Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society, a new book prepared under the direction of the First Presidency, contains a record of the legacy of Relief Society and the women of the Church, said Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, during the September 2011 general Relief Society meeting.
“It will unify and align a worldwide sisterhood with the purposes of Relief Society and the patterns and privileges of disciples,” she said. “It is a witness of women’s essential role in our Father’s plan of happiness, and it provides an immovable standard of what we believe, what we do, and what we will defend” (page 113 of this issue).
Sister Beck said that the book provides a foundation for women’s identity as daughters of God. As people study the book, she said, they will be able to see how Relief Society should work in the life of every sister.
How the Book Came About
The project began as an assignment from the First Presidency. Susan W. Tanner, former Young Women general president, was set apart to write the book. Sister Beck and her counselors, Silvia H. Allred and Barbara Thompson, were assigned to manage the project and work with Sister Tanner, editors, designers, and others to determine its course by the spirit of revelation. “I have never worked on a project that has been more Spirit-guided than this,” Sister Beck said.
Part of that process included deciding which of thousands of pages of historical accounts should be included in the book. Sister Beck, her counselors, and Sister Tanner reviewed minutes from early Relief Society meetings in Nauvoo and other histories and accounts about Relief Society and the women of the Church.
Sister Beck said that the result is not a typical chronological history but a spiritual history of the women of the Church and Relief Society.
“We study our history because it helps us change,” said Sister Beck in her September 2010 general Relief Society meeting address. “Ultimately, the value of history is not so much in its dates, times, and places. It is valuable because it teaches us the principles, purposes, and patterns we are to follow, it helps us know who we are and what we are to do, and it unites us in strengthening the homes of Zion and building the kingdom of God on the earth” (“Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2010, 115).
While the book does follow a time line, its teachings are represented in chapters that are topical. It uses stories and examples from scripture and modern times, from words of prophets, and from Relief Society leaders to teach its important messages.
The Book’s Influence
Sister Beck said that through the book sisters will learn how to fulfill the purposes of Relief Society in their own lives and as a sisterhood of covenant-keeping disciples.
“They will learn what it means to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help others who are in need,” Sister Beck said in an interview with Church magazines. “As sisters come to see themselves in the work of Relief Society, they can understand how influential women have been in the development of the Church, both anciently and in latter days, and they can know their purpose and their identity.”
Sister Beck believes that those who read the book will learn through example and precept how to listen to the Holy Ghost and receive personal revelation. They can also be fortified and encouraged in their daily lives and in their trials and hardships.
“There’s a lot of strength in the book—a lot of strength we can model,” Sister Beck said. “So on hard days, I hope people will keep their book handy and will pick it up and read one story or example that will strengthen them.”
Sister Beck also said that the book will go into the homes of the Church through the hands of the sisters, but she believes that the book will be an important resource for both men and women. It will help young women understand how they become part of a great worldwide sisterhood, and it can unite husbands and wives in their sacred work of guiding their families and serving in the Church.
After studying the book, Dale Cook, president of the Syracuse Utah Bluff Stake, said it will be an important resource to help not only the women of the Church to understand their roles as disciples of Christ but the men as well. “You read and see how it [the Relief Society] is intertwined and connected to the priesthood,” President Cook said. “It has helped me realize the power within my spouse and [how] to [better] love her and to help her and to support her.”
About the Book
The book is a resource for personal study and for teaching in the home, in Relief Society, and in other Church settings. It is being shipped to bishops and branch presidents, who will work with Relief Society presidents to decide how to make the distribution of the books a blessing to sisters in wards and branches.
The books are expected to be available in nearly two dozen languages by the end of January 2012. Many of those are already available online, where members can find companion videos, share quotes, and read suggestions for how to use and share the messages in the book. Go to lds.org/relief-society/daughters-in-my-kingdom. Click on “Additional Languages (PDF)” in the center of the page under “Related Resources.” A list of available languages will appear on the right side of the next page. The website will eventually be translated into several languages.
A hardbound edition of the book is planned in English, Portuguese, and Spanish by the end of the year and will be available through Distribution Services and store.lds.org.