On My Mind: The Regal Moth

How many of you have heard of the Regal Moth? I had not either until a short time ago when I heard about it on a nature show. After watching the show, I knew I had to learn more. While my short research project has not made me an entomologist, the internet (and more specifically, YouTube) has increased my understanding of the Regal Moth by leaps and bounds.

RegalMothLet me tell you about this interesting creature. Through the process of metamorphosis, the Hickory Horned Devil, which is the largest caterpillar in North America, changes into the Regal Moth, identified by their fuzzy orange bodies and beautiful wings. Scientists have found that the Regal Moth does not have mouthparts, meaning it cannot feed itself and only lives about a week, just long enough to mate and lay eggs. I find it rather fascinating that this insect’s seemingly singular purpose is to lay eggs and allow the species to continue.

I am so glad that I am not a Regal Moth! I am glad that as men and women, our purposes are far more complex and have greater depth than just reproducing. It is easy to assume that our only purpose is to have children. While this is a very important part, it is but one piece to a larger puzzle. Once every puzzle piece is in its proper place, we can say we have become like our Father in Heaven, the ultimate purpose to mortality (see Moses 1:39). We all know that because we are indeed mortal and will not be perfect in this life, that puzzle cannot be completed any time soon.  At the same time, it is comforting to know that there are other pieces I can work on putting into place—other purposes to fulfill, other experiences to have, and other opportunities to enjoy.

Proof that we have purpose beyond childbearing and childrearing lies in the fact that we each have such unique and divinely given attributes which can aid us in accomplishing great purposes and achieving eternally important tasks. Women have attributes that help to create, to nurture, to teach, and to love in every sphere of their lives. Men have been granted attributes to assist them in holding the Priesthood, as well as providing, presiding, protecting, and leading in righteousness. Yes, there is joy and great blessing in having children. At the same time, we need not feel useless when our ability to create children is hindered, nor should we become downtrodden and feel as though we have no purpose and no way to be vessels for life.

In the complexity of our existence, there is so much we can do! There is so much we must do! We need to be better at recognizing the things we can do each day to use the divinely given characteristics to do good and to accomplish what we are meant to do. I look at my life and how it has panned out…it certainly is far from what I anticipated. I thought I’d be a mother in my twenties and when I wasn’t, I was convinced that my life was a disaster. What I didn’t realize until my thirties is that what I did during my twenties was exactly what I needed to accomplish—what Heavenly Father needed me to do. And, even though it had nothing to do with having children, it was still acceptable, good, and righteous.

Each day, I am grateful that there is more dimension to my life than mating and reproducing. Sure, I am saddened and disappointed that what comes so easily and naturally for most women is so difficult for my body to even comprehend. I am grateful that there are additional ways to nourish, create, nurture, teach, inspire, and love. I can work every day to fill life with good and righteous things. I AM a vessel for life. And that brings me great joy.

2 November 2009

To learn more about the Regal Moth, visit:


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