I don’t know anything about Sarah Ann Meeks or why she wrote this piece for the Millennial Star in 1859. What appeals to me – despite the difficulty of her old-fashioned language – is her awareness, so familiar in our modern concern with being good examples in the world, that Mormon women “are the subjects of the conversation of the world in general,” and what seems to her to be the obvious division of the church into male and female, moving along parallel tracks: “Whilst our brethren are progressing, we should not content ourselves with merely looking on, or we shall find them moving without us.”
Address to the Young Sisters
By Sarah Ann Meeks
Have we, my sisters, considered our real position in the Church of God? Have we in our every-day life endeavoured to keep the covenants we made when we were admitted into the fellowship of the Saints by baptism? Let us pause, recall the past, and review our actions, before we answer these important questions. Let us see whether we have lived becomingly our profession as the people of the Most High, in imitation of holy women of old, whose adornment was that of a meek, quiet, and obedient spirit. Such a spirit should characterize all whose desire it is to obtain celestial life in the presence of the Father through the countless ages of eternity, as the partners of those who hold the power of the holy Priesthood, who, through their faithfulness, will eventually become Kings and priests to reign immortally upon the earth.
By obeying the gospel commands, we have obtained a knowledge that the Lord has again spoken through his servants the Prophets. “Repent and be baptised for the remission of sins,” is the Divine command to which we have bowed; and by the laying-on of the hands of those whose right it is to administer, we have received the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Bear in mind, then, that since we have become the possessors of such valuable knowledge, it is binding upon us that we act in accordance therewith, that those who yet remain in ignorance may be led by our example to investigate those principles which will, if we adhere to them, bring us again into the royal presence of the King of kings.
We must all be aware that we are the subjects of the conversation of the world in general. Hence it behooves us to be prudent in our walk and conduct among those who would rejoice to see and exhibit our follies and failings, imputing them to the influence of our religion: otherwise, we should grieve the Spirit and cause it to withdraw, leaving us in doubt and darkness. To what source could we then fly to fill the void made by the departure of the greatest blessing conferred on our fallen race? Alas, my sisters, those who have so far neglected their duty as to lose the Spirit (for saith God, “My spirit shall not always strive with man,”) cannot find equal enjoyment in anything else. They seek, but their search is vain; for the world cannot supply so great a boon.
Let us be cautious and endeavour to retain the Spirit, renouncing as far as possible the fellowship of the world, with its amusements that are so pernicious to the young and so ill calculated to improve our mental powers. But, realizing our present positions and aspiring to fill higher ones, let us cultivate our minds in our leisure moments, that we may be qualified to move in more exalted spheres. Whilst our brethren are progressing, we should not content ourselves with merely looking on, or we shall find them moving without us. Strive, then, dear young sisters, to become as lights in the world, by doing your duty with alacrity and delight; so will you enjoy that peace which is the fruit of the Spirit, and in the great day of accounts you will in no wise lose your reward.