Visiting Teaching Message May 2012-Julie B. Beck

This is an old post I found that I thought I would update and re-present. In my eyes, Julie B. Beck was a great RS President who taught us how to love Relief Society and recognize our worth as women and daughters of God.

This month’s visiting teaching message is our choice from all of the General Conference addresses. With Sister Beck’s release, I decided to look up all of her talks over the past five years, read them, and figure out what her legacy is. It wasn’t hard to figure out, because she came out of the shoot focused, direct, and was consistent throughout her presidency.

Using the words of the prophets, her talks bore testimony of the divine purposes of Relief Society as women of the Church. Through the ages, our prophets have testified of woman’s greatness; our importance in the Plan of Salvation, and our responsibility in saving souls. Sis. Beck has reminded us of our duty, of our spiritual callings, and of the glorious destiny, we can fulfill, if we but rely on the Lord.

In many of her talks, Sis. Beck testified of what she knows. Without fear, she stated truth and doctrine with directness and surety. As Lionesses at our own gates, we must have that same conviction. “In the growing climate of entitlement, excuse, apathy, and enticement, daughters of God who are not watchful, prayerful, and inspired are increasingly at risk of becoming what the scriptures describe as “silly women” who worship a variety of “strange gods.” Sadly, as a result of life’s difficulties and the world’s popular heresies, many sisters believe the myths more than the truth. Their misalignment with God’s plan is demonstrated in findings that many are not doing essential things such as praying and reading scriptures.  (“Daughters in my Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society,” Nov. 2010).

Sis. Beck has directed our focus, as a world-wide Relief Society, to:

  • Increase their faith and personal righteousness.
  • Strengthen their families and homes.
  • Serve the Lord and His children.

She redirected our thinking by redesigning all of our Relief Society meetings. “Relief Society presidents who get on their knees and ask Heavenly Father to tell them what they need to learn will have revelation pouring down to them in beauty and detail.” (“Using Relief Society Meetings to Teach and Inspire,” Sept. 2010)

“When sisters meet for Relief Society meetings during the week, they have the opportunity to learn and accomplish the charitable and practical responsibilities of the Relief Society. This is where they learn and practice skills that will help them increase their faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes and provide service to those in need. These meetings are meant to be instrumental in teaching the skills and responsibilities of womanhood and motherhood in the Lord’s plan. It is here that women learn and apply principles of provident living and spiritual and temporal self-reliance, and they also increase in sisterhood and unity as they teach one another and serve together.” (“Relief Society: A Sacred Work,” Oct. 2009)

Thanks to Sis. Beck, we now have access to the history of this great organization. The history was often highlighted in the Relief Society Magazine. But in recent years, there has been no place to discuss and recall our great accomplishments. With so many new sisters joining the Church, at a record rate, the history has been forgotten. But now we have it in a book entitled, “Daughters in My Kingdom”. We are urged to read through the book often, using it in lessons, messages, and personal growth.

To increase our individual faith, Sis. Beck suggested we “pay attention in the temple to what is happening, how things happen, the blessings that are given, who are they given by, and the powers that come to you. Listen to the words of the temple ordinances and learn the powers that the Lord has given you through His priesthood. I have said before, ‘The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important ability that can be acquired in this life.’” (BYU Women’s Conference, April 29, 2010)

She taught us how to separate the essential things from the necessary, and nice-to-do, things. “This is a faith-based work. The family and the work of women—Latter-day Saint women—is a faith-based work, and we have to call upon our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel and the principles He taught on the earth. We have to follow Him with all our hearts…to fulfill our responsibilities on this earth and qualify for eternal blessings.” (“Nourishing and Protecting the Family,” 2009 BYU Women’s Conference)

In order to strengthen our families, she reminded us that “The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they ‘wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’ (Eph 6:12). However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children. Who will prepare this righteous generation of sons and daughters? Latter-day Saint women will do this—women who know and love the Lord and bear testimony of Him, women who are strong and immovable and who do not give up during difficult and discouraging times. We are led by an inspired prophet of God who has called upon the women of the Church to ‘stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord.’ He has asked us to ‘begin in [our] own homes’ to teach children the ways of truth. Latter-day Saint women should be the very best in the world at upholding, nurturing, and protecting families.” (“Mothers Who Know,” Oct. 2007).

Service has always been our hallmark. “With so much need for relief and rescue in the lives of sisters and their families today, our Heavenly Father needs us to follow a higher path and demonstrate our discipleship by sincerely caring for His children. With this important purpose in mind, leaders are now taught to ask for reports about the spiritual and temporal well-being of sisters and their families and about service rendered. Now visiting teachers have the responsibility to “sincerely come to know and love each sister, help her strengthen her faith, and give service.” (“What I Hope My Granddaughters (and Grandsons) will Understand About Relief Society,” Oct 2011)

She never backed down. She exemplified how we should all be, standing strong and immovable. “The purpose of Relief Society, as established by the Lord, is to organize, teach, and inspire His daughters to prepare them for the blessings of eternal life. The only way we can accomplish this is by seeking, receiving, and acting on personal revelation. The real power in this great worldwide sisterhood lies within each woman.” (“Fulfilling the Purpose of Relief Society,” Oct 2008).

During conference she aligned her testimony with the prophets of the greatness of Relief Society. We too need to gain, and maintain, a testimony of our Relief Society, as other leaders step in to continue the vision.