Julie B. Beck, 15th general president of the Relief Society, taught that revelation is the most important skill a person can obtain. “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life,” she said. “… It requires a conscious effort to diminish distractions, but having the Spirit of revelation makes it possible to prevail over opposition and persist in faith through difficult days and essential routine tasks. … We can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when we feel the Spirit working through us.”1 She added, “With [personal revelation] we cannot fail; without it we cannot succeed.”2
Sister Beck also stressed that all Relief Society meetings and activities should be planned with the purpose of furthering the kingdom of God on earth. “The purposes of Relief Society, as determined by the Lord, are to help us increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those who are in need,” she said. “That’s why we exist. The outcome is that we will improve women individually and as a whole and prepare for eternal life; that we will build the Lord’s kingdom and homes and wards. We’re not entertainers. This is the Lord’s business of salvation. That’s the business we’re in. So we teach like the Savior taught, and we teach, and we teach, and we build the Lord’s kingdom.”3
Sister Beck taught that visiting teaching is one of the most effective ways to bring about the Lord’s work of salvation, since it gives sisters an opportunity to personally nurture and strengthen each other as the Savior did. “Because we follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ,” she said, “we value this sacred assignment to love, know, serve, understand, teach, and minister in His behalf. … A sister in this Church has no other responsibility outside of her family that has the potential to do as much good as does visiting teaching.”4
Revelation also plays a key role in visiting teaching as it leads and guides sisters to know how to minister to one another throughout the month. “It is our blessing,” Sister Beck emphasized, “to pray for another sister and receive inspiration as to how the Lord would have us care for one of His daughters.
“Visiting teaching becomes the Lord’s work when our focus is on people rather than percentages. In reality, visiting teaching is never finished. It is more a way of life than a task. Faithfully serving as a visiting teacher is evidence of our discipleship.”5
Testimony of Julie B. Beck
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The fifth of eleven children, Julie Bangerter was born to William Grant and Geraldine Hamblin Bangerter on September 29, 1954, in Granger, Utah. When she was four, the family moved to São Paulo, Brazil, where her father presided over the Brazilian Mission, which at the time encompassed the entire country. She learned Portuguese as a child and as a general officer of the Church learned to speak Spanish.
Education and Marriage
Despite being told by a high school counselor that she would probably not do well in college,6 Julie graduated from Dixie College in St. George, Utah, and then from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She married Ramon Paul Beck, her stake young single adult representative, on December 28, 1973, in the Salt Lake Temple. They had three children.7
Highlights of Church Service
Sister Beck served on the Young Women general board and as first counselor in the Young Women general presidency before serving as general president of the Relief Society. During her administration there was a re-emphasis of the purpose and work of Relief Society. The book Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society was published, and the Relief Society logo was simplified to benefit a worldwide Church. Sister Beck’s ability to speak Portuguese and Spanish enabled her to teach and speak personally to a large percentage of sisters in the Church.
Full Interview of Julie B. Beck
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- Julie B. Beck, “And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit,” Ensign, May 2010, 11–12.
- Julie B. Beck, “Relief Society History: A Look at the Lord’s Vision for His Daughters,” Ensign, Sept. 2011, 40.
- Julie B. Beck, address given at Brigham Young University’s Women’s Conference, Apr. 29, 2011, 6.
- Julie B. Beck, “Relief Society: A Sacred Work,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 113.
- Beck, “Relief Society: A Sacred Work,” 114.
- See Julie B. Beck, “You Have a Noble Birthright,” Ensign, May 2006, 107.
- See Julie Dockstader Heaps, “Divine Identity Is Central to Her Heart,” Church News, May 19, 2007, 11.