I am going to scramble her talk a bit for conversational purposes. Sister Beck shall be lilac and I shall be black. First we have the parts with which I have no problem whatsoever. Then I shall move to the concepts that have caused me concern.
Mothers Who Know Are Leaders. Yes.
Mothers Who Know Bear Children. Yes, I've structured my entire adult life around this principle.
Mothers who know desire to bear children. Whereas in many cultures in the world children are "becoming less valued," in the culture of the gospel we still believe in having children. Prophets, seers, and revelators who were sustained at this conference have declared that "God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force." President Ezra Taft Benson taught that young couples should not postpone having children and that "in the eternal perspective, children—not possessions, not position, not prestige—are our greatest jewels."Mothers Who Know Stand Strong and Immovable. I really like the phrase "women who know and love the Lord and bear testimony of Him, women who are strong and immovable and who do not give up during difficult and discouraging times."
Mothers Who Know Do Less. "They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally.. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Yes, but one woman's superfluous, worldly activity is another woman's essential family activity.
Mothers Who Know Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants A true principle, (Mothers who know honor sacred ordinances and covenants. . . .They know that if they are not pointing their children to the temple, they are not pointing them toward desired eternal goals. These mothers have influence and power.") , backed by a poor example: third world mothers carefully groom their children. Um...OK.
Now to the biggy for the piggy, the most problematic passage for me: Mothers Who Know Are Nurturers
Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. . . . .Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a "house of order," and women should pattern their homes after the Lord's house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work.Recently a surprising thought came to me as I was discussing the Covey priority quadrants with E-Teen, illustrating the principle with some activities in my life.
I realized something that has been patently obvious to anyone who knows me: cleaning my house has always fallen into the sad, grey area of "not important." Sometimes it's "urgent and not important." (Can't eat dinner until the dishes are done. Everyone is out of clean clothes. Must find the birth certificate in those piles of papers today.) Sometimes it's "not urgent and not important." (Cobwebs. Grout. The thirty rubbermaid containers stacked in the corner, patiently awaiting sorting.) I have viewed housework as a waste of time, not worthy of my attention.
But here's the deal: sometimes life is downright unpleasant because of the chaos and mess. From time to time, we lose or forget something really important. Precious belongings have been stepped on, besmirched with raisins, or soaked in milk.
If not doing housework results in panic, sorrow, anger, and revenge within our family, then perhaps I need to re-prioritize. Many important, worthwhile things in life can be difficult and unpleasant. Childbirth comes to mind. Going to work every day to earn a living, learning, changing diapers come to mind. Now, dagnabit, keeping the house clean does too.
In short, I think that Sister Beck was trying to stage the intervention in my life that no one else dared to stage. If my mother, mother-in-law, husband, child or best friend attempted such a thing, the results would not have been pretty. Being angry with a loved one for more than a year can be problematic. Sister Beck took my fury with the grace and emotional distance that only a complete stranger could muster.
I don't know how this knowledge is going to play out in real life. Will caring more make the actual mess better? How shall I gain the cooperation of the family? Will I become psychotic in the effort to rein in the chaos? Don't know.
Probably oughta talk to God about it. He managed to organize the chaos of the cosmos into Earth. Certainly, my chaos won't be outside his power.