Elaine A. Cannon

Young Women General President (September 30, 1978 – October 6, 1984)

General Conference Addresses

  • April 1984 General Conference
    • A Generation Prepared to Make Wise Choices
      • “There has been talk lately in some circles about ordaining women to the priesthood, and someone asked me how I felt about holding the priesthood. I said very stoutly, “I love holding the priesthood when he comes for dinner.” I know that isn’t very original, but that was my answer.”
      • “Now, this brings me to my concern as I leave this very fine opportunity that has been ours. We must raise up a generation that is prepared to make wise choices, to stand and to withstand. We must raise up people who will desire to make the holy covenants and keep them, and learn the word of God and share it. This has been a deep feeling within us as a presidency.”
  • October 1983 General Conference
    • Agency and Accountability
      • “Agency is an eternal principle and is implicit in the test of life. We must constantly choose between opposites: good and evil. Satan sought to destroy the free agency of man, and here on earth he’s still working to entangle man in sin.”
      • “Though we are free to act, we are not free to decide what is right or wrong. That was determined eons ago. We can scoff at sacred things, rationalize our behavior, spout our own ideas, agree or disagree, but it doesn’t change anything. We cannot alter God’s laws, his truth. We can choose to use truth wisely and reach our goal, or we can refuse to learn truth, to live it, and then pay the inevitable penalty.”
      • “Life is God’s gift to us, and what we do with it is our gift to him.”
      • “Spiritual maturity is understanding that we cannot blame anybody else for our actions. Some factors may make it harder for us to perform according to God’s plan for us, but being accountable for how we use our agency means being answerable for our own behavior.”
      • “Now, Sisters, let’s love him enough to be obedient. This is the season for strength. This is a time for us to choose to stand as a people who have made covenants through baptism and in the temple to be valiant and to be lifters of those not as blessed as we are.”
  • October 1978 General Conference
    • If We Want to Go Up, We Have to Get On
      • “Now tonight, clear across the world for the first time, the Church women over twelve are meeting. We are tied together by technology but sense each other’s spirit through that tender influence of the Lord Jesus Christ. We mark this moment as the beginning—at last—of a unique unification of all the sisters of the Church, and we are focusing on proper priorities instead of personal preferences or even programs. We see it as a significant enveloping of all of us under the mantle of the mouthpiece of the Lord, President Spencer W. Kimball. Now, as he speaks to us tonight, it is as if the Lord Jesus Christ himself were addressing us sisters.”
      • “Sisters, this church is the saving remnant of the world. And what is our part as women in all of this? The girl is the future mother of the man. The woman is companion to the priesthood. She is molder of the next generation. As women ours is the gift to love, to influence for good, to marry, and to mother—but according to the timetable of the Lord for us. (So hang in there, sisters. If it hasn’t happened yet, it may a little later than sooner. And when the time comes, if you have lived for it, have no regrets that you prayed so fervently for a good man who now is always off to a meeting or filling some celestial assignment, depending upon the timing.) You see, the details of your life and the timing really aren’t all that important. They just point up differences to us—married or single, living alone, barren or bulging with blessings. These are just details. What does matter is our personal relationship with the Lord and our own unshakable testimony that he cares enough about each one of us to be there when we really need him.”

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