Comparisons

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“In the work of salvation, there is no room for comparison, criticism, or condemnation. It is not about age, experience, or public acclaim. This sacred work is about developing a broken heart, a contrite spirit, and a willingness to use our divine gifts and unique talents to do the Lord’s work in His way. It is the humility to fall on our knees and say, ‘O my Father, … not as I will, but as thou wilt.’ ”

Carol F. McConkie, First Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
Here to Serve a Righteous Cause,” October 2015 General Conference

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“To be sisters implies that there is an unbreakable bond between us. Sisters take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other, and are there for each other through thick and thin. The Lord has said, ‘I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine’ (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27).

“The adversary would have us be critical or judgmental of one another. He wants us to concentrate on our differences and compare ourselves to one another. You may love to exercise vigorously for an hour each day because it makes you feel so good, while I consider it to be a major athletic event if I walk up one flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator.

“We can still be friends, can’t we?

“We as women can be particularly hard on ourselves. When we compare ourselves to one another, we will always feel inadequate or resentful of others. Sister Patricia T. Holland once said, ‘The point is, we simply cannot call ourselves Christian and continue to judge one another—or ourselves—so harshly.’ She goes on to say that there is nothing that is worth us losing our compassion and sisterhood over. We just need to relax and rejoice in our divine differences. We need to realize that we all desire to serve in the kingdom, using our unique talents and gifts in our own ways. Then we can enjoy our sister and our associations and begin to serve.”

Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President
Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other,” April 2014 General Conference

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“Do the challenges of others appear more difficult than our own? We often look at someone with tremendous responsibilities and think, ‘I could never do that.’ Yet others might look at us and feel exactly the same way. It is not the magnitude of the responsibility but rather how it feels to be the one in the middle of the unfinished task. For a young mother with many children at home, caring for them through the day and then through the night could feel like a thousand miles yet to walk. Giving a lesson in Relief Society to women who are older or younger, more experienced or more educated could feel difficult, especially when the topic is one you are struggling to understand and live yourself. Teaching a class of 10 active six-year-olds can be daunting, especially when your own six-year-old is in the class and you haven’t quite figured out how to teach him one-on-one…To keep going, to stay faithful, and to finish has to be its own reward.”

Gayle M. Clegg, Second Counselor, Primary General Presidency
The Finished Story,” April 2004 General Conference

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“We also lose sight of that good part when we compare ourselves to others. Her hair is cuter, my legs are fatter, her children are more talented, or her garden’s more productive—sisters, you know the drill. We just can’t do that. We cannot allow ourselves to feel inadequate by focusing on who we aren’t instead of on who we are! We are all sisters in Relief Society. We simply cannot criticize, gossip, or judge and keep the pure love of Christ. Can’t you hear the Lord’s sweet injunction: ‘Martha, Martha … ?’ “

Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society General President
Choosing Charity: That Good Part,” October 2003 General Conference

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“We knew that women struggling to clarify their identities could best do that not by comparing themselves to other women but by understanding their important place as full and equal partners with men in receiving, in righteousness, the saving ordinances established by Christ. We saw that men and women are baptized, are offered the gift of the Holy Ghost, partake of the sacrament, and make sacred covenants in the temples of the Church in exactly the same ways. We would not try to describe an ideal Mormon woman. We would seek instead to teach that Christ is our model and that as we are filled with his love, we are his disciples.”

Aileen H. Clyde, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Relief Society: Charity, the Guiding Principle,” October 1993 General Conference

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“For many of us, comparing ourselves to a practically perfect Latter-day Saint woman is part of how things are. While some of us are motivated and encouraged by such imagined or real-life models, others of us are disheartened and discouraged by this same ideal woman—whether she is a composite of many women, or someone of whom we have read, or even someone we know.

“As women make these comparisons, I hear such comments as: ‘When they talk about being a good mother in Relief Society, I always feel so guilty because sometimes I shout at my children.’ ‘I’m not comfortable in church because my husband isn’t active.’ ‘I wish I didn’t have to work, but I need a paycheck to sustain my family.’

“I’ve heard: ‘I’m not a mother. I’m not married, and I’m most painfully aware of this in Relief Society and sacrament meeting. I often go home feeling that they don’t know what to do with me in the Church.’

“These statements and others like them come, I believe, from unrealistic comparisons we make against some ideal. Because I know many of you, I know of your goodness and your individual gifts from the Lord. I can see that these comparisons may keep you from achieving your potential and basking in associations that will enrich your lives and the lives of others. Sometimes the basis for these incorrect comparisons comes from other Relief Society sisters, the Relief Society organization, or expectations about roles in life. Whatever the origin, the point of comparison is wrong unless it accounts for things as they really are—now and forever.”

Elaine L. Jack, Relief Society General President
These Things Are Manifested unto Us Plainly,” October 1990 General Conference

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“We can never accurately take the measure of our lives based on social, economic, ethnic, age, marital, or physical conditions. Ask yourself, are the comparisons you may make of yourself and others based on the model of the Savior’s life, or do they come from trying to fit your life into the pattern of others’ lives?

“Sometimes comparisons creep up on us. We sit in Relief Society surrounded by our neighbors and friends, all of whom seem to raise the best children, to teach the most profound lessons, and to possess the greatest spirituality. It can feel so discouraging.

“Some of you may say, ‘I’m just average. There’s nothing special about me or my life.’ And yet what is manifested plainly to me is that you are extraordinary, you whose average day is lived in accordance with our Heavenly Father’s laws.”

Elaine L. Jack, Relief Society General President
These Things Are Manifested unto Us Plainly,” October 1990 General Conference

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