A Recipe For Our Time
Spring 2000 General Relief Society Open House
Presidents Message – Mary Ellen Smoot
This message is about the RS Declaration
A few days before Christmas, a friend shared with me a delicious recipe for taco soup. It tasted so good I immediately shared it with my children and grandchildren. I wanted them to taste what I tasted. And once they did, several of them asked for a copy of the recipe, along with a few hands-on tips, so they could prepare it for their friends and families.
A week later I was at the home of my daughter, and her 18 year-old son was putting this soup together for their family. It had already become a family favorite.
On a much grander, more significant, and even sacred scale, the gospel of Jesus Christ is our recipe for joy and peace in this life. Ingredients include prayer, scriptures, personal revelation, and words of the living prophets. Today I would also like to speak about a recipe to help women in the Church come unto Christ. It is the Relief Society Declaration. If we will receive it, study it, practice and follow its action steps, blessings will be poured out upon our heads. As individuals and as a Relief Society, we have yet to reach our potential. All the essential ingredients are before us. Now, in this the dispensation of the fullness of times, we will unite with the priesthood in bringing them all together. The Declaration is a perfect recipe for our time.
Unlike some recipes that are carefully guarded, we hold the Declaration up for the world to see. We invite one and all to feast upon its blessings. This is a recipe that must be shared. The Relief Society Declaration, approved and endorsed by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, clearly sets forth principles of attitude and action that will bring us “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.”(1) This is a recipe for joy, peace, and hope. This is a recipe for salvation.
Have you ever wished you could find the perfect recipe for your life? A recipe that would keep you on a continual high like the moment two Relief Society sisters from Lancaster, California saw a picture on the front page of the Church News showing their quilts going into a tent in Kosovo.
They wrote: “We squealed and jumped for joy that our quilts went to those people in such need.” She explained. “I have lived in a tent. It isn’t fun. We have four more quilts and will continue to help.” (2)
This kind of joy comes after planning to serve and using an exact method to complete a product.
However, living continually with someone who is on an all time high is like living with a bottle of 7-Up that has been shaken and uncorked.
We each need time to think seriously, to evaluate our lives, time to study and ponder, time to refuel, time to repent and try harder. This comes through self evaluation, reading the scriptures, and following the recipes our Savior has within those pages for our eternal life.
I have done a lot of cooking in my life. I like to cook, and while I realize that some of you may not share my interest, I am sure your experience is much like mine. A good recipe makes all the difference.
Several years ago, I compiled a recipe book. We felt it would be a perfect gift for our missionaries as they married. From this experience I learned a thing or two. No matter how closely you follow a recipe that is flawed, unclear, or incomplete, the finished product is a disappointment. But when you receive a good recipe and carefully follow it, the result is often better than you anticipated. You want to share it. You want everyone to taste what you have tasted.
We each need to evaluate our wards and our stakes in this manner. After many great projects and happy occasions, we want to evaluate and ponder, then ask what ingredients would make the recipe for our eternal progress and those of our sisters complete. What is our mission?
Why a Relief Society Declaration?
Before we roll up our sleeves and get started, let’s pause to consider why this time we will spend together is so important. Why become familiar with the Relief Society Declaration? Why have a Declaration at all?
We, the Relief Society general presidency and Board, feel it is important for each of us to have a clear definition of our sacred roles, responsibilities and blessings.
A secondary reason is that people all around the world want to know about who we are and what the Relief Society is. As we meet with an increasing number of people who have heard of; known, been served by, or served alongside Relief Society sisters, we have found that many want to know about our organization and us as individuals. So we thought it would be worthwhile to draft a more formal statement about who we are and what we are about. A written summary helps to clarify and convey such thoughts and feelings.
“When we make a declaration, we make a self commitment.”
As President Gordon B. Hinckley stated in an interview with Larry King, “When we make a declaration, we make a self commitment.” Like a good recipe, a declaration gives us direction and helps us focus our efforts.”
As daughters of God, we know that we play an essential part in our Heavenly Father’s plan for happiness. If we are to receive a full measure of joy in this life and in the eternities, we must clearly understand our high and holy callings as women. I pray that as you read, ponder, and pray about the Declaration that your mind will be enlightened and that you will catch a vision of who you really are and what the Relief Society organization is.
A Standard to live by
Notice there are eleven points of the Declaration that are action steps. Relief Society sisters everywhere know that belief must be accompanied by action, or else we begin to “dwindle in unbelief.” As a Relief Society general presidency, we hope the Declaration will hang on your walls and find place in your scriptures, but if that’s all it does, it will have been for naught. Like all truth, it must be inscribed in our hearts and become part of our everyday lives.
Let’s read together what President Boyd K. Packer says: “While the different roles of man and woman are set forth in exalted celestial declarations, they are best demonstrated in the most practical, ordinary, down-to-earth experiences of family life.”
I wholeheartedly agree. We hold up the ideals contained in the Relief Society Declaration, not just on placards, but in day-to-day interactions with those we love and serve.
One of the purposes of mortality is for us to learn and grow; and learning is oftentimes the by-product of mistakes. Whether innocent errors or more serious transgressions, each of us make mistakes and wanders off track from time to time. We all need to make course corrections, and when we clearly know what it is we want to get back to*what the standard is*we can more easily make those changes that lead us back to God.
Staying on course
Do you suppose if we could see a movie with all of our family around us, both our ancestors and posterity, that we would seek harder for the recipe that would bring this eternal family unit together forever?
The Relief Society Declaration is a divine standard that will help us*and our families*stay on course. If we feel out-of-sorts, unhappy, discouraged, or in a series of broken relationships, we would do well to take inventory of our life by juxtaposing it with the Relief Society Declaration. We could ask ourselves questions like, “Is the way I am spending my time congruent with my priorities?” “What can I eliminate in order to better pursue my eternal goals?” “What am I doing to strengthen eternal relationships?” “Is my testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel evident in my daily pursuits?” and so forth.
President Joseph F. Smith taught that a strong and well-founded testimony enables us to overcome any hardship. He spoke with deep respect and admiration for the pioneer sisters, his mother and aunt among them, who endured incredible adversities by holding on to their faith.
He asked: “Could you turn one of these women away from their convictions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Could you darken their minds as to the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith? Could you blind them with reference to the divine mission of Jesus Christ, the Son of God? No, never in the world could you do it. Why? Because they knew it. God revealed it to them, and they understood it, and no power on earth could turn them from what they knew to be that truth. Death was nothing to them. Hardship was nothing. Cold or rain, or heat, was nothing to them. All they felt and knew and desired was the triumph of the kingdom of God and the truth that the Lord had given to them.”
He said, “My soul, where are these women now?” (3)
We might ask ourselves, “Am I such a woman?” If our testimony of the restored gospel is nothing more than Sunday talk, then we need to humbly seek for more conviction. A testimony that burns brightly in our soul will strengthen, guide, and inspire us to lead those we love every day.
We all need time for introspection and course correction. Sometimes we need to evaluate the Declaration and its meaning against family or cultural traditions. Keep the good and let go of traditions that keep you from living the principles of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
In a recent conference address, Elder Richard G. Scott explained, “When the Lord’s kingdom and His teachings are paramount above all else and you are united in love of the Savior and our Father in Heaven, then the beautiful nuances, the uniqueness of your cultural heritage can flower and produce a rich harvest of blessings.” (4)
Don’t let Satan lead you to believe that your potato salad has to be just like mine, but also don’t think you can make potato salad without potatoes. Essential ingredients of the gospel plan must always be in place.
In the scriptures we learn that the traditions of our fathers*and mothers*are sometimes a curse and other times a great blessing. We must stop to evaluate. Are we cutting away essential components of God’s plan for our happiness? Or are we handing down gospel truths in their fullness? The Relief Society Declaration helps answer such questions. By becoming familiar with the truths, principles, and action steps the Declaration espouses, we can integrate them into our lives and reclaim promised blessings. “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”5
Are you overextending?
We need only be humble enough to bring the Declaration into the test kitchens of our own lives. Unfortunately, some may decide to heed only part or to put too much emphasis on one of its ingredients, failing to taste the savory blend of ALL the components. And some who are feeling overwhelmed may discard it all together, even though they may have tasted of its joy at some point in their lives. I speak especially to those who, for whatever reasons, no longer have a taste for Church or Relief Society, and I pray that you will reconsider.
I noticed in one of my recipes I forgot to add one ingredient. One ingredient can make all the difference in the finished product. If you have discarded even one of the crucial ingredients of the gospel, you cannot expect to feel and know the full, even glorious, effects of personal righteousness. If you have set aside sacred covenants, take the necessary steps to reclaim your blessings. No matter how closely you follow a recipe that is flawed, unclear, or incomplete, the finished product will be a disappointment. Wrong ingredients, even if mixed with some of the right, will not produce the desired results.
We can also be tempted to “extend” spiritual sweeteners. Maybe we try to make scripture study on Sunday extend over the whole week, or an evening prayer cover the whole next day, or a monthly family home evening meet the needs of our family. Such “extensions” may be harmless at first, but over time, they erode spirituality, and before long, more grievous “extensions” or excuses or exchanges are made. Before long, we are no longer “feasting upon the words of Christ” (6) and we may not even realize how spiritually starved we are.
Accept no substitutions
If we want to have a fullness of joy here and hereafter, we cannot accept substitutions for the principles and practices that the Relief Society Declaration represents. If we want to taste the fruit, we have to be willing to follow the path or recipe set forth in scripture and by living prophets*all the way through.
Just like other prized recipes, the Relief Society Declaration and the truths it represents have a lot of imitations. Cunning and convincing chefs everywhere like to mix sacred truths with worldly attitudes. They present us with an enticing palate of quick fixes and “easy” substitutions. President James E. Faust has warned:
“You cannot trust the many conflicting voices that clamor about what women should or should not do in today’s society. Some of the loudest voices are echoes of those others who are out of harmony with themselves and out of tune with life in general rather than being unhappy with their role as women.
“Do not be deceived in your quest to find happiness and an identity of your own. Entreating voices may tell you that what you have seen your mothers and grandmothers do is old-fashioned, unchallenging, boring, and drudgery… but… they have been our nurturers and our teachers. They have sanctified the work, transforming drudgery into the noblest enterprises.” (7)
Whenever you hear deceptions like “a woman cannot find fulfillment in the home,” remember that it is in using her knowledge and capabilities to create a heaven on this earth that she will reach her greatest joy and peace.
When you hear “statements found in the scriptures are out of date,” or “certain gospel principles do not fit in my culture,” stop to consider the source. We must be on guard for such deceptions. If we don’t feed our children the nourishing word of God, straight from the mouths of living prophets and the scriptures, they will suffer from spiritual malnutrition. Selfish pursuits simply cannot engender as much happiness as selfless service.
Some of Satan’s most damaging deceptions include attitudes like.. “My recipe for happiness is different from yours.” The gospel of Jesus Christ allows for and encourages individuality, but not at the expense of sacred principles of righteousness.
We must remember when we are approached by youth who say, “Everyone is doing it,” that we are listening to someone trying to defend their actions.
In his new book, Standing for Something. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Both experience and divine wisdom dictate that moral virtue and cleanliness pave the way that leads to strength of character, peace of mind and heart, and happiness in life.”
When I think back on my own life, I can honestly say, no one needed to tell me that it was wrong to have intimate relationships with the opposite sex before marriage. I believe there are certain virtues that are not entirely forgotten when we enter this world. This is why the gospel, if taught with the Spirit, touches the hearts of so many people each year. Hearing these principles is like coming home.
We need to be alert to what is happening in the world and defend our families like never before.
Michael Medved wrote a book called Hollywood vs. America that paints a gloomy picture of the miserable and dark obsession with sex among many television and movie producers. He refers to the “Hollywood dream factory” as a “poison factory,” and quotes a 1990 Associate Press/Media general poll in which 80 percent of Americans objected to the amount of foul language in motion pictures, 82 percent to the amount of violence, and 72 percent to the amount of explicit sexuality. The producers of this trash are out of step with the feelings of mainstream America. But in their obsession, they are without doubt leading millions down a course that invites them to readjust their personal moral standards.
In a Deseret News article, published on January 17, 2000, Dr. Brent A. Barlow, from Brigham Young University and Chairman of the Governors? Commission on Marriage, brought out the challenges we have ahead of us to save marriage in America.
Consider the following three trends.
Trend #1: Fewer people are marrying. We could soon have more single adults than married adults in the United States. In 1972, at any given time, 75 percent of all adults in America were married. By 1998, the percentage had fallen to 56 percent and continues to decline. Married adults in America may soon be in the minority.
Trend #2: When people do marry more times. In the near future, among the adults who are married in this country, we could have more couples in second, third, or even fourth marriages than in first marriages. Futurist Sandy Burchsted from Houston, Texas, claims that during the 21st century, the average American could be married as many as four times.
Trend #3: More couples are living together. Over the past four decades, marriage has declined as the first living together experience for couples and as a status of parenthood. Nearly five million couples are now living together, which is emerging as a significant experience for many young adults. It could have already replaced marriage as the first living together union.
Sisters, we can change this dismal picture. Mothers who set the example first and then begin at an early age to teach their daughters the virtue of modesty, can succeed. If each one of our four million, four hundred thousand sisters in the Relief Society organization, would refuse to support R-rated movies, magazines and television programs that foster this filth, the sponsors would take notice.
We are so thankful for our youth who are developing strength and standing firm for the principles of the gospel.
Another of Satan’s most detrimental deceptions is “I don *t have all the ingredients” or “I can *t do it” or “I’m not good enough.” I’ve felt that way after watching certain cooking shows that make following a recipe seem so effortless. The ingredients almost lift themselves into the pan. The kitchen is immaculate, and so is the chef. But that’s not real life. When we chose to come to earth, we knew we would be tried and tested. We all will have our “bitter cups” but we must not shrink. The Lord taught Adam that His posterity would “taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.” (8)
Just remember that you’ve already overcome the influence of Satan once*or you wouldn’t be here. By choosing to come to earth, receive a body, and learn by your own experience, you have power over him and his followers. Don’t let the adversary beat you down by thinking you can’t make it now. You’ve already come much farther than he will ever get. You are a daughter of God with inherent worth and goodness. President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “I believe that we have a godly inheritance and that it is our responsibility, our obligation, and our opportunity to cultivate and nurture the very best of these qualities within us.” (9)
Reach inside yourself and you will find the strength you need to surmount any difficulty. The Lord has revealed, *God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (10)
Finally. Satan may discourage us with thoughts like “I’ve tried and failed? or “It didn’t turn out like I thought it would.” In cooking and in life, if we gave up after every time our gravy was lumpy or our bread sagged in the middle, we would all go hungry. Lumpy gravy is what mortality is all about. We all have challenges, trials, and upsets. The Lord’s plan for happiness does not eradicate difficulty. It teaches us how to endure it even in the midst of suffering and pain. The Savior’s invitation stands: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (11)
Ye are the salt of the earth
When cooking, have you ever made the mistake of exchanging salt for sugar? Or maybe I should ask who has not? It’s really quite easy to do. But no matter how you measure it, when you add it, or where you get it, salt is salt and sugar is sugar.
When it comes to everlasting things, Satan would like to convince us otherwise. He would have us believe that salt and sugar are interchangeable, or that salt is really not salt, or what once tasted salty to us can become almost sweet.
In contrast, the Savior repeatedly cautioned the Saints, “Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (12) Sisters, He was speaking directly to those who had embraced His gospel and entered into His covenant*you and me. We are the salt of the earth, but if we try to become too much like the rest of the world, we lose our savor and become “good for nothing.”
With me in my kitchen
Just as I first learned how to cook at my mother’s side, and over the years, I have taught daughters and granddaughters many of the same tips and techniques that I was taught. Our Heavenly Father has given us each other*to help each other.
Imagine for a moment that you’re with me in my kitchen, and I’m sharing a prized recipe with you, the Relief Society Declaration. Ill walk through it with you point by point. Without attempting to provide a complete and definitive discourse on the truths that the Relief Society Declaration presents, I will briefly discuss each of its statements and action steps. Sometimes the discussion will be quite specific, focused on a particular point, or a sub point of the Declaration for which I have gained a special appreciation. And other times the discussions will be broader, highlighting important elements and trusting that you will bring your own experience and inspiration to the table.
It won’t take long for you to discover that each of these ingredients are almost inseparable. They all work together and complement each other. For example, it’s almost impossible to talk about “Love life and learning” without crossing over into “Delight in service and good works.” So even though I’ve separated them for purposes of discussion, keep in mind that they are all part of the same gospel plan.
The more we look at this recipe, the more we’ll see how all that we are learning together is really nothing new. It’s the same recipe for happiness that has been handed down through generations of time from parents to their children, from a perfect Heavenly Father to His beloved children, from His Only Begotten Son to each one of us.
Prophets through the ages have helped us to understand our eternal identity, sacred roles, purposes, and opportunities as women. Their teachings and revealed truths have been distilled into this very succinct and direct statement of who we are and who we hope to be. As we apply these teachings, we will, as Father Lehi dreamed, reach the tree of life. We will partake of that fruit which is “most desirable above all other fruit,” the fruit found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and fill our souls with greater faith, hope, and charity. And like Lehi, we will yearn to have others partake.
When we see ourselves with eternal perspective, we don’t waste time wondering what we can or cannot do. We find fulfillment in doing, being, creating, serving, loving, learning, sustaining, and in every way becoming all that Father in Heaven intended us to become.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has told us: “Every one of you was endowed by your Father in Heaven with a tremendous capacity to do good in the world. You need never feel inferior. Try a little harder to measure up to the divine within each of you.” (13)
The Declaration will help each of us to realize our inherent worth and God-given potential.
Last September when the Declaration was announced, one sister wrote to us; “The long awaited day has finally come, oh, how I rejoice! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now I can fully give my heart to this great Relief Society organization. We are fully, consistently, powerfully, and fervently marching in the direction of heaven, truly a light set on a hill. I have long awaited and wondered if this day would come in my lifetime. My heart is full of gratitude and love to our Heavenly Father for His rich blessings to His daughters. What a wonderful declaration, what a powerful direction in all our efforts.” (14)
Every recipe should be tested. We are here on this earth for that test, and in order to pass the test we will learn to follow the directions specifically.
Ingredients for a successful Relief Society
Now in my kitchen, let’s carefully examine the recipes for a successful Relief Society and the ways this organization can assist each of us in obtaining the formula and direction to assist our sisters in gaining spiritual strength like our pioneer counterparts.
**Demonstrate love and show concern for each sister.
**Work closely with the presidency and priesthood leaders in unity.
**Involve ward council and visiting teachers in making solutions (except for confidential issues counsel with the bishop only).
**Never give up.
First Ingredient: Commitment
Let us each make a commitment with the Lord that we will serve Him with all diligence.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has counseled us: “In this work there must be commitment. There must be devotion. We are engaged in a great eternal struggle that concerns the very souls of the sons and daughters of God. We are not losing. We are winning. We will continue to win if we be faithful and true. We can do it. We must do it. We will do it. There is nothing the Lord has asked of us that in faith we cannot accomplish.” (15)
Performance starts with commitment. Our most important commitment should be to bring women and their families to Christ.
In order to win this battle there are certain ingredients that are never left out and commitment in these areas is vital to your success.
Second Ingredient: Transition
In most wards there is a continual need for transition. It could be young women coming to Relief Society, new converts, or reactivating less active sisters.
Occasionally invite our young sisters in Young Women to participate in Relief Society opening exercises. Encourage more interaction between Relief Society and Young Women in providing compassionate service. On occasion, a Relief Society activity could be combined with a Mutual night for all those who attend Young Women. Give our young sisters in Young Women a lesson on Relief Society and involve them as soon as they turn eighteen. Realize they are capable adults and could actually hold any position. Learn their names and interact with them long before they turn eighteen.
Third Ingredient: Visiting Teaching
The purposes of Visiting Teaching are to build caring relationships with each sister and to offer support, comfort, and friendship. In Visiting Teaching, both the giver and the receiver are blessed and strengthened in their Church activity by their caring concern for one another. (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2 , p. 202)
King Benjamin taught us this: “Now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
“Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life*
“Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
“And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.” (Mosiah 18:8-11)
In February my visiting teaching companion and I were given Emily, who lives in an apartment nearby. We visited with her that day and found some challenging situations. I will not go into detail except to say she is alone with three children and is working at a rent-a-car office. She has a six-year-old, a three-year-old, and an eighteen-month-old baby.
Her situation kept coming to my mind. I heard she had been going to school to become a nurse. I called her and said, “Emily, do you enjoy your work?” She quickly replied, “No, I hate it. But right now there is no way I can continue my schooling to become a nurse.”
Emily had her CNA certificate and so we assisted her in obtaining a job at the hospital and getting excellent care for her children while she is away. She needed more than a lesson. Emily needed nurturing.
Each of us has had the privilege of being baptized and making this covenant with the Lord. Can we look within ourselves and find the strength to obediently reach out and NURTURE one another? Can you find ways to do this?
Can you imagine what would happen in this world if the four million, four hundred thousand sisters in Relief Society would each deeply care for one another, be there for one another and lift one another. NURTURE one another. This is possible.
When I was ward Relief Society president, I looked for a sister who believed there was no excuse for not having 100 percent Visiting Teaching, and I called her as my visiting teaching supervisor. If you believe you can have 100 percent Visiting Teaching, you can do it.
Relief Society Leaders
**Fast and pray before you assign companions and the sisters they visit.
**Call them in and challenge them to keep in close contact.
**Plan ahead and set a date early in the month.
**Contact your supervisor if you have a problem.
**Make a regular appointment and keep it.
**Prepare a message and pray together for discernment as to the needs of the sisters you visit.
**Do not stay too long but contact your sister more than once a month when necessary.
Fourth Ingredient: Literacy
Assign a sister to take classes on how to teach literacy. Self-teaching literacy kits can be obtained free of charge by writing to the Church Educational System, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150.
There is nothing more rewarding than watching an individual learn to read. There are needs in every ward in the Church, and this is a life-changing experience.
The Book of Mormon stories with pictures can also be used to teach reading skills.
Last year we trained over 900 women to teach literacy. This year at the BYU Women’s Conference, we will teach the class again in the South Chapel of the stake center, where it was taught last year. Literacy classes will be taught during the service project on Wednesday, and then Thursday and Friday during the women’s conference. We plan to prepare over 1500 women to teach literacy.
In San Bernardino, California, they call themselves, “The City of Readers.” The Unified School District puts out a Resource Guide of all the organizations in the city and what they are doing in literacy. Our Gospel Literacy program is included in that book.
The Lakeview Ward in Centerville started teaching prisoners at the Davis County jail to take the GED test and graduate from high school. One of the sisters eventually became a teacher at DAVC in Kaysville. Since they started, they have graduated 300 prisoners.
This is a great way to reach out to the community of both members and nonmembers.
Fifth Ingredient: Service
Home, family and personal enrichment night is the mixing bowl for teaching us how to apply the principles taught in Relief Society.
We delight in service and good works and we have proven this to be true.
When President Hinckley spoke to the National Press Club he said:
“Last year alone, we sent humanitarian aid to assist with 829 projects in 101 countries, giving $11.2 million in cash and $44 million in material resources. Our humanitarian efforts reach far beyond our own to bless the victims of war and natural disaster wherever they may occur.”
Last year at the BYU Women’s Conference, the spirit of service was ignited among our sisters. We were all amazed at what we could accomplish in a few hours.
Then the Presiding Bishopric asked our sisters, on a strictly volunteer basis, to assist the Kosovar refugees. We were asked to send 30,000 quilts for the winter. Sisters, your generosity was overwhelming. Letters and cards have poured describing the good you have done as you serve those around the world. We now have more than 124,000 quilts and you would be interested to know that 30,000 went to Kosovo. Other countries that received these quilts were Turkey, Mexico, Armenia, the Republic of Georgia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Sisters, we asked for 30,000 and have received more than 124,000; and they are still coming. We are developing the winning team President Hinckley spoke about.
Nothing can stop us if we will work together and focus on living the gospel in unity and devotion. Thank you for the unselfish service that you have given with this quilt project.
Our organization is such that we can make a quilt in our own home and allow our neighbors, friends, and family to all take part, bonding as we work together. Because of the organization of the Church, we can assist someone clear across the world, someone who definitely needs the article you are working on. Isn’t that remarkable?
Sixth Ingredient: Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment Night
This is the mixing bowl for teaching how to live the principles
Classes to be taught could include:
Studying the scriptures effectively.
Creating harmony and peace in your home.
Maintaining a happy marriage.
Making family home evenings nights to cherish.
Creating interest in classes like: “family history”, “What’s in a Name” or “Because I want to”.
Looking for the good in our partner and children.
What is nurturing and how do we do it?
Creating minds that seek spiritual knowledge.
Developing open communication with respect.
Setting family values and living them..
Teaching modesty and
Being reverent in sacrament meeting. Ways to accomplish this virtue.
Teaching children to learn to respect their elders.
Using wise financial management.
Being self reliant*temporally. spiritually, and emotionally.
Teaching children while they are young the rewards of a moral life
Evaluate your sisters and their capabilities and then mix with the Relief Society activities for a bowl full of fellowship and sisterhood.
Every recipe begins in the minds and hearts of each sister and their leaders can ignite the spirit for this millennium as they carefully strive to put into place each of these ingredients for a rich, full Relief Society sisterhood.
Seventh Ingredient: Declaration
**Become totally familiar with the Declaration.
**Use it as you prepare your president’s message.
**Give a copy to each convert or new move-in, and each sister in your ward that turns eighteen.
**Set goals to perfect your lives by focusing on each principle in the Declaration.
**Use it as a theme for special events.
**Identify with these precious virtues. This is who we are.
Sisters, we are a RELIEF Society. Let us prepare for the great opportunities that are ours as auxiliary leaders by praying often, studying scriptures, reading and understanding the handbook, improving gospel teaching, and having charity for all sisters. Our service to one another and mankind will never end. Think back to the commitment each of us made at baptism and let’s be sure we keep that covenant with the Lord.
Thank you for your tremendous examples. Joy knows no bounds as we watch lives change through our service to one another.
1. D&C 59.23
2. Used with permission
3. TJFS, 189
4. “Removing Barriers to Happiness,” Ensign, May 1998, p. 86
5. D&C 82 10
6. See 2 Nepbi 32:3
7. “How Near to the Angels,” Ensign, May 1998, p. 96
8. Moses 6:55
9. “Articles of Belief?, Bonneville International Corporation Management seminar, Feb. 10, 1991
10. I Corinthians 10:13
11. Matthew 11:28-30
12. Matthew 5:13
13. Ensign, May 1995, p.99
14. Used with permission
15. Ensign, Nov. 1986, p.44