Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lesson: Daughters in My Kingdom

Teachings for Our Time
Daughters in My Kingdom:The History and Work of Relief Society
Julie B. Beck, taught by Deb Chiapelli

[Here are a few exerpts from the Conference talk, but I encourage you to read the whole talk again if you have time.]

Each of you is precious beyond description and known by our Heavenly Father. As daughters of God, you are preparing for eternal designations, and each of you has a female identity, nature, and responsibility. The success of families, communities, this Church, and the precious plan of salvation is dependent on your faithfulness. Oh, dear sisters, how we love and pray for you!

A warning
Myths and misperceptions regarding the strength, purpose, and position of Latter-day Saint women abound. Prevailing myths imply that we are of lower importance than men, that we are generally sweet but uninformed, and that no matter what we do, we will never be enough to be accepted by our Heavenly Father.

In the growing climate of entitlement, excuse, apathy, and enticement, daughters of God who are not watchful, prayerful, and inspired are increasingly at risk of becoming what the scriptures describe as “silly women” who worship a variety of “strange gods.” Sadly, as a result of life’s difficulties and the world’s popular heresies, many sisters believe the myths more than the truth.

A defense and refuge
In order to watch over, teach, and inspire His daughters in these perilous times, God authorized the Prophet Joseph Smith to organize the women of the Church.

Relief Society clarifies our work and unifies us as daughters of God in defense of His plan. In this day of mistaken identities, confusion, and distraction, Relief Society is meant to be a compass and guide to teach the truth to faithful women. Righteous women today seek an outpouring of revelation to resist distractions, fight evil and spiritual destruction, and rise above personal disasters by increasing their faith, strengthening their families, and providing relief to others.

Our history
Our presidency has prayed, fasted, pondered, and counseled with prophets, seers, and revelators to learn what God would have us do to help His daughters be strong in the face of “the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth.”

An answer has come that the sisters of the Church should know and learn from the history of Relief Society. Understanding the history of Relief Society strengthens the foundational identity and worth of faithful women.

In consequence of this, a history of Relief Society for the Church is being completed and will be available for our use next year. In anticipation of this, Relief Society history is receiving increased attention, such as on the visiting teaching page of the Liahona and the Ensign. The preparation of the history has been an inspired and revelatory experience.

As we have studied the history of Relief Society, we have learned that the Lord’s vision and purpose for Relief Society was not of a sleepy meeting on Sunday. He had in mind something much, much bigger than a women’s club or special-interest entertainment group.

He intended Relief Society to help build His people and prepare them for the blessings of the temple. He established this organization to align His daughters with His work and to enlist their help in building His kingdom and strengthening the homes of Zion.

Our history teaches us who we are and what we are to do. It unites us and can help us change.

There is a worldwide hunger among good women to know their identity, value, and importance.

We are as disciples and followers of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our Heavenly Father knows His daughters. He loves them, He has given them specific responsibilities, and He has spoken to and guided them during their mortal missions.

It has always been a responsibility of Relief Society to participate in the work of salvation.

Personal service builds each individual sister, and the united service of millions of faithful women creates a formidable force of faith in the Lord’s work.

Through the history and work of Relief Society, we are connected to a great worldwide sisterhood of young and old, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, single and married, strong and immovable daughters of God.

Ultimately, the value of history is not so much in its dates, times, and places. It is valuable because it teaches us the principles, purposes, and patterns we are to follow, it helps us know who we are and what we are to do, and it unites us in strengthening the homes of Zion and building the kingdom of God on the earth.

As we move the Lord’s work forward, the history of Relief Society will continue to be written by faithful sisters throughout the world. The Lord is strengthening Relief Society in the living present and preparing a glorious future for His daughters.

Thanks for your lesson Deb.


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