Women At Church stories are submitted by church members and shared anonymously.
When we were in our early thirties, my husband was called onto the high council of a university stake. We were asked to speak once a month together in the various wards of the stake. We were also asked to have our 4 children participate through songs and talks. The stake president said, “We want the women of our stake to be taught by the experience of the women and well as the men who are their leaders.” At stake conferences, the women married to the members of the stake presidency always spoke, along with their husbands. Those men had the vision of how much more would be learned by the congregation if their wives also shared their own stories and testimonies. It was powerful. I still remember, 25 years later, many things that were taught at that pulpit by those women and those men. We had a rich experience as a family, and were greatly blessed by those times, along with the students.
My husband was called as bishop sometime after that, over one of those wards. He continued, upon the advice of the stake president to invite me to speak at each ward conference, and asked me to teach Relief Society occasionally. The students in our stewardship did thrive on the involvement of our family, with our five children, in that ward. We were just ahead of them on the journey of building a family in this mortality, and they often expressed their gratitude and enthusiasm for examples and ideas for their own futures. Our family was equally blessed in return by their examples and love. We were not perfect, but that served to make the experience all the more real and easily shared.
I will always be grateful for that wise stake presidency, and the loving God who revealed these principles of leadership to them. They set a high standard for couples and families in that married student stake. They made both the man and the woman of equal importance, strengthened marriage and family, and allowed us to share the burden and joy of the work of building the kingdom, in both small and important ways together. The wards and stakes operated on principles of love and inclusion; and the love was keenly felt. It was a vibrant, joyful time for me and my family. I am so grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in these latter days; and the continuing revelatory blessings made possible by that restoration.