Sister Aburto on women and priesthood — There is safety in counsel

Editor’s note: This narrative is part of a Church News series titled “Women of Covenant,” in which women of the Church discuss their personal experiences with priesthood power and share what they have learned through following President Russell M. Nelson’s counsel to “labor with the Spirit to understand God’s power — priesthood power” (“Spiritual Treasures,” general conference, October 2019).

I cherish President Nelson’s words that “we Latter-day Saints are not of the world; we are of covenant Israel. We are called to prepare a people for the Second Coming of the Lord” (“Spiritual Treasures” October 2019 general conference). 

This is an empowering reminder for me because I need to constantly remember that if I am faithful to the covenants I have made with God, I can have the confidence that He will help me fulfil my responsibilities in different aspects of my life and to rejoice in that.

Sister Reyna I. Aburto and Sister Lisa L. Harkness speak to Latter-day Saints at a devotional in Lima, Peru, during a visit to the South America Northwest Area of the Church in November 2019.
Sister Reyna I. Aburto and Sister Lisa L. Harkness speak to Latter-day Saints at a devotional in Lima, Peru, during a visit to the South America Northwest Area of the Church in November 2019. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 26. Even though I had a soothing feeling in my heart as I followed the desire to be blessed by God by making a covenant with Him, I know that my understanding of that covenant was just like a small seed at that time.

As the years have passed by and as I have been making an effort to keep that baptismal covenant and other covenants I have made with Heavenly Father, I feel that He has blessed me with a deeper understanding about Him, about my Savior, and about my role as a covenant daughter of Heavenly Parents in preparing the earth for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

President Nelson also said: “It thrills me when I learn of priesthood leaders who eagerly seek the participation of women in ward and stake councils.”

In Abraham 4 and 5, there is an inspiring account of the Creation of the earth. In those chapters, we read how “the Gods took counsel among themselves” as they were planning the different phases of the Creation and executing those plans. The principle of counseling together to fulfill our Heavenly Father’s purposes is a divine and eternal pattern that we also need to follow as we actively participate in the work of salvation and exaltation.

Since I joined the Church, I have been able to serve in different callings and assignments that have required me to counsel together with fellow servants with whom I share the desire to serve Jesus Christ. Over and over, I have marveled at the power of God that I can feel in myself and others as we look for the will of the Lord collectively in sacred Church council settings.

Sister Lisa L. Harkness, center, and Sister Reyna I. Aburto, center right, help at a Red Cross aid center near the border of Venezuela in Colombia during a trip to the South America Northwest Area of the Church in November 2019.
Sister Lisa L. Harkness, center, and Sister Reyna I. Aburto, center right, help at a Red Cross aid center near the border of Venezuela in Colombia during a trip to the South America Northwest Area of the Church in November 2019. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

It has happened to me many times that, even though I have tried to prepare for a meeting by reading the material that will be discussed or by praying to ask for the revelation I need to be an active participant in that council, not much comes to my mind and heart in advance. However, once I am sitting in that divine setting trying to listen intently to what others say, and as I receive promptings from the Spirit, ideas and feelings start coming to me. 

Years ago, I was on assignment in Johannesburg, South Africa, and I participated in a devotional with young adults. Just a few minutes before that devotional started, I had this feeling that probably I needed to set aside the outline I had prepared and simply counsel with those young adults. I followed the prompting and after a five-minute message, I asked them, “What are your concerns? What is in your heart?”

They came up with things that mostly had to do with their friends. They were worried about their friends who suffered from anxiety and depression, or their friends who were not coming to church, or their friends who were not members. And they were also worried about how to help each other find the best options for education. They divided in small groups, and each group counseled about one of those issues for a few minutes. When we reconvened again, the Spirit filled the room as they shared the revelation they received on how to minister to their friends. The amount of energy, faith, joy and power that was present in that room was empowering.

“God’s work in the eternities is done through councils.”

That evening, I learned that when we are humble, when we follow the Spirit, we are empowered, and we can use that power to bless the lives of our brothers and sisters around us. That’s what those young adults were doing. They were finding ways to help and they had decided to go and do the things that they had been inspired to do. For me, this is a great example of how we can feel the power of God flowing through us.

What we are able to achieve together as disciples of Jesus Christ when we counsel in His name is more extraordinary than what we can achieve by ourselves. I know that this is part of the power we receive from God as we make an effort to keep our covenants and to labor diligently in the Lord’s vineyard.

God’s work in the eternities is done through councils. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is governed by councils through priesthood keys. As the Lord’s servants, we can draw upon God’s priesthood power as we participate in councils guided by the Spirit and as we go and act on the revelation we have received. When women and men work interdependently in preparing the earth for the Second Coming of the Savior, miracles happen, because there is safety in counsel.

Sister Reyna I. Aburto, a member of the steering committee for the Book of Mormon Video Library project, talks with cast members on set near Springville, Utah, Friday, June 22, 2018.
Sister Reyna I. Aburto, a member of the steering committee for the Book of Mormon Video Library project, talks with cast members on set near Springville, Utah, Friday, June 22, 2018. Credit: Ashlee Larsen, IRI, IRI