“Understanding the heritage we have, that this organization is a restoration of something that existed anciently, helps us understand that we are not a footnote in history or a sidebar in the Lord’s work; we are an essential part of building the kingdom and we’ve been organized to do such.”
Julie B. Beck, BYU Women's Conference, 2011
I was reading along in chapter two and was caught off guard to see articulated something so important to me. Women are not a footnote in this church. Joseph Smith couldn’t move forward with the upcoming restoration of the temple ordinances in Nauvoo until there was a venue to teach women doctrine and prepare them for temple ordinances. Relief Society wasn’t to sew shirts for the temple workmen—any benevolent society could have done that. Joseph restored a way for women to take their part in building up the kingdom of God. He organized it under a priesthood pattern, with presidencies and officers that held the stewardship to prepare women and their families for the temple. I could feel the excitement of those early sisters as they recognized what was happening. And for the first time in my life I understood Relief Society wasn’t a class on Sunday; it was my personal inheritance in Zion.
As I read Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society, my perspective of the “inseparable” yoke the priesthood and Relief Society have shared has had a profound impact on me. The work has been shared between them since the days of Adam and Eve to assist in accomplishing the work of Heavenly Father. As a bishop, I now have a better understanding of the need to teach this essential doctrine, implement it in our ward council, and more effectively invite sisters to become fully engaged with the priesthood in doing the work to build the kingdom.