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Service is essence of gospel

"Arise and shine forth!" Mary Ellen W. Smoot, Relief Society general president, urged April 27 during the opening general session of the 2000 BYU Women's Conference in the Marriott Center. Reflecting on the conference theme from Doctrine and Covenants 115:5, "Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations," Sister Smoot discussed four points, including the following:

"Arise in loving service. Sisters, as the tide of selfishness waves so high in the world, we can determine to change that tide by being pure vessels of Christlike love and service. Service is the essence of Christ's gospel. Service is the antidote to the ills of our time. Service heals the wounded heart.

"Loving service takes on so many different forms. Some of the most important services we ever perform are sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and otherwise relieving spiritual suf- fering."

"Arise and bring others with you. When we are truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we reach out to others and help them find their way back to God, all of which secures our own grip on the iron rod. I have found that whenever we help someone else toward righteousness, our own faith is strengthened."

"Arise and seek the Lord. I believe that one of the ways we come to know the Master and hear His voice is by reading the scriptures."

Sister Smoot encouraged sisters to bring their scriptures to meetings, to use them in their lessons and read them with their families.

"Arise and be a light. When we have felt His light and recognized His influence in our lives, we want to share that light with others. Sisters, the world needs what the gospel gives us. Don't put your light 'under a bushel. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' "

In her concluding remarks, Sister Smoot promised: "If we give our all, everything else will fall into place. Sisters, if we will arise in loving service, bring others with us, seek the Lord for inspiration and knowledge, we will be a light in this world."

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