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Leaders testify about covenant power and the strength of the women of the Church


Leaders testify about covenant power and the strength of the women of the Church

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints testified in April 2022 general conference about the power of covenants and the strength of the women of the Church to lift and bless others.

It was also announced that the Relief Society and Primary general presidencies will be reorganized as of Aug. 1.

President Jean B. Bingham, Sister Sharon Eubank and Sister Reyna I. Aburto will complete their service as the Relief Society general presidency on Aug. 1.

President Camille N. Johnson, who serves as Primary general president, was sustained as the Relief Society general president, with Sister J. Anette Dennis as first counselor and Sister Kristin M. Yee as second counselor. President Susan H. Porter was sustained as the new Primary general president, with Sister Amy A. Wright as first counselor and Sister Tracy Y. Browning as second counselor.

Read more: New Relief Society, Primary general presidencies sustained Saturday afternoon

‘You are the women he foresaw!’

Words from President Russell M. Nelson’s talk, “A Plea to My Sisters,” from October 2015 general conference, were repeated in a video shown during the women’s session.

The video expounded on the role of covenant-keeping women. It began with words from President Spencer W. Kimball in 1979, in a talk read to the women by his wife, Sister Camilla Kimball, while he was in the hospital.  

Senior leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints await the start of the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

Senior leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints await the start of the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world [in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality] will be drawn to the Church in large numbers,” read Sister Kimball. “This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different — in happy ways — from the women of the world.”

The video then included words from President Nelson, where he explained that the day President Kimball foresaw is today: “You are the women he foresaw! Your virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith and righteous lives will draw good women of the world, along with their families, to the Church in unprecedented numbers!”

President Bingham also told women of the Church that they were meant to be born in this day: “As President Russell M. Nelson declared, you are the women who will fulfill the prophecies that have been foretold!” she said in the women’s session.

Covenant power

Sister Rebecca L. Craven, the second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, said covenant-keeping women must shine the gospel light by stepping up and standing out. Daughters of God will gather Israel as they participate in the work of salvation and exaltation. 

“If the restored Church of Jesus Christ is going to come out of obscurity, we must come out of obscurity,” she said. “As covenant-keeping women, we must shine our gospel light all over the world by stepping up and standing out.”

Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, speaks during the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference on April 2, 2022.

Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, speaks during the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference on April 2, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sister Craven also cautioned against people thinking they could disregard the commandments with a plan to repent later. She said being obedient will do so much more good. “It’s not about doing life perfectly — it’s about finding joy while doing our best to live the covenants we have made with the Lord.”

President Bingham emphasized how those covenants with God will strengthen, protect and prepare people for eternal glory. 

Covenants will ensure a joyful reunion with loved ones on the other side of the veil. “If we disregard or treat lightly our covenants with God, we are putting those eternal ties in danger. Now is the time to repent, repair and try again,” she said.

President Bingham said she has met women of all ages, living in a wide variety of circumstances, who are keeping their covenants. They look to the Lord and His prophet for guidance, rather than popular media. They are not dissuaded from keeping their covenants by the philosophies of the world. 

“Whatever your age, each of you women who has made covenants with God has the ability to hold up the Lord’s light and lead others to Him,” said President Bingham. “Through keeping your covenants, He will bless you with His priesthood power and enable you to have a profound influence on all with whom you interact. 

Young Women, the temple and missionary service

Relief Society President Jean B. Bingham speaks during the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference held in the Conference Center on April 2, 2022.

Relief Society President Jean B. Bingham speaks during the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference held in the Conference Center on April 2, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

President Bingham encouraged young women to prepare to receive temple covenants. She urged women who have already received the blessings of the temple to not let detractors or distractions pull them away from eternal truths.

She outlined how young women can prepare to go to the temple to make sacred covenants as soon after the age of 18 as they are ready. 

When President Nelson opened the April 2022 general conference on Saturday morning, he spoke to young women about missionary work.

“For you young and able sisters, a mission is also a powerful, but optional, opportunity. We love sister missionaries and welcome them wholeheartedly. What they contribute to this work is magnificent! Pray to know if the Lord would have you serve a mission, and the Holy Ghost will respond to your heart and mind.

“Dear young friends, you are each vital to the Lord.”

‘We are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’

Sister Aburto said during the Saturday morning session that some sisters have told her they feel because they have a calling in Primary or Young Women they are not active members of Relief Society. But Relief Society is not just a room, lesson or activity, said Sister Aburto, it is the covenant women of the Church — a “global community of compassion and service.” 

“The Church is more than the buildings and the ecclesiastical structure; the Church is us, the members. We are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with Christ at the head and the Prophet as His mouthpiece,” she said.

Sister Reyna I. Aburto speaks during the Saturday morning session of general conference on April 2, 2022.

Sister Reyna I. Aburto speaks during the Saturday morning session of general conference on April 2, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

And all the members — whatever their ages or situations — need each other, she said, and can bring each other to the Savior’s redeeming healing. The members of the Church are the means through which the Savior will perform His mightiest works. 

“Let us realize how privileged we are to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, where we can unite our faith, hearts, strengths, minds and hands for Him to perform His mighty miracles,” she said.

The Savior’s power

President Porter spoke in the women’s session about how her life changed overnight when she became a widow five years ago, and she did not know what the Lord would have her do. 

A few weeks later, she saw an artist’s rendition of the Samaritan woman with Jesus at the well.

“At that moment, the Spirit spoke clearly to me: ‘That is what you are supposed to do.'”

“A loving Heavenly Father was inviting me to come to the Savior and learn.”

Sister Susan H. Porter, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, speaks during the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference on April 2, 2022. She will begin service as the Primary general president on Aug. 1, 2022.

President Susan H. Porter, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, speaks during the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference on April 2, 2022. She will begin service as the Primary general president on Aug. 1, 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

President Porter outlined the power of salt, leaven and light: “Even in very small amounts, each affects everything around them. The Savior invites us to use His power to be as ­­­salt, leaven and light.”

Salt brings flavor, leaven lifts, and light pierces the darkness. “Sisters, hearts can be changed and lives blessed as we offer a pinch of salt, a spoonful of leaven and a ray of light.”

‘Do what mattereth most’

Sister Craven shared an experience where a young woman asked how to know whether anything about the Church was true, because she felt nothing. Sister Craven asked her if she read the scriptures or studied “Come, Follow Me” or prayed. When the young woman answered that she didn’t do any of those things, Sister Craven gave her this response: “If you want to know anything, you will have to do something.”

She invited her new friend to start doing the gospel of Jesus Christ: praying, studying, serving others and trusting in the Lord.

People arrive for the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

People arrive for the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

When trying to determine what is really essential or what really matters, Sister Craven offered some thoughts to consider about “what mattereth most” — how many “likes” on a social media post, or being loved and valued by Heavenly Father? Wearing the latest trend in clothing, or dressing modestly? Searching the internet or receiving answers through the Holy Ghost? Wanting more, or being content?

“Satan would love nothing more than for us to misplace our eternal values, leading us to waste precious time, talents or spiritual strength on things that matter not,” said Sister Craven. “I invite each of us to prayerfully consider those things that distract us from doing what mattereth most.”

Forgiveness and healing

On Sunday morning, Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, spoke about how Christ heals that which is broken

Sister Wright is a cancer survivor. She spoke about spending countless hours at a cancer treatment facility with many who also hoped to be healed — some lived; others did not. 

“I learned in a profound way that deliverance from our trials is different for each of us, and therefore our focus should be less about the way in which we are delivered and more about the Deliverer Himself,” she said. “Our emphasis should always be on Jesus Christ!”

Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, speaks during the Sunday morning session of the 192nd Annual General Conference on April 3, 2022.

Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, speaks during the Sunday morning session of the 192nd Annual General Conference on April 3, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sister Wright said the scriptures often only give a small portion of someone’s life, but no one’s life can be understood by one moment. 

“The purpose of these scriptural accounts is to help us see that Jesus Christ was the answer then, and He is the answer now,” she said. “He knows our complete story and exactly what we suffer, as well as our capabilities and vulnerabilities.”

Because of this, the Lord commanded His children to forgive others. This can take tremendous courage and humility, said Sister Wright, and it can also take time. But through the enabling power of Jesus Christ, it is possible. 

Similar to forgiving, waiting can also be hard — waiting for answers, miracles or healing. 

“Waiting upon the Lord can be a sacred place. A place of polishing and refining where we can come to know the Savior in a deeply personal way,” she said.

Truths in the Young Women theme

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles expounded on the Young Women theme during his talk in the women’s session.

The Young Women theme begins, “I am a beloved daughter of heavenly parents, with a divine nature and eternal destiny.” This statement contains four important truths, said Elder Renlund.

“First, you are a beloved daughter,” he said. “The second truth is that we have heavenly parents, a father and a mother.”

He explained that what is known about Heavenly Mother is found in Gospel Topics. “Speculation will not lead to greater spiritual knowledge, but it can lead to deception or divert our focus from what has been revealed,” he cautioned.

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference held in the Conference Center on April 2, 2022.

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference held in the Conference Center on April 2, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“The third truth in the opening paragraph of the Young Women theme is that we have ‘a divine nature.’ This is intrinsic to who we are,” continued Elder Renlund. “This is our most important identity.”

And the fourth truth is that we have “an eternal destiny.” 

The Young Women theme also outlines personal revelation, gaining a testimony, standing as a witness of God, repenting and improving daily, strengthening home and family, making and keeping sacred covenants, and receiving the ordinances and blessings of the holy temple.

“Strengthening home and family may mean forging the first link in a chain of faithfulness, carrying on a legacy of faith, or restoring it,” said Elder Renlund. “Regardless, strength comes through faith in Jesus Christ and by making sacred covenants.”

Read more April 2022 general conference coverage

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