Sunday, August 5, 2012

GCBC Week 19: The Vision of Prophets Regarding Relief Society

I know I wasn’t the only one who knew in the back of my mind that the Relief Society presidency was going to be reorganized at April General Conference. I’m positive I was the only one who had to choke back tears when I lifted my hand to thank Sister Julie B. Beck for her service as General Relief Society President. Sister Beck was called to the General Young Women’s presidency shortly before I graduated high school, and I remember feeling a kind of connection with her when she spoke. I am sure that Sister Beck’s calling to the Relief Society presidency was divinely inspired, and that God’s timing was perfect.

So when I heard that Sister Beck was going to be speaking anyway in General Conference I almost cheered. One more talk from this elect lady! I was ecstatic.

And then I readied my pen and my ear. Whatever she had to say I was sure would be profound. And I had long begun my journey to find out what it really meant to be a woman – a journey I felt guided on by Sister Beck herself.

I am thrilled to discuss this talk with you! So, ladies (and gentlemen, if there are any lurking out there), let’s get to it.

I appreciated Sister Beck’s comment that “Just as the Lord’s prophets have continually taught elders and high priests their purposes and duties, they have shared their vision for the sisters of the Relief Society.” Too often we whine and complain about how little the prophets give the sisters direction – that usually they just pat us on the head and tell us we’re amazing. I agree with Sister Beck – there is a lot more direction and instruction that we realize, and I think we’d be better off actually searching for that direction rather than whining about how little exists.

Not to mention that whenever our leaders discuss fulfilling priesthood responsibilities, they are talking to sisters as well. Not being ordained to the priesthood does not exempt us from our priesthood responsibilities. The Relief Society was organized after the pattern of the priesthood. Sister Beck has taught us that the Relief Society is our equivalent of a priesthood quorum, and we should treat it as such.

The amount of teachings about Relief Society and our purpose and responsibilities as women has surprised me as I have sought out those teachings from prophets and leaders. I am anxious to learn more about Relief Society and really understand what it is, and what I should be doing as a member of Relief Society.

Sister Beck reminded us that, “Relief Society is not a program.” And it isn’t. It’s a priesthood organization to which women belong, and we have sacred responsibilities as members of that organization.

What stood out to you in Sister Beck’s talk?


  1. I was like you, Becca. I love Sister Beck, loved this presidency, and was so sad to see them released. It was a real blessing to get to hear her speak one more time.

    I loved her emphasis that the purpose of Relief Society is to save souls. It made me think of my current calling as a CTR 7 teacher in a little bit different light--to think of it not only as gospel teaching, but as a mission to save these young souls. This talk also made me so grateful for the testimony that I have of the organization, born when I was called to serve in the stake Relief Society presidency when I was just 25. I feel sad at how many of my friends in the church have NO testimony of this organization and often see it as the place where we kind of put people out to pasture (with the REAL work and the REAL callings happening in primary and young women). I am so proud to be a member, and hope I can work hard to forward the themes of Faith, Family, and Relief that Sister Beck champions here.

  2. Love, love, love Sr Beck!! (The whole outgoing presidency, actually... I'm looking forward to getting to know the new sisters, too, but I'm going to miss this last trio!)

    I have multiple pages of notes from Sr Beck's addresses, and a common theme that I seem to make notes on regards the nature of discipleship and ministry. I feel pretty strongly that the RS has only begun to touch upon the full range of what our roles are within the gospel, and that the more we explore and work to understand discipleship and ministry, the more fully the RS organization move to extend the blessings of the gospel. When I re-think my participation in terms of learning to minister, learning to be a disciple, and really, truly think of my responsibilities and opportunities as an actual Ministry, I get awfully inspired and enthused, even with seemingly mundane tasks. Tying a quilt is just threads--or else it's the ministry of being able to pray for the eventual recipient while I work. Making a meal is just food--or else it's the ministry of recognizing that Heavenly Father *only* sets us to spiritual tasks, because all things are spiritual, even things that to our immature eyes seem temporal. It's very, very cool, and I've felt very blessed to hear Sr Beck sharing her inspiration and ministry with us.

    1. I love how you talk about getting enthuse with even seemingly mundane tasks - finding the ministry in everything we do.

      I am excited to listen to the new presidency this September. I just get this feeling we're going to hear some great stuff at this RS broadcast. It gives me chills just thinking about it!

  3. She quoted Pres. Packer saying " is obligatory upon a woman to draw into her life the virtues that are fostered by the Relief Society as it is an obligation for the men to build into their lives the patterns of character fostered by the priesthood." I thought of the Relief Society declaration and how that would be a good place to look for many of the virtues fostered by Relief Society. I want to become more familiar with the declaration and hopefully memorize it.=)

    1. I LOVED that quote from Pres Packer. I think that any time we remember that women in the Relief Society have the same responsibilities, duties, and obligations as men who hold the priesthood we are headed in the right direction.

      I like your idea of memorizing the Relief Society declaration! I wish we recited it each week like the Young Women do in their opening exercises.


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