"To you wonderful sisters who find yourselves as widows, please know that God loves you. You are the choice among the choice," said Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Presidency of the Seventy.

"I believe the Lord has a tender feeling toward widows and the fatherless, or orphans. He knows that they may have to rely more completely on Him than on others. Their prayers will be more personal and lasting, service to fellow men more genuine, and faith greater."During the Sunday morning session, Elder Tingey spoke of the suffering of "the Widows of Zion."

Some widows are young, he said, their husbands often meeting with an untimely death. Other widows are older, where decades of loving memories, shared joy and rearing a family are replaced by loneliness and feelings of being unneeded or unwanted.

"They want to remain faithful so they may one day join their eternal companions. They can teach us much about faith," he continued.

"The doctrine of the Church is very clear regarding widows. In the early Church, the leaders were chastised for neglecting their widows," Elder Tingey said.

After quoting Brigham Young, who counseled the Saints of the pioneer companies to "bear an equal proportion" in caring for widows and the fatherless, Elder Tingey said, "I believe this effort of helping the widows cross the plains is one of the greatest modern examples of how we should care for widows.

"Modern revelation reveals the order of the Church," he continued. "Women have claim on their husbands for their maintenance until their husbands are taken . . . . Children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance. . . and after that, they have claim upon the Church.

"The faith of widows is legendary in scripture," Elder Tingey continued, speaking of the widow of Zarephath who fed the Prophet Elijah her last meal and oil; Anna, a widow of 84 years who served continually in the temple; the widow of Nain who was burying her son when the Savior met her, and the unnamed widow who dropped two mites into the treasury.

"Dear sisters, your very lives, as an example of righteous living continue to inspire younger family members to do better," Elder Tingey said. "You continue as teachers.

"At some period in God's timetable, you will join your eternal companion and serve together.

"For you young widows, with ever increasing family responsibilities, know that God is aware of your needs and that He will provide. Continue to exercise faith and good works. Faithful family and Church members will assist. Be willing to receive assistance from others as necessary. Your children will know that you provide them with a double measure of love. It is my testimony that our Heavenly Father will abundantly compensate your family with eternal blessings because of the goodness of your hearts.

"Brothers and sisters, the Lord loves widows," Elder Tingey said in conclusion.