“To Mother Eve, to Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, to Mary of Nazareth, and to a Mother in Heaven, I say, ‘Thank you for your crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity.’ ”
Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Behold Thy Mother,” October 2015 General Conference
“This is the story of a young woman named Rebekah.
“As this story unfolds, Abraham charges his servant with finding a worthy young woman to be his son Isaac’s wife. She must be one who qualifies for a covenant marriage—virtuous and pure and worthy. And so he sends his servant on a long and dangerous journey to a place called Haran. The reason he must go there is clear—holy men need holy women to stand by their sides. As the servant approached the city of Nahor, he stopped at a well to water his camels and he prayed that he would be led to the right young woman and that he would recognize her by her offer to get water for him and his 10 camels. Now, I have ridden a camel, and this much I know—camels drink a lotof water!
“In Genesis we read that Rebekah not only went down to the well and got water, but she ‘hasted,’ or hurried, to accomplish this task. The servant then placed bracelets and jewelry on Rebekah and asked if there was room in her father’s home for him to stay. I am sure the jewelry helped! The scripture reads, ‘And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother’s house these things.’ Rebekah must have been a runner!
“The servant told Rebekah’s family the purpose of his long journey, and Rebekah agreed to become Isaac’s wife. The servant desired to leave the very next day with Rebekah, but her family entreated her to stay with them at least 10 more days. Then they asked Rebekah what she wanted to do, and her response was simply ‘I will go.’ Does that response sound familiar to the response of thousands who resolutely responded, ‘I will go; I will do’ when our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, announced the opportunity for young men and young women to serve missions at a younger age?
“Now the moral and ending of this love story: Rebekah was prepared and worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and to become a covenant wife of Isaac. She did not have to wait and prepare herself. Prior to her departure from her family, she was given a blessing, and the words are stirring to me, for she was promised that she would become ‘the mother of thousands of millions.’ But the best part of this love story is when Rebekah first saw Isaac and he first saw her. It doesn’t say this in the Bible, but I think it was love at first sight! For ‘virtue loveth virtue; [and] light cleaveth unto light.’ When Isaac went out to meet the caravan, Rebekah ‘lighted off [her] camel.’ And then it says, ‘And he loved her.’ ”
Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women General President
“Be Not Moved!” April 2013 General Conference
“…don’t be paralyzed from fear of making mistakes. Thrust your hands into the clay of your lives and begin. I love how Rebekah of old responded to Abraham’s servant who came in search of a wife for Isaac. Her answer was simple and direct, ‘I will go,’ she said.
“Rebekah could have refused. She could have told the servant to wait until she had the proper send-off, a new wardrobe, until she lost a few pounds, or until the weather was more promising. She could have said, ‘What’s wrong with Isaac that he can’t find a wife in all of Canaan?’ But she didn’t. She acted, and so should we.
“The time for procrastination is over. Begin! Don’t be afraid. Do the best you can. Of course you will make mistakes. Everyone does. Learn from them and move forward.”
Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society General President
“We Are Creators,” April 2000 General Conference
“Yours is the grand tradition of Eve, the mother of all the human family, the one who understood that she and Adam had to fall in order that ‘men [and women] might be’ and that there would be joy. Yours is the grand tradition of Sarah and Rebekah and Rachel, without whom there could not have been those magnificent patriarchal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob which bless us all. Yours is the grand tradition of Lois and Eunice and the mothers of the 2,000 stripling warriors. Yours is the grand tradition of Mary, chosen and foreordained from before this world was, to conceive, carry, and bear the Son of God Himself.”
“In the scriptures, we find many examples of women whose daily efforts reflected charity. With their hearts filled with the pure love of Christ, they responded to needs quickly and effectively.
“Rebekah, who eventually became the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau, was just such a woman. In the normal pattern of her daily tasks, she was kind to Abraham’s servant who was visiting her village on the dramatic mission to secure a wife for Isaac.
“The Lord knew Rebekah’s heart; he knew how she would respond when she observed a need. He answered the servant’s prayer that the young woman who was to become Isaac’s wife would offer him water.
“In Genesis we read, ‘Behold, Rebekah came out … with her pitcher upon her shoulder’ and went down to the well. You know that story. The servant asked for a drink. Whole family trees hung in the balance of her answer.
“She said, ‘Drink, my lord,’ and then added, ‘I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.’
“ ‘And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels’.
“Her brother Laban invited him to lodge, and not until the servant was introduced did she discover he was the servant of her uncle. Her charitable response to this stranger was automatic. She did not stop to think, I am giving service, nor did she consider the station of the one in need. She hastened to serve water—to camels.
“Respectfully, she offered an act of service, a simple one, and from that act was born a family of great influence for whole dispensations. Rebekah loved with worthiness and willingness as a daughter of God. Remember the question, Who can gauge the reach of our goodness?
“From her we learn that charity, though often quantified as the action, is actually the state of the heart that prompts us to love one another. She offered water. It was in the offering that charity was manifest.”