Latter-day Saint Life

Are Men More Important Than Women to God: When President Hinckley Answered a 14-Year-Old's Powerful Question


In 1991, President Gordon B. Hinckley, then the first counselor in the First Presidency, stood before the women of the Church to answer the questions of a young 14-year-old girl, questions that still arise today. This poignant talk was the result

A few days ago, a letter came to the office addressed to President Benson. I wish to read a portion of it, and then perhaps comment on it. I will not use the writer’s name. She may be listening somewhere, and I would not wish to embarrass her in any way. I will call her Virginia. With that change, I read a part of her letter:

“Dear President Benson,

“My name is Virginia. I am fourteen years old, and a matter has been on my mind a lot lately. In the scriptures I could not seem to find anywhere whether women may enter into the celestial kingdom if they are worthy. Also, when someone such as Joseph Smith had a vision of the celestial kingdom, he only seemed to see men there. I have prayed about it, but felt that I needed your words. … In the scriptures, they talk about a woman being blessed if she is righteous, but not about celestial glory. This truly bothers me. If we are all Heavenly Father’s children, then why do the scriptures say that men are to rule over women? And why in the scriptures was Eve created from Adam? I may be foolish, but I honestly do not understand. I love the gospel, and I am learning of its truth. I have a testimony, and I know that I have a divine purpose in life. But I suppose what I am asking is—are men more important than women? And can women go to the celestial kingdom also? …

“I am still young and learning, and I need help in this matter. Thank you so much.

“Lovingly, Virginia.”

Because President Benson is unable to speak to us, I will try to respond to your letter, and in the process I speak to all who are with you in this great gathering this evening. Your letter was acknowledged by the secretary to the First Presidency. But I feel that it is so sincere in tone that it deserves a more complete answer. And perhaps the questions you ask are on the minds of many women—young women of your age, women of your mother’s age, and women of your grandmother’s age, be they single, married, or whatever their circumstances.

First, you ask whether women may enter into the celestial kingdom. Of course they may. They are as eligible to enter the celestial kingdom as are men, worthiness being the determining factor for both.

On February 16,1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were given a remarkable vision. The Lord spoke with words both wonderful and challenging. Listen to Him:

“For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.

“Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.” (D&C 76:5–6.)

I am satisfied that He speaks here of His daughters as well as His sons. Infinite shall be the reward of each, and everlasting shall be his or her glory.

In this same revelation, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon bear eloquent testimony concerning the Savior of the world, the Son of God. Listen to this:

“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.” (D&C 76:22–24; italics added.)

Note that in this tremendous declaration, both sons and daughters are mentioned.

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