By Small and Simple Things: Talks from the 2011 BYU Women's Conference (Hardcover)(edit)
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About seventy-five years before the advent of Jesus Christ, the prophet Alma met with his son Helaman to give him counsel. The theme of the 2011 BYU Women's Conference focuses on one facet of that advice, that "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise" (Alma 37:6).
The talks compiled here reflect that wise yet seemingly contradictory statement: Small and simple doctrines, acts, and thoughts are the basis of the great things that are accomplished through the gospel of Jesus Christ: from consistent daily prayer comes the faith and direction needed for a family to realize their dreams of living together forever; from monthly visits comes enduring friendship and inspired help; from steady scripture reading and pondering comes deep and abiding faith and insight.
"Vital spiritual patterns are evident in the life of the Savior, in the scriptures, and in the teachings of living prophets and apostles. These spiritual patterns are now and always have been important aids to discernment and sources of direction and protection for faithful Latter-day Saints."—Elder David A. Bednar
"The first great decision made on earth was Adam's decision to leave the Garden of Eden. In doing so he essentially left his Father to cleave to his wife. Given the choice of Eden or Eve, the paradise or the person, he chose Eve. He chose the person."—S. Michael Wilcox
"The purposes of Relief Society, as determined by the Lord, are to help us increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those who are in need. That's why Relief Society exists. The outcome is that we will improve women individually and as a whole and thus prepare for eternal life."—Julie B. Beck
"May each of us live our life in such a way so as to be known for tender, kind, refined, faithful, good, virtuous, and pure. In this way we will have demonstrated that choice to forgo being considered women of the world."—Ann M. Dibb
"Even though we may not see from minute to minute that we are moving forward and making progress, I believe we will be able to one day look back at our lives and see that we were, in fact, doing just what we needed to be doing at just the right time in just the right place."—Virginia H. Pearce
The talks contained in this treasury show the benefit of taking Alma's advice and focusing on the "small and simple things" of the gospel; steady, daily progress through small and simple acts of faith that garner great rewards in our Father's kingdom.
- Size: 6 x 9
- Pages: 192
- Released: 02/2012
About the Author
S. Michael Wilcox
I particularly love discussing the women of the scriptures. There are so very many stories, in the Bible especially, that lift and edify us whether we are men or women. There are so many lovely examples. They can be particularly edifying for women.
Out of Small Things
The theme for the 2011 BYU Women’s Conference is “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6–7). It brings to mind also the scripture “out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Usually when the Lord uses that phrase he is commenting on people, not events. In a sense, a woman or a man is a small thing. We are all small things. I am a small thing. You are a small thing. But out of small things—individual lives—out of mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, out of the women of the scriptures, great things have happened and God has worked wonders with individuals who, under normal circumstances, would be considered perhaps unimportant. I decided that I would read through Genesis, just the first book in the Bible, and choose some of the tales of the women who lived during those early days to see what they have to teach us. Taken as a whole, it seems as if they teach us truths about the value and the worth of women so that both men and women know something about how important they are.
Eve is introduced with these words, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). That is a doctrinal statement. In the April 2011 general conference, President Thomas S. Monson, Elder Richard G. Scott, and others taught that principle fairly forcefully to the young unmarried men. It is not good that the man should be alone. We, as males, need help. The book of Moses renders the next sentence slightly differently than does Genesis. The word “wherefore” is added (Moses 3:18). I think the wording is very critical: “Wherefore, I will make . . .” Let me pause here before finishing the sentence and ask you a question. Does the Lord say, “I will make an help mate for him,” “an helpmeet for him,” or does he say, “an help meet for him”? Most of the time we do not separate the two words, but it is always two words in the scriptural accounts. Woman is not an helpmate, or an helpmeet, she is an help meet. We should always pause a little between the two words when we read this description of Eve.
Help in the Hebrew means a number of things—to aid to be sure, but also “to surround and to protect.” She provides help that is surrounding and protecting in nature which corresponds so perfectly with the natural qualities of women. Think about that influence in the life of a child or a husband. The word translated in the Bible as meet has about fifteen different English words which can be used as synonyms. It suggests “equal to”—meaning equal to the man, but also equal to the task, sufficient, suitable, becoming, right, fit, proper, worthy, sufficient, competent, necessary, satisfying, complementary, and to make whole. Woman—Eve in this case—was a help, a surrounding, protecting help that fit all of those synonyms.
We are taught about the value and importance of womanhood in the environment in which Eve is brought to Adam. That setting is described in the words “deep sleep.” Eve is brought to Adam while he is in a deep sleep. Here is the critical phrase: “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam” (Genesis 2:21). I think far too often we read the scriptures so literally that we miss the greater power that can be found in them when we allow the figurative meanings to have equal time. We have the idea that Adam is asleep in the same way that we sleep each night, and he wakes up and there she is. We might obtain additional insight by looking at the other times in the Bible that this phrase is used. Each time the phrase “deep sleep” is used in other scriptures, the individual described is fully awake—they are not asleep, but in a revelatory state. It is used of Abraham when he receives a very important revelation about his posterity (see Genesis 15:12). It is used twice in Daniel when he is receiving knowledge and visions and communication. During this exchange he is speaking and God is speaking to him (see Daniel 8:18; 10:9). That is the truer meaning of deep sleep. I don’t like the word trance, but there are similarities. I like the expression “deep sleep” much more, but we need to be careful of a too-literal reading. Perhaps two other experiences may provide additional insight.
Joseph Smith used an interesting phrase to describe his state after the First Vision: “When I came to myself” (JS–H 1:20). That is a telling phrase worth pondering. He had been in communication with the Father and the Son and the surroundings faded away, in a manner of speaking. The environment was different for this critical revelation. What was important was what was being communicated to Joseph Smith and the normal setting was enhanced or changed by the Spirit. “When I came to myself,” Joseph wrote—or we might say, putting that phrase into Old Testament words, “When I came out of a deep sleep.”
Notice Paul’s words when he described a vision he received of the celestial kingdom: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)” (2 Corinthians 12:2). When we read the phrase “deep sleep” we must think of these types of experiences. Eve is brought to Adam when he is in a revelatory, removed-from-this-world state. If you think about it, the holiest, most sacred spot on earth is a sealing room in a temple, where men and women are bound and united. They’re united in an environment of “deep sleep.” What a powerful statement about the nature of women and of marriage.
Eve or Eden
When Eve was brought to Adam, he said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23).
She is my kind—my species, if you like—Adam is saying, as well as a part of me. And then a conclusion, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
I don’t want to push this too far, but if you think about it, the first great decision made on earth was Adam’s decision to leave the Garden of Eden. In doing so he essentially left his Father to cleave to his wife. Given the choice of Eden or Eve, the paradise or the person, he chose Eve. He chose the person. I have a feeling—at least I have felt so more recently—that it wasn’t so much Adam leaving his paradisiacal situation so that “men might be” (2 Nephi 2:25) that was so critical in Adam’s mind as it was leaving this woman whom he loved. He left his paradisiacal situation, with its fuller communion with God, so that he would not be “a lone man” in the Garden of Eden without Eve. He wanted to remain with her. If we think about it, and ponder the reason Adam gives the Father for partaking of the fruit, we find insight. The reason that he left, the one he stated to the Lord at any rate, is not, “I partook of the fruit so man might be,” as true doctrinally as that is. Rather he said, “I took of the fruit because you commanded me to remain with Eve.” We might add him saying, “I wanted to remain with Eve.” The value and the importance of womanhood are surely being shown to us in this first story of all scripture.
Rebekah—A Girl to Be Wondered At
If I had to pick my favorite of all the women in the scriptures it would be a hard choice, but I think it would come down to two women of Genesis—Rebekah and Rachel. Can I have two favorites, or is that a contradiction in terms? I waver between those two. I love the story of Rebekah and the ten camels because the story of Rebekah—as well as the story of Rachel—suggests the tremendous worth and value of little things, in this case of shepherd girls, out of whom great things will come.
Abraham needs a wife for his son Isaac—a matriarch for this great generational line that is going to be a major channel through which God will reveal His words to mankind, to His children. Abraham sends his servant about 500 miles across fairly dangerous and difficult terrain to find a proper wife. Just the distance with its dangers, alone, is a strong suggestion of how important these women are. The servant takes ten camels for his journey and departs at Abraham’s instruction. We read in Genesis 24:11, “And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.” The critical moment has arrived and the servant prays, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day.” I love the next few words, “and shew kindness unto my master Abraham” (Genesis 24:12; emphasis added).
Of what kindness does he speak? I think we can all understand it. I have prayed since the day my boys were born that God would show kindness to me and let them marry righteous women. I’ve been picking daughters-in-law for thirty-five years, and when you teach college you see a lot of really wonderful ones. For some reason my sons want to pick their own, but I have thought more times than I can recount, “Here is a really fine girl! How I would love to have her in my family.”
The servant continues his prayer: “I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel [this word indicates she is young; Rebekah is probably in her mid-teens] to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master” (Genesis 24:13–14).
He is not asking for a sign as much as a show of character. He’s going to ask for a drink of water, which is a very common thing to happen in the Middle East. It’s a hot, dry climate. But the proper girl needs to volunteer to water ten camels. Camels can drink a lot of water, gallons of it. At a zoo one day, I read a sign in front of the camel enclosure that stated a camel can drink up to thirty-five gallons. Just for argument’s sake, let’s say they’re not terribly thirsty. They only have a ten-gallon thirst. Rebekah is going to draw a lot of water—and she has to volunteer to do it.
“It came to pass, [as he was] speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out. . . . And the damsel was very fair to look upon” (Genesis 24:15–16). Notice carefully the wording now: “She went down to the well.” Down! Do you picture the well at the bottom of stairs or at the bottom of a hill? It’s always good to picture the stories of the scriptures. “She went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up” (Genesis 24:16). So it appears that the well is at a lower level than where the camels and everybody are sitting. “Down to the well . . . and came up.” I picture stairs.
“And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted” (Genesis 24:17–18). I love that word hasted. It shows eagerness in Rebekah. It isn’t the fact that Rebekah served so willingly that draws our attention and our soul to her. It is the eagerness, the “hasted” aspect that is so wonderful. “And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted”—picture this now—“and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well” (Genesis 24:19–20). If you’re running to the well from the trough there has to be a distance between the trough and the well. “And ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels” (Genesis 24:20). Can you see that? Down, up, over, empty, down, up, over, empty. It’s a wonderful image of womanhood. It is simply splendid! Such a simple action—the watering of camels! It is one of those little things out of which comes greatness. This is one of the most remarkable images in scripture, and we are invited to respond to that image of eager service which makes this one woman great, even though she’s young, probably fifteen or sixteen. As a representative of her gender, she stands for all women.
“The man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not” (Genesis 24:21). We know the story; she waters all ten camels. We marvel and wonder at her today. I also wonder if Rebekah had any idea that for four thousand years of history, people would watch her water those ten camels and be inspired by her—that her whole destiny depended on this unrehearsed demonstration of character which she would display as she walked to the well that day.
A few chapters later the same long journey to obtain a worthy, righteous wife is made by Jacob at the urging of his mother Rebekah. Esau had married with the local Canaanite population, much to the distress of his mother. She could not bear the thought of a repeat alliance in Jacob’s life. As she says, “I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife . . . such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?” (Genesis 27:46). Rebekah carries the story forward through Genesis. With all due respect to Isaac, it is really Rebekah who moves the family’s commitment forward in Genesis. Her fervor is passed on to Jacob. Let us turn to the story of Jacob and his beloved Rachel.
We are introduced to Rachel in Genesis 29. Jacob has duplicated the journey Abraham’s servant took in finding Rebekah. He also stops at a well. It seems there are many great women in the Bible in the vicinity of a well. Rebekah, Rachel, Zipporah, others—they are all at the well. I used to tell the young men at the institute, “You need to hang around the drinking fountain because that’s where you’ll find the really good wives.” While Jacob is resting at the well from his long journey, Rachel arrives with her father’s sheep. “And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father” (Genesis 29:11–12). Laban then greets Jacob and soon the true goal of Jacob’s journey is revealed. We are introduced to a marvelous story of love. This is, I believe, the most beautiful love story in all literature, and as an English major and lover of history, I have read many of them. With all due respect to Romeo and Juliet, or Robert and Elizabeth Browning, this is a remarkably beautiful one.
“And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month” (Genesis 29:14). It only took a month of Jacob looking at Rachel to understand who he wanted. Just a month! And his desire, I am confident, did not only have to do with her beauty and his mother’s instructions. “And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be? And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. . . . Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter” (Genesis 29:15–18).
Now just think about that for a little while—seven years! Later in Genesis, as Jacob defends himself against Laban, he helps us understand in a small way what that labor was like. It was difficult labor, demanding, hard. “In the day the drought consumed me,” he said, “and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes” (Genesis 31:40). How do you think Rachel felt watching Jacob going out every day to take care of the flocks, knowing that every minute he was laboring for her?
When I was a boy we watched the first great Mormon movie, the classic of Mormon movie classics. Do you remember what it was? Johnny Lingo. Eight-cow wife! What a marvelous message it conveyed. As boys, our favorite line was, “Mahana, you ugly.” I was ten or eleven, I think. Johnny Lingo gives eight cows to Mahana’s father because he more than anyone else knew her worth. Well, true stories are generally more powerful than made-up ones. I love Johnny Lingo. It teaches a tremendous lesson, but I leave it to you: Would you rather be eight-cow wives or seven-year wives? Seven years—seven long difficult years of earnest labor!
We return to Genesis: “And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me” (Genesis 29:19). Remain with me, Jacob, labor for me, and the desire of your heart will be yours. Though technically Jacob was laboring for Laban, we know what his central motivation was and for whom his efforts were extended. “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel” (Genesis 29:20). I pause here because I want to give proper emphasis to the next phrase. I think it is the most romantic—if I can use that word in this context—phrase in all literature. Here it is: “and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” That verse never fails to move me, even though I have read it probably over a thousand times. So Jacob gives Laban his seven years as Rachel waits and watches. In time the years are accomplished, “and Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled” (Genesis 29:20–21). What a beautiful story! I have pondered those tender words, “and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her,” a great deal. Do they mean that the time seemed short? Perhaps. Probably. Do they mean that the required labor did not seem like such a long time to serve because the wages were well worth the effort? I like that thought—not so much that the time was short for him, which it apparently was, but that he received something so great for seven short years. Almost as if somebody came to Jacob and said to him, “Jacob, how did you ever get such a wonderful wife? How did you ever win Rachel? What did you have to do?”
He would reply, “I only had to work seven years.”
“That little for Rachel! Only seven years? A bargain!”
Perhaps I can illustrate with a statement by Wilford Woodruff. He once, when addressing the priesthood, explained the value of a covenant-worthy woman: “Bless your souls, if you lived here in the flesh a thousand years, as long as Father Adam, and lived and labored all your life in poverty, and when you got through, if, by your acts, you could secure your wives and children in the morning of the first resurrection, to dwell with you in the presence of God, that one thing would amply pay you for the labors of a thousand years.
My Own Rachel
I have loved this story for as long as I can remember. I have called my own wife “my Rachel” since the first time I met her. Laurie passed away on December 28, 2010, and since then this story has come to mean a great deal more to me. It is my lifeline, tethered to my survival, to all my happiness and hope. There are many emotions that I have gone through over the last months: sorrow, grief, fear, doubt, questions, hopes, certainly deeper love, but among them all there is one stable, solid thing that I have hung on to. It is a prayer that I offer daily to the Lord: “Father in Heaven, let me be a Jacob to your Laban and labor for my Rachel that she might be mine forever. It matters not how long I must be separated from her, how long I labor, as long as one day I can say to thee as Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled’ (Genesis 29:21).”
Now people will say to me, “You were sealed in the temple. She is already your Rachel for eternity.”
And I will reply, “Yes, I understand that. The happiest day of my life, the climax, the pinnacle of my eternal journey was that day. However, grief does unexpected things to the soul. It can create fears and doubts and hungers. For me in my present situation the story in Genesis, the desire to labor for Laurie and the link to her in my mind with Rachel is deeper in my soul than faith in temple covenants—and I have a powerful faith in temple covenants. Yet there is something consoling in my belief in this story and how it applies to my own life. If I live another four decades, and I may, it will be a small price to pay for my Rachel.”
You are all Rachels! That is the core of my testimony today. You are all worth the seven years. This is one of the great lessons of Genesis, a central theme given early in the scriptural canon because of its extreme importance. This truth I personally bear witness to, and that out of the deepest sorrows and desires of my heart. Laurie’s passing has taught me a great deal about those seven years.
I visited Rachel’s Tomb in Israel recently and read the words of Jeremiah which are written thereon. They were God’s answer to my deepest hopes, his balm to my questioning, fearing heart. “Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord. . . . And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:16–17).
A little earlier in Genesis we learn something else about the value of women from the account of a woman named Hagar, found in Genesis 21. For Christians and Jews, Hagar is one of the women who are not always understood or valued as well as others. If you are Muslim—and there are one and a half billion of them in the world—she is the mother, the great mother of the Muslim people. She occupies a central position in Islam, and she teaches a great lesson that we receive in the naming of her son Ishmael. Hagar has a little tiff with Sarah, she presumes too much, and Sarah deals a little too harshly with her. In consequence, Hagar runs out into the wilderness. She’s pregnant, and an angel comes to her and asks (I’m paraphrasing), “Hagar, how did you get here, and where are you going?”
Hagar responds, “I flee from my master Sarah.”
The angel instructs, “Return and submit to Sarah. You’re going to have a son and you are to call him Ishmael.”
Almost all the names in Genesis have the theme of the story attached to the name. Ishmael means God hears. God hears! Can you begin to perceive the message of Hagar’s life and how important that is for us all?
“Name your boy: ‘God hears.’”
When her son is born, Hagar gives him that name. Later, when he is a boy, twelve or thirteen years of age, Isaac is born. Sarah worries about the two boys being together, the conflict that might happen, and the consequences for her younger son. She tells Abraham to separate them. Abraham, hesitant to send a woman alone into the very violent world we see depicted in the book of Genesis, is grieved by Sarah’s request, but he approaches the Lord in prayer for confirmation. The Lord says, “Listen to Sarah; she is right. The boys must be separated. And don’t worry about Hagar and Ishmael. I will raise up a great nation out of him. He too will fulfill the Abrahamic covenant that all the nations of the earth will be blessed through your descendants.” Islam and the Qur’an, has been a blessing for almost 1,500 years to billions of people on the face of the earth.
Abraham gives Hagar water and a little food and sends her out into the desert. Very soon she is in desperate straits. She is out of water. “The water was spent in the bottle” (Genesis 21:15). She puts Ishmael under a little shade tree so she can’t see him die and removes herself so she can’t hear his cries.
What was the name of that boy? God hears! So it is not surprising that we read, “And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad” (Genesis 21:17–20; emphasis added).
The great message of Hagar’s life is that God hears all of us. He hears because we are important to Him. He hears because we are beings of tremendous value. He certainly hears the Sarahs and the Isaacs of the world—the story we might say is the main story, the main generational line that will be followed throughout the Bible—but he also hears the Hagars and the Ishmaels.
Through no fault of her own, Hagar finds herself raising a child alone. My mother found herself in that situation many years ago. She was the Hagar; I was the Ishmael. We were not the standard Mormon family—husband, wife, children, a loving nuclear family, the ideal. Everybody wants that, but we may not find ourselves in a Sarah/Isaac situation. We may find ourselves in a Hagar/Ishmael situation, and it’s important we realize God hears. On a broad scale, though religions for centuries have failed to fully comprehend this truth, becoming somewhat exclusive in their understanding, God hears the prayers of the Muslims, the Jews, the Christians—Catholic, Baptist, Mormon. Every year millions of people go to Mecca for the Hajj. They reenact the story of Hagar by running back and forth between two mountains looking for water. This is such a powerful story. God hears because we are important—all of us!
Lead with the Queen
Esther was told by Mordecai that she would be God’s “enlargement and deliverance” (Esther 4:14) for her people when Haman threatened their extinction. We could spend a lot of time discussing what the Haman of today is that threatens the extinction of God’s people. There are tremendous forces arrayed against the family, against morality, decency, and integrity. Tremendous forces! Some of them do so maliciously. Some of them do so foolishly. Some don’t know any better and some have lost all sense of shame or propriety in their exhibition of the vulgar and ugly, but there is considerable energy channeled against most of what we stand for as a people. The Lord needs “enlargement and deliverance” for His people. He is going to take a lot of small people, simple things, men and women—but especially women—and enlarge them. They are going to do something great. Let me illustrate with a memory from my youth.
When I was little I loved to play chess. Initially I didn’t know how to play chess and I didn’t know anybody who could teach me. I went to the community swimming pool and there I watched the teenage boys play. I studied a new piece every day. How did the pawn move? How did the castle move? How did the knights move? After several days, I knew how every piece moved and I began to play chess. Because I was a boy, I guess, I loved the knights. They were fascinating pieces for me. They had those little horse heads. They moved so uniquely. They move in little “L” shapes and they can jump over things. So every game I played during those early years, I led my attack with the two knights. I jumped those two knights over the pawns in the first two moves of the game and then all my strategy centered on their abilities. I had fun playing and I did win some games.
Anyone who has played chess or knows a little bit about chess realizes that the most important piece on the board, the most powerful piece on the playing field is the queen. She has the most moves. She can cover the greatest distance. The queen is the central player, the best able to win the game for you. The loss of the queen is usually devastating. But I was leading with the knights. How many games was I winning? Not as many as I could have. I was leaving my queen back in home territory to protect the king. When I finally realized that if I was going to win I needed to lead with the queen and let all the other pieces support her, I began to win games consistently.
There is a great chess game going on for the souls of men in the world and God will lead with His queens. You will be God’s “enlargement and deliverance” to save His people against the Hamans of the day whether they be shortsighted or hostile.
I am grateful that in my own life God has led with the queen. I can say without equivocation and deep sincerity that all the good things in my life have flowed to me through a woman. May you do great things.
S. Michael Wilcox received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and taught for many years at the Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah. He has spoken to packed crowds at BYU Education Week and has hosted tours to the Holy Land and to Church history sites. He has served in a variety of callings, including as bishop and counselor in a stake presidency. He has written many articles and books, including Walking on Water and Other Messages, What the Scriptures Teach Us about Adversity, and House of Glory. He and his late wife, Laurie, are the parents of five children.