Can't join you at the stake center, so I'll have to view it at home on the computer. I'll be live blogging just to keep myself focused.
Saratoga Utah Choir: The Morning Breaks. White shirts, dark skirts, pink rose corsages. Love seeing the sign interpreters.
Sister Julie B. Beck is conducting. She addresses us.
Title: "What I hope my granddaughters will understand about Relief Society"
RS today is organized after a pattern of discipleship that existed in the ancient church. Women have always been vital to the church. To Martha, Christ encouraged to choose the better part. Faithful women continue to contribute to the growth of the church.
As the Lord restored his church, He again followed the pattern of discipleship. Emma was given instructions in how to increase in faith and righteousness. The Lord has always needed faithful women. Men's missions were possible due to sisters who cared for home, and businesses, and welcomed new members and fellow-shipped them.
Privileges, blessings and gifts of the priesthood come to women through Relief Society. The priesthood pattern...called, sustained and set apart to do a work...teach, inspire, organize sisters to assist in salvation.
RS is an essential part of preparing the saints for the temple. First RS meetings, facing the hill..."a select society...choice, virtuous and holy". The first sisters valued the temple..."the grand prize and first goal." Pay attention in the temple...to be armed with power and blessed to receive the key of the knowledge and power of God, as committed disciples.
The important influence and capacity of the Relief Society worldwide...an ever-expanding sisterhood. Early efforts established patterns of discipleship now applied globally...but adapted in an ever-changing world.
Unrealized expectations, disease, war, natural disasters, addictions...bleach the bones of strength and exhaust us. In every ward there is a RS to strengthen each other in own homes and communities. Impressive and heroic work. Never inconsequential. A place of safety and a refuge, to protect the homes of Zion. We are taught and strengthened. The influence of righteous women blesses many of our Heavenly Father's children.
Learn one step at a time through Visiting Teaching. We used to focus on visits and teaching, and many written and unwritten rules. With so much need for relief and rescue...we need to follow a higher path...sincerely caring for His children. Now we report about spiritual well-being and improve in our ability to do what He would do if He were here. CARE ABOUT OUR SISTERS. Not the perfection of our statistics.
"My visiting teacher helps me grow spiritually and care about me and my family, and takes action without being invited."
Bishop and RS President need sisters to help with caring for all in the ward.
Seek inspiration of the Almighty and we will see the miraculous.
VT can be the pattern of discipleship that the Lord will recognize when He comes again.
The RS History is a witness...timeless truths and examples that will bless our lives. The First Presidency invite us to study it.
Become strong faithful women who apply the principles and patterns of Relief Society in our lives.
Choir: Sweet is the Work
Silvia Allred, First Counselor
Joseph's teachings became the foundation of Relief Society. Always consistent with the teachings of the prophets. Paul referenced faith, hope and charity, but the greatest is charity. Then he listed the qualities of charity.
Joseph said, "Don't be limited in your views regarding your neighbor's virtues...let your hearts expand, bear with faults and errors of mankind."
Charity is not a single act...it's a state of being. Kind feelings that engender loving actions. Bestowed upon the Lord's true disciple....a divine gift to seek and pray for.
How will we develop charity? Desire, pray that we may be filled with it. Reading the scriptures daily.
The Savior said "Feed my sheep." We should minister to those around us. Compassion to all. Forgive.
Joseph Smith practiced charity, kindness, affection, compassion and concern.
Pres. Monson wears the mantle of charity...a true minister of the Lord. "Accept people as they truly are."
Through charity we are willing to serve when it is inconvenient. Kind, self-less, accepting, loving. It's how we become more like the Savior.
Visiting teachers, through small acts of charity, you follow the Savior and minister.
One woman's visiting teachers take her to the doctor and the hospital and care for her home and family. Another sister wanted to learn to read, her v.t. sat with her and practiced. Other visiting teachers served a young mother and these acts softened the heart of her nonmember husband. The history is filled with such accounts of selfless service.
Feelings of charity come from the atonement of our Savior.
We can find joy even when our unmet needs are great.
Live up to privileges...angels will be associates, said Joseph Smith.
Dedicated visiting teachers visit and care for one another. They follow the Savior's example. Their acts of charity have a healing power.
When you read the RS history you'll find this important gospel principle woven through the whole book.
Use all your resources to do good to all those around you including your own family.
Sister Barbara Thompson, Second Counselor, Cleave unto the covenants you have made
Her parents have passed on and she has had the opportunity to read their precious records, partriarchal blessings...promises were made that Satan would have no power over her if she kept her covenants.
Cleave to covenants and joy and protection will come.
Principles and ordinances are received by covenants. Cleave, adhere firmly and closely. Promised blessings follow.
Baptism, faith, repentance to prepare, commitment to keep commandments and bear one another's burdens. Promised to always have His spirit to be with us.
Relief Society prepares His daughters to receive the blessings of the temple..."out of darkness into marvelous light."
Early saints spent their time days and nights in the temple so that they could receive their endowment in the temple.
All that we are and all that we possess...to do good...the temple is source of these covenants.
Joy and blessings come...we obtain salvation through His name and His atonement. King Benjamin's people made covenants to keep commandments...joy, remission of sins.
Ammon and brethren helped thousands come unto Christ. "How great reason we have to rejoice...heart is brim with joy." Making and keeping covenants to have his Spirit to be with us and fill us with joy.
Sarah Rich, Nauvoo woman: "Many blessings in the House of the Lord...comfort, joy, sustain in unknown journey before us."
When people sift through our possessions after we die will they find evidence that we kept our covenants?
Keeping covenants is true joy and happiness, comfort and peace, protection from the world.
Choir and congregation: Hark, All Ye Nations
Walking through a beautiful garden, noticed the tiniest flower...forget-me-not. Means so much to me. Easy to overlook, yet beautiful blue, mirrors the skies.
German legend: God left one plant unnamed...small voice said, "Forget me not, Lord."
5 petals, 5 things to remember:
1. Forget not to be patient with yourself.
God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect. The people you think are perfect, are not. We spend so much time comparing our weaknesses with their strengths. We never celebrate our good efforts because they seem less. God wants to help us to turn all our weaknesses to strengths...long-term goal. Stay of the path of discipleship...keeping working on it...stop punishing yourself. Be compassionate and patient with yourself. Be thankful for all the small successes in your life. God notices them and they are not small to him. Our journey toward perfection is long but we can find wonder and delight in the tiniest steps
2. Recognize good sacrifice from foolish sacrifice.
Every person and situation is different. How can we tell the difference for our own situation? "Am I committing my time and energy to the things that matter most?"
3. Forget not to be happy now.
In Willy Wonka story everyone was desperate to find the golden ticket and forget the simple joy of the candy bar. Many are waiting for the golden ticket to happiness...perfect marriage, magazine home...putting our happiness on hold. Some dream for the ideal, one thing that we put our lives on hold for. We may become bitter and angry. We fail to notice the blessings we do have. If we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses we could miss the beauty and wonder of the forget-me-nots all around us. Never stop hoping for the righteous desires of your heart, but see the rich ordinary moments around us, the everyday moments. Thread by thread of gratitude weaved throughout our lives.
4. Forget not the "why" of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The gospel is not a long list of tasks, to-do list, busy schedules. The gospel is not an obligation but a pathway...to peace and glory and fulfillment in the life to come. The what and how is necessary but the majesty springs from the why. When we remember why we has the gospel, is becomes light, precious and sweet. Let's not be unaware of the beautiful landscape around us, why we obey...mundane into majestic, obedience to consecration.
5. Forget not that the Lord loves you.
Sometimes we feel insignificant. I proclaim with all my heart and soul...you are not forgotten. Sisters wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, no matter how dark the days may seem, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be...your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. The most majestic and powerful being of the universe...knows you and your name. You are the daughters of His kingdom. He loves you because you are his child. The love of God and power of the gospel are redemptive and saving...dress any wound, heal any hurt, soften any sorrow. Continue to increase in faith and personal righteousness. Accept the gospel as your way of life. Treasure the gift of service in RS...strengthen home and families, seek our those who need your help.
I hope the forget-me-not will be a symbol of your lives, of the little things that can make your happy.
Thank you for all you do to bring the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ to others.
Never forget that you are truly precious daughters in God's kingdom.
Choir: Now Let Us Rejoice
That's it! What great words of counsel from our leaders. Just what I needed to hear. How about you?