Saturday, September 24, 2011

Discipleship And Charity The Common Themes Of The 2011 LDS General Relief Society Meeting

Note: All posts on the October 2011 181st Semiannual General Conference available HERE, with the most recent post appearing first.

The 2011 General Relief Society Meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took place before a capacity crowd of over 20,000 at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on September 24th, 2011, and the common theme promoted by all speakers seemed to be discipleship, although charity was a secondary theme. As expected, speakers referred at times to the newly-released Relief Society manual, "Daughters in My Kingdom: the History and Work of Relief Society" (14 MB file, may take up to five minutes to download).

A video archive is now available HERE. KSL news video embedded below:

LDS women hear messages of faith, worth |

LDS Church News has provided summaries of the addresses, while a more personal perspective is available from the live-blogging on Scholaristas. A Well-Behaved Mormon Women also weighs in. Highlights from the LDS Church News provided below; click on the link to go directly to the summary:

-- President Julie B. Beck: Sister Beck explained that Relief Society today is organized after a pattern of discipleship that existed in the Church in ancient times, noting that when the Savior organized His Church in New Testament times, women were vital participants in His ministry. She added that as the Lord began restoring His Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith, He again included women in a pattern of discipleship.

Sister Beck further explained that the Lord inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to organize the women of the Church under the priesthood and after the pattern of the priesthood, which makes it possible for the presidency to receive direction from the Lord and His prophet for a specific work. Although under the priesthood, the Relief Society has been given authority to teach, inspire and organize the sisters as disciples to assist in the Lord's work of Salvation. One of those works emphasized at this meeting was visiting teaching, which is to be considered an extension of the bishop's charge to care for the Lord's flock. Sister Beck concluded by saying that Sister Beck concluded by noting that these and other essential teachings about Relief Society are now available for study in "Daughters in My Kingdom: the History and Work of Relief Society."

-- Sister Sylvia H. Allred, First Counselor: Sister Allred spoke at length about charity, characterizing it not as a single act or something we give away, but as a state of being, a state of the heart, kind feelings that engender loving actions. Individuals must first have the desire to increase in charity and to be more Christ-like. Then, they must pray to be filled with love. Those who truly possess the spirit of charity are willing to serve and help others even when it is inconvenient, and with no thought of recognition or reciprocation. When charity becomes our very nature, we react when we see a need rather than wait to be assigned to help. Sister Allred also put out a pitch for visiting teaching, noting that through effective visiting teaching, we have many opportunities to love, minister and serve others. She added that it is through the countless acts of charity performed daily by visiting teachers all over the world that individuals are able to follow the Savior and act as instruments in His hands. And it is through providing service and extending charity towards others that individuals are able to overcome their own difficulties, making them seem less challenging.

-- Sister Barbara Thompson, Second Counselor: Covenants were her hot topic as Sister Thompson noted that as individuals cleave unto their covenants, joy and happiness come into their lives. In the scriptures, we learn of men and women who have made covenants with God, who instructed people on what to do to honor those covenants, and then as those covenants were kept, God released the promised blessings. Referencing the new "Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society" book, Sister Thompson spoke of the importance of making and keeping sacred covenants and the blessings that come as individuals live worthy of their covenants. Sister Thompson also pitched a subtle reminder that temples still exist, more are being built, and that they've been built to be used.

-- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency: President Uchtdorf used the forget-me-not flower, which has five petals, as a metaphor to illustrate five things he would like the women in the Church to remember.

(1). Forget not to be patient with yourself.
(2). Forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.
(3). Forget not to be happy now.
(4). Forget not the 'why' of the gospel.
(5). Forget not that the Lord loves you.

The Money Shot: "My dear Relief Society sisters, you are closer to heaven that you suppose. You are destined for more than you can possibly imagine. Continue to increase in faith and personal righteousness. Accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as your way of life. Cherish the gift of activity in this great and true Church. Treasure the gift of service in the blessed organization of Relief Society. Continue to strengthen homes and families. Continue to seek out and help others who need your and the Lord's help."

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