My visiting teacher, Sis. Beyonda Shadda, asked if she could share the message this month. “I know you don’t like to hear the lesson,” she began.
“I don’t mind discussing the message. I just find it boring to hear it read aloud,” I assured her.
“The lesson this month is on ‘Guardians of the Hearth’ which is such a lovely thought,” Sister Beyonda said. “I just want to read you what Pres. Hinckley said at a Women’s Conference.” She unfolded her copy and read:
You are the guardians of the hearth. You are the bearers of the children. You are they who nurture them and establish within them the habits of their lives. No other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God.
I was polite. I didn’t ask her why Pres. Hinckley thought it important to tell Mormon women that they are the ones who bear and primarily care for their children— or that nurturing children is important. Don’t women already know that? Probably he was just repeating the Mormon myth that we are the only good people—the only people who love and value our children—and that we must preach this message to “the world.”
I assured Sister Beyonda that raising my five children was the greatest joy and achievement of my life. She frowned in disbelief. How could I be a loving mother without hearing weekly sermons and Relief Society lessons telling me motherhood is a sacred obligation?