President Dale Cook reaches for his copy of the new Relief Society history, Daughters in My Kingdom: the History and Work of Relief Society. Color-coded tabs stick out throughout the book. He opens it to reference a specific passage and the well-read pages reveal the time he has spent reading, rereading and underlining points that are important to him.
"It immediately caught my attention that this is really needed at this time and it's going to be very impactful to the sisters going forward," said President Cook, Syracuse Utah Bluff Stake president. "We live in a time — I think — the world is sending so many mixed signals and messages. It is very confusing, to men and women alike, but especially the women. … As I read through this, I kept seeing these stories of faith, and of reaffirming [a woman's] role as nurturers and teachers and in saving souls."
Not only is it important for the women to understand their respective roles, as female disciples of Jesus Christ, President Cook said, but it is also important for the priesthood brethren to know as well.
"You read and see how it [the Relief Society] is intertwined and connected to the priesthood," President Cook said. "I see them as partners in what we are doing in the Church … we are working together to save souls. … We can't be successful without each other."
And although the book was written for the sisters, President Cook said that the priesthood brethren will benefit from reading it.
"It will help them in counseling with women, but more important, it will help in ward councils and stake councils to utilize the 'guardians of the hearth' when we have an issue we are counseling on," he said. "If you'll read it, the inspiration will come through priesthood keys of counsel."
In addition to helping President Cook in his Church calling, Daughters in My Kingdom has also strengthened his appreciation for his wife, Kathleen.
"It has helped me realize the power within my spouse," he said. "And [how] to [better] love her and to help her and to support her in her efforts, because she is doing the juggling act with life and priorities and children and everything. … It's helped me to want to be and set a goal to be a better husband and father."