BYU Women’s Conference preview: Sister Dew testifies of the Lord’s promises associated with 4 gifts

Sister Sheri Dew said she has learned in a poignant way that the Lord has His own timetable for fulfilling promises. “But that does not mean He isn’t blessing us throughout the process.”

As she has prayed, fasted and pleaded for more than four decades for an eternal companion — not to mention the loneliness she felt last year during the pandemic, earthquake in Salt Lake City and losing her mother — “I have learned that the Lord will not fail us,” she said. 

“I can’t imagine how I would have handled so many years alone without the gospel of Jesus Christ. I haven’t received everything I’ve asked for — not yet — but the Lord has walked beside me and carried me a good part of the way. He has kept His promises to me.”

During her 2021 BYU Women’s Conference address titled “Exceeding Great and Precious Promises (2 Peter 1:3-4),” Sister Dew, who served in the Relief Society general presidency from 1997-2002, emphasized promises associated with four gifts that can help women through the challenges of the last days.

BYU Women’s Conference: What to expect and how to watch

Sister Dew’s address is available to watch on womensconference.byu.edu as a preview for BYU Women’s Conference April 29-30. Once the event begins, it will become part of the paid digital package. 

1. The gift of divine identity

The Apostle Paul articulated the promise that comes with knowing of one’s divine identity: “we are children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17).

Sister Dew said as part of the “noble and great ones” chosen in the beginning, “we were given the opportunity to make sacred covenants here. Through these covenants, we become heirs of all the blessings promised to the house of Israel.”

Though there are days when many women may not feel “noble and great,” she said, “our Heavenly Father did not elect us for this era, only to watch us fail.”

During a prerecorded address for the 2021 BYU Women's Conference, Sister Sheri Dew speaks of losing her mother three months into the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a prerecorded address for the 2021 BYU Women’s Conference, Sister Sheri Dew speaks of losing her mother three months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Screenshot womensconference.byu.edu

She invited her listeners to study Doctrine and Covenants 138 and Abraham 3 and “ask our Heavenly Father if you are one of the noble and great ones. His answer will change and guide your life.”   

2. The gift of the restoration of the priesthood

Recognizing truth in today’s polarizing society is complicated. Disunity leaves all more vulnerable to deception, and social media provides a forum for flattery, one of Satan’s “most insidious tactics” and the impetus for “fake news,” she said. 

“This sobering state of affairs is one reason the promises associated with the restoration of the priesthood are so precious,” Sister Dew said. 

Among these promises are receiving revelation, having the “heavens opened” and always having the Spirit. “The Holy Ghost is the antidote to flattery,” she said before quoting the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “The Holy Ghost not only helps us recognize plain truth but plain nonsense.”

President Russell M. Nelson declared that “the heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God’s power flowing from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood.” He has pleaded for Latter-day Saints to increase their capacity to receive revelation. 

“If you aren’t sure how to receive revelation,” Sister Dew said, “ask Heavenly Father to teach you what it feels like for you when He speaks to you through the Holy Ghost.”

3. The gift of prophets

Though many find the words of God’s chosen 15 prophets, seers and revelators “inconvenient,” their pure motive is to help point others to Jesus Christ. They “don’t stoop to flattery” and “form an unfailing safety net of truth,” she said. 

Sister Dew recalled witnessing President Nelson act on revelation as he provided instructions for the #GiveThanks video released Nov. 20, 2020. Relying on their own expertise, communication experts would never have recommended a video of that length or releasing it on a Friday. 

Read more: The story behind President Nelson’s global prayer of gratitude and invitation to #GiveThanks

The video’s reach through social media was unprecedented. Never before had so many people heard a prophet’s voice. “And why? Because we heeded the counsel of a seer, who could see things we could not,” she said. 

“Accepting the gift of a prophet and following His counsel unleashes a score of promises to help us deal with the turmoil of the last days.” 

4. The gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Through the Atonement, Jesus Christ made every spiritual promise possible, she said. “Because of Him, we don’t have to face the world and the adversary alone, don’t have to bear the weight of our sins ourselves, don’t have to deal with weakness, sadness, mistakes or disappointment alone.”

Sister Dew testified of the power of building one’s life on the Savior and His gospel — “a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12). 

“I pray that we will spare no effort to seek the breadth and depth of the Lord’s exceeding, precious promises,” she concluded. “As we do, we will have the ability to calm hearts, soothe fears, encourage others along the covenant path, testify boldly, and literally change lives in dynamic ways. We will be able to resist flattery and recognize truth. And we will excel in the great work of gathering, especially in gathering our families and friends.”