Thursday, September 29, 2011

Relief Society – a Priesthood Organization

I had the privilege of attending the General Relief Society Broadcast on Saturday at the Stake Center. I call that a privilege because I didn’t have to watch it with the kids clamoring at my feet. My sweet husband kept the kids, put them to bed, and took care of the house while I sat at the feet of our General Relief Society presidency and the prophets and soaked up what they had to teach me.
Lately I feel like I have been learning a lot about the Relief Society. A lot of that is due to the new manual that has been published by the Church, Daughters in My Kingdom. But to be honest, I have only read the first chapter. Most of what I have been learning I think has been listening to the prophets speak. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to read the Daughters in My Kingdom book, I have just been immersed in other scripture right now, including General Conference talks, which are my lifeline, usually.

The thing has really been striking me lately (and I think that a lot of it is due to Heather’s inspired words over at Women in the Scriptures) is that the Relief Society is a Priesthood organization. Between Heather, the new manual, and the Relief Society broadcast on Saturday I have a very firm testimony that the Relief Society is a Priesthood organization. That changes things for me. No longer is Relief Society just about doing nice things for people and taking care of the sisters – it is a divinely appointed organization with leaders called the same way prophets and apostles are called.

We believe that a man (or woman) may be called of God by prophesy and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

Growing up, and even in my first few years in Relief Society I thought of Relief Society as just that – a society that provides relief. We find people who need help, and we give them help. Of course, that is part of the Relief Society – but the larger part is the Priesthood calling of the Relief Society. Just as Deacons, Teachers, Priests, Elders, and High Priests have Priesthood responsibilities, so do the sisters in God’s Kingdom.

They are very explicitly spelled out in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” Over at Empowering LDS Women, Kels quoted Sister Julie B. Beck from her Women’s Conference 2011 talk where she said, “the priesthood duty of sisters is to create life, to nurture it, to prepare it for covenants of the Lord. Don’t confuse the power with the keys and the offices of the priesthood. God’s power is limitless and it is shared with those who make and keep covenants.” If we as women are not covenant makers, I don’t know who is. God’s power is available to us as women. We do not have keys or offices of the priesthood, but the power of the priesthood is limitlessly available to us as we serve the Lord.

Do you feel like you have the power of the priesthood in your life and service? Do you feel that you have the power of God to assist you in your righteous efforts?

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