General Relief Society Meeting: Sister Barbara Thompson
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As individuals cleave unto their covenants, joy and happiness come into their lives, Sister Barbara Thompson, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, said during the General Relief Society Meeting held in the Conference Center on Sept 24.
"In the scriptures, we learn of men and women who have made covenants with God," Sister Thompson said. "God has given instructions on what to do to honor those covenants, and then as those covenants have been kept, the promised blessings have followed."
Using the examples of her own family, from the scriptures and from stories of women in the new "Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society" book, Sister Thompson spoke of the importance of making and keeping sacred covenants and the blessings that come as individuals live worthy of their covenants.
"Our covenants sustain us whether in good times or in difficult times," she said. "Great are the blessings we receive as we cleave unto our covenants."
Sister Thompson shared examples from the scriptures of the joy that comes through faithfulness in keeping the commandments of God and sharing His gospel with others.
Sister Thompson spoke of King Benjamin's sermon in the Book of Mormon, where he taught the people about Jesus Christ and His suffering for sin and all manner of afflictions.
"After listening to these beautiful teachings, the people were humbled and desired with their whole hearts to be free of sin and to be purified," she said. "They repented and professed their faith in Jesus Christ. They made covenants with God that they would keep His commandments."
Because of their faithfulness, the people were blessed with the Spirit of the Lord and were filled with joy and a remission of their sins. "Making and keeping sacred covenants enables us to have the Holy Spirit with us," she said. "This is the Spirit that shall fill your soul with joy."
Sister Thompson shared a story of faithful Relief Society president named Maria Speidel, who lived in Stuttgart, Germany, during World War II. Although she and her ward members had many trials, she still remained strong and relied on the Lord for strength.
"As members kept their covenants, they felt joy even in the face of tremendous challenges," she said. "As more and more holy temples have been built across the earth I have seen the blessings that come into the lives of the members."
Sister Thompson shared a story of a couple she talked to a few years ago.
"I witnessed the joy on [their] faces as they told me about going to Freiberg, Germany, to receive their temple ordinances. The trip to the temple was a 27- hour bus ride, each way, for these dedicated members and they were not able to go often. They were thrilled that the Kiev Ukraine Temple would soon be completed and they would be able to attend much more often. The temple is now open, and thousands enjoy the blessings there."
Sister Thompson quoted President Thomas S. Monson from the last general conference, when he said, "As you and I go to the holy houses of God, as we remember the covenants we make within, we will be more able to bear every trial and to overcome each temptation. In this sacred sanctuary we will find peace; we will be renewed and fortified."
It is through keeping covenants, that individuals will find true joy and happiness that comes from the Savior, she said.
"Keeping covenants is true joy and happiness," she said. "This is comfort and peace. This is protection from the evils of the world. Keeping our covenants will help us in times of trial. I testify that as we have faith in Christ and cleave unto our covenants, we will receive the joy spoken of in the holy scriptures and promised by our Latter-day prophets."