Julie B. Beck is the current General Relief Society President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Relief Society is the worldwide women’s organization of the church. Organized by Joseph Smith March 17, 1842 for “All women in the ward ages 18 and older, as well as women younger than 18 who are married or are single mothers, belong to the Relief Society organization. The purpose of Relief Society is to organize, teach, and inspire women to prepare them for the blessings of eternal life. Members of the Relief Society fulfill this purpose by increasing faith and personal righteousness, strengthening families and homes, and seeking out and helping those in need…The Relief Society organization also provides an individualized support network that gives women the opportunity to care for, strengthen, and teach one another” (lds.org).
Quotes from Sister Beck:
“It is not possible to make real change all by ourselves. Our own willpower and our own good intentions are not enough. When we make mistakes or choose poorly, we must have the help of our Savior to get back on track. We partake of the sacrament week after week to show our faith in His power to change us. We confess our sins and promise to forsake them (see D&C 58:43)” (“Remembering, Repenting, and Changing,” Ensign, May 2007, 111).
“It would be impossible to learn the lessons the scriptures contain by reading them only one time through or studying selected verses in a class. . . . The Lord has told us that our time should ‘be devoted to the studying of the scriptures’ (D&C 26:1) and that ‘the Book of Mormon and the holy scriptures are given. . . for [our] instruction’ (D&C 33:16)” (“My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures,” Ensign, May 2004, 107).
“Just as the Savior invited Mary and Martha of New Testament times to participate in His work, women of this dispensation have an official commission to participate in the Lord’s work. . . . The organization of Relief Society in 1842 mobilized the collective power of the women and their specific assignments to build the Lord’s kingdom, just as the organization of priesthood quorums gave men specific responsibilities. . . .
“Through Relief Society, women have an official role in the Church with great responsibilities, ‘including working in the temple and teaching the gospel’ (Dallin H. Oaks, ‘The Priesthood and the Auxiliaries,’ Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004, 17). Further, Relief Society is to help women ‘plant and make grow . . . a testimony of [Jesus] Christ and of the Gospel’ (The First Presidency, ‘Memorandum of Suggestions,’ Mar. 29, 1940, 2), ‘strengthen the family and the home’ (Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004, 17), and ‘attend to all family duties’ (D&C 20:47)” (“Fulfilling the Purpose of Relief Society,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 108–9).
Forgive me for just writing a quick highlight about Sister Beck today. I had an interesting weekend filled with major ups and downs. Dear friends were in town for a visit. We toured the city together and had great company and conversation. Their children were sweethearts and my children loved having them around! Each time they pulled up next to us or arrived at our home, my daughter shouted with sheer, innocent delight, “friends!! Friends, mommy!!” It was so sweet. They have been good friends of ours since shortly after we were married. They are a fulfillment of a blessing I was given that I would meet dear friends who would remain our friends throughout our lives. They are as dear to us as family!
Unfortunately, our visit was tainted by a car accident. The front end of our car was met by some oncoming traffic while I was driving, and I broke my finger. Everyone else involved was ok. The other cars involved were totaled and we have other repercussions and costs as a result as well, even though we were able to drive our car away from the scene. Some of the repercussions are emotional. I feel terrible, as anyone would for being involved in a car accident. I know there are more tragic things than a nonfatal accident, but that doesn’t make it easier.
There is a thought I had the other day as I was contemplating the trials that my husband and I are experiencing. Some days feel like we are sort of being tested beyond our capacity to handle, and we wonder why when we exist on this earth that we might have joy. So where is that joy? Why does it feel so very far out of reach? Why would the Lord kick us when we’re already down like this? I struggle to understand when in the midst of my trial there is so little hope.
The truth is (and here is my thought), our joy is in the Lord Jesus Christ. “[For] he [has gone] forth, suffering pains and aafflictions and btemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he [has taken] upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me” (Alma 7:11-13).
Our joy comes through our faith in Christ and in His Atonement in spite of our trials. Our trials are designed to heighten our understanding of the sacrifice the Savior made, or to stand as His disciples in all times and places. The trials are the test to see if we are truly His disciples or if we are only offering lip service. Our trials are designed to refine us and to temper us that we might be prepared to stand in the presence of the Father.
I think I could go on and on about the purpose of our trials. There are many reasons and many outcomes. I know it is possible to be grateful for our trials as we learn and grow and develop wisdom and experience. The important thing is to be grateful for all the little blessings we have, and that we keep doing the things that will bring balance and consistency and faithfulness.
What do you do to maintain balance and consistency from day-to-day?