The theme from James E. Talmage’s “Jesus the Christ” that Jesus Christ is the “world’s greatest champion of women and womanhood” permeated the addresses of two young homemakers at the de Jong Concert Hall on Thursday afternoon during the annual Women’s Conference.
Cheryl Savage, a stay-at-home mom of six children and popular blogger, along with Ann Marie Toone, administrative assistant to the General Relief Society presidency and primary teacher, took different tones in their talks. But the theme of relying on Jesus Christ’s Atonement for strength, rejecting societies definition of self-worth and understanding the Plan of Salvation was the same.
Savage directed her talk to mothers of young children and described the physical and mental demands as “the trenches” of motherhood. Her sighs of “I am very tired” drew chuckles from a sympathetic crowd as Savage encouraged women to enjoy this “season” of motherhood and to fall back on the Plan of Salvation for guidance and comfort. She explained that finding joy in mortality comes from one simple answer — Jesus Christ.
Suffering from depression and other health issues, Savage told women matter-of-factly to not worry about being perfect now, rather to become better as they go. From her own and her friend’s experiences, she gave the advice to young mothers to pray, find worthy mentors, search the scriptures for examples of righteous women and to stay right with the Lord.
Savage reminded women that “Jesus Christ is stronger than Satan” and that “it does not matter that He was male. … He understands.” She reminded women to ignore Satan’s temptation to measure worth by the standards of society and to remember that “we are enough.”
Toone spoke of the divine role of women and their responsibility to teach, lead and influence the world. “Each woman is a beloved daughter of Heavenly parents,” Toone said. “Women are guardians of the home. … Righteous, moral, virtuous women have a more lasting influence than women of the world.”
The roles that women are given, Toone asserted, are of divine importance and are indispensable. She said these roles are given so that women can teach not only their own children but the Church at large.
Women hold 293,490 leadership positions in more than 185 countries in the Primary, Young Women and Relief Society programs of the Church, Toone said. She discussed how women use their teaching influence in the Church and in the home to change the world.
She finished her talk by admonishing women to “champion Christ” as Christ champions women. Toone called on women to have the desire to appreciate, understand and articulate their understanding of the Savior and to share it with the world.