This author has always had a deep and abiding respect for womanhood, and especially for those choice daughters of our Heavenly Father whom He has called to be mothers. Mothers are indeed the true heartbeat of any home. There is no one in the entire world that is comparable to the remarkable women that mothers are. It is the sweet caresses and warm, gentle love of a mother that welcomes a newborn babe into the world. And it is her many unsung sacrifices, and sometimes unappreciated dedication and devotion that are often called upon to sustain her family. By nature, mothers are loving, gentle, and kind, but they also know how to scold and correct when necessary. Said the American writer, Pearl S. Buck, “Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.”
The Mother’s Role in the Family
In 1995 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church by the media and others) issued a statement titled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” which defined the official position of the church on family, marriage, gender roles, and human sexuality. Gordon B. Hinckley, then President and Prophet of the LDS Church, first read the Proclamation on 23 September 1995, at the Church’s General Relief Society Meeting, stating that the purpose was to “warn and forewarn” the world to the danger of deviating from its standards. The proclamation is displayed in Church buildings, and many Latter-day Saints have framed copies in their homes.
The proclamation opens with the clarion statement that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and [that] the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” It further states,
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations. . . .
By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
Mothers, although primarily responsible for the nurturing of their children do so with the loving support of their husbands. They realize that the father is the Priesthood authority in the home, and they respect and honor that authority, and teach their children to do likewise.
The True Heartbeat of Any Home
This author firmly believes that if a person wants to gauge the true thermometer of any home, it is best to get to know the mother – the Matriarch of that home. It is the mother who sets the atmosphere of the home, no matter what that atmosphere may be. And when she is away, or if she passes away and is called back home to the Father, her presence is sorely missed, as there is a sudden, noticeable change in that atmosphere.
Edwin Hubbell Chapin, an American preacher and editor of the Christian Leader, once said:
No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star.
A mother’s love is radiated throughout the home in everything that she does – from taking care of her children, to supporting her husband in any way that she is able, to making the home a little bit of “Heaven on earth”, not only for her family, but for all who enter the portals of the home.
A mother relentlessly gives of her time, talents, and abilities to be of service to her family, as well as to others, many times putting her own needs and desires on the shelf, insisting that satisfying the needs of others should always have top priority. As mother and author, Tenneva Jordan so eloquently quipped, “A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”
Indeed, mothers could be considered the “unsung hero” of the home due to her many sacrifices, unfailing love, and endless devotion. And let us not forget those mothers who spend countless hours on their knees praying to the Father on behalf of their children – when they are small and maturing into adulthood, and even long after they have reached adulthood and have started lives of their own. President Abraham Lincoln probably stated it best when he said, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”
Her Children Will Arise and Call Her Blessed!
How do Mormons honor motherhood? On Mother’s Day, they may begin with a family prayer, have breakfast together as a family (which the father and/or one of the children may prepare) at home, and then go to Church together as a family. Usually at the end of Sacrament services, the young men of the congregation will present the mothers present with a small gift such as a flower, some chocolates, or something that expresses appreciation for motherhood and all that it means.
After Church services are over, mothers may be blessed to go home to a meal that has been especially prepared for her by her family who loves her dearly. This is her special day, and father, and children, shower her with small tokens of their love and appreciation for all that she does. Those gifts can range from something that was purchased at a store to the self-made tokens which express love and appreciation given by the younger children of the family.
But, Mother’s Day is not the only day that Latter-day Saints give honorable recognition to motherhood. Every day is a day to celebrate motherhood. Children are taught from their youth to love, honor, obey, and respect their mother. Father’s teach their children through their own example of loving and respecting their wives.
How do Mormons honor motherhood? As the wise man, Solomon, taught us, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Proverbs 31:28)