“I affirm my profound belief that God’s greatest creation is womanhood. I also believe that there is no greater good in all the world than motherhood. The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation. Single parents, most of whom are mothers, perform an especially heroic service…”. (James E. Faust, Father, Come Home in the Ensign May 1993)
The Famous Poet William Ross Wallace wrote in 1865
Woman, how divine your mission
Here upon our natal sod!
Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
As stated in the poem, motherhood is indeed a divine calling from God. That Jesus Christ valued the nurturing of children is evidenced in the scriptures. “Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:13-14 in the Bible) “And when he had said these words, he wept and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them. (3 Nephi 17:21 in the Book of Mormon). Jesus Christ also taught, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40 in the Bible)
Selfless Nature of Motherhood
A scene from Victor Hugo’s 1874 novel Ninety-Three reads: “She has kept none for herself,” grumbled the sergeant. “Because she is not hungry,” said a soldier. “Because she is a mother,” said the sergeant. Motherhood by nature has an outward rather than inward focus. She “seeketh not her own” (1 Corinthians 13:5 in the Bible). Religious leader Jeffrey R. Holland said, “No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child.” (General Conference October, 2015) While society tends to relegate motherhood to the sidelines, the value of creating an environment conducive to the physical, mental, and spiritual growth of children cannot be overestimated. A society that does not value its children, does not value itself or its future and will eventually fail to progress.
True motherhood goes far beyond biological parenthood. Author Sheri Dew (who had no children of her own) said, “Few of us will reach our potential without the nurturing of both the mother who bore us and the mothers who bear with us.” Grandmothers, aunts, sisters, teachers, advisors, leaders, neighbors, and friends are all needed to love and guide children and youths within their own spheres of influence. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of mothering is the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who had no children of her own. Speaking of the need to provide physical and spiritual nourishment to all of God’s children, she said, “What you are doing I cannot do, what I’m doing you cannot do, but together we are doing something beautiful for God, and this is the greatness of God’s love for us — to give us the opportunity to become holy through the works of love that we do.” Mother Teresa also said, “The problem with our world is that we draw the circle of family too small.”
“To all of our mothers everywhere, past, present, or future, I say, Thank you. Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ.” Jeffrey R. Holland, General Conference October 2015). The Savior in His hour of agony, looked down on His suffering mother and made provision for her care. Perhaps these words apply not just to John but to us all: “Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!” (John 19:27 in the Bible)
The research and preparation for this article was accomplished by Melinda Sturgell, my beloved daughter.