'Sphere of action' — Persistence for righteousness
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Each month, the Church News publishes a message to complement the Relief Society visiting teaching message found in the Ensign magazine. The article on this page is based on the December 2011 message, "An Extensive Sphere of Action."
Related article: The influence of a righteous woman
Families, communities, the Lord and His Church need the influence of righteous women and their persistent righteous practices. Through deliberate and consistent efforts, Relief Society sisters are able to help increase their faith — and the faith of those around them — to strengthen families and build the Lord's kingdom.
Often times, it is through seemingly quiet contributions that sisters are able to make a difference.
One mother from Sparks, Nev., is a great example of persistence for righteousness.
While visiting a local drug store with two of her young children, Jane Mueller of the Wingfield Hills Ward, Sparks Nevada Stake, was walking down the holiday/toy aisle when she saw an inappropriate magazine attached to a toy bin."I felt like it was right in [my daughter's] face," she said. "I approached the manager and politely expressed my disappointment in the store's choice of placement for adult material."
The clerk apologized, but informed Sister Mueller that he was not able to move the display because of instructions from his supervisors. Unsatisfied with his response, Sister Mueller decided to do what she could to encourage change, and called the corporate offices in another state.
"I received little reaction to my concerns," Sister Mueller said. "Out of desperation, I began to tell them I was a mother, had young children, and how I felt their company's marketing practices were working against me and everything I was trying to accomplish within my family. I explained that I wanted to be able to frequent their store, but I needed assurance that as a pharmacy, their company was not only interested in the physical health of my family, but the healthy development of my children in every aspect of their lives.
"This is when they began listening to me, and their attitude softened."
Less than an hour later, Sister Mueller received a phone call from the regional/district marketing manager who apologized for the display. He told her the display had been removed and he was going to contact all of the other stores in his district to ensure there were no other misunderstandings regarding the placement of the display.
"I was shocked," Sister Mueller said. "I had not expected to be able to make a difference. I know that this represents only a small drop in the bucket and in the grand scheme of things, I have not turned back any great tide. However … as I knelt in prayer before I made my first phone call — asking Heavenly Father for His help in defending my family — I felt the Spirit and the Lord's approval for what I was about to do."
It is through the seemingly quiet contributions that sisters are often able to make the greatest difference in their sphere of influence.
"Every sister who stands for truth and righteousness diminishes the influence of evil," Elder M. Russell Ballard said in the March 2002 Ensign. "Every sister who strengthens and protects her family is doing the work of God. Every sister who lives as a woman of God becomes a beacon for others to follow and plants seeds of righteous influence that will be harvested for decades to come. Every sister who makes and keeps sacred covenants becomes an instrument in the hands of God."