Daughters in My Kingdom: the History and Work of Relief Society helped Karen Del Priore, a wife and mother from Salt Lake City, "put my membership in Relief Society in context."
"The principles we learn in Relief Society, the things that Relief Society stands for, are universal and they work in all different time periods," she said. "They work in all different personal circumstances."
Sister Del Priore said being a woman in the Church sometimes presents conflicting feelings because there are a lot of voices — both in the world and in the Church.
"I have always felt that I personally have a strong relationship with my Father in Heaven and that is what I have based my identity as a woman in the Church on," she said. "But sometimes I had to hang on to that personal relationship in spite of what I was hearing in other places."
For Sister Del Priore, Daughters in My Kingdom is the official word on the place of Relief Society and women within the Church.
She was touched by the knowledge that Relief Society existed anciently.
Reading from the book she quoted, "In an age when women were generally expected to provide only temporal service, the Savior taught Martha and Mary that women could also participate spiritually in His work" (DIMK p. 4).
The spiritual roots of Relief Society, she said, are the bottom line of the book. Feeling connected to the women who went before her — and learning about their lives and strong spiritual commitment — changed Sister Del Priore's identity as a woman in the Church.
"Sometimes I have felt that I didn't fit the perfect picture of the perfect wife and mom," she said.
Often, she added, people look at Relief Society as a collective of the things that women in the Relief Society do, or what they look like or how many casseroles they bake.
"The bottom line is there is a reason behind why we do those simple actions. There is a reason that we emphasize taking care of our families. There is a reason why we emphasize compassionate service. It is those deeply internal motivations, I think, that are really important. … It is going back to the passage I read about the Savior inviting women to participate spiritually in His work. Sometimes those spiritual motivations lead us to do outward actions, but it is the motivations that are important."
She likes that the word "work" is included in the title of the book. "It has a lot of tools of how to move forward the kind of work we as sisters in the Relief Society need to be engaged in now," she said.