“Notwithstanding this preeminence given the creation of woman, she has so frequently through the ages been relegated to a secondary position. She has been putdown. She has been denigrated. She has been enslaved. She has been abused. And yet some few of the greatest characters of scripture have been women of integrity, accomplishment, and faith.
“We have Esther, Naomi, and Ruth of the Old Testament. We have Sariah of the Book of Mormon. We have Mary, the very mother of the Redeemer of the world. We have her as the chosen of God, described by Nephi as ‘a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.’
“She it was who carried the child Jesus into Egypt to save His life from the wrath of Herod. She it was who nurtured Him in His boyhood and young manhood. She stood before Him when His pain-wracked body hung upon the cross on Calvary’s hill. In His suffering He said to her, ‘Woman, behold thy son!’ And to His disciple in a plea that he care for her, He said, ‘Behold thy mother!’.
“Crossing through His life we have Mary and Martha, and Mary of Magdala. She it was who came to the tomb that first Easter morning. And to her, a woman, He first appeared as the resurrected Lord. Why is it that even though Jesus placed woman in a position of preeminence, so many men who profess His name fail to do so?”
Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church
“The Women in Our Lives,” October 2004 General Conference
“To the credit of gentle, loving women everywhere, our Redeemer chose as the first mortal witness of His resurrection from the dead a woman, Mary Magdalene.”
F. Melvin Hammond, Second Quorum of the Seventy
“The Resurrection,” April 1990 General Conference
“Who was the first mortal to see the resurrected Savior? Mary of Magdala. Special spiritual sensitivity keeps the women of God hoping long after many others have ceased.”
Neal A. Maxwell, Presidency of the Seventy
“The Women of God,” April 1978 General Conference
“Before anyone else saw Him, He made know His victory over death to this devoted and humble woman, whose name was Mary. She was the first one on earth to see a resurrected person, the first to greet the risen Lord as He emerged from the tomb—the first of all mankind, this lovely woman.
“All the hosts of heaven had looked forward to this great event. The ancient prophets had spoken of it and yearned for it. But who was favored to see it first? A woman—a faithful, believing woman, Mary—there in the garden, near the tomb, where the angels spoke to her.
“The Savior’s atonement was the most important thing that has ever happened. His resurrection was the crowning achievement of it all. And it was shown first to a righteous, believing woman.
“Then does Christ honor womanhood?
“His mother was a wonderful woman who nurtured Him through infancy, guided Him in His childhood, found Him in the temple when she thought He was lost, and initiated His first miracle when He became a man.
“Oh, how He honored His mother!
“And it was to a woman—a Samaritan woman by Jacob’s well—to whom He positively identified Himself as the Messiah when He said, ‘I that speak unto thee am he.’
“When Lazarus, His dear friend, passed away and the Lord visited the grieving family, it was to a woman that He made one of the most significant statements of His entire ministry: ‘I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.’
“It was a woman who bathed His feet with her tears. A woman anointed His head with costly ointment, a thing so significant in His eyes that He said that her act of adoration would be made known wherever the gospel is preached.
“It was a woman who received of His mercy when through her repentance she was told to go her way and sin no more.
“It was to a sick and suffering woman that He said, ‘Thy faith hath made thee whole.’
“It was a woman who begged Him to heal her daughter and in her pleading even likened herself to one eating crumbs under the table. His divine approbation distilled upon her, and He said: ‘O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.’
“It was out of compassion for a grieving widow that He raised her son from death. It was another widow whom He praised when her two mites were cast into the temple treasury.”
Mark E. Petersen, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Even As I Am,” April 1982 General Conference