Additional coverage of the Relief Society meeting:
Relief Society is vital to the welfare of every home and family in the Church, said Sister Silvia H. Allred.
"Every husband and father should encourage activity in Relief Society. Every woman should come and learn the opportunities Relief Society has to offer. Every righteous woman has a significant role to play in God's plan and the building up of His kingdom. Relief Society needs you, and you need Relief Society."
Speaking at the Church's General Relief Society Meeting, held Sept. 26 in the Conference Center, Sister Allred addressed the topic "Every Woman Needs Relief Society."
"The deepest desire of our presidency is to help each woman in the Church prepare to receive the blessings of the temple, to honor the covenants she makes and to be engaged in the cause of Zion," said Sister Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency. "The Relief Society inspires and teaches women to help them increase their faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and seek out and help those in need."
Sister Allred told the "good women of the world" who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ that their "example and influence for good is both extraordinary and remarkable."
But, she added, "we are also aware of the many women in the Church who are not fully enjoying the blessings of activity in the Church and in Relief Society. To those of you who already attend Relief Society, we extend a call. We ask you to go to the women who are not engaged in Relief Society work in your wards and branches to teach them with love what Relief Society will do for them. Testify to them that Relief Society will enrich their homes and personal lives. Offer your friendship and sisterhood. Watch over and strengthen them. Help us reverse society's trend of disintegrating families. Help your sisters tun to the Lord and His plan of happiness for His children. They will find guidance, comfort, peace, understanding and inspiration. They will know Heavenly Father loves them and cares for them in ways beyond measure."
Sister Allred said no other organization in the Church can do the service Relief Society does. "Thousands of families are recipients of the service provided by loving visiting teachers, who extend a comforting hand, a listening ear, an encouraging word."
To the women of the Church, she added, "Your attendance at Relief Society Sunday meetings will bless you, but your participation in the work of Relief Society will bless the whole Church.
"Whether you are young or old, single or married, widowed or living in a family, we want you to bless your life and home with the influence and power of Relief Society. There is great need to rally the women of the Church to move the work forward. We invite you to minister with your powerful influence for good in strengthening our families, our Church, and our communities. You are a much-needed force for love, truth and righteousness in this world.
"We need you to nurture families, friends and neighbors. It is through you that God's perfect love for each and all of His children is made manifest."
Sister Allred the Relief Society general presidency often receives letters from sisters whose lives have been blessed through Relief Society. Many, she said, list what Relief Society has done for them and their families:
-- "Relief Society reassures me that Heavenly Father loves me because I am His daughter."
-- "It reminds me that Heavenly Father has blessed me with talents and gifts."
-- "I learn that temple covenants are essential for me and my family."
-- "I learn to find joy in motherhood."
-- "Relief Society lessons and activities help me learn the skills needed to be a good mother."
-- "I recognize my responsibility to influence the rising generation for good."
-- "Relief Society helps me be a better wife, to honor and respect my husband."
-- "I am encouraged to seek learning and personal growth."
-- "I learn and practice basic principles of self-reliance in meetings and activities."
-- "I experience the joy in service through visiting teaching and compassionate service."
-- "I discover gifts that I didn't know I had."
-- "Relief Society provides me opportunities to use my talents."
-- "I learn that I can lift and encourage others."
-- "I learn that we all have something to share: love kindness, smiles, sympathy and more."
-- "I develop genuine concern for others."
-- "I learn to be a better neighbor and treat others with kindness."
-- "I learn resourcefulness and determination of purpose."
-- "I know that all of my Father's blessings will be mine if I stay faithful and true to my covenants."
Sister Allred concluded, "I testify to you that Relief Society was divinely organized to assist the priesthood in the work of salvation."