When we speak plainly of divorce, abuse, gender identity, contraception, abortion, parental neglect, we are thought by some to be way out of touch or to be uncaring. Some ask if we know how many we hurt when we speak plainly. Do we know of marriages in trouble, of the many who remain single, of single-parent families, of couples unable to have children, of parents with wayward children, or of those confused about gender? Do we know? Do we care?Those who ask have no idea how much we care; you know little of the sleepless nights, of the endless hours of work, of prayer, of study, of travel—all for the happiness and redemption of mankind.Because we do know and because we do care, we must teach the rules of happiness without dilution, apology, or avoidance. That is our calling.I once learned a valuable lesson from a mission Relief Society president. In a conference, she announced some tightening up of procedures. A sister stood up and defiantly said, “Those rules can’t apply to us! You don’t understand us! We are an exception.”
That wonderful Relief Society president replied, “Dear sister, we’d like not to take care of the exception first. We will establish the rule first, and then we’ll see to the exception.”
— Boyd K. Packer, General Conference, April 1994
I sit in a house wanting for housework but housework has a churchy quality about it. It is always there and there is never a time when I can say it’s perfect. A recent event occurred with Sister Beck’s talk entitled “Mothers Who Know”. A firestorm of protest erupted from women who were left out of her picture that seemed to put too much emphasis on housework. I think a few of Sister Beck’s sentences could have been better thought out but as a woman who knows how difficult it is squeeze the thoughts in my head past the tongue in my mouth, I know that with time and experience Sister Beck will parse her few allotted words more precisely. So the issue for me is not about the first brief talk of a new Relief Society President, it is in how we as members react to statements from leaders that leave us wanting.