Prophet Assures LDS Women of God’s Love for Them
By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor
As Latter-day Saint women seek their Heavenly Father through fervent, sincere prayer and earnest, dedicated scripture study, their testimonies will become strong and deeply rooted, said President Thomas S. Monson September 28.
“We will know of God’s love for us,” he said. “We will understand that we do not ever walk alone. I promise you that you will one day stand aside and look at your difficult times, and you will realize that He was always there beside you.”
Speaking at the general Relief Society meeting, President Monson addressed the topic “We Never Walk Alone.” The meeting was translated and sent live via the Church satellite system and the Internet across the globe. The Relief Society general presidency, Sister Linda K. Burton and her counselors, Sister Carole M. Stephens and Sister Linda S. Reeves, also spoke.
President Monson told the worldwide congregation that as he contemplated his opportunity to address them, he was reminded “of the love my dear wife, Frances, had for Relief Society.”
”I too love Relief Society,” he said. “I testify to you that it was organized by inspiration and is a vital part of the Lord’s Church here upon the earth. It would be impossible to calculate all the good which has come from this organization and all the lives which have been blessed because of it.”
Relief Society is made up of a variety of women, he said. “There are those of you who are single—perhaps in school, perhaps working—yet forging a full and rich life. Some of you are busy mothers of growing children. Still others of you have lost your husbands because of divorce or death and are struggling to raise your children without the help of a husband and father. Some of you have raised your children but have realized that their need for your help is ongoing. There are many of you who have aging parents who require the loving care only you can give.
“Wherever we are in life, there are times when all of us have challenges and struggles. Although they are different for each, they are common to all.”
President Monson told the congregation that there will be times they will walk a path strewn with thorns and marked by struggle. “There may be times when you feel detached—even isolated—from the Giver of every good gift. You worry that you walk alone. Fear replaces faith.
“When you find yourself in such circumstances, I plead with you to remember prayer.”
God’s children were not placed on this earth to walk alone, said President Monson. “What an amazing source of power, of strength, and of comfort is available to each of us. He who knows us better than we know ourselves, He who sees the larger picture and who knows the end from the beginning, has assured us that He will be there for us to provide help if we but ask. …
“Difficult as it may at times be, it is for us, as well, to trust our Heavenly Father to know best how and when and in what manner to provide the help we seek.”
Allied with prayer in helping Latter-day Saints cope in the often difficult world is scripture study, said President Monson.
“The words of truth and inspiration found in our four standard works are prized possessions to me,” he said. “I never tire of reading them. I am lifted spiritually whenever I search the scriptures. These holy words of truth and love give guidance to my life and point the way to eternal perfection.
“As we read and ponder the scriptures, we will experience the sweet whisperings of the Spirit to our souls. We can find answers to our questions. We learn of the blessings which come through keeping God’s commandments. We gain a sure testimony of our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of Their love for us. When combined with our prayers, we can of a certainty know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.”
President Monson told the worldwide congregation that remembering prayer and taking time to turn to the scriptures will bless their lives and make their burdens light.
Concluding, President Monson said, “My dear sisters, your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you deserve love. It is simply always there.”
In her remarks, Sister Burton asked the women of the Church to “go forth with faith, cheerful hearts, and a great desire to be covenant keepers.”
“This is how we demonstrate our love for our Father in Heaven and for our Savior,” she said.
Addressing the topic “The Power, Joy, and Love of Covenant Keeping,” Sister Burton told the worldwide congregation that making and keeping covenants means choosing to bind themselves to their Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.
“It is committing to follow the Savior,” Sister Burton said. “It is trusting Him and desiring to show our gratitude for the price He paid to set us free through the infinite gift of the Atonement.”
She told Latter-day Saint women that there are three reasons to make and keep covenants:
1. Covenant keeping strengthens, empowers, and protects.
“As we keep our covenants, we also receive courage and strength to help us bear one another’s burdens,” she said. “Oh, sisters, we all have burdens to bear and burdens to share. An invitation to bear one another’s burdens is an invitation to keep our covenants.”
2. Keeping covenants is essential for true happiness.
Sister Burton said covenant keepers are commandment keepers. She asked women to rejoice in the privilege to take the sacrament each week. “We do this by always remembering the Savior and always keeping His commandments, which includes keeping His Sabbath day holy. We do it by always remembering Him as we always have our personal and family prayers, daily scripture study, and weekly family home evenings. And when we get distracted or casual with these important things, we repent and begin again.”
3. Keeping our covenants demonstrates our love for the Savior and our Father in Heaven.
Sister Burton said love is the most compelling reason to be more diligent in covenant keeping. Covenant keeping, she said, is one way for Latter-day Saints to express their love for the incomprehensible, infinite Atonement of their Savior and Redeemer and the perfect love of their Father in Heaven.
“Tonight I invite each of us to evaluate how much we love the Savior, using as a measure how joyfully we keep our covenants,” she said.
Sister Stephens told the worldwide congregation that they are covenant-keeping daughters in the Lord’s kingdom who have the opportunity to be instruments in His hands. “When you love, watch over, and serve others in small and simple ways, you are actively participating in the work of salvation, God’s work ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39).”
Sister Reeves asked Latter-day Saint women to “claim the blessings of your covenants.”
“As members of the Church, we may sometimes feel that we need to be part of a ‘perfect LDS family’ in order to be accepted by the Lord,” she said. “Dear sisters, when all is said and done, what will matter to our Father in Heaven will be how well we have kept our covenants and how much we have tried to follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”