Local auxiliary leaders gathered in downtown Salt Lake City March 27-29 for training sessions conducted by general auxiliary leaders. Following are highlights of the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary sessions. Highlights from Sunday School training meeting, held Wednesday evening, March 28, and Young Men training meetings, which will be held in coming weeks, will be printed at a later date.
"You lead a great work!" said Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president. "This is the Lord's work. ... We have a responsibility of great importance."
Speaking in the Tabernacle, Sister Beck addressed many topics, including the purposes of Relief Society, the important role women play in their families, teaching (especially the "new" sisters of the Church), working in committees and leadership principles.
Stick with the basics, Sister Beck said. "It is a simple work, and then the Lord brings the ideas into focus. If we figure out what we need to do, He will help us get from revelation to implementation. We will receive revelation all along the way."
It is through seeking that revelation that sisters are able to go to their knees, receive revelation and feel a closeness to the Lord, Sister Beck said.
In all of their teaching, the presidency and Relief Society general board members focused on looking for answers in the Church Handbook as well as Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society.
Sister Silvia H. Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, focused her remarks on teaching the doctrines of the gospel.
"How do we ensure teaching in Relief Society is effective and done by the Spirit?" she asked. "We prepare, we teach from the doctrine and approved materials, and we teach gospel truths by the Spirit, the Spirit of truth."
Sister Barbara Thompson, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, spoke of the great sisterhood throughout the world who are rallying to strengthen homes and families as they work together to accomplish much good. She compared their work to that of Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon, who rallied his people to defend families and gospel principles.
"The standards haven't changed, but the world has," said Sister Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president. She encouraged the leaders to "change the world" through being a good example of living a virtuous life.
"Your callings aren't random," she said, speaking in the Conference Center Theater. "The way you look, dress and smile will affect these young women ... just by being with them and teaching them the joy of being a woman and living the gospel. ... We have to be modest. We have to be vigilant. We need to teach by example and great love."
Sister Dalton spoke of the importance of teaching young women how to repent, so they can live with the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
It is that companionship that will help the young women "survive and thrive in enemy territory," she said.
Counselors in the Young Women general presidency, Sister Mary N. Cook and Sister Ann M. Dibb, spoke of the importance of "letting Laurels lead." The counselors used Young Women camp — which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year — as an example of an opportunity to let Laurels lead, but said there are constant opportunities for the leaders to distribute responsibilities, allowing the young women to be involved.
"Let them lead outside of camp," Sister Cook said. "We have opportunities like New Beginnings, class activities, presidency meetings, lessons. ... They can do it, and they love to do it. We must have high expectations for them. They are really amazing."
Leaders in the Young Women organization also focused on the many resources — websites, articles, videos, manuals and the revised version of For the Strength of Youth — that are available for leaders to look to for ideas and help.
The purpose of Primary is to help children along the path to conversion, said Sister Rosemary M. Wixom during auxiliary training for Primary leaders.
Speaking in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, Sister Wixom, Primary general president, asked those in attendance to focus on the "why" of Primary.
"We want [Primary children] to feel, to love, to act," she said. "We want them to have a testimony. … Testimony means declaration. We want to go one step further. Conversion means to act. We want these children to have and feel the seeds of conversion in their lives."
Sister Wixom and her counselors, Sister Jean A. Stevens and Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, told ward and stake Primary leaders that they can assist parents in planting those seeds of conversion. Sister Wixom said the process of conversion begins at a very young age. "It ideally begins in the home, where the parents love the Lord with all their heart, with all their soul, and all their might. And then they teach their children."
She said children will understand what it means to be converted "only if we take the time to teach them." And, she added, if parents and Primary leaders don't teach them "the world will."
"What we do and how we teach makes such a difference," said Sister Stevens.
Sister Esplin reminded the leaders, "we are not teaching lessons, we are teaching children."
Members of the Primary general board also gave presentations on using music to teach gospel principles and on the resources for Primary leaders found on lds.org.