has other worlds in the universe.  He declared to Moses;
And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten .... For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them (Moses 1:33, 35; 7:30, 36).
After the Lord described the creations of the earth in the six “days” mentioned in Genesis and in the Book of Moses, or in the six “times” mentioned in the Book of Abraham, he made to Moses the following declaration, paralleled in his words to Abraham:
For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air; But I, the Lord God, spake, and there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.  And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word (Moses 3:5-7).
Abraham records the creation of man in these words:
And the Gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man’s spirit), and put it into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul (Abraham 5:7).
Thus, as to this earth, there were two creations, first the spiritual (Gen. 1; 2:5; Moses 3; 3:5; 6:51; Abraham 4; 5:5), and then the temporal (Gen. 2:1-25; Moses 3:6-24; Abraham 5:6-18; Doc. and Cov. 29:31), as we name them, though we should remember that, in our day, the Lord has told us, speaking of things “temporal” and things “spiritual,” and contrasting them, “all things unto me are spiritual.”  (Doc. and Cov. 29:34.)

According to the sequence of the scriptural record, the Lord, after making man “from the dust of the ground,” planted a Garden, “eastward in Eden”; then made plant life to grow “out of the ground,” with “living souls.” In Eden, God planted also the two fateful trees-the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, concerning which God gave specific commandments to Adam. He caused a river to flow “out of Eden to water the garden.”  (Moses 3:8-14; Abraham 5:7 ff.; Gen. 2:8 ff.)

The Lord then recorded:
And I, the Lord God, took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it (Moses 3:15; and see Abraham 5:11; Gen. 2:15).
Following this in the scriptural sequence, the record reads:
And out of the ground I, the Lord God, formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and commanded that they should come unto Adam, to see what he would call them; and they were also living souls; for I, God, breathed into them the breath of life, and commanded that whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that should be the name thereof ... but as for Adam, there was not found an help meet for him (Moses 3:19-20; and see Abraham 5:20; Gen. 2:19).
Thus Adam had some part in this temporal creation, just what part is not definitely set out in the scriptural record, except that he did give the animals their names. By this we might possibly understand that at least he took a sort of census, checked over the creations, perhaps making sure that each of the great animal families was represented by types that were capable of being the progenitors from which might spring and develop the various types and sub-types and species now extant, in the same way and by the same natural processes that the different races and peoples of today’s earth stem back to a common progenitor pair–Adam and Eve. Thus, on the scriptural record, Adam’s service may have determined when the creation was complete. But that point is not important in our discussion today.

What were the processes of creation?  How was it done?

Paul declared to the Hebrews that “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God” (Hebrews 11:3)–faith which is declared to be the gift of God (Rom. 10:17; 1 Cor. 12:9). Now Paul defined faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).

Orson Pratt said:
And as faith is the moving cause of all action in temporal concerns, so it is in spiritual ....  By this we understand that the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith .... Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed, neither would man have been formed of the dust (Lectures on Faith, Sec. 1:12, 15-16).
Through what instrumentality was his faith employed?  We have already given the scriptures declaring that the Only Begotten did the work, with help from others acting under the authority and command of the Father (Abraham 4). What was this authority? Brigham Young said;
If anybody wants to know what the Priesthood of the Son of God is, it is the law by which the worlds are, were, and will continue for ever and ever. It is that system which brings worlds into existence and peoples them, gives them their revolutions–their days, weeks, months, years, their seasons and times and by which they are rolled up as a scroll, as it were, and go into a higher state of existence (Discourses, page 201; 1941 edition, page 130).
The Prophet Joseph has told us:
The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years; that Christ is the Great High Priest; Adam next and that Adam obtained his priesthood in the Creation, before the world was formed (Smith’s Teachings, pp. 157-158).
Up to this point in the eternal course of world progression, as recorded in the scriptures, the Priesthood had performed the full service rendered, all had been done in the spiritual and temporal creations by the Great High Priest, with Adam, who stands “next,” and others assisting (See Abraham 4). Plant life had been so created that by the laws of reproduction set up to govern that life, plants might propagate their own kinds; animal life had been created, male and female, that they might reproduce each its own kind.  

Now, again following the scriptural order of events, it is recorded before the record is made that Adam was given a body ‘from the dust of the earth,’ that God said to him (and it maybe to all the hosts assembled): “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Moses 2:28; Abraham 4:28). Upon the fulfillment of this command, so given, depended the whole Plan of the Great Council in Heaven, because those who kept their “first estate,” must have opportunity to come to earth, to obtain mortal bodies, that they might then be proved in this “second estate,” “to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them ... and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever” (Abraham 3:25-26).

To provide mortal bodies and a mortal life and experience for the waiting spirits, was the very purpose of the creation.

Adam, still in intimate association with the Lord, must have remembered at least a part of what he knew before he was made “from the dust of the ground,” and, if so, he must have recalled the eternal truth of motherhood, so beautifully voiced by Eliza R. Snow in her great poem:
In the heavens are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason, truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.
Yet, notwithstanding the great powers of the Priesthood which he held, Adam was powerless to go forward by himself, to the providing of earthly tabernacles for the spirits eager to enter into their “second estate,” so that, as the Lord’s plan provided, they might have opportunity to “prove” themselves, and, so doing, “have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.” Under the eternal law, there must be a father not only, but a mother as well.  “And I, God,” declared the Father, “created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them” (Moses 2:27; Gen. 1:27).

To work all this out, it was indispensable that the Priesthood, powerful as it was, must have help.  Adam must have an helpmeet.

We will recall that, according to the sequence of the record, the Lord, after he laid out the Garden of Eden and watered it, said:
And I, the Lord God, took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it (Moses 3:15; Abraham 5:11; Gen. 2:15).
Thereafter, the Lord explained to Adam and gave to him the commandments regarding the tree of life and the tree o the knowledge of good and evil.

After the Lord God placed Adam in the Garden, he spoke thus:
And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten, that it was not good that the man should be alone; wherefore, I will make an help meet for him (Moses 3:18; Abraham 5:14; Gen. 2:18).
One may easily believe that some longing or unexpressed desire of Adam, alone in the magnificence and glory of Eden, drew this expression of purpose from the loving Father. For Adam, still in communion with the Father, not yet forgetting that in Heaven parents are not single and that he had a mother there, and still recalling (as we have just pointed out) the Great Plan presented to the Council of Heaven which provided that all the intelligences there assembled were to have the chance to come to earth, receive bodies, and, desiring it, “keep their second estate,” (Abraham 3:25 ff) Adam, with all this in mind, must have realized the great responsibility which rested upon him; he must have known the part he was to play (for, we must remember, not yet was he shut out from the Father), and he knew, what later, after the Fall, Eve was to sing, (Moses 5:11) that ‘he must have seed, that he must know good from evil, that he might have the joy of redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.’ Adam alone, no matter what his Priesthood, could not bring this about.  He must have a helper.

But, Adam wandered alone in the glorious Garden in Eden, which he had dressed and adorned–the Garden of Eden with its stately trees, its lovely flowers heavy with sweet odors, its grassy swards,  its magnificent vistas with the far reaches of its placid rivers, with its gaily plumed birds, its lordly and graceful beasts, all at peace, for sin was not yet in the world. Through all this magnificence Adam wandered, lonely, unsolaced, uncompanioned, the only being of his kind in the whole world, his life unshared in a solitude of exquisite elegance, and, what was of far greater moment, his mission, as he knew it to be, impossible of fulfillment, except the Father gave him an helpmeet.
So, obedient to the necessities of the commandment given that man should multiply and replenish the earth; pursuant to his promise, after he had placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, that since it was not good that man should be alone, God would make an helpmeet for him; and resultant from his observation, following the record of the creation of the animal kingdom “out of the ground” (Moses 3:19-20), that ‘there was not found an helpmeet for Adam,’ the Father created and brought to Adam, his wife, Eve.  Then Adam cried aloud:
This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man (Moses 3:23).
Glorified by the joy of this great blessing that had come to him, Adam announced the great law of marriage, the union of man and wife, joined together by the power of the Priesthood for time and for all eternity:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh (Moses 3:24; Abraham 5:18; Genesis 2:24).
So came Eve, an helpmeet to the Priesthood mission of Adam–Eve the last created being in the creation of the world, without whom the whole creation of the world would have been in vain and the purposes of God have come to naught. Receiving her, Adam took her in her purity, took her, radiant and divinely fair, into the Garden he had dressed and kept for her, into the bridal home he had built, into the Garden that from then till now has been the symbol of heaven on earth, there to begin together their earthly life, that was finally to bring opportunity for salvation and exaltation to the untold myriads of spirits then waiting for the mortal tabernacles these two were to make it possible for them to possess.

The Only Begotten had fashioned the world, had filled it with beautiful flowers and lofty forests, with grasses and grains, and multitudes of living creatures; Adam had had some part in this. But the key to the glorious arch of temporal, earthly creation for man was still missing.  So Eve came to build, to organize, through the power of the Father, the bodies of mortal men, to be a creator of bodies under the faculties given her by the Priesthood of God, so that God’s design and the Great Plan might meet fruition.

This was her calling; this was her blessing, bestowed by the Priesthood. This is the place of our wives and of our mothers in the Eternal Plan. They are not bearers of the Priesthood; they are not charged with carrying out the duties and functions of the Priesthood; nor are they laden with its responsibilities; they are builders and organizers under its power, and partakers of its blessings, possessing the complement of the Priesthood powers and possessing a function as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself.

Millenniums later, Paul, under the inspiration of God, was to declare:
Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God (1 Cor. 11:11-12).
When, after the Fall, both Adam and Eve knowing good from evil, the Lord promised them redemption and Adam prophesied concerning their posterity. Eve, hearing the glorious Plan and the destiny of herself and Adam, was gladdened, and broke into a great song of praise:
Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient (Moses 5:11).
From that day, when Eve thus placed first among her blessings the power to bear children, the greatest glory of true womanhood has been motherhood.

What a miracle is motherhood; how nearly infinite is mother. She fashions in her womb the most complex structure known to man, the whole visible universe being, in contrast, the simplest of creations. From the cell she herself has built from the dust of the earth, fructified by the father cell formed also of dust of the earth by the father, she mounts cell on cell, each born of clay, till the normal man is brought into the world–built of head and trunk and limbs, of bone and flesh and blood, of brain, eyes, ears, and mouth, of muscles and sinews and nerves, of heart and lungs and stomach and intestines, of liver and spleen and kidneys, of glands and lymphs, of arms, hands and fingers, of legs, feet and toes, all of these and every vein and artery and nerve, every nail upon the fingers, every joint and muscle, each and every one in its never-varying place (save some prank of malformation), never the feet where the head should be, never the heart and lungs blow and the liver and spleen and kidneys above, but all in perfect order, every man brought forth organized as were those who went before, as they will be who come after, the pattern in all its infinite detail faithfully followed down to the last jot and tittle of the human frame–a body fashioned in the very image of the Son who was in the image of the Father. What an infinitely glorious concept, what a supreme destiny, and what a divine-like achievement.

This is wife’s and mother’s task and opportunity and did she fail so that new body-forms came or that none came, then the Great Plan would fail and God’s purpose would come to naught. They must build in the likeness of the Father and the Son. This must never change.

Thus she must go forward always, from now till time, being no more, merges into eternity, that all the spirits keeping their “first estate,” shall come into their “second estate” to prove whether they shall live that estate and be given life everlasting.  Thus Eve’s daughters, under the destiny God gave to them, must build for every spirit, a body that the spirit can call its own for the span of time not only, but for the expanse of eternity through the resurrection, so that every soul, willing to work and sacrifice for it, can ‘become perfect even as our Father in Heaven is perfect.’ Eve’s daughters only can do the service that thus makes possible this perfection.  The Priesthood cannot do this without the helpmeet.

Her spirit breathing to her mind this divine truth, the mother folds the newborn to her breast, and into her soul comes the mother love that lives thence forever, for this tiny being is ‘bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh.’

The crowning glory of motherhood came to the daughters of Eve, when, in Bethelehem, there was born to Mary of Nazareth, a mortal, the Christ child, begot of the Father. Gabriel “sent from God,” had foretold to Mary, “Hail ... highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed ... thou among women” (Luke 1:28).  And later Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, about to bear John, the Great Forerunner of whom  the Christ declared, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matt. 11:11; see Luke 7:28). Elizabeth “filled with the Holy Ghost, spake out with a loud voice” to Mary, who came to visit her, saying, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Luke 1:41-42).  

Then Mary, likewise inspired, broke forth into her great song of joy and humble triumph: 
My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden; for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever (Luke 1:46 ff.).
So spake this mortal mother soon to bear the mortal, yet deified Christ.  The spirit of prophecy entered her soul, and, recalling the past, and being enlightened as to the future, she forecast the work and service, the love and character of him whom she was to bring forth–the Christ, the Redeemer of the World.

So measurably may every mother who has lived and is living righteously, envision something of the destiny of her offspring, if it be God’s will.

But the full glory of motherhood is not yet reached when her child comes forth into this world of trial, nor is her opportunity for service passed when her creation breathes the breath of life. Still from the dust of the earth she must fabricate the food that keeps alive and nourishes the little one. She feeds not only, but clothes it. She cares for it by day and watches over it by night.  When illness comes, she nurses it with that near divine love that fills her heart. She gently leads its faltering steps, till it walks alone.  She helps to frame its first lisps and teaches it the full art of speech. As consciousness matures, she deftly sows into the plastic mind the love of God, of truth, and, as the years flow by and youth comes on, she adds the love of honor, of honesty, of sobriety, of industry, of chastity.  She teaches, bit by bit, loyalty and reverence and devotion.  She implants and makes part of the growing, virgin intellect an understanding of the restored gospel. She steadies the swaying will when temptation first comes.  She builds into the warp and woof of her creation, self-control, independence, righteousness, love of God, and a desire and will to serve him.

Thus to the full stature of manhood and womanhood, mother guides, incites, entreats, instructs, directs, on occasion commands, the soul for which she built the earthly home, in its march onward to exaltation. God gives the soul its destiny, but mother leads it along the way.

When the soul shall return to the presence of the Father of All, the worthy mothers will be there to welcome their worthy children, and with humble pride born of righteous achievement, they will reverently bow and humbly speak:

Father, we come back to thee with the righteous souls whose earthly bodies thou lettest us to build, ‘bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh,’ all to thine everlasting honor and glory and to our blessing and exaltation forever.

Blessed were our wombs, for they bore children, even as thou didst command, in the image of thine Only Begotten, who is in the image of thee.

Richly fruitful have been our blessings on earth, for we come back home to thee with these thy children.

Great is the joy of this the end of our labors, for these souls have been saved with eternal life.

Blessed were we in our example set, for thou gavest us the power to live worthily; in the teaching of thy children, thou didst give us a goodly measure of wisdom.

Blessed were we in our faith, for thou didst richly endow us with this thy gift.

Blessed were we in our understanding, for thou didst cause the Holy Ghost to enlighten our minds.

Blessed were we in our living, for thou didst give us patience and kindliness, and forgiving natures, with charity and unbounded love.

Blessed were we that thou didst send these spirits to the bodies which we by thy power fashioned, for they were choice spirits.

Blessed were we in their rearing, for they walked always in thy paths; and in their maturity they departed not from the ways of their youth.

Blessed were we in their companionship, for they were loving and kind, respectful and obedient to us.

Blessed were we in the mortal fathers of our children’s bodies, for they gave us comfort and help, and love and kindness unmeasured, and likewise walked worthily before thee.

Our souls cry out to thee, our Father, in worship of thee, for thou hast been with us from the beginning and hast covenanted to be with us during all eternity.  Honor and Glory and love to thee forever, and forever.

Then we shall believe the Father will say to the mothers:

Well done, thou good and faithful handmaids, enter thou into the rest I have prepared for those who builded the mortal temples in which dwelt the spirits I created, that they might keep their second estate, for without the keeping of their second estate they could not have “glory added upon their heads for ever and ever” (Abraham 3:26).

And then the Priesthood will wish to proclaim their debt to these their helpmeets without whom the Priesthood could not have worked out their destiny. And the Priesthood shall bow in reverence and in love unbounded before these mothers who did the service the Priesthood could not do, and thank and praise them for bearing their children, a service without which God’s purposes had failed and the intelligences which God called around him “in the beginning” had been deprived of the divine destiny God marked out for them in the Great Council held in Heaven before the earth was formed.

These, Wives and Mothers in Israel, are your rewards and your destinies. And your offspring, saved and exalted in the presence of God, will never forget you, will ever bless you, and will sing hymns of eternal gratitude for the bodies you gave them and taught them to make the Temples of the Spirit of God.

God be thanked for the knowledge he has given us of all this. Overflow our hearts with gratitude for this great destiny, I ask, in the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., "Our Wives and Our Mothers in the Eternal Plan," The Relief Society Magazine, 33, no. 12 (December 1946): 795-804.


  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this out. I have been searching for this talk since seeing it listed in the endnotes of Elder Oaks's great April 2014 talk on The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood. Yours is (as you know) the only version of it I could find and print. Thanks!

  2. Yes, Thank You so much!

  3. I saw this talk referenced in a book and wanted to read it, and voila! Here it is! Thank you so much for typing it up!!!

    1. It is one of the classics. My pleasure if it helps. It is one of my most popular blogs, so apparently others have been looking for it too.