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Women of Conviction

Preserving the Heritage of Latter-day Saint Women

Remarks by Julie B. Beck at the 2016 Church History Symposium

 



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Thank you so much, all of you, for being here. It’s been a sweet homecoming. I’ve met lots of wonderful friends and people I’ve worked together with for lots of years. So thank you for coming, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to take part in this symposium. My remarks today will focus specifically on the history and work of Relief Society as it is taught in Daughters in My Kingdom.

As we approach the fifth anniversary of this book’s initial publication, it is appropriate for us to reflect on its contribution to the Church and the broader community. The title of my remarks was taken from the forward to Daughters in My Kingdom, in which the First Presidency says, “It is important to preserve the glorious heritage of the sisters of the Church.”

This speech could be said to be my testimony or witness of the truthfulness of the Lord’s work on the earth and of Daughters in My Kingdom as an example of His work. I’ve spoken with some of the people who were most instrumental in bringing the book forth, and I hope to represent them and their feelings about it also. However, any student of history knows that each of us recalls similar events differently. This speech is my own recollection. I have tried to be true to how I recorded it in my journals and working notes, confirming those with other accounts.

My testimony of this effort was built upon my testimony of the truthfulness of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who worked on Daughters in My Kingdom did so with the knowledge that we are on the earth living Heavenly Father’s plan, that we knew our identities and purpose before we came to this earth, and that the Lord’s Church was restored to the Prophet Joseph Smith to whom were given all the keys, powers, and ordinances necessary for us to walk back to our heavenly home.

It is also my testimony that the work begun by the Prophet Joseph continues today through the Lord's ordained prophets, seers, and revelators. It is my witness that the creation of Daughters in My Kingdom was the Lord’s work. We weren’t simply going to Him for help to do something we wanted to do. He used us to do what He needed done.

In my remarks today I’ll talk about the need for Daughters in My Kingdom, the process of its creation, what Daughters in My Kingdom teaches us, and how it can make a difference.

Not Created in a Vacuum

Part of my witness is that Daughters in My Kingdom was not created in a vacuum. I believe there was a distinct time and season and a specific purpose for a history of Relief Society for the Church to come forth when it did. I’ve always found it important to review the context of important occurrences. So as I prepared for this message, I reviewed the backdrop of the publication of Daughters in My Kingdom.

When our presidency was called, we were given some very clear instructions. President Gordon B. Hinckley asked me pointedly to help him not only take care of Relief Society, but to help the women of the Church become more committed to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He expressed a deep concern about all Relief Society sisters, but especially those who were not fully converted to the gospel and who were searching for identity and purpose.

He also expressed a concern for the young women who were moving into Relief Society. He wanted them to know the importance of the organization they were entering and the work they would be enlisted in for the remainder of their lives. He was very clear and firm with me about the authority I would have as Relief Society general president. I was then set apart to preside over the great worldwide sisterhood of Relief Society, and there was an expectation that I would do just that.

From the beginning of our assignment our presidency was invited to be partnered with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at a time of inflection, or a hastening of the work of salvation. We were given insight into how they saw the Church moving forward, and we received a confirmation of their charge to take the gospel into all the world.

In our visits with them, we were touched by their sincere concern for the women of the Church and their feelings of urgency. When I asked if Relief Society had a significant role to play in that work, I received an affirmative answer. We were told, and I quote, “We can’t do it without you. Speak the truth. We are past pleasantries. We must measure up.”

It was not long before we were confronted with some prominent and damaging myths regarding the women of the Church and Relief Society. Many women and men inside and outside the Church adopted notions that the most interesting stories in Church history were about men, that women were second class citizens in the Church, that Latter day Saint women were generally sweet but largely uninformed, and that Relief Society itself was in its waning season, having no real function or standing in modern times beyond a Sunday classroom experience.

It was not long before we were confronted with some prominent and damaging myths regarding the women of the Church and Relief Society.

Additionally, many Latter day Saint women felt they could never be good enough, intelligent enough, talented enough, or prominent enough to be equal partners with men in the Church and at home. As senior Church leaders strove to fulfill their mandate to bring the Church forth out of obscurity, it became obvious that if the women of the Church felt obscure or were seen as obscure, then a large percentage of the Church population would not be engaged in the hastening work of the Lord. So, we asked ourselves if there was anything we could do to combat the myths that seemed to prevent Latter day Saint women from participating fully in the work of salvation.

When our presidency was set apart, we found ourselves functioning on the cusp of an information and technological explosion. For the first time in the history of the world, the reach of technology was becoming global and widely accessible. As a counselor in the Young Women general presidency, I had just completed work with board members to set up an Internet site for Young Women leaders. To do this, the sister who was the chair of that committee had bought her first computer. And the women on the committee had mapped out the links of the website with pieces of paper laid out on a family room floor.

Although that was just a few years ago, today that sounds like an archaic way to grapple with what an Internet site could do. But we were beginning to operate in what to us was a new world, and we were learning.

In the midst of an explosion of information technology, we discovered that for many, if not most of our sisters, there was either a little or a lot of confusion about our purpose and work. We saw that many leaders had developed local traditions and adaptations to Relief Society that were sincere but inconsistent with the purpose of the organization.

As the Church had grown to span the globe, there seemed to be confusion about who Latter day Saint women were and what Relief Society was about. Like other general Relief Society leaders before us, we realized that our identity and purpose was not being communicated effectively across a diversity of languages, cultures, economies, and experiences found in the Church. The growth of technology and the need to tap into its power to help us can be illustrated with an experience I had not long after becoming general Relief Society president.

We realized that our identity and purpose was not being communicated effectively across a diversity of languages, cultures, economies, and experiences found in the Church.

I took a red eye flight from Salt Lake City to New York City. I waited there almost a day and then took another all night flight to Accra, Ghana, arriving at about eight o’clock in the morning. We then got into four wheel drive vehicles and drove several hours into the bush of Ghana. After that, we walked a mile or two on a trail between high bush grasses, eventually coming into a clearing which was the home of one of our Relief Society sisters.

She was dressed in her Relief Society dress, which nearly every sister in her district wore. It gave them their regional identity. Her home consisted of a clearing surrounded by a rough fence. A bench under a mango tree served as her family room. There was a sleeping shelter of sticks lashed together and another small shelter made of boards which she called her kitchen.

There was a pen with some goats in it, and a few yarrow plants outside the fenced enclosure. In the clearing, a large metal vat of palm oil was boiling over a wood fire. All was tidy and organized.

Inside the kitchen, bundles of herbs and sticks for her cooking fire were hung from the rafters. On the wall were three or four long rows of numbers written in chalk on a board. I asked her what the numbers were, and she said, “Cell phones.” I exclaimed, “Do you have a cell phone?” She replied, “Of course. I call the people who buy my palm oil.” So I asked myself two questions: Where does she charge that phone, and why didn’t I just call her instead of coming all this long way?

This and other similar experiences taught us that we needed a way to transmit the true spirit and contribution of Latter day Saint women, a way to communicate our purpose and achieve global alignment. In order to approach the challenges we were encountering and help us fulfill the mandate we had been given, we went to the Lord for direction as to what we needed to do. We knew that we did not know enough yet.

A Season of Study

Our first challenge was to learn all we could and to fully determine the scope of our own work. In essence, we went to school. As a presidency we began to study the scriptures to look for any special patterns, instructions, or breadcrumbs that could lead the way to what we were organized to do. We pondered the Lord’s work to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. We studied what we could do to assist His prophets and apostles in the Church’s purpose, that faith might increase in the earth, that the Lord’s everlasting covenant might be established, that the fulness of His gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple, unto the ends of the world and before kings and rulers.

Our study of the scriptures revealed the vast scope of global work that needed to be accomplished. We found in the scriptures that the Savior Jesus Christ had a pattern of calling and organizing male and female disciples to assist Him in His work. We read of women and men worshipping together in sacred settings. We read that the Lord would pour out His Spirit upon sons and daughters and upon servants and handmaids. We read of sisters having business to take care of, as helpers in Christ Jesus, and being yoked with disciples as fellow laborers in the Lord’s ancient Church.

These and other learnings confirmed our belief that God expected and planned for a full commitment from His daughters as well as His sons in His work. We also studied several academic works that taught us about global communication and how organizations find their purpose and meaning among the plethora of messages filling the world today.

It was interesting to learn about brands and how companies and organizations achieved lasting success. We wanted to know what made a brand stick or last across cultures and languages. Although the information we studied was secular, it shined a spotlight on part of our difficulty. It could be said that if Relief Society was a brand or a product, fewer and fewer people were buying it.

In our study we learned that lasting brands depended on the ability to deliver a genuine and credible story that conveyed an organization’s underlying purpose. It became clear to us that without a compelling story, we would find it difficult to resonate with women and men on a global scale. We made the connection that if the men and women of the Church did not know or believe in our brand, then that could translate into a disenfranchisement of sorts that reflected upon every sister in Relief Society.

We were then given some research indicating that individuals who knew and understood Church history were much more likely to be faithful in their spiritual observance and that they tended to have a greater sense of identity in the Church. That discovery made much more sense in light of the fact that a record of a spiritual lineage was vitally important to the families in the Book of Mormon.

We read over and over again in the Book of Mormon about the responsibility of leaders to keep a record of their story. We saw the significance of that kind of historical connection for Relief Society.

We studied as much Relief Society history as we could find, and then we studied it again. We were given access to a great deal of information provided by Church historians and senior Church leaders. We also had access to senior Church leaders themselves. Our dear President Packer had compiled an extensive private archive of Relief Society history that was a treasure to him. He gave that to us and was also generous with his time, repeatedly sharing his spiritual witness and insights about the meaning of Relief Society in the Lord’s Church and kingdom.

We read over and over again in the Book of Mormon about the responsibility of leaders to keep a record of their story. We saw the significance of that kind of historical connection for Relief Society.

After a season of study we went to the First Presidency to ask if we were on the right track. We told them that we believed we had distilled the purpose of Relief Society in the work we had done. We presented a paper which said that “Relief Society was organized to help sisters prepare for the blessings of eternal life as they increased in faith and personal righteousness, strengthened families and homes, and provided relief to those in need.”

The answer from the First Presidency was a resounding “Yes. Carry on with that.” So we had delineated our purpose, and it had received approval. To move us forward in a global age, the purpose of Relief Society could now be simply stated in three words: faith, family, and relief. Faith, family, and relief. This was a purpose that was simple and clear enough to be understood and applied across cultures and languages.

Our study of history had revealed a distinct purpose that had carried women of the Church through changing world conditions, through wars, pestilences, natural disasters, famines, and global expansion.

Once the purpose was approved by the First Presidency, it was placed in the Church handbook. It was placed on the Internet. It was the catalyst for the request of the First Presidency to change the name and rationale behind weekday Relief Society meetings. And it was emphasized in speeches and training meetings. Now that we were able to articulate a clear, straightforward purpose, we hoped to find a way to share the compelling story behind it.

A Constitution for the Sisters

We began talking about the need to give sisters the tools and skills to carry out their purpose in their own lives. We recall that the second general Relief Society president, Sister Eliza R. Snow, had carefully preserved the minutes of the first Relief Society meetings containing instructions from the Prophet Joseph Smith, which he said were meant to be the constitution for the sisters. Sister Snow had used that minute book for many years as she traveled and taught Relief Society and priesthood leaders to firmly establish their work.

Since our work was spread so far across the world, and since so many sisters were striving to keep their covenants in relative isolation, I asked myself and others if it would be useful for every sister to have something that would function as her personal minute book.

In order to achieve global alignment, it would be important for each of them to have a constitution or a blueprint to follow. Was there a way to tell the captivating story of Relief Society, to solidify the Latter day Saint identity of the women, and engage the sisters in the work of salvation?

In order to achieve global alignment, it would be important for each of them to have a constitution or a blueprint to follow.

Then came the day when we received a historic assignment from the First Presidency and the Quorum of Apostles to compile an official history of Relief Society for the worldwide Church audience. Knowing that seers can see things others cannot see, we also knew that this opportunity was not a casual assignment. We sensed that such a record had been envisioned for a long time and that now was the time to bring forth the true narrative of Latter day Saint women.

In our discussions, we felt that this was not to be a historian’s history, a biography, a chronology, or a comprehensive history. It was envisioned as a record that would convey a spiritual legacy. It was to be the vehicle to carry our purpose into homes and hearts worldwide, to be understood and applied across cultures, languages, economies, and experiences.

We were instructed that this project was to be directed by the general Relief Society presidency, not by a curriculum department or a team of writers, and that we had “the full backing of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.”

In our assignment we were told to keep the project out of the normal machinery of publication. “You are the presidency,” we were told. “You are the ones who should decide what it looks like, and what it feels like, and how it’s going to be used. We’re not going to tell you what it is. You’re going to tell us what it is, and you’re going to bring it to us when it’s finished.”

After pondering that assignment as a presidency, we made a recommendation, and under the authority of prophets, seers, and revelators, Susan Winder Tanner was called to be the compiler and writer of the history. Susan Tanner is a woman with a full understanding of Relief Society and the personal qualities of humility and gifted intellect. And she knows how to access the powers of heaven. She believes in and expects miracles.

In her setting apart blessing, Susan was told that the work she would carry out would take the sisters from where they are to where they need to be. We gave Susan the large stack of reading which we had studied and asked her to study it. We asked her to get a feeling for the spirit of the work, not to write for a while, but to return when she felt she had some idea about the content of the book.

She asked if we had already developed an outline or a table of contents, and I replied that yes, we had a good sense of what that should look like but that we would give her time to read and assimilate the information she had and see if an outline suggested itself to her as she studied.

After about three months, she called and said she was ready to share some impressions about content. I remember with joy the moment she laid her proposed outline on the table. Then I placed next to it on a table the contents that had been revealed to our presidency months previously. The two outlines matched. We sat for a few moments observing the tender, thrilling significance that we were being taught from on high, that we could now thrust forward with confidence in the Lord’s power, being assured that He would give us what we needed to accomplish His work.

We had been instructed not to let the editor ruin it. So after sincere prayer, we requested the assistance of Aaron West, who came to the project with the rare ability to be skeptical, as all good editors must be, and the requisite humility and willingness to be taught by the Spirit. His ability to sense the truth of what Susan was writing and continue with her consistent voice was a tremendous blessing.

As we contemplated the design of the book, we had some distinct impressions about how it should look and feel. It needed to be feminine but suggest strength. The colors must have no cultured overtones, and the design should have a global appeal. We sensed that the book needed to have a timeless historical quality. We knew that it needed to be very visual and that the pictures and illustrations should teach as powerfully as the words.

We knew that although we lived in an era when most women were able to read, many did not have a tradition or habit of reading, so the book needed to be organized into small, reader-friendly learning boosts to invite nonreaders as well as the well-read into the text. And the book needed to fit comfortably with the slightly larger size of international scriptures for ease of carrying on buses and on long walks to meetings.

As we thought about the size of the book, we hoped that it would easily fall open on a woman’s lap or on a table. With those few instructions, and after careful review of several ideas, a design submitted by Nicole Erickson Walkenhorst was selected. Nicole, I think, was 27 years old at the time.

Nicole led an inspired design team, creating a beautiful book that draws the reader into every page. Each person who was carefully added to the group felt almost immediately that this project was being directed from heaven. Each team member began to feel the Spirit of the Lord in individual efforts and in a variety of ways. I personally felt the interest and the love and the strength and the power of the women who had played a part in leading and serving in Relief Society in the past.

I personally felt the interest and the love and the strength and the power of the women who had played a part in leading and serving in Relief Society in the past.

A continuous string of miracles and heavenly interventions became part of this seminal creative experience. Coupled with the profound blessings we were feeling was an almost constant opposition which is well known to others who have experience in working on projects such as this.

Occasionally during the process, someone would become worried about not working fast enough or coming up against a roadblock that might derail it. But our feeling was to push forward each day, be at peace, and keep moving it. The Spirit said to me, “Move it, move it, move it,” without pause.

Miraculously, it was a little less than a year from the day we determined the outline to the day we pushed the start button at the printing press. Anyone with knowledge of the production of print manuscripts will tell you that is an unheard of timeline in which to research, write, design, edit, review, translate, and print a work of this scope.

Once the printing press started, it ran almost continuously for two months to churn out the initial English copies. All the while it was being translated into 25 languages, including English braille. It was sent in the fall of 2011 worldwide to every Relief Society sister of the Church at no personal cost to them.

The book also went online in multiple languages with its own website at the same time it was released in English. In the way it was given and for what it contains, Daughters in My Kingdom has become a gift to those who have received it.

What We Learned

Because of the inspired way Daughters in My Kingdom came about, I have pondered now on what members found when they unwrapped the gift. How has it illuminated our purpose and helped us with our need?

Quoting from the book itself, I’ll review a sample of what we learned. We learned that Latter day Saint women are to lead the world—and to lead especially the women of the world—in everything that is praiseworthy. They are called by the voice of the prophet of God to do it, to be uppermost, to be the greatest and the best.

We learned that Relief Society was a restoration of an ancient pattern. It belongs to the organization of the Church of Christ in all dispensations. Its organization was a necessary step in the unfolding of God’s work on the earth.

We learned that with the official organization of Relief Society came a wide and extensive spirit of action and usefulness. Sisters are told that by seeking to perform every duty, you will find that your capacity will increase, and you will be astonished at what you can accomplish.

We learned that faithful sisters have access to the blessings, authority, and power of the priesthood, that through those blessings the power of godliness will be manifest to them. And we recognize that it is within the privilege of the sisters of this Church to receive exaltation in the kingdom of God and receive authority and power as queens and priestesses.

We learned that Relief Society, as an organization, and as sisters as individual members of that organization, have a parallel work with priesthood quorums. This great sisterhood of service was organized to carry out the work of salvation and to help bishops manage the Lord’s storehouse of talents and resources.

We learned that there is a great need to rally the women of the Church to stand with and for the Brethren in stemming the tide of evil that surrounds us and moving forward the work of our Savior.

We learned the true nature of caring involved in visiting teaching, that visiting teaching is much like home teaching in that they watch over the Church always, and that visiting teaching is part of the only system that can provide succor and comfort across a church so large in a world so varied.

We learned of the responsibility to become spiritually and temporally self reliant, becoming sister scriptorians, and of the potential of all Latter day Saints to be the most independent creatures under the celestial world.

We learned that righteous women are the guardians of the hearth and that no other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God, that Relief Society sisters can be strengthened for the challenges of the day, and that they can be endowed with wisdom beyond their own in dealing with the problems they constantly face, and that their prayers and their pleadings will be answered with blessings upon their heads and upon the heads of loved ones.

We learned that through Relief Society, the Prophet Joseph Smith turned the key for the emancipation of womankind and that this great circle of sisters might be likened to a refuge and a sanctuary that encircles each sister like a protecting wall.

We learned that through Relief Society, the Prophet Joseph Smith turned the key for the emancipation of womankind and that this great circle of sisters might be likened to a refuge and a sanctuary that encircles each sister like a protecting wall.

A review of Daughters in My Kingdom has filled me with gratitude for the examples and testimonies of capable, influential women who knew that through the ordinance of the gospel, they had the gifts and power necessary to triumph over life’s challenges and to help others do the same.

I am blessed by knowing that they spoke to God and understood when He spoke to them.

I have been asked if Daughters in My Kingdom is making a difference. Has it been able to meet the needs that it was envisioned to address? Is anyone reading it or using it? Does it align women behind a clear purpose and a genuine story?

The first response I observed of the impact of the book could have been while we were still at the printing press on the day the first signatures emerged from the press. A woman who was checking the quality of the printed pages was reading them as fast as she could. With obvious excitement, she said, “There was a spirit in those pages,” and she had never known those things before.

I know that the general Relief Society office receives notes expressing gratitude for the book and that they often hear of sisters, wards, or stakes using Daughters in My Kingdom to teach various principles. They also have had contact with bishops and stake presidents who use the book to help men and young men who have pornography addictions by assigning them to read the book, who then return saying, “Now I know what a real woman is like.”

I know that in our family, we are using it as a bridge to help our granddaughters move from young womanhood to adult service and leadership in the Church. We have taught them of their identity and purpose from its pages and have used its examples of faithful women as their model.

We have used it to teach our grandsons and granddaughters about the priesthood. We have used it to teach our family principles of self reliance and watch care. We love the book and see it as a constitution or a blueprint for our family and our Church service.

I learned not long ago of Daughters in My Kingdom being used as a curriculum for a class of young university students. The teacher relates that though many of her students began her class with a bias against Relief Society and a cynicism about the value of women in the Lord’s work, they leave her class feeling inspired, empowered, and filled with determination to live up to the blessings they have been given.

It conveys to them a spiritual legacy they can embrace regardless of their family genealogy or longevity in the Church. She tells me that as they read the last chapter of Daughters in My Kingdom, the language soars. They feel a lift, an invitation to live up to our privilege, to have angels as our associates, and to so live that we can have the Spirit constantly flowing into our souls.

A Spiritual Legacy

I recently received a letter from a woman who has just discovered Daughters in My Kingdom. She said, and I quote, “When Daughters in My Kingdom was presented to me in Relief Society, it was presented as a history of Relief Society and how much we should appreciate the organization. I figured that if it was important enough for the Church to give it to the sisters, I should read it. However, other than a bit here and there, it went unread. A Relief Society president standing up and doing the rah-rah Relief Society speech wasn’t all that appealing, even though I've had a firm testimony of the organization and have been active since I was 18.

“There are not many things in scripture or in conferences that really give a great picture of how women fit in the Lord’s plan. I am one of the 90 and 9 who has held many Church positions but not been in any prestigious positions that people in the Church use to point out how good a woman is.

“The world is certainly no help in defining what the Lord would want for His daughters. I had been praying rather hard about how exactly women fit in to our Heavenly Father's plan for eternity. I am halfway through Daughters in My Kingdom and still studying, but I will share what I have found so far.

“First, the book, with the help of the Holy Ghost, has been a door to answering many of my personal questions. I believe that the Spirit has been preparing me to read it. This book is much like the parables Jesus taught—what you get from reading it depends on what you are spiritually ready for. On one level, it is a history of Relief Society. On another level, it inspires a commitment to live more in tune with gospel teachings and understand how Relief Society helps you do that. It teaches how the priesthood and Relief Society organization fit together.

“Still on another level, I believe it prepares a sister who is listening for greater light and truth regarding eternity and the patterns beyond this life. In the beginning, my favorite insight was a story of Mary and Martha. That story has always bothered me, and now I see it differently. I believe that the Lord was teaching Martha rather than chastising her as many people believe. In that day, women were not encouraged to pursue religious instruction like the men. He let her know that it was good to learn the things of the Spirit. That is more in line with the Savior I know and love.

“I don’t think that Daughters in My Kingdom is a telestial book or message. Its greatest value and beauty lie in the fact that it allows the Holy Ghost to teach you and show you more than the pages say directly. I do think that it is a divinely inspired book and that those who read it with the intent to learn and understand will be lifted and blessed.”

A few years ago I met a young woman from a small and obscure village in China at BYU–Hawaii. As I recall her story, this woman had grown up herding goats, and her parents, desiring that she receive a better education, had sacrificed to send her to Australia to attend high school.

While in Australia, she had been contacted by missionaries and had joined the Church. She had served a mission and was just completing her degree at BYU–Hawaii. After a number of years away from home, she was now at the point of going back to China. She was worried about what would happen to her, what her future would hold. I was not so worried because she had her own testimony and conversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She had her scriptures, and she would have a copy of Daughters in My Kingdom.

Just as Sister Eliza Snow carried her minute book, this young woman would have a book of her own to take with her. She would know how to be the Relief Society leader in her own home. She would be able to live the Relief Society purposes of faith, family, and relief, remaining aligned with a global sisterhood in that purpose.

Just as Sister Eliza Snow carried her minute book, this young woman would have a book of her own to take with her. She would know how to be the Relief Society leader in her own home.

Creating Daughters in My Kingdom was a spiritual journey for me. And it became a record of a spiritual legacy. In the Book of Mormon, we learn of Alma entrusting Helaman with the records of the people and testifying of the value of those records. Alma tells Helaman that the records should be kept and handed down from one generation to another and that though it might appear to be foolishness, by small and simple things are great things brought to pass and that sacred records are preserved for a wise purpose which is known unto God.

I recognize that Daughters in My Kingdom is not scripture and that I am not able to see all that God has preserved this record for. However, I know that the book has been prepared for a wise purpose and that it is important that we now have it.

In 1976 President Spencer W. Kimball said, “There is a power in this organization of Relief Society that has not yet been fully exercised to strengthen the homes of Zion and build the kingdom of God, nor will it be until both the sisters and the priesthood catch the vision of Relief Society.”

I came to the realization that for many years, prophets and Relief Society leaders have sensed the need for a clear and globally unifying message for the women of the Church. And in our discussions, there was an expressed hope to preserve the spirit of Relief Society in every home.

I came to believe that the seers of our time could see the fruits of Daughters in My Kingdom extending through generations and far into the future. I witness that Daughters in My Kingdom is part of the Lord’s hastening work and that He directed us and its creation. For me and for others, it was a pinnacle life experience. I treasure the Spirit that pervaded our lives as we worked on it. It has been humbling and thrilling to me to read through journals and notes and ponder my own experience in its development.

I hope I never forget the wonder of it and the love that is in it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.