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What President Nelson Has Told Women About Their Spiritual Strength, Influence

‘Never underestimate the extraordinary power within you,’ is just one of several teachings President Nelson has shared

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By Sydney Walker, Church News

It is impossible to quantify the “life-refining influence of covenant women of God,” President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said during a worldwide Relief Society broadcast in March.

“Sisters, please never underestimate the extraordinary power within you to influence others for good. … If the world should ever lose the moral rectitude of its women, the world would never recover,” he declared.

In his message titled “The Influence of Women,” President Nelson — a world-renowned heart surgeon who served as an Apostle for 34 years before being set apart as the 17th President of the Church in January 2018 — identified two individuals who have influenced him more than anyone else.

“I love my Brethren, and I cherish the privilege of working with them. However, the two people on earth who have influenced me most are my wife Dantzel, mother of our 10 children, who passed away suddenly at age 78, and, for the past 18 years, my wonderful wife Wendy. …

“They have changed my life,” he said. “They have made my life more complete.”

President Russell M. Nelson delivers an invitation and blessing for women during the worldwide Relief Society devotional broadcast on Sunday, March 17, 2024. Photo is a screenshot from the broadcast. 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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President Nelson explained that women who have made covenants with God have receptivity to the Spirit and an “enhanced moral compass” that give capacity to receive personal revelation and discern truth.

“Sisters, we need your voices teaching the doctrine of Christ. We need your ability as women to detect deception and to articulate truth. We need your inspired wisdom in your family, ward and stake councils, as well as in other places of influence throughout the world. Your family, the Church and the world need you.”

As Prophet and President of the Church, President Nelson has repeatedly articulated respect for women, taught about their spiritual strength and influence, and encouraged them to live up to their divine privileges.

Below is a look back at some of his messages given specifically to women.

‘Shape the future by helping to gather scattered Israel’

During his second general conference as President of the Church, President Nelson urged women “with all the hope of [his] heart” to pray to understand their spiritual gifts — “to cultivate, use and expand them, even more than you ever have.

“You will change the world as you do so,” he said in his talk “Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel,” given during the October 2018 general women’s session.

President Nelson extended “a prophetic plea” to the women of the Church “to shape the future by helping to gather scattered Israel.” He invited them to hold a 10-day fast from social media, read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year, attend the temple regularly and participate fully in Relief Society.

He also provided some background on two major announcements made in the previous general conference — ministering and restructured priesthood quorums — and how women “were key to each.”

“The inclination to minister is inherent in righteous women,” he said, adding “When you sensed that a sister you visit taught needed help, you responded immediately and then throughout the month. Thus, it was how you visit taught that inspired our upward shift to ministering.”

Additionally, as Church leaders wrestled with how to help men of the Church be more effective in their responsibilities, “we carefully considered the example of the Relief Society,” President Nelson said.

Women in various ages and stages of life meet together in Relief Society. “Each decade of life brings unique challenges, and yet, there you were, week after week, mingling together, growing and teaching the gospel together and making a real difference in the world.

“Now, following your example, Melchizedek Priesthood bearers are members of the elders quorum,” he said. With wide-ranging ages and Church experience, “these brethren can now create stronger fraternal linkages, learn together and bless others more effectively.”

President Nelson concluded: “My dear sisters, we need you. We ‘need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom and your voices.’”

Understand you are endowed with God’s power

A year later, in the October 2019 general women’s session — just three days after announcing a historic policy change allowing women, youth and children to serve as witnesses of sealing and baptismal ordinances — President Nelson taught women about priesthood power, covenants and holy temples.

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“The heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God’s power flowing from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood,” he said in his talk titled “Spiritual Treasures.”

“I pray that truth will register upon each of your hearts because I believe it will change your life. Sisters, you have the right to draw liberally upon the Savior’s power to help your family and others you love.”

President Nelson asked women to prayerfully study Doctrine and Covenants 25 and all the truths they can find about priesthood power.

“As your understanding increases and as you exercise faith in the Lord and His priesthood power, your ability to draw upon this spiritual treasure that the Lord has made available to you will increase,” he promised. “As you do so, you will find yourselves better able to help create eternal families that are united, sealed in the temple of the Lord and full of love for our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.”

President Nelson warned that the adversary will constantly contrive roadblocks to prevent women from understanding the spiritual gifts with which they have been and can be blessed.

“Unfortunately, some roadblocks may be the result of another’s misbehavior,” he said. “It grieves me to think that any of you have felt marginalized or have not been believed by a priesthood leader or have been abused or betrayed by a husband, father, or a supposed friend. I feel deep sorrow that any of you have felt side-lined, disrespected, or misjudged. Such offenses have no place in the kingdom of God.”

Conversely, President Nelson said he is thrilled when he learns of priesthood leaders who eagerly seek the participation of women in ward and stake councils. “I am inspired by each husband who demonstrates that his most important priesthood responsibility is to care for his wife. I praise that man who deeply respects his wife’s ability to receive revelation and treasures her as an equal partner in their marriage.”

From the beginning, women have been blessed with a unique moral compass, he said. “My dear sisters, your ability to discern truth from error, to be society’s guardians of morality, is crucial in these latter days.”

In closing, President Nelson pronounced a blessing “that you may understand the priesthood power with which you have been endowed and that you will augment that power by exercising your faith in the Lord and in His power.”

‘You Are the Women He Foresaw’

During the April 2022 general women’s session, Church leaders shared a video about the role of women, featuring words from President Spencer W. Kimball, 12th President of the Church, and President Nelson. The video, released in May 2021, is titled “You Are the Women He Foresaw.”

President Kimball’s words — read during the October 1979 general women’s meeting by Sister Camilla Kimball while he was in the hospital — foretell that much of the major growth coming to the Church in the last days will be because many of the good women of the world will be drawn to the Church in large numbers.

“The day that President Kimball foresaw is today. You are the women he foresaw,” President Nelson, then president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, says in the video. His comments come from his October 2015 general conference talk “A Plea to My Sisters.”

“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.”

President Nelson said the kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make and keep covenants and who can speak with the power and authority of God.

He continued: “My dear sisters, whatever your calling, whatever your circumstances, we need your

impressions, your insights, and your inspiration. … 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. …

“I thank you, my dear sisters, and bless you to rise to your full stature, to fulfill the measure of your creation, as we walk arm in arm in this sacred work. Together we will help prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord.”

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