“Lesson 18 Teacher Material: Latter-day Saint Women and the Relief Society,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (2019)
“Lesson 18 Teacher Material,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material
Display a picture of or describe a righteous woman in your life. Briefly share with the class what makes her an exemplary woman and how she has contributed to building God’s kingdom.
Invite students to share their thoughts about a righteous woman they know and how she is an influence for good in building the kingdom of God. (This was something students were invited to ponder in the preparation material.)
Display the following statement by President Russell M. Nelson. Invite a student to read it aloud, and ask the class to follow along and look for what President Nelson teaches about the righteous women of the Church.
My dear sisters, you … are our vital associates during this winding up scene. … Your virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith, and righteous lives will draw good women of the world, along with their families, to the Church in unprecedented numbers!
We, your brethren, need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices. The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God! (Russell M. Nelson, “A Plea to My Sisters,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 96)
What stands out to you in this statement?
How would you summarize a truth we can learn from President Nelson’s teachings about covenant-keeping women in the Church? (Using students’ words, write on the board or display a truth similar to the following: The attributes, leadership, and voices of covenant-keeping women are essential to building the kingdom of God.)
Why do you think the kingdom of God “is not and cannot be complete” without the voices and contributions of covenant-keeping women?
Explain that as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 25, the Lord called on Emma Smith to use her voice, talents, and abilities to help build His kingdom. Invite students to review Doctrine and Covenants 25:5–7, 10–16, which they studied in section 1 of the preparation material, and ask them to identify the counsel and responsibilities the Lord gave Emma.
Ask students to share what stands out to them from these verses and why. Give students a minute to consider which points of counsel the Lord would want them to more fully accept and live.
Display an image of Joseph Smith’s Red Brick Store in Nauvoo, Illinois, and explain that it was here that the Relief Society was organized in March 1842.
Ask students to recount from section 2 of the preparation material (or invite a student at the beginning of class to prepare to do so) the circumstances that led to the establishment of the Relief Society.
After what pattern did Joseph Smith say the Relief Society is organized? (The Relief Society is organized after the pattern of the priesthood.)
What does it mean that the Relief Society was organized after the pattern of the priesthood? Why is this important for us to know? (If needed, invite students to recall what they learned in section 2 of the preparation material.)
How would you summarize the purposes of the Relief Society? (You might invite students to review the statements of Sister Zina D. H. Young and Sister Julie B. Beck in section 3 of the preparation material to help them identify a truth similar to the following: The Relief Society was organized to provide relief to the poor and to help save souls.)
What are ways you have seen women of the Relief Society fulfill these purposes? (You might also share a meaningful example or experience of your own.)
Provide time for a couple of sisters in class to share their feelings about the blessings of the Relief Society.
Ask a few students to share their responses to the following question they were invited to ponder in the preparation material:
What can both women and men do to catch the vision of Relief Society and work together to help accomplish its purposes?
Display the following questions, and invite students to prayerfully think about and then write a goal in their journal or notebook:
Sisters, how will you participate more fully in accomplishing the purposes of the Relief Society through your abilities, faith, voice, and leadership?
Brethren, what will you do to better support, encourage, and work with women in building God’s kingdom?
If time permits, consider inviting a few students to share what they wrote.
To conclude the lesson, consider doing one or more of the following:
Ask students how they would respond to someone who claims that women have a diminished place and role in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Testify of the truths identified during the lesson.
Invite a student to read the following invitation from President Russell M. Nelson:
It is converted, covenant-keeping women … whose righteous lives will increasingly stand out in a deteriorating world and who will thus be seen as different and distinct in the happiest of ways.
… I plead with my sisters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to step forward! Take your rightful and needful place in your home, in your community, and in the kingdom of God—more than you ever have before. (Russell M. Nelson, “A Plea to My Sisters,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 97; italics in original)
Explain to students that next time they meet, they will focus on an aspect of the restored gospel that the Prophet Joseph Smith referred to as one of the greatest responsibilities in this world that God has given to the Latter-day Saints (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 475). Invite students to carefully study the preparation material for lesson 19 and come ready to discuss the marvelous prophetic promises made to those who help accomplish temple work for the dead.