I have a passionate love for Relief Society. I love the words of our declaration which tells us we are beloved, and that our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. I love the united nature of the organization as we strive individually and collectively to serve the Savior. I love the reminder that we are women of faith, virtue, vision and charity who have specific actions and attitudes that we are focused on aspiring to as women of Christ. We increase, seek, dedicate, find, delight, love, stand for, sustain, rejoice, understand and strive. What empowering words these are!
Lately I have been thinking about the connection between the Relief Society and the Young Women’s organization and am delighted to realize how harmoniously they flow together. In Young Women we are instructed on the foundational values that we can and should develop individually. Relief Society takes those values and turns them into actions.
Charity is the motto of Relief Society. We know from the scriptures that charity is “the pure love of Christ.”
I don’t know if it is possible to truly have that pure love of Christ for others if we don’t already have the foundation of realizing that we are of individual worth and have a divine nature. Knowing and believing these things about ourselves is a fundamental precursor to being able to see our brothers and sisters for the kings and queens they are truly meant to be. It is only from this spiritually gifted understanding that we are able to then extend love to others without guile or jealousy. That is when our love is able to be transformed into something more than we can offer on our own. We must have already developed our own faith in Jesus Christ and have enveloped virtue as a key aspect of our own life before we can expect to purely love others as the Lord loves them.
When I was newly married I remember my husband feeling downtrodden, overwhelmed and discouraged at the circumstances of our life. He wondered if Heavenly Father noticed him, cared for him, or would be willing to help him. He felt lost, empty, insignificant and discouraged. I felt so differently and I remember him asking me how I could feel confident that life was going to be ok. That was when I realized how positively impactful my time in Young Women’s had been. By that time in my life I KNEW that I was a daughter of a Heavenly Father who LOVED me. It had long since stopped being a recitation of words every Sunday and had become a strengthening reassurance that I mattered in the most important way.
On Sunday I heard a comment about Relief Society being like Young Women on hormones – simply a continuation of the good times and joyful experiences in a setting more deeply enveloped by the genuine heartaches and joys of womanhood. In the same vein, I envision the Young Women organization as being like Relief Society on training wheels. The values I learned to develop in my youth became the foundation for the goals I aspire to in womanhood. But however you look at it, both the Young Women and Relief Society organizations are a great blessing to the women in the church and dovetail beautifully to help us achieve our highest potential – exaltation in the Kingdom of God.
Young Women Theme
WE ARE DAUGHTERS of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. WE WILL “STAND as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge • Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue
WE BELIEVE as we come to accept and act upon these values, WE WILL BE PREPARED to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
The Relief Society Declaration
We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.