“Understanding the heritage we have, that this organization is a restoration of something that existed anciently, helps us understand that we are not a footnote in history or a sidebar in the Lord’s work; we are an essential part of building the kingdom and we’ve been organized to do such.”
Julie B. Beck, BYU Women's Conference, 2011
As I read the book, many things reaffirmed to me my roles in the Father’s plan—those of wife, mother, friend, teacher, laborer in the Lord’s kingdom. My identity as a daughter of God was manifested more clearly as I prayed to understand the principles and patterns within the chapters and what Heavenly Father would have me learn.
The stories of the sisters reached out and reminded me of the instinctive gifts of charity, sympathy, nurturing, and others that as women we have been given.
It reminded me that one of my greatest privileges is in strengthening home and family. I was touched and impressed with this statement from chapter 2: “Although the early Relief Society sisters were involved in their community and ready to serve their neighbors, they never lost sight of their responsibilities toward their own families and homes. They were true to their innate gifts as mothers and nurturers” (page 18). And another statement, “Their homes and the homes of others were uppermost in their minds” (page 19).
Another principle that spoke to me was that they embraced charity in every aspect of their life. I felt their sense of duty to take care of one another. They were always about good works and were very specific in their offerings when helping those in need. I am more grateful to belong to an organization that embraces charitable service as foundational principle.
This book has deeply strengthened my understanding and testimony of the restored Church of Jesus Christ and of God's love for all of His children. As I read chapter one I was struck by the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith: “The Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized” (page 7). Those words in combination with the understanding that first chapter gave me that Relief Society is a restoration of an ancient pattern have forever changed my understanding of the role of Relief Society. I now realize that Relief Society is not just a nice part of the Church; it is a necessary part. I now see that Relief Society is not something you just go to when you can; it is something you are a part of every day of your life.
I was touched as I read chapter eight and gained an understanding of how Heavenly Father has provided ways for both His sons and daughters to be equally blessed and to bless others. The stories in the chapter powerfully taught me how women can seek and receive spiritual gifts, how they can use those gifts to be a blessing and powerful influence in their families and with others. I can now teach my own daughters much more effectively how they can serve side by side with men who faithfully hold the priesthood to strengthen others.
This new book, though small, is packed with new information and insight that can bless anyone's life. After reading the chapter on women in the scriptures, I couldn't wait to pick up my own scriptures and study more about the lives of these relatively anonymous heroines. It was also a completely brand new idea to me that some form of the Relief Society existed in the ancient Church, but, it makes sense. As a single woman I loved reading thoughts by Sister Barbara Thompson about my role and responsibility in families. Her words rang so true to me. Having served a mission in a small European country, I am so grateful that this book will be made available to sisters around the world. I hope it will build bridges between us wherever we are.