“Rise up!” General Women’s Session: President Bonnie Oscarson
Young Women General President, Bonnie L. Oscarson, spoke to all the women, young women, and girls at Saturday’s Women’s session. She said she was inspired by an old talk from President Hinckley, and used the same recurring theme of “Rise up!” as a way to motivate and inspire the women and girls to do good things.
In describing “our day” she quotes from Mormon and mentions that we are seeing wars, rumors of war, pollutions, murders, pride, expensive clothing, and being so obsessed with worldly things that we allow the sick and needy to pass by.
In quoting Joseph Smith, she mentions that in the last days, even the “very elect of the covenant” will be deceived and then clarifies that even *we* are at risk of being deceived by false teachings. She quotes Elder Gary Stevenson and says that the “compensation for living in perilous times is that we also live in the fullness of times.” Despite the messages of “our day” we have many “reasons to be optimistic.”
She quotes Sheri Dew, “…the moment we learn to unleash the full influence of converted, covenanted-keeping women, the kingdom of God will change overnight.”
President Oscarson presents three areas she considers to be foundational to strong testimonies.
- Acknowledge the centrality of God our Eternal Father and His son Jesus Christ to our faith and salvation.
- Understand the need for the Restoration. (Recognize that Joseph Smith organized the women of the church patterned after how the women that existed in Christ’s church anciently.
- Understand temple covenants and ordinances.
In encouraging all young women and girls to ‘Rise up in faith” to influence their families and homes, she says, “Even if your homes are less than ideal, your personal examples of faithful gospel living can influence the lives of your families and friends.”
Regarding young women, leadership, and the priesthood, she says, “Young women of the church needs to see themselves as essential participants in the priesthood-directed work of salvation and not just as onlookers and supporters. You hold callings and are set apart by those holding priesthood keys to function as leaders with power and authority in this work. As you magnify your callings in class presidencies, and prepare spiritually, council together, reach out to minster to your class members and teach each other the gospel, you are taking your place in this work….”
“All women need to see themselves as essential participants in work of the Priesthood. Women in this church are Presidents, councilors, teachers, members of councils, sisters and mothers, and the kingdom of God cannot function unless we rise up…”
She then transitions into talking about how we need to make our homes safe places to ask questions, that parents need to actively bring up difficult topics with their children (according to what’s happening in the world, or online) and not shy away from having bold, straightforward discussions.
“I worry that we live in such an atmosphere of avoiding offense that we sometimes altogether avoid teaching correct principles.”
She encourages us to discuss motherhood, education, marriage, gender issues and healthy sexuality, by using sensitivity, but also be bold in teaching youth.
“If we don’t teach our children and youth true doctrine and teach it clearly, the world will teach them Satan’s lies.”
The best part of the talk for me was in the motivating and encouraging way she asked us to rise up, magnify our callings, take our place as essential participants in the work of salvation and be heard.