BYU Women’s Conference 2011

Julie B. Beck

Julie B. Beck

I’m hoping that as I deliver this message today that you will be able to receive it in the spirit in which it was given to me. Sometimes the messages we are asked to give come as a gift and they’re poured out upon us. The Lord says, “Say this,” and so we write it down and we give it. And other times the messages are hard won and we work hard for them and we get pieces and points. This has been one of those where the message has been on my mind for an entire year, knowing after Women’s Conference last year that next April would come around sooner or later, and so start preparing. Maybe that’s the danger of preparing too soon. But I have a very fat folder of ideas and thoughts that have come at different times and places, and knowing how to put them all together has required more thought and prayer and asking.

And at the same time, as you know, while we’re worrying about these kinds of things, then our mortal experience keeps happening. So life continues and we get opportunities to learn and grow in other ways. Those create interruptions and distractions in our lives. That’s just normal for me and it’s normal for you. The past few weeks have been a time of interesting and prolific mortal experience where a lot of events have happened, good and sad, difficult and enjoyable, and all of that has been in the middle of preparing for this.

A lot of the thinking about this message has been in the middle of the night, in the wee hours when the phone wasn’t ringing and there wasn’t a clamor. I not only felt the companionship of the Holy Ghost, but the companionship of sweet presence and helpers, times of repentance and pointing out faults and failings and times of approval. I hope all of you have those kinds of opportunities in your life to stretch and grow, and for that I am most grateful. That is why I am grateful for this opportunity to speak. I’m hoping that something that is conveyed here will bless you. But more than anything, the Lord has blessed me, and I thank Him for His goodness in doing that.

Over the past year, I and my counselors have visited with thousands of women around the world. And I like to take the opportunity in those meetings to listen to their questions. I write down the questions, and I write down the answers the Lord gives me when we’re visiting together. That is some of the stack of things I’ve been sifting through. What the questions were and the answers that were given in those times. There are hundreds of questions, and they are very good questions—most of them inspired questions. They talk about your mortal experience, as I said. Questions about difficulties in families, sometimes wayward children. Sometimes they are questions from women who haven’t found husbands and they want to know about the Lord’s plan for them. There are questions about roles and responsibilities of women and questions about homemaking and priorities and parenting. There are questions from women about whether or not to work outside the home, or whether to stay home, or whether or not the work they have will be sufficient to feed them, and how to manage the small resources they have. I have been touched by the questions that come from the sisters. It gives me an understanding of the broad spectrum of the experience you’re having, the difficulties and the joys in your lives, and the things you are trying to accomplish.

Over the past few years in Women’s Conference, we’ve concentrated on a few things that we’ve hoped would help bless and strengthen you. We’ve talked about Relief Society as being about relief, which word is defined as lifting up and lifting us to a higher level of achievement and behavior and accomplishment in the Lord’s kingdom. We’ve talked about being strong and immovable. We’ve delineated the purposes of Relief Society. We’ve talked about families and what should be happening in families. And last year we mentioned the lioness at the gate and that protective feeling we should have as women over our homes and our hearths.1 And in the general Relief Society meetings, we’ve echoed some of these same things. Last fall in the general Relief Society meeting, we talked about a history of Relief Society. With the approval of the First Presidency, we announced that a history of Relief Society was being prepared for the sisters of the Church and that sometime this year, in 2011, that would be made available to the sisters of the Church.2 That will be made available to you sometime this year. And you don’t need to worry about when it’s coming; you just need to know it will be here and settle your souls about that. It doesn’t really matter when it comes.

Yesterday, Brother and Sister Tanner talked about the history of Relief Society to some extent and bore their testimonies of that and how they have come to know and understand what it was about.3 Others have focused on the history of Relief Society. We had the former Relief Society presidents here, and they bore testimony of their service and responsibilities. It was a marvelous time to be with those women of strength and capacity who are continuing to serve as examples and leaders in their homes and families and in the Church. I was touched and blessed to be with them.4

As we’ve prepared this history for you, there have been many opportunities to learn, and there are some things that have come out in that preparation that have delineated some themes for learning. It’s not so important to have a linear historian’s history in the Church, but it is important to know our spiritual heritage and responsibility. What are the themes that emerge in that spiritual heritage of what the Lord wants us to accomplish? This history actually provides a context for learning for the sisters of the Church. There are a few things that I’ll talk about today that I’m hoping, as history becomes ever more important to us, that we will learn, things that I have learned, and that all who have worked in preparation of this have learned. These are things that I am hoping my granddaughters will learn as they read and study Relief Society history. History helps us learn who we are and our importance to the Lord. It connects us and binds us with the covenants we have made. That’s why it’s important.

Relief Society strengthens and supports the identity of daughters of God

The first thing I learned from the history of Relief Society is that it strengthens and supports the identity of daughters of God. Our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love, value, and rely on their daughters. God’s daughters, we know, have equal importance in His sight with His sons. They have unique responsibilities and duties in the plan of salvation, and they share some responsibilities in the plan with Heavenly Father’s sons. They also have a unified purpose in our Heavenly Father’s plan with His sons. There is an interesting, exciting, and female identity of greatness, richness, that is choice beyond comparison. This identity that the Lord has given us and that we understand through the gospel of Jesus Christ is in direct contrast to the debased and devalued identity of women that we find in the world today. We find an elevated, strong identity that comes from our Heavenly Father. This identity and purpose can only be fully understood through a spiritual confirmation. There is an intellectual study that can be made, but a spiritual confirmation is what teaches us who we are and what we are to do. There is much out in the world that is false by way of identity. There are identities of sensuality, women seeking power, prestige, money, leisure—all of these things are different identities. But the identity of a daughter of God is precious beyond compare—and rich and full. We know that women are the guardians of the hearth and the home. And they have the responsibility for the hearts and souls of men and women and the children of our Heavenly Father. They are given this powerful and influential leadership role. Female responsibilities include being a wife, include being a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend. This is all about nurturing, teaching, and influencing. These are non-negotiable responsibilities. We can’t delegate them. We can accept them and live them, but these are things we understood before we were born, and we can’t negotiate with the Lord about whether or not these are our responsibilities. They have been part of the plan from the beginning; they are not going to change because of any clamor to the contrary. These are our responsibilities.

Not long ago I visited with a young mother who recently had her eighth child. That’s difficult to accomplish in these days. It’s always wonderful when you can find a woman who wants eight children and can have them. That combination doesn’t happen very often. But she said she was interested and a little disappointed in the comments of some of her friends, who she thought understood the gospel, who have been writing to her saying, “You’re making an interesting lifestyle choice.” She said, “I didn’t ever know that this was a lifestyle choice. I thought it was a gospel choice. I thought this was what the gospel taught us to do. I don’t do this because my children tell me I’m cute! I don’t do this because I get all the help I need. I don’t do this because anyone affirms what I’m doing. I do this because the Lord has taught me that it’s the right thing to do, and He will help me in the difficult, backbreaking days.”

I understood what she said. When our daughter had her baby recently, we brought home a number of grandchildren to our home and I volunteered to tend for five days. And I promise you giving this talk is easier than doing that! When I finally would get into bed at night, I would say to my husband, “I think I’m going to die! Every bone and muscle in my body hurts. How do they do this?” And then someone would wake up in the night and need something, and I didn’t get my sleep that I needed. And always it was just feeding, feeding people! I learned that my mothering skills were a little out of date. My grandmother skills were okay, but I had to go into the mode of being a mother and I was a little out of practice. And that meant when we needed disciplining, and stopping crying, and things like that going on, I prayed a lot. I couldn’t remember what I used to do in the olden days. And I thought the Holy Ghost is supposed to bring all things to our remembrance, and so maybe I’ll remember. So I kind of meshed the mothering role with the grandmothering role, and in times of great stress I just fed a lot of cold cereal! I think they are still coming down from the sugar high, but it made people happy! So, anyway, it was wonderful to be reminded of what that work is like and what is involved and what it entails and what we need to do as a Church to support the actual labor that needs to go into a home and a family.

One of the questions that I get frequently is, “Is it okay if I work outside of my home?” You have to know that as an international, global, Relief Society president, that question isn’t always appropriate in all of the world’s countries. There are many, many places where if our women don’t work, they don’t eat. So of course they have to work. The question of whether or not to work is the wrong question. The question is, “Am I aligned with the Lord’s vision of me and what He needs me to become and the roles and responsibilities He gave me in heaven that are not negotiable? Am I aligned with that, or am I trying to escape my duties?” Those are the kinds of things we need to understand. Our Heavenly Father loves His daughters, and because He loves us and the reward at the end is so glorious, we do not get a pass from the responsibilities we were given. We cannot give them away. They are our sacred duties and we fulfill them under covenant.

Sometimes I’m asked, “What are some of the things you worry about the most?” And I will read from 2 Nephi, which is a better description than I can give of some of the things that worry me the most. And this is in chapter 28 starting in verse 20, where we hear of what’s happening in the hearts and souls of our women, where he says that in “that day [or these last days] shall [Satan] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.” There is a lot of resentment out there for things that are holy and important. That should be a concern.

The next verse (21) says that “others will he [meaning Satan] pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well.” In our day we call that apathy. There is a lot of apathy out there toward important God-given roles and responsibilities.

Verse 22 says, “Others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell,” and that he is no devil—for there is none.5 And in our day, we call that flattery “entitlement.” There are a lot of feelings of entitlement, that someone owes me something. This even happens in families. Sometimes I hear a wife say, “Well, my husband owes me this,” either time or help. Sometimes I hear people say, “The Lord owes me this or I’m entitled to something.” And when I remember the Savior Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us, I remember who owes who—that no one owes me anything, and I owe everything to the Lord for His sacrifice. These things that are happening in our day are to be guarded against, watched over, so that it doesn’t happen to us. The Lord says in the same chapter (verse 32) that He will be merciful unto us, and if we will repent and come unto Him, His arm is lengthened out all the day long.6

We cannot put our trust in the arm of flesh and in the messages that are coming to women in our day. And Relief Society strengthens and supports the unique identity of daughters of God. How grateful we are for that.

The second theme I’ve learned from studying Relief Society history is that Relief Society is a restoration of a pattern that existed anciently. There is evidence of this in the scriptures. I call that bread crumbs. You find the bread crumbs or the links or the nuggets that teach that idea. There is evidence of this in the testimony of living prophets. There is evidence of this in the Spirit confirming that this is so. 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—that we are an essential part of building the kingdom and we’ve been organized to do such.

One of the first places in the scriptures where we find the Lord inviting sisters to be part of His work is in the gospel of Luke, in chapter 10. And you can go read and get a spirit of this for yourselves, but just a little review is in chapter 10 as follows, where the Apostles were called and given their responsibilities and sent out to do the Lord’s work, and off they went. And then the Seventy were called and instructed and they were told that they would be able to cast out devils and perform miracles in the Lord’s name. And they went and came back and reported on that ministry to the Savior. And then in the same chapter, the Lord has this question about “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He teaches that if we serve and love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, and all our strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves, then we are qualifying for eternal life. And following that, as an example, He gives this testimony of—or story of the good Samaritan, where we learn about taking care of someone who has immediate and long-term needs.7

Immediately following that is this great, misunderstood story of Mary and Martha. We like to talk about Martha as the bad woman and Mary as the good woman, but we know that Martha is the one who invited the Savior into her home—it was her home. Aren’t we told to do that? Isn’t that a good thing? And some of you even have little plaques that say, “Christ is the center of our home.” That was Martha. Then she was serving Him, and isn’t that a good thing? That was what women were expected to do and what we’re expected to do. But the Savior took this opportunity to invite both Mary and Martha to be official participants in His work of discipleship and He said that this was the “good part.” It was the needful part that would never be taken away from them. When you read that with a spiritual understanding, you learn about Mary and Martha and what happened to them later. Martha was a woman who bore fervent testimony of the Christ. You see the work they were participating in in the scriptures; you will learn that this was the Savior inviting them officially to be part of His work, not to be bystanders, but to be included in what He wanted to accomplish.8

So this restored pattern of discipleship we have in Relief Society provides an alignment for God’s daughters with His purpose and helps us learn our unique duties and responsibilities. It also unifies us with men who hold the priesthood in the Lord’s work.

I have asked sometimes, “Why do we have a Relief Society president on the general level and the local level?” And the reason we have a president is so we can have an organization, and we have an organization because we have a purpose; and when we have a purpose there is an expected work and outcome. Relief Society isn’t just a feel-good, get-together, let’s enjoy each other, do anything, anytime, anyplace for any reason—this is part of the Lord’s work. It has a president at every level and a purpose that was delineated by the Lord and His holy prophets. This work needs a specific outcome. In a worldwide organization, it can grow exponentially, country by country, and provides a system of watchcare and sisterhood and discipleship and education that is growing every day.

The purposes of Relief Society, as determined by the Lord, are to help us increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those who are in need. That’s why we exist. The outcome is that we will improve women individually and as a whole and prepare for eternal life, that we will build the Lord’s kingdom and homes and wards.

We’re not entertainers. This is the Lord’s business of salvation. That’s the business we’re in. So we teach like the Savior taught, and we teach, and we teach, and we build the Lord’s kingdom. This isn’t about causes or advocacy groups, because we have an advocate. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is our Advocate with the Father. And we stand with Him, doing His work, working for His great cause.

We’re here to provide relief and to rise above life and live more fully the gospel. We know how essential we are; the expectation is that when a woman joins the Church, or she enters Relief Society by age 18, that she is then prepared to be organized under priesthood keys and under priesthood direction, working alongside quorums to move the Lord’s work forward. This is not a passé, worn-out organization. It is in its ascendancy. It is growing, it is developing, and it is becoming a world-class, unmatched system in the world. When we come to understand what Relief Society is and the watchcare and responsibility we have, when we think of visiting teaching specifically, if we really understood what it was, there would be no more shoulder-shrugging, no eye-rolling, no excuses or issues. We would come to understand that the Lord wants the results of people understanding that they’re loved, that they’re cared for, that they’re watched over, that they’re strengthened and supported in living His gospel. And we will do anything to get on our knees and know what the Lord would have us do. Relief Society is this great system, organized after an ancient pattern, that is in its ascendancy—and it is world-class. We will provide, increasingly, the example for the world of how the Lord’s people should be organized and live.

The third theme I learned from studying the history of Relief Society is that Relief Society, when functioning properly, is a manifestation of charity. Charity is much more than a feeling of benevolence. It is more than virtuous living. It is living as Christ lived and being as He is. It is more than niceness. It is what we are to become. We learn from the scriptures, in Alma and in Moroni, that if we have not charity, we are as dross before the Lord,9 that if we don’t have charity we cannot achieve eternal life and that we should pray with all of our hearts to be filled with charity. It is a great goal for us. It is Christlike charity; it is a Christlike quality. President Spencer Kimball said, “The cultivation of Christlike qualities is a demanding and relentless task—it is not for the seasonal worker or for those who will not stretch themselves, again and again.”10 This wonderful charity is what we do and who we are and who we’re becoming, because we know that two or three of us gathered together in an organized way is more than one of us working in a disorganized way. Charity is a purifier. It is the Atonement working in us, purifying us, changing us. It is covenant keeping at its purest. It requires repentance and change.

A hundred years ago when the general Relief Society presidency selected the motto for Relief Society as Charity Never Faileth, they knew what they were doing. This motto was distilled by women who had been taught by Joseph Smith and understood the purpose of Relief Society. Joseph taught and taught and taught this more excellent way to the sisters. He taught them about becoming holy and using this organization to learn how to become like the Savior. Sisters, it’s more than benevolence. It is becoming like the Savior, utilizing the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The history of Relief Society is a history of women of strong faith, and we’ve heard about some of those. Earthly trials and tears and opposition and difficulties are part of the Lord’s plan for us, and through those difficulties we learn and make progress. We will always have opposition. We learn in the Book of Mormon that if we don’t have opposition, then we are nothing. We are a compound in one.11 We will always feel this opposition. Eve knew this and she chose mortality and experienced opposition. She led in her family and rejoiced in knowing that her trials would perfect her. Life is difficult. I have a friend who said to me recently that she’d had a plaque for years that said, “I can do the hard things.” And she says, “I’ve changed that. I now say I do hard things!” We actually do hard things, and we have learned that trials can be endured and overcome only through strong faith. Faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ, and in His atoning power, in His capacity to heal and strengthen us; faith in the Father’s plan and His mission, and that He will fulfill every promise. With strong faith we can triumph over life’s adversities, and without it we become fearful, confused, discouraged, depressed, distracted, and lost. Faith is how the Lord heals us and strengthens us.

I love this teaching in Matthew, chapter 9, when the two blind men approached the Savior and said, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.” How many times have you gone to the Lord and said, “Have mercy”? And the Lord said—Jesus said unto them, “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” They said unto Him, “Yea, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it unto you.”12

With strong faith the Lord can heal and strengthen us and help us accomplish this mortal experience. We will have happy days and we will have difficult days, and the Lord can heal us. He can heal us from our faults and our failings and change us. And I’ve learned from studying Relief Society history that faith is possible and with the strength of the Holy Ghost and companionship of that faith, we become stronger and our difficulties become our opportunities and our blessings.

I’ve learned through studying the history of Relief Society that we have and live with an inseparable connection to the priesthood. The Prophet Joseph Smith put the sisters in the position to receive all the gifts, blessings, and privileges that come under the direction of the priesthood. The priesthood is God’s power. It is His power to create, to bless, to lead, to serve as He does. The priesthood duty of every righteous man is to qualify for the blessing of holding that priesthood and trust for the Lord so that he can bless his family and those around him. And I will say 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. Too much is said and misunderstood about what the brothers have and the sisters don’t have. This is Satan’s way of confusing both men and women so neither understands what they really have. Sisters and brothers each have every ordinance, every gift, and every blessing available to them to get back to our Father in Heaven, and no one, male or female, is left outside of those blessings to qualify for exaltation. There is a unity in the council and the covenant that is required us to get there. Neither the man nor the woman can ascend without the other. We are inseparably connected in that way. I understand how special women are. I understand how special men are. And together we’re more special. We become what the Lord wants us to become.

Home is where the Lord expects the priesthood to work best. When brothers and sisters mutually are responsible to protect and maintain and value the power of the priesthood, the keys of the priesthood and priesthood covenants and blessings, then we will be truly achieving something.

The first priesthood covenant we make is baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We teach that to children, and it is honored and kept in our youth, looking forward always to the covenants found in the temple. Sisters, I’ve said before, I hope you go to the temple and pay attention. Pay attention and listen and look and learn and feel and understand what is happening, and the blessings and the gifts of the priesthood that come through the covenants and ordinances of the gospel.

Young women are prepared in Young Women to receive temple covenants. Relief Society was given the responsibility to firm up that maturity and get women prepared for the temple. Joseph Smith gave that assignment to the Relief Society, and it has never been taken away from them. It is one of the major responsibilities of the Relief Society, to prepare young women and women for temple covenants.

Recently I reviewed what the [Church] handbook says about Young Women and members preparing for the temple. It says, “Single members in their late teens or early twenties who have not received a mission call or who are not engaged to be married in the temple should not be recommended to receive their own endowment. However, they may receive limited-use recommends.” This is something that we should encourage in all of our youth. “Worthy single members who have not received their endowment in connection with a marriage or mission may become eligible to receive the endowment when the bishop and the stake president determine that they are sufficiently mature to understand and keep the sacred covenants made in a temple. Such eligibility is determined individually for each person, not by using routine criteria such as reaching a certain age or leaving home for college or employment.” That’s what our handbook teaches, and when I read that, I said to myself, “So the goal of every woman, every Relief Society woman, is to become sufficiently mature to understand and keep the sacred covenants made in the temple. That is our goal for every woman.”

We learn from reading the Doctrine and Covenants that in the ordinances of the gospel, the power of godliness is manifest. We have those ordinances of baptism and the Holy Ghost, of conferring of the priesthood for men, of the endowment and the sealing, and there is a power of godliness that comes to each of us in each of those ordinances. That power is our goal, and the Lord has promised that. The Holy Ghost is a precious revelator that is given to all faithful women and men, and this teaches us to know and do what we need to do.

Recently I reviewed this Primary song. You’re familiar with it. It says, “Mine is a home where ev’ry hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood pow’r, With father and mother leading the way.”13 Mine is a home where every hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood power. That is your responsibility, sisters, to help your home be a home that is blessed every hour by priesthood power. It isn’t just when Dad is there. It’s not just when Mom is there. It’s not just when a priesthood ordinance or blessing is being performed. It’s every hour as covenants are kept.

Now I’ve reviewed some of the things that I have learned from studying the history of Relief Society. And I hope as it becomes available to you, that the power and strength of these things will settle upon your hearts and that other lessons the Lord has to teach you personally will emerge in your study. We’ve learned about our female identity and duty in the Lord’s plan. It is bigger than knowing I am a child of God. It’s an expectation to live and choose and make progress into God’s life—not only to accept His plan but to fulfill it.

Relief Society is a restoration or a bringing back of an ancient pattern and practice of discipleship. Relief Society on a general and local level has a president, and a president is a spiritual leader of an organization that has set purposes and work to do. We are to increase our faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those who are in need. The Lord can’t build His kingdom without Relief Society. It’s in its ascendancy in importance and value, and the Lord’s kingdom is going forward. In the future it is going to require strong leadership from all women.

We’ve learned that the motto of Relief Society, Charity Never Faileth, is the motto for good reason. It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ in action in our lives. It is becoming as He is. It is a life-changing and life-saving quality. It is the aim of every Latter-day Saint.

We learn through Relief Society history about faith—deep, strong faith. We learn from those who have faced trials in the past how to overcome our mortal experiences. The scriptures are replete with examples of this also, and testimonies. There is an inseparable connection to the priesthood with all righteous women individually and with this organization, and we operate under the authority in an authorized manner to do the Lord’s work. Every sister can fully possess the blessings, the gifts, and the covenants of the priesthood, and God’s power should be in and around and through our lives every moment. And the companionship of the Holy Ghost is our strength and our goal. We are actually not at liberty to choose contrary to the Lord’s plan without consequence. We are a tremendously blessed people. Relief Society brings value and importance to God’s daughters, and it is as strong as the weakest sister among us. Our responsibility is to reach out and help and strengthen each other and create a sisterhood of watchcare that is so powerful no one would be lost. No one can do it alone.

I’m grateful for Relief Society, not only for its beginnings but for what it is today. And I’m just beginning to have a glimpse of what the Lord has in mind for His daughters. The vision that comes to me sometimes is glorious and staggering and humbling and thrilling. It is difficult to contemplate. It is part of that vision of Daniel of the stone rolling forth to bless the earth.14 The Lord expects and requires that His daughters participate in building His kingdom in bringing to pass what He calls His strange act.15

Until the history of who you are is in your hearts, you won’t be as strong as you could be. Rather than prepare for a product, I would suggest that you prepare yourself to receive the Lord’s message for you. Go to the temple, pray, and live and become what the Lord would have us all become. The answer to the anger, to the entitlement, to the resentment, the apathy, is in the Relief Society of this Church. It is the response and the defense and the offense going forward.

I am going to paraphrase a teaching that President [Henry B.] Eyring taught to the priesthood leaders a year ago. When he was talking to them about their priesthood duties—and if you will think about this in relation to your Relief Society duties, getting a vision of the expanse of what that means as daughters of God—he said, “When[ever] I am tempted to feel that I have finished some hard task in the [Lord’s service] and deserve a rest, the Savior’s example gives me courage to press on. … When[ever] [I] remember Him, it becomes easier to resist the temptation to want a rest from [our] priesthood labors. We must have remembered Him today, and so we are here to [remember to] learn our duties, determined to do what we are covenanted to do, in all diligence. And because of His example we will endure to the end of the tasks He gives us in this life and be committed to do the will of His Father forever, as He was and is. This is the Lord’s Church. He called us and trusted us even in the weaknesses He knew we had. He knew the trials we would face. … We can become ever more like Him.”16 Thank you, President Eyring, who described how to go forward when we’re tired and when it seems difficult.

I am so grateful for the blessing I have had in my life to connect and know and be lifted up by strong, faithful, purposeful women who knew their identity in the kingdom of God and helped move His gospel forward. I’m grateful for those who have exemplified charity and have become as the Savior is. I am thankful for this wonderful association and sisterhood which unites us in the Lord’s work. I am grateful for the association I have with the Young Women presidency, the Primary presidency, and also the Sunday School and Young Men presidency of this Church, with our priesthood advisors and the counseling opportunities we have, to think about and work on how to bless and build the families and individuals of this Church. It’s all the Lord’s work.

I leave you my testimony that this is the true, restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth. He is directing it today through prophets, seers, and revelators who seek to know His mind and will and carry it out. I watch that on an ongoing basis. I bear my testimony of the goodness of sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father who understand their life’s mission and can move it forward.

I leave my love and confidence with you and express my great appreciation for your fine lives and for your continuing attempts to exemplify charity that never fails. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

  1. Julie B. Beck, BYU Women’s Conference, Thursday, April 29, 2010.
  2. Julie B. Beck, “Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society,” general Relief Society meeting, September 2010
  3. John and Susan Tanner, BYU Women’s Conference, April 28, 2011
  4. BYU Women’s Conference, April 28, 2011
  5. See 2 Nephi 28:20-22.
  6. See 2 Nephi 28:32.
  7. See Luke 10:1-37.
  8. See Luke 10:38-42.
  9. See Alma 34:29.
  10. Spencer W. Kimball, “Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” Ensign, November 1978, 105.
  11. See 2 Nephi 2:11.
  12. See Matthew 9:27-29.
  13. “Love Is Spoken Here,” Children’s Songbook, 190.
  14. See Daniel 2.
  15. See Isaiah 28:21; D&C 95:4; D&C 101:95.
  16. Henry B. Eyring, “Act in All Diligence,” Ensign, May 2010, 60-63.