Faith, family, relief — these three simple words have come to express the vision of prophets for sisters in the Church, said Sister Julie B. Beck.
"Just as the Lord's prophets have continually taught elders and high priests their purposes and duties, they have shared their vision for the sisters of the Relief Society," said Sister Beck, who was released Saturday afternoon as the Church's Relief Society general president. "From their counsel it is clear that the purposes of Relief Society are to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes and seek out and help those in need."
Sister Beck said since the beginning of the Restoration, prophets have "shared their vision of strong, faithful, purposeful women who understand their eternal value and purpose."
Each year, hundreds of thousands of women and young women become part of Relief Society, she said. "Thereafter, wherever a sister lives, and wherever she serves, she retains her membership and association in Relief Society."
Relief Society is a not a program, she said. "It is an official part of the Lord's Church that is divinely ordained of God to teach, strengthen and inspire sisters in their purpose regarding faith, family and relief. Relief Society is a way of life for Latter-day Saint women and its influence extends beyond a Sunday class or social gathering. It follows the pattern of female disciples who served with the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles in His ancient Church."
Quoting President Joseph F. Smith, Sister Beck asked Relief Society sisters to "lead the world and especially the women of the world, in everything that is praiseworthy, everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting and that is purifying to the children of men."
President Joseph F. Smith's counsel "emphasized the charge to eliminate traditions, themes, fads and trends and incorporate practices that are consistent with Relief Society purposes," Sister Beck said. "Leaders who seek revelation can ensure that every meeting, lesson, class, activity and effort of the Relief Society fulfills the purposes for which it is organized. The sociality, friendship and unity we desire will be the sweet results of serving together with the Lord in His work."
Sister Beck said, as evidence of their desire that the "glorious heritage" of Relief Society be preserved, the First Presidency recently published and distributed worldwide, Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society. "As sisters become more aligned with the purposes of Relief Society, the vision of the prophets will be fulfilled," she said.