Perspectives

From the Relief Society General Presidency


Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment Meetings

The work that women do in their homes and with their family members is vital. Whether young or old, single or married, women strengthen homes, families, and communities in significant ways. To help sisters make their unique contributions, Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment meeting was implemented last January.

The focus of these meetings is to help sisters build spiritual strength, develop personal skills, strengthen the home and family, and serve others, while developing bonds of sisterhood. We are pleased as sisters from around the world tell us of the growth and enrichment they have experienced from this new focus. And for many ward and branch leaders, the change has provided an opportunity to evaluate what has been done in the past and determine ways to encourage and inspire sisters in the future.

As these changes are implemented, it is a good time for each of us to ask: Am I learning to love my Relief Society sisters? Am I thinking of ways I can help them? Am I supporting and sustaining my leaders? Do I attend my meetings in a spirit of love and learning so I can glean the most from what has been planned? How can I participate and contribute more?

As the Church moves forward, we sisters need to move with it. We need to make sure the challenges of living in the world will not keep us from what matters most. Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment meetings will help us focus our efforts. They will help us become better disciples of Jesus Christ.

[photo] Photo by Steve Bunderson

Planning Meaningful Mutual Activities

Young Women leaders have the opportunity to help young women use their talents to serve others. This service will help them prepare for the roles of wife and mother.

One way to make Mutual meaningful is to reinforce Sunday lessons on Mutual night. For example, you could reinforce a lesson on the art of homemaking by teaching a specific homemaking skill during Mutual.

If possible, Mutual should be held at the same time and on the same day each week. To use time most effectively, Mutual could be divided into two or three parts. Consider the following suggested plan:

Part 1: opening exercises. Young women and young men gather to build unity, share talents, develop a sense of belonging, learn leadership skills, and feel the Spirit of the Lord.

Part 2: class or group activity. Activities could focus on principles taught in Sunday lessons, service, Personal Progress, or developing talents and skills.

Part 3 (optional): practice or social activity. On occasion, young women could reassemble as a group or with the young men to rehearse for a special event, participate in sports, or enjoy a social activity.

Keep in mind that Mutual is a valuable means for retaining and reactivating youth. Mutual helps all young women feel their leaders’ love and the Lord’s Spirit.

Suggested Mutual Planning Worksheet

Date this Mutual night will be held: _______________________________________

Opening exercises

Presiding: ___________________________________________________________

Conducting: _________________________________________________________

1. Opening hymn: ____________________________________________________

2. Opening prayer: ____________________________________________________

3. Music (musical numbers, new song practice, and so on): _____________________

4. Talk(s): __________________________________________________________

Class or group activity

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

Practice or social activity (optional)

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

“My Gospel Standards”

The Lord commands His followers to “take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, … having on the breastplate of righteousness” (D&C 27:15–16).

It is vital that children be taught at home and in Primary how to take upon themselves the whole armor of God and withstand the evil in the world. To help in this process, Primary children have been given 11 gospel standards to help them live the gospel of Jesus Christ (see illustration below).

“My Gospel Standards” can be found on the back page of the My Achievement Days booklet (item no. 35317, U.S. $.25).

During the coming year, find opportunities to teach these standards in family home evening, in the classroom, and in sharing time.

For example, teachers could discuss a standard that relates to the Sunday lesson topic. Occasionally a child could prepare a talk on one of the standards. Applicable standards could be taught in sharing time.

As children put into action these gospel standards, they will put on more and more of the armor of God. When difficult situations arise and they need to make correct decisions, they will already know what choice to make.

[illustration] Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh

Every Member a Teacher

Speaking in general conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “Every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is, or will be, a teacher. Each of us has a vital interest in the content and effectiveness of gospel teaching. We want everyone to have great gospel teachers, and we want those teachers to help all of us find our way back … to our Heavenly Father. …

“… Our Savior’s occupation was that of a teacher. He was the Master Teacher, and He invites each of us to follow Him in that great service” (“Gospel Teaching,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 78).

Elder Oaks identified six fundamental principles of effective gospel teaching that will help each of us in our quest to be better teachers. As gospel teachers we should (1) accept callings and teach because of our love for Heavenly Father, for His Son, Jesus Christ, and for each student; (2) concentrate entirely on the needs of those being taught; (3) teach from the prescribed course material, emphasizing the doctrine, principles, and covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ; (4) prepare diligently and strive to present the lessons in the most effective ways; (5) teach as directed by the Spirit (see D&C 42:12–14); and (6) measure the success of the teaching by its impact on the lives of the students (see Ensign, Nov. 1999, 78–80).

Effective gospel teaching involves more than simply presenting a lesson. It accomplishes what President Gordon B. Hinckley asks of teachers: “We must … get our teachers to speak out of their hearts … , to communicate their love for the Lord and this precious work, and somehow it will catch fire in the hearts of those they teach” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 619–20).

[photo] Photo by Steve Bunderson