By Jewel Leann Williams
I’ve spoken before about why what we write matters. I’d like to expand on that a little bit, based on what I heard at General Conference this past weekend.
I’m referring to President Russell M. Nelson’s talk, where he referenced the 1979 prophecy given by Spencer W. Kimball to the women of the Church:
Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.
President Nelson added:
“The day that President Kimball foresaw, is today. You are the women that he foresaw. 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.”
I wasn’t surprised that President Nelson said what he did. I do want to emphasize it, though:
You are the women that he foresaw.
Let’s keep that in mind while I point out a few more things President Nelson said:
Sisters, do you realize the breadth and scope of your influence when you speak those things that come to your heart and mind when directed by the Spirit?
Step forward, take your rightful and needful place in your home, in your community, and in the kingdom of God, more than you ever have before. I plead with you to fulfill President Kimball’s prophecy, and I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ, that as you do so, the Holy Ghost will magnify your influence in an unprecedented way.
(Keep in mind, I’m typing these statements out from the video of President Nelson’s talk, since it’s not out in text format yet, so punctuation and all that might be different.)
We are being called out.
Again, I might add.
We—the sisters of the Church, and specifically those of us who express ourselves in the public forum, are being asked again, as we have been before, to step up, to show ourselves to the world, and to let them see how we are distinct and different in happy ways.
Remember this challenge from Elder M. Russell Ballard?
“You have a great opportunity to be a powerful force for good in the Church and in the world. There is truth in the old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword…. May I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration.” (M. Russell Ballard, “Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet,” Ensign, July 2008)
Those of us who were given the desire and ability to put pen to paper, fingers to keys, or to express ourselves via other mediums, were given those talents by our Heavenly Father to bless the lives of those around us.
|ALL OF THESE ARE MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD|
Satan is so clever, and he also has a way with words. He can flatter and deceive and the things he tells us sound so good. We’ve all felt that in our lives. Magnify it by millions and you have the sophistries and the philosophies of men that we must defend against.
Darkness is out there. We can be—we must be—a light.
I’m not saying we have to write “churchy” stuff all day long, we don’t need to stand and preach and proselytize.
Truth and light can shine through in what we write, even if we’re writing a sci-fi or a vampire mermaid historical romance. We can tackle tough issues, but give hope.
We stand as witnesses of God, at all times, and in all things, and in all places—right?
It’s a reason to put ourselves out there. Writing from the soul is scary. Letting people see what we write, terrifying. But remember the promises.
We can be as distinct and different as can be, but if no one sees, who does it help?
We can receive whispers and sometimes shouts from the Spirit, and those things can enrich our lives, but the time for quietly keeping our testimonies to ourselves is over. The Lord needs US to stand and shout our testimonies from the rooftops, so to speak.
It doesn’t matter if it hits the New York Times (or Amazon) bestseller’s list—it needs to be out where people can see it. Remember our promises.
Can I challenge each of us, (like, especially ME) to find a way to take a little kernel of light and truth, and put it out there for the world to see? A blog entry, a Facebook post, or, since this site is primarily for writers, how about a poem, a short story, or a novel?
The President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ made us a promise. Here it is again, and I’ll let him close out what I’m trying to say: