Relief Society: Heritage of strength
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After studying the spiritual heritage she shares with Latter-day Saint women worldwide, Vilma Sagebin realized she is part of a "rich legacy of devotion and unshakable faith."
Nicole Erickson learned how important her voice is to her Heavenly Father and the Church.
Brett Bass increased his appreciation for women, their legacy of strength, as well as their goodness.
And Cecilia Plascencia felt feelings that she hadn't had for 20 years when she was converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and "found her identity ... and purpose in life."
Each of the Church members above — as well as thousands more — gained insights from studying a new history for women in the Church, Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society. Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, said the book will not only correct false ideas surrounding the women in the Church, but — more important — will also be a "witness of women's divine identity and roles."
The message of the book is as simple as the title itself, explained Sister Silvia H. Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency. As is taught in Doctrine and Covenants, Section 25, if "we accept the gospel and live the gospel we can become sons and daughters in [Heavenly Father's] kingdom."
Women need "just a little taste" of their history and heritage to realize "what an important part we have as women in the Lord's kingdom," added Sister Barbara Thompson, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.
As Church members have started reading the book, many have noted themes that surface throughout the book. Sister Beck said the book can teach Latter-day Saint women who they are and of their importance to the Lord. In addition, she said, the book will correct many false ideas about LDS women. Some of the truths include:
Relief Society is a way of life. "It is the way the Lord organizes His daughters into a discipleship," said Sister Beck, noting that Relief Society is so much more than just a Sunday class.
Relief Society is a place of influence, a worldwide sisterhood. Sister Beck said some women mistakenly think Relief Society is not for them, a place filled with "old ladies and knitting and clichés." In reality, she said, Relief Society "is where we can, together, have a greater influence than doing things alone."
History confirms the members of the Relief Society have always cared about significant issues. Sometimes, she said, Relief Society sisters have been thought of as "sweet but uninformed." The reality is that women have always cared about the scope of the Lord's work of salvation. "The Lord has always expected His daughters to lead and influence for good to make significant contributions to home and family, their communities and to further His work."
The Lord values the contributions of women. "To the Lord we are enough," said Sister Beck, noting that if any woman in the Church feels that she does not measure up to what is expected of her this book will help her remember that "righteous offerings are acceptable to God. ... Busyness and competition are not the same as consecration and your best efforts," she said.
Relief Society provides a way for women to fulfill the Lord's plan. Sister Beck said the world teaches women that everything is about them. "Through Relief Society we learn the Lord has expectations and responsibilities that are eternal and not negotiable."
Women have played an important part in His Church from the beginning. The history of the Church is filled with powerful stories about women. "The Lord has always valued women."