By Elisa Anderson
The Women”s Leadership Conference Saturday Mar. 1 focused on the divine role of females.
The conference featured talks by Margaret Nadauld, Emily Watts, Bryan Sudweeks, Anita Stansfield, Mary Jane Woodger, Kaye Hanson, Rick Miller and Randy Bott.
The conference”s keynote speaker was Margaret Nadauld, who was recently released as the Young Women”s general president.
“You were female before your body ever reached its mortal state,” Nadauld told the women in the audience. “I look at you today as women of great faith.”
Nadauld was surprised when President Hinckley called her to be the Young Women”s general president, considering the fact she had seven sons and no daughters.
People asked her why she was given such a calling, she said.
One day, her son determined the reason for the calling.
“I figured out why President Hinckley called you to be the Young Women”s president,” Nadauld”s son said to her. “Because you know the enemy.”
Nadauld shared with the audience her desire to have daughters, which she never had, but expressed her excitement in serving as the Young Women”s general president and having granddaughters.
She spoke about the divine role of females.
“Women of God can never be like women of the world,” she said. “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”
Nadauld talked about how women, like men, were taught in the pre-existence the great plan of salvation.
“We are taught in the scriptures that you voted for the plan of our Heavenly Father,” she said. “Not only did you vote for it, you campaigned it and you taught others about it.”
Anita Stansfield, an LDS romance novelist, continued on the topic of a woman”s divinity.
She said, oftentimes women feel like they just don”t measure up.
“The feeling of inadequacy is an epidemic among good women,” Stansfield said.
Women base their worth and value on outer variables they can”t control, such as school and the opinions of others, she said.
“You can not base your value on the free agency of another human being,” Stansfield said.
Women need to know Heavenly Father loves each one of His daughters, she said.
“God”s love is constant, absolute and unconditional,” Stansfield said. “You are His daughter, and He loves you. You have a part of Him in you.”
Another speaker, Emily Watts, said each woman is different and can”t be compared with others.
“One size fits all is a lie,” she said.
Oftentimes women feel the need to compare themselves to others, she said.
“But I”ve learned to rejoice in our contrasting competencies,” Watts said.
Watts shared with the audience how women can develop talents while taking on the role of motherhood.
“Be patient,” she said. “Find ways to use the gift within you in little pieces.”
She advised putting family first in the process of developing talents to avoid the feeling of not doing one”s job.
“What we have to give, we need to give,” Watts said.
Rick Miller, an associate professor of the School of Family Life, spoke about leadership in marriage.
“”The place of women in the Church is to walk beside the man, not in front of him nor behind him,”” Miller said, quoting John A. Widtsoe.
He said there are three doctrines in the church that put together help in the understanding of the role of a wife and woman: the patriarchal order, the equality of men and women, and the gospel definition of the word leadership.
“When we think of leadership in marriage, it means service,” Miller said.
Miller said that because of the patriarchal order of the church, it is important to understand that women and men are equal.
Randy Bott, a professor of church history, gave suggestions to women preparing for marriage.
“Don”t play with Satan,” Bott said. “He”s had 6,000 years of experience in destroying lives.”
The Lord knows whom He wants women to influence. Their future husbands are surely included in that list, he said.
“We are not put here by chance,” Bott said. “This is your time on earth,” Bott said. “You have one shot at eternal life and one shot only.”