This session of the October 1973 Conference had a significant focus on the preservation of the family. Two speakers described Satan’s attack on the family in frightening detail.
Elder Victor Brown explained that, “I believe Satan’s ultimate goal is to destroy the family, because if he would destroy the family, he will not just have won the battle; he will have won the war.”
Elder Tanner noted that, “It is of great concern to all who understand this glorious concept that Satan and his cohorts are using scientific arguments and nefarious propaganda to lure women away from their primary responsibilities as wives, mothers, and homemakers.”
These are controversial remarks, but they are nevertheless true. They are not derogatory or offensive to women, but uplifting and inspiring. Tanner offers a compelling vision of the majestic role of women.
“First of all, as I mentioned before, she is a co-partner with God in bringing his spirit children into the world. What a glorious concept! No greater honor could be given. With this honor comes the tremendous responsibility of loving and caring for those children so they might learn their duty as citizens and what they must do to return to their Heavenly Father. They must be taught to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and to accept and live his teachings. As they understand the purpose of life, why they are here and where they are going, they will have a reason for choosing the right and avoiding the temptations and buffetings of Satan, who is so very real and determined to destroy them.
A mother has far greater influence on her children than anyone else, and she must realize that every word she speaks, every act, every response, her attitude, even her appearance and manner of dress affect the lives of her children and the whole family. It is while the child is in the home that he gains from his mother the attitudes, hopes, and beliefs that will determine the kind of life he will live, and the contribution he will make to society.”
What a powerful perspective. This isn’t to say that women cannot do immense good in the public sphere. This isn’t to denegrate the brilliant and talented female professionals that I’ve known. This doesn’t decide a question that every woman must prayerfully decide for herself. But I do think it provides an expansive and profound vision of the role of mothers and women more generally.