Sister Christine C. Gilbert
Sister Gilbert is a native of Provo, Utah. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Family Science and taught elementary school before becoming a full-time homemaker.
Sister Gilbert has served in multiple ecclesiastical roles, including Primary president, seminary teacher, and Gospel Doctrine instructor.
She and her husband, Clark, were married as they graduated from BYU. They are the parents of eight children. Sister Gilbert has a love for learning, a passion for her family, and a commitment to the gospel.
Welcome to the first devotional of the semester! I appreciate the beautiful music and prayer, which have brought the Spirit here today. Thank you.
As members of the Church, we know how important the role of motherhood is. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has taught, "There is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God." I have come to witness this working within our family in my mothering role. I am so grateful to nurture and try to develop each of these remarkable children in my service as a mother.
There have been times in my life where others around me didn't feel quite the same type of enthusiasm. I remember working at a job in California when I announced our first pregnancy. This was something we had been hoping for and praying about for a long time. I was surprised when one of my colleagues responded by asking me, "How can you have a baby when you haven't even owned a dog?" Later, we began graduate school when our oldest son was eight months old. Our new little family found ourselves at an opening social with the doctoral students in my husband's program. I could tell right away that we were unlike anyone else in this group. Not only were we among the few who were married; we were the only ones who had a child. As I began visiting with people, someone asked me the question "What do you do?" I stood confidently in front of this accomplished Harvard Business School student and responded, "I am a mom!" I'm not sure what I expected his reply to be, but what came next was a long awkward pause. "A mom ... and nothing else?" he seemed to say. Somehow, I got through both of those very uncomfortable conversations and learned how to better navigate responses to being a mother.
As the world continues to shift, how can we learn to build the role of mothers?
In the Book of Mormon, we read how the Gadianton robbers were growing in strength against the Nephites. By the request of his people, Gidgiddoni went to the Lord asking how they might defend themselves from these robbers. The response from the Lord was instructive.
We will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, ... we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us.
Just like the Nephites prepared in the very center of their lands for the enemy, so must we prepare at the very center of our homes and families by building and strengthening the role of mothers.
Today I would like to share counsel both to our young women and to our young men in how they might further defend the role of motherhood.
Sisters, while you immerse yourself in education at BYU-Idaho, you have the great opportunity to develop attributes essential for mothers, but you also have the opportunity to be thoughtful about your choice to be a mother.
Sister Julie B. Beck has said,
The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know.... When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence....
Sisters, when you know why the Lord wants you to be a mother, you will have more courage to stand up against a society that would belittle that choice. You will also have the depth of character to develop the talents and skills needed to be an effective mother.
To the brethren, you can learn now to support, defend, and encourage the women in your lives. Start with your own mothers and sisters by respecting and showing gratitude to them for all they do. Secondly, be considerate to the women you come in contact with each day in your wards, home evening groups, and classes. Elder Quentin L. Cook described how we might be more supportive of mothers:
First, no woman should ever feel the need to apologize or feel that her contribution is less significant because she is devoting her primary efforts to raising and nurturing children. Nothing could be more significant in our Father in Heaven's plan. Second, we should all be careful not to be judgmental or assume that sisters are less valiant if the decision is made to work outside the home. We rarely understand or fully appreciate people's circumstances. Husbands and wives should prayerfully counsel together, understanding they are accountable to God for their decisions.
For all of us, if we don't hold up the role of motherhood, others in the world will tear it down! We are so blessed at BYU-Idaho to be in a place where motherhood is valued and to be surrounded by people who seek to defend the family. This is a perfect time to prepare at your very center by building, lifting, and strengthening each other. It is my prayer that we can work together to defend and build mothers. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 Jeffrey R. Holland, "Because She Is a Mother," Ensign, April 1997.  3 Nephi 3: 21; emphasis added.  Julie B. Beck, "Mothers Who Know," Ensign, October 2007.  Quentin L. Cook, "LDS Women Are Incredible!" Ensign, April 2011.