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General Relief Society Meeting: Sister Julie B. Beck

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President Thomas S. Monson shakes the hand of Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, at the General Relief Society Meeting Saturday, Sept. 24. To the left of President Monson is President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency.
President Thomas S. Monson shakes the hand of Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, at the General Relief Society Meeting Saturday, Sept. 24. To the left of President Monson is President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency. Photo: Tom Smart, Deseret News

Sister Julie B. Beck hopes her granddaughters will become "strong, faithful women who apply the principles and patterns of Relief Society in their lives."

"As Relief Society is a way of life for them, they will serve with unity and with others to fulfill its divine purposes," she said.

Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, speaks Saturday in the Conference Center during the General Relief Society Meeting.
Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, speaks Saturday in the Conference Center during the General Relief Society Meeting. Photo: Tom Smart, Deseret News

Speaking at the General Relief Society Meeting on Sept. 24, Sister Beck called Relief Society a spiritual legacy and a way of life.

"I have titled this message 'What I Hope My Granddaughters Will Understand about Relief Society,' " said Sister Beck, Relief Society general president. "I hope what I say in this message will give them and all who hear or read it a clear understanding of what the Lord had in mind for His daughters when He organized the Relief Society."

Sister Beck said she hopes her granddaughters will understand that Relief Society today is organized after a pattern of discipleship that existed in the Church in ancient times. "When the Savior organized His Church in New Testament times, women were vital participants in His ministry."

As the Lord began restoring His Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith, He again included women in a pattern of discipleship, she added.

"In her calling to help the Lord build His kingdom, [Emma Smith] was given instructions on how to increase her faith and personal righteousness, how to strengthen her family and her home, and how to serve others," said Sister Beck. "I hope my granddaughters will understand that from the day the gospel began to be restored in this dispensation, the Lord has needed faithful women to participate as His disciples."

Pictured are members of the Relief Society general presidency, from left, Sister Sylvia H. Allred, first counselor, Sister Julie B. Beck, president, and Sister Barbara Thompson, second counselor.
Pictured are members of the Relief Society general presidency, from left, Sister Sylvia H. Allred, first counselor, Sister Julie B. Beck, president, and Sister Barbara Thompson, second counselor. Photo: Tom Smart, Deseret News

Sister Beck said she hopes her granddaughters will understand the Lord inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to organize the women of the Church under the priesthood and after the pattern of the priesthood.

"Being organized under the priesthood makes it possible for the presidency to receive direction from the Lord and His prophet for a specific work. And the organization of Relief Society enabled the Lord's storehouse of talent, time and means to be administered in wisdom and order."

Members of the Relief Society general presidency attend the General Relief Society Meeting Saturday, Sept. 24, in the Conference Center.  From left are Sister Sylvia H. Allred, first counselor, Sister Julie B. Beck, president, and Sister Barbara Thompson, second counselor.
Members of the Relief Society general presidency attend the General Relief Society Meeting Saturday, Sept. 24, in the Conference Center. From left are Sister Sylvia H. Allred, first counselor, Sister Julie B. Beck, president, and Sister Barbara Thompson, second counselor. Photo: Tom Smart, Deseret News

Sister Beck said that the group of women understood that they have been given authority to teach, inspire and organize the sisters as disciples to assist in the Lord's work of Salvation.

"In their first meetings the sisters were taught the guiding purposes of Relief Society to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those in need."

Sister Beck said she hopes her granddaughters will understand that the organization of Relief Society was an essential part of preparing the Saints for the privileges, blessings and gifts found only in the temple. "I hope my granddaughters value the temple as did the sisters of the first Relief Society, who believed that temple blessings were the grand prize and great goal of every Latter-day Saint woman."

Sister Beck said that she hopes her granddaughters will come to understand the important influence and capacity of the great worldwide sisterhood of Relief Society. "Since 1842 the Church has spread well beyond Nauvoo, and Relief Society is now found in more than 170 countries, where sisters speak more than 80 languages."

Early Relief Society efforts are now applied globally, she said. "As the Church has grown, Relief Society has been able to fulfill its purposes in every ward and branch, in every stake and district, while adapting to an ever-changing world," she said. Every day, she added, Relief Society sisters around the world experience the entire range of mortal challenges and experiences. One of the Lord's purposes in organizing the sisters into a discipleship was to provide relief that would lift them above challenges, she explained.

"In every ward and branch, there is a Relief Society with sisters who can seek and receive revelation and counsel with priesthood leaders to strengthen each other and work on solutions that are applicable in their own homes and communities."

Sister Beck said her granddaughters should also know that the sisterhood of Relief Society can provide a place of safety, refuge and protection. "As our times become ever more difficult, the faithful sisters of Relief Society will help protect the homes of Zion from the shrill voices of the world and the predatory and provocative influence of the adversary. And through Relief Society, the influence of righteous women can bless many more of our Father's children."

Sister Beck said she hopes her granddaughters will understand that visiting teaching is an expression of their discipleship and a significant way to honor their covenants. "This element of our discipleship should closely resemble the ministry of our Savior," she said.

With so much need for relief and rescue in the lives of families today, Sister Beck said the Lord needs people who will sincerely care for His children.

"As committed disciples of the Savior, we are improving in our ability to do the things He would do if He were here. We know that to Him, it is our caring that counts, and so we are trying to concentrate on caring about our sisters rather than completing lists of things to do. True ministry is measured more by the depth of our charity than by the perfection of our statistics."

Additionally, she said, visiting teaching is an extension of the bishop's charge to care for the Lord's flock. "The bishop and Relief Society president need the service of inspired visiting teachers to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities," she said. "I hope my granddaughters will participate in miracles as they help visiting teachings become a pattern of discipleship that the Lord will recognize when He comes again."

Sister Beck concluded by noting that these and other essential teachings about Relief Society are now available for her granddaughters to study in "Daughters in My Kingdom: the History and Work of Relief Society."

"It will unify and align a worldwide sisterhood with the purposes of Relief Society and the patterns and privileges of disciples. It is a witness women's essential roles in our Father's plan of happiness, and it provides an immovable standard of what we believe, what we do, and what we will defend."