Your Next Step
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“Your Next Step,” New Era, Aug. 2004, 10

Your Next Step

… from Young Women is into the arms of the Relief Society, where you will learn to become a woman of God through serving Him.

There is a wonderful place waiting for you after Young Women. It’s a place where you can grow closer to your Father in Heaven. A place where you will learn to become more like the Savior through service. A place where you will make some of the best friends you could ever imagine, where you’ll find sisters you never knew you had.

Relief Society is that place. “Relief Society is more than a class,” says Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society general president. It’s where you will go to continue to learn how to become a woman of God.

“We have a prophet of God who loves the young women of the Church, and because he loves the young women so much, he wants to make sure that the Church is going to be part of their lives. The prophet knows what Relief Society can do for your life if you will just step forward,” says Sister Parkin.

It’s true that making the shift from Young Women to Relief Society can seem a little scary, but “that’s just part of growing up,” says Sister Susan W. Tanner, Young Women general president.

When Sister Tanner turned 18, she was excited to be a member of Relief Society, even though, she says, “I felt a little between worlds. I think that’s a very normal feeling. I didn’t really feel like I fit in at first.”

Feeling at home takes both sides working together. The Relief Society will welcome you in, and you can get to know and love the Relief Society sisters. “In the Church, there is no age barrier. We are all sisters,” says Sister Tanner. “We just need to build this sisterhood.”

And the most important thing about sisterhood? “True sisterhood is covenant keeping,” says Sister Tanner. “The gospel unifies us. I hope we can feel the unity rather than the differences.”

Keeping the covenants we made at baptism means strengthening and serving others. It means bearing “one another’s burdens, that they may be light” and being “willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8–10). What better place to learn to do that than in Relief Society? It’s an organization set up by God, with the motto “Charity never faileth.”

When you become a Relief Society sister, the knowledge you gained in Young Women will be added to, and you will learn more about being a covenant woman of God. “Womanhood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means active participation in Relief Society,” says Sister Parkin.

When you take your next step forward and join the sisters of Relief Society, you will find women of God waiting with open arms to receive you (see “Welcome to Relief Society,” Ensign, Aug. 2004, 14). “The Savior loved His disciples so much, and yet He knew He wasn’t always going to be with them. But He promised them, ‘I will not leave you comfortless’ (John 14:18),” says Sister Tanner. “I think of how much we love you young women. We’re not going to leave you comfortless. You’re not leaving friends behind. You will be in the arms of others who love you.”

Sister Parkin adds, “And when you feel the love of the Lord in your life, you will reach out to someone else, and the circle grows bigger and bigger. That’s always what happens.”

As you continue to keep your covenants and follow the Savior’s example, you will add your faith and goodness to the circle of sisterhood in Relief Society and do your part to make sure “charity never faileth.”

Finding Your Place

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“The transition from youth to womanhood is a defining time in the lives of young women. We desire that every young woman successfully make this transition and prepare for her future responsibilities as a faithful woman, wife, and mother, and in her opportunities to serve within the Church.”
—President Gordon B. Hinckley, President Thomas S. Monson, and President James E. Faust, First Presidency letter, 19 Mar. 2003.

Photography by Christina Smith and Matthew Reier, posed by models