Women of Strength
copyright Tristi Pinkston 2012
The great white castle stood high on a hill, surrounded by trees and a broad moat. War had been waged against the kingdom, and soldiers from all the villages in the land had been pressed into service. It had been weeks since the first arrow flew, and as news of the battle reached the ears of the king, he grew concerned for the well-being of his people.
As he met with his faithful messenger, a man who had climbed the steep hill on legs too weak to carry him farther, the king made a decision. His troops were tiring, and they needed his strength, his encouragement, to press forward. He himself must ride forth to rally them, but that would mean leaving his castle and all his treasures behind.
If the enemy were to break through the king’s lines of defense, the kingdom would be lost. The king was tempted to stay behind the thick stone walls and protect the castle himself, but he was wise. He knew the enemy must be stopped before it could ever reach the gates. Once inside, it would be far too easy for the marauders to swarm every room, plundering and stealing, and finally setting their own leader on the throne. No—they must be stopped before they ever got that close. The king must go out to meet his men and lead them into that last furious battle himself.
But that meant trusting his castle would be protected while he was gone. The king called together the knights who remained. He looked them over. He thought about the character of each man. In the end, he selected those who were the most dedicated, the most diligent, the most devoted, and he put them in charge of guarding the castle gate. He knew these men would not flee from danger or succumb to bribery. He could trust them to defend the castle and his most precious possessions inside.
Elder Horacio A. Tenorio said, “We must make of our homes fortresses to protect our families against the constant attacks of the adversary” (Horacio A. Tenorio, “Let Us Build Fortresses,” Ensign, Nov. 1994).
Each of our homes is like a castle. Our most precious resources live inside—the little princes and princesses who will become kings and queens. Just as in days of old, our castles are under attack today. We are bombarded by movies and television shows, obscene lyrics in music, crude language being used on the playground and at the workplace, unkindness being shown at stores and in parking lots, pornographic images on magazine covers and brought to life in the clothing choices of some we may see or encounter. Our homes are havens, created to give us respite from the world. We can come inside, raise our drawbridges, and block out the world. We can create our own atmospheres. We can fight off the advancing armies as they try to come in, but we need gatekeepers to stand firm and protect us.
And when God needed to assign strong, dedicated, and courageous people to be those gatekeepers, whom did He choose?
Our Heavenly Father asked us as His daughters to safeguard our homes from the evils of the world around us. He did not do this because He felt we should be kept tucked away—He did this because He knew He could trust us with this most important of all tasks. Just as the king would not assign the role of gatekeeper to a cowardly, whimpering squire incapable of wielding a sword, our Father would not give the crucially important charge of protecting the home to someone who was not up to the challenge. He has great confidence in the strength of women. He knows that a mother will stand between her child and any danger. He knows that a woman will do whatever it takes to nurture and protect those she loves. Our God-given assignment of nurturing the family was not made accidentally, nor was it designed to make us feel less than the men or to put us down in any way. It is God’s greatest compliment. He has placed His most valuable treasure—His children—under the guard of women because He knows we will get the job done.
Margaret D. Nadauld stated in general conference: “A woman of faith is fearless. She fears no evil, for God is with her. There is no ambiguity, no uncertain trump in her life. She can live a principled life because she studies the doctrine and teachings of a perfect teacher, the Master. She is a noble example to all who know her. She is less than perfect, of course, not because she doesn’t have perfect principles or the perfect example in Christ, but because she is human. She stays away from the evil influence and the unclean thing, and if it encroaches on her territory, she is as a lioness protecting her cubs” (Margaret D. Nadauld, “A Woman of Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 2002).
We already know the world is becoming increasingly more wicked. It has been prophesied since the beginning of time, and we see it happening all around us. Our children are subjected daily to things our parents never had to encounter. Sin is more and more blatant. Righteousness is considered old-fashioned and boring. Those who adhere steadfastly to the principles of the gospel are considered uptight zealots. Sometimes it’s easier to let a few things slide, to let our grip on the iron rod loosen a little so we can more easily fit in with our friends, coworkers, or just society in general. But this is something we absolutely must not do.
We live in a day of warning (see Doctrine and Covenants 63:58). Our prophets have cautioned us about this time in which we live, and they have begged us to strengthen ourselves and to be prepared to face the challenges that will arise. We know we can’t sit on the fence. The Lord said, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16). We know we have to choose one side or the other, and if we believe we don’t have to make that choice, we are very wrong. Those who don’t make a solid, firm choice for righteousness will find themselves on the side of evil through default.
Throughout this book, I hope to make a case for righteousness. I hope to demonstrate the strength of the sisters of this Church, to expound upon the reasons for added diligence, and to explore the areas in which we will be tested. I do this as much for myself as for any reader, to shore up my own faltering steps and to keep myself attuned to the Lord’s compass. Our task is tremendous, but our ability to complete it is even greater. We have been given every tool necessary, and now the choice is ours—to pick up those tools and use them in building up the kingdom of God.
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