Relief Society history: A 'witness of women's divine roles'
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The new history of women in the Church, titled Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society, is more than just a written history. It is a "witness of women's divine identity and roles," said Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president.
A letter from the First Presidency to local leaders, dated Aug. 1, announced the new publication.
In coming months, the book will be distributed to every adult Latter-day Saint woman across the globe.
"This book is intended to be an additional resource for personal study, teaching at home, and in Relief Society and other Church settings," stated the letter, which was signed by President Thomas S. Monson, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency.
"We are confident it will be uplifting, informative, and inspiring."
Sister Beck said the book is remarkable because it was "written by women and it is about women."
The 208-page book is not a comprehensive history of the Church, nor is it an LDS manual. It is intended as a personal and family resource to support women and strengthen them in their responsibilities, she said.
The book is organized by themes such as family, sisterhood and charity. Each chapter includes stories of Latter-day Saint women throughout history and around the world today.
"It is an epic story and it is a record of the spiritual legacy of the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," she said. "It confirms an immovable standard of what we believe and what we defend."
Additionally, Sister Beck said that, in an often noisy world, the history provides clarity and alignment.
"I think it is important for our women to understand where they come from and what they stand for in order to have the clarity they need," she said.
"The key message is that it really is a witness of women's worth and their relevance to our Heavenly Father. …
"Women have always carried an important and influential leadership role in Heavenly Father's plan and in His restored gospel," she said.
Copies of the book will be sent to English-speaking Church units starting next week.
The book will be distributed in Spanish and Portuguese by Nov. 30.
By the end of January 2012, the book will have reached LDS women speaking 23 different languages.
Copies of the book will also be available to purchase through LDS Distribution Services.
Sister Susan W. Tanner, former Young Women general president for the Church, was asked to write the book on behalf of the Relief Society general presidency.
She said while working on the project she came to believe this history has the potential to "lift women, to inspire women, to help women know who they are and what their purposes are."
"This work needs to get the women of the world and the women of the Church from where they are to where they need to be," she said.
Sister Beck hopes people will have a "profound personal experience with the book."
"I consider it to be a remarkable gift," she said.
"We have seen it as a gift. We feel it is a gift. We give it as a gift."