Do you remember what was going on in 1995? Beijing, China was the host of an International Conference on Women, September 4 - 15. All year as I listened to NPR I heard about this conference and how Hilary Clinton and women like her were going and representing the United States; these women talked about empowering women and the changing face of gender roles, the obsolescence of marriage, homosexuality, and such. It was pretty frightening and I prayed fervently that the Lord through his prophet would say something and set the world straight. I longed to hear a voice of reason and truth, rather than the strident voices of those women. I watched every issue of the Ensign, waited for a letter read from the pulpit, something, anything, but nothing was said. The time of the conference came and went and I was so disappointed that nothing happened from church leaders.
At the time I was first counselor in a stake Relief Society presidency and we hosted a reception prior to the annual General Relief Society Broadcast September 23. Being on the east coast we began the reception at 7:00 and moved into the chapel just before eight to watch the broadcast. I will never forget the thrill that went through me when President Gordon B. Hinckley read The Family - A Proclamation to the World. I sat with tears streaming down my face as I heard eternal truths spoken with authority by a prophet of God. My prayers were answered, true to form, in a way better than I could have imagined. My heart was so full I thought I'd burst. When I got home and tried to go to sleep words were swirling around in my head. I got up and wrote them down quickly so as not to lose them, and over the next few days completed a simple hymn expressing my gratitude. I sent it to President Hinckley whose secretary sent a kind note back. My prayers included many expressions of thanksgiving for the proclamation over the next weeks and months.
Here is the hymn - It fits to the tune of God Moves in a Mysterious Way (#285 LDS Hymns).
How Blessed We Are
By Rozann W. Thoelke
How blessed we are to have a guide,
A prophet of the Lord
To lead us in these latter-days
Of famine, drought, and sword.
With strident voices on all sides
He speaks a calming word
To cheer us and encourage us;
The Lord, our prayers has heard.
He calls to us “Repent from sin.”
And asks us to do more
To live the gospel in our homes
Rich blessings are in store.
We pray for him to lead us in
The way of righteousness.
He has not faltered, nor yet will
Let’s follow and be blessed.
I'm grateful for the proclamation even more sixteen years later. Just this week I read a news story about a group working toward legitimizing pedophilia. In 2008 when California was trying to pass the proposition declaring marriage to be between a man and a woman only, there was a lot, A LOT, of flack in Utah about it. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune (and it was published) that included this line "Society shouldn’t redefine marriage. What would be next? Include pedophilia, incest, bestiality? Should all deviancies be tolerated?" Was I prescient or what?