Auxiliary leadership training: Relief Society
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Members of the Relief Society general presidency reminded women of the Church that they are called by revelation, therefore, they will be led by revelation, during the Relief Society auxiliary training meeting held in the Tabernacle on Temple Square on March 29-30.
Presidencies from around the Church gathered to the Tabernacle to listen to teachings from the Relief Society general presidency, counsel with other sisters and to seek inspiration on addressing current concerns of the women in their areas.
Some of the topics included preparing spiritually for personal revelation, working with other auxiliary's within a ward council, developing leadership principles and suggestions for visiting teaching efforts. A large emphasis was placed on referencing the Church's new handbook of instruction for guidance.
Sister Beck, Relief Society general president, spoke of the importance of including the "new" sisters of Relief Society. Whether it is a young woman who at age 18 has moved to Relief Society, a convert to the Church, a woman returning after an absence of activity, or someone who has recently moved into the ward boundaries, new sisters are an important part in carrying out the duties of a Relief Society member.
"In all four of those situations those sisters are in times of transition," Sister Beck said. "And what are the jobs of a new Relief Society sister?"
Missionary work, temple work, care for the poor and needy and family history work are all important principles for the "new" sisters, as well as seasoned Relief Society members, to be involved in, Sister Beck said.
"We need to keep them strong in the gospel and not loose one," Sister Beck said.
Other topics discussed in the meeting included preparing for personal revelation, developing leadership principles, counseling with other auxiliaries in a ward council and a recap from last year's meeting with opportunities for audience members to share the changes they have seen in their wards.
Sister Silvia H. Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, spoke of the importance of visiting teaching and how applying principles from the Church's handbook will help in achieving desired results.
"Visiting teaching gives women the opportunity to watch over, strengthen and teach one another," Sister Allred quoted from the handbook. "Through visiting teaching, the Relief Society president helps the bishop identify and resolve short-term and long-term needs of sisters and their families."
Sister Allred asked the sisters what they needed to change to be more effective in their visiting teaching and reporting efforts. Some of the topics she spoke on included how women are showing up to visit and teach and listen to their sisters.
"Do we have time for them?" she asked. "Are we listening? Small acts cause a sister to feel loved."
It is more than just the message of visiting teaching that is important. It is the one-on-one interaction and building a friendship that allows for ministering, the presidency taught.
"If the message was the most important part, we could do it from the pulpit," Sister Beck said.
Sister Barbara Thompson, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, focussed on the new Church handbook of instruction — Handbook 2 — and the important role it plays in fulfilling a calling in Relief Society. She quoted President Thomas S. Monson when he said to to read it, understand it, and follow it.
"Listen carefully as you read. Listen for revelation," Sister Thompson said. "Every single word has been read and approved by prophets, seers and revelators."
The handbook contains and teaches pure doctrine and then allows for revelation, Sister Thompson said. Sisters should look to more than just the Relief Society section for more understanding when working in councils, she said. Other topics Sister Thompson spoke about include listening for personal revelation and the welfare efforts of the Church.
"We have a duty to help our sisters understand the principles of being self reliant," Sister Thompson said. "The Welfare program was instituted for a purpose. It is the Lord's purpose."