Work of Relief Society Goes “Hand-in-Glove” with Church Focuses
Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor
- Increasing faith in Jesus Christ and His Aatonement supports learning and teaching in the home.
- Strengthening families and homes through ordinances and covenants enhances Sabbath- day observance.
- Sisters work in unity to help those in need through the law of the fast.
“The work of Relief Society is not separate from what is being emphasized. It is all one and the same work.” —Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president
During a time when Church leaders are emphasizing Sabbath observance, gospel teaching in the home, and the law of the fast, the Relief Society general presidency wants women worldwide to recognize that these inspired focuses align perfectly with the purpose and work of Relief Society. As sisters participate in this work, it is helping them become disciples of Jesus Christ and prepare for the blessings of eternal life.
“Relief Society helps prepare women for the blessings of eternal life as they increase faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, strengthen families and homes through ordinances and covenants, and work in unity to help those in need,” Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, said. “This is why we do all that we do in Relief Society. “
The presidency hopes Latter-day Saint women worldwide will understand that recent counsel from Church leaders goes “hand in glove” with the work of Relief Society. “The work of Relief Society is not separate from what is being emphasized. It is all one and the same work,” she said. “We are hoping that as we unite our efforts in Sabbath observance, in gospel learning and teaching, and in the law of the fast, sisters will recognize it as our work.”
Increase faith and personal righteousness—learning and teaching in the home and in the Church
Learning and teaching in the home and at Church helps increase faith, Sister Burton said.
“The world is teaching our children,” Sister Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in Relief Society general presidency, said. “We need to help women and parents catch the vision that the Church supports the home and it is not the other way around.”
Parents have the responsibility to teach the gospel in the home, Sister Burton said. “What better place to teach and learn the gospel than in the home?”
Teaching calls for personal spiritual preparation, Sister Carole M. Stephens, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, said.
“As we prepare ourselves individually, then we can strengthen others in the home, in the workplace, in our neighborhoods, in our callings,” she said. “This is where we accomplish the work of salvation. We are always teaching, no matter where we are.”
Sister Burton said all sisters of various ages and life circumstances need greater focus on gospel learning. “The more we learn, the more our faith can increase. We can strengthen our homes, whatever those homes look like. We all have family members that need our help in some way. We can all strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.”
No matter our life’s current circumstance, we are all teaching and we are all learning, Sister Stephens added.
“People don’t always realize what an influence they can be just by the lives they live,” said Sister Reeves.
Strengthen families and homes—improving Sabbath-day observance at home and in the Church with particular focus on worship during the sacrament
Sister Burton said the Relief Society presidency also hopes the love Latter-day Saint women have for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ influences for the better how they worship during sacrament meeting and how they observe the Sabbath day at home.
Sister Burton said Sister Reeves had recently compared her effort to prepare for her Sabbath worship to a love letter from an individual to her Heavenly Father.
“I do know our Father in Heaven will shed down His love in tangible ways when we make efforts to dedicate ourselves a little more than we have in the past,” Sister Reeves explained. “He will find ways to show us what that means to Him.”
Sister Burton spoke of a young mother she recently met. The woman confessed her family was “that family in the ward”—the family with the noisy children in sacrament meeting.
The family made a three-part plan to improve their Sabbath worship. First, they would prepare better for sacrament meeting. Second, they would focus more during the sacrament on a Savior-centered scripture, hymn, or visual image. And third, they would talk to their children about the experience when they returned home.
“They want to give a gift to Heavenly Father to show their love for Him,” Sister Burton explained. “They are learning and teaching in the home. They are focusing on the ordinance of the sacrament. Because they are intentional in their planning for the Sabbath day, they are going to strengthen their family, I am sure.”
Sister Reeves said members should be careful not to think about Sabbath observance as a list of things to do and not to do.
“Sabbath observance will look different in every home as each of us individually determines what sign we want to show to the Lord,” Sister Stephens said. “The bottom line is what the intent of our heart is.
“If I look at my Sabbath-day observance as a sign of love for my Heavenly Father, then I will know how to keep the Sabbath day.”
Help those in need—the law of the fast
Sister Burton said working in unity to help those in need is the third focus of Relief Society.
“The Lord has established the law of the fast,” Sister Stephens said. “We have so many sisters who see the needs in the world and are overwhelmed. They want to be able to help but don’t know how. The Lord has provided a way to do this through our offerings.”
Sister Burton said Relief Society sisters can work in unity to help those in need as they live the law of the fast.
“Fast offerings will be used for the very best purpose,” Sister Reeves said.
Many women in the Church worry about whether they are doing enough, Sister Burton said. That is why living the law of the fast can be such a blessing in their lives.
“As we increase our efforts to teach like the Savior in our homes and at Church, worthily partake of the sacrament weekly, and live the law of the fast, we are preparing for the blessings of eternal life. We are declaring that we are disciples of Jesus Christ.”