Sister Beck: 'Each of you is precious beyond description and known by our Heavenly Father'
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In this day of mistaken identities, confusion and distraction, Relief Society is a compass and guide to teach the truth to faithful women, said Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president.
Speaking at the General Relief Society Meeting on Sept. 25, Sister Beck said 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 homes and providing relief to others.”
Sister Beck called the general meeting, which was translated and broadcast across the globe, a gift to all women who desire to learn the will of their Heavenly Father and understand their “responsibilities in His plan.”
“Each of you is precious beyond description and known by our Heavenly Father,” she told the worldwide congregation.
She said Church leaders know that many women live in oppressive or dangers circumstances. “Some are constantly hungry, and some must summon daily courage to continue in faith despite disappointments and being betrayed by others.”
Because Church members are living in the last days of this earth, there are signs of a great struggle everywhere, she added.
“Myths and misperceptions regarding the strength, purpose and position of Latter-day Saint women abound,” she said. “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,” she said.
Sadly, she added, “as a result of life’s difficulties and the world’s popular heresies, many sisters believe the myths more than the truth.”
Sister Beck said the purpose of Relief Society is “to prepare daughters of God for the blessings of eternal life as they increase in faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes and seek out and help others who are in need.”
The general Relief Society presidency has prayed, fasted, pondered and counseled with LDS Church leaders to learn what God would have them do to help women be strong, said Sister Beck. “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, Sister Beck said the history of Relief Society for the Church is being completed and will be available next year.
“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,” she said. “He had something much, much bigger in mind than a woman’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.”
Sister Beck said there is a worldwide hunger among good women to know their identity, value and importance. “Studying the history of Relief Society gives definition and expression to who we are as disciples and followers of our Savior, Jesus Christ,” Sister Beck said. “Our faithfulness and our service are signs of our conversion and commitment to remember and follow Him.”
She said the history of Relief Society teaches Church members that Heavenly Father knows His daughters and loves them. “He has given them specific responsibilities, and He has spoken to and guided them during their mortal missions. Additionally, the history of Relief Society elevates and validates the standing of women and demonstrates how they work in companionship with the faithful priesthood leaders.”
Further, Sister Beck said the history of Relief Society teaches Church members what they are to do to prepare for the blessings of eternal life.
“Through Relief Society meetings, the ministry of visiting teachers, and their combined service, daughters of God are taught, watched over, and inspired in their responsibilities in the Lord’s work and kingdom.”
Sister Beck said the history of Relief Society is a Spirit-filled story of strong, faithful, purposeful women.
“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, said Sister Beck. “It is valuable as it teaches us the principles, purposes and patterns we are to follow and it helps us know who we are, what we are to do and unites us in strengthening the homes of Zion and building the kingdom of God on the earth. Relief Society, when it operates in an inspired way, can replace fear, doubt, and selfishness with faith, hope and charity. 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.”