One Woman Can Make a Great Difference for a Whole Nation

Ether 8:8–18, 20–21

8 Now the daughter of Jared being exceedingly expert, and seeing the sorrows of her father, thought to devise a plan whereby she could redeem the kingdom unto her father.
9 Now the daughter of Jared was exceedingly fair. And it came to pass that she did talk with her father, and said unto him: Whereby hath my father so much sorrow? Hath he not read the record which our fathers brought across the great deep? Behold, is there not an account concerning them of old, that they by their secret plans did obtain kingdoms and great glory?
10 And now, therefore, let my father send for Akish, the son of Kimnor; and behold, I am fair, and I will dance before him, and I will please him, that he will desire me to wife; wherefore if he shall desire of thee that ye shall give unto him me to wife, then shall ye say: I will give her if ye will bring unto me the head of my father, the king.
11 And now Omer was a friend to Akish; wherefore, when Jared had sent for Akish, the daughter of Jared danced before him that she pleased him, insomuch that he desired her to wife. And it came to pass that he said unto Jared: Give her unto me to wife.
12 And Jared said unto him: I will give her unto you, if ye will bring unto me the head of my father, the king.
13 And it came to pass that Akish gathered in unto the house of Jared all his kinsfolk, and said unto them: Will ye swear unto me that ye will be faithful unto me in the thing which I shall desire of you?
14 And it came to pass that they all sware unto him, by the God of heaven, and also by the heavens, and also by the earth, and by their heads, that whoso should vary from the assistance which Akish desired should lose his head; and whoso should divulge whatsoever thing Akish made known unto them, the same should lose his life.
15 And it came to pass that thus they did agree with Akish. And Akish did administer unto them the oaths which were given by them of old who also sought power, which had been handed down even from Cain, who was a murderer from the beginning.
16 And they were kept up by the power of the devil to administer these oaths unto the people, to keep them in darkness, to help such as sought power to gain power, and to murder, and to plunder, and to lie, and to commit all manner of wickedness and whoredoms.
17 And it was the daughter of Jared who put it into his heart to search up these things of old; and Jared put it into the heart of Akish; wherefore, Akish administered it unto his kindred and friends, leading them away by fair promises to do whatsoever thing he desired.18 And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God; . . .
20 And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites.
21 And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.

President James E. Faust said:

“We frequently find that the influence of good women is underrated. It is an influence that is often subtle but yet has tremendous consequences. One woman can make a great difference for a whole nation. I cite two examples from the scriptures, one for evil and one for good.

“In the book of Ether, Jared’s beautiful daughter enticed Akish to marry her through a seductive dance. Akish was to pay for her hand in marriage by murdering her grandfather, King Omer, so that her father could become the king. At her urging, Akish formed oath-bound secret combinations which caused the destruction of the Jaredite nation. [See Ether 8:8–22; Helaman 6:28.]

“On the other hand, Esther, a Jewess in the Old Testament, saved her people. When the Jews were in captivity, Esther was married to King Ahasuerus. The king signed a decree that all Jews were to be put to death. Esther’s cousin Mordecai urged her to intercede with the king on behalf of her people by saying to her, ‘Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ [Esther 4:14]. Esther, at the peril of her own life, pled with the king that her people should be spared. The king listened to her entreaty, and they were saved. One woman can make a great difference, even for a nation.”

(“The Virtues of Righteous Daughters of God,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2003, 110–11.)

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