All My Sisters
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“All My Sisters,” New Era, Jan. 2003, 35

All My Sisters

I found a lot of new sisters under the Relief Society umbrella. You will, too!

Near the end of my senior year of high school, I knew it would be time to move to Relief Society. I loved Young Women, and the thought of spending Sunday mornings with a group of older ladies just didn’t sound appealing. Relief Society was for mothers and grandmothers, I thought.

The day came. The Relief Society sisters were halfway through the opening hymn when I slipped in the back of the room. At the time, my mother was serving in the Primary, and my married sister had just been called to the Young Women presidency. My grandma was ward librarian, so she would be a little late. I was all alone. After the opening prayer, a counselor in the presidency stood to give the announcements, but I only half-listened as she read off what I considered useless information about cannery dates and ward temple night. My mind wandered during the lesson about a topic that surely didn’t pertain to me.

I went to Relief Society faithfully each week but with the same not-for-me attitude. The sisters in my ward were nice people, but they were so much older and led such totally different lives. I was excited when the summer ended, and I could go away to college and attend Church meetings with people my own age.

As we settled in the chapel that first Sunday, I was surprised when the bishop of my student ward announced that after sacrament meeting and Sunday School we would separate for priesthood and Relief Society. Relief Society? I thought I had left that back home.

I was even more surprised to discover that the form wasn’t all that different from what I had observed in my home ward. Instead of my friend’s grandma leading the music, it was a sophomore who lived in the apartment across the street. My roommate, rather than my old Primary teacher, offered the opening prayer, and I recognized the sister who gave the lesson from my biology class.

Once again I attended Relief Society every Sunday. However, it wasn’t until the second semester that I truly began to appreciate what Relief Society had to offer. I decided to get more involved. I began to really pay attention to the lessons and was amazed when I got so much out of them. My companion and I set a goal for 100-percent visiting teaching, and we accomplished it, forming lasting friendships along the way. As the year progressed, I could feel us drawing closer as ward members and friends but more importantly as sisters in the Lord’s Church.

When the school year ended, I was a little reluctant to return home for the summer. I had grown to love Relief Society at college, and I was hesitant to return to my home Relief Society where I felt I didn’t fit in. But I was surprised to feel the Spirit—the same familiar, comfortable feeling I had felt so many times in Relief Society in my student ward—engulf me as I walked in the door. I took a look around. Instead of seeing distant mothers and grandmothers, I saw fellow sisters. At college, I had learned to love and appreciate sisters of all different personalities, backgrounds, and circumstances. I realized the sisters in my home ward were no different; they were just at different stages in their lives—stages that I, too, would eventually experience. I know Relief Society was divinely organized for all women, young and old, married and single. We may lead different lives, but we are united in the gospel. We are all sisters in Zion.

[You Are Needed]

Bonnie D. Parkin

Photo by Busath Photography

“I invite the young adult women of the Church, wherever you are, to look at Relief Society and know that you are needed there, that we love you, that together we can have a grand time. Please come and be with us” (Ensign, May 2002, 84).
Bonnie D. Parkin
Relief Society general president

Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh