New Church magazines series helps answer women’s questions submitted during Sister to Sister events

The Relief Society, Young Women and Primary general presidencies have received thousands of questions from faithful women worldwide “about the deepest concerns of their hearts,” said Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham

These questions have been submitted during BYU Women’s Conference Sister to Sister events — held annually since May 2019 — but only a handful have been answered. 

To help answer more questions, editors of the Church’s digital publication YA Weekly are teaming up with the general Relief Society, Young Women and Primary leaders and young adults to write monthly articles in a new English-only series titled “Finding Answers: From Sister to Sister.” 

“We want every woman — whatever her circumstances — to feel God’s love and to know that she is a valued member of the Church and kingdom on earth,” President Bingham said. 

The monthly articles in YA Weekly can be found online or in the Gospel Library app under the Young Adult Audience and the Church Magazines section.

Below are some excerpts from articles already published in the series: 

Along with being a mother, what can I contribute to the gospel of Jesus Christ as a woman?

“For those of you who have struggled to realize your worth and importance to Heavenly Father — whether you are a mother in the traditional sense or in the more expansive sense — know that you are a daughter of heavenly parents who love you, and that you are a vital part of God’s work. As President [Russell M.] Nelson explained, no one can take your place. You have divine responsibilities and a significant part to play as a woman of God.

“It doesn’t matter if we are married or single, or if we have biological or adoptive children or no children in this life. Being a mother of Israel is a divine eternal role, and that role entails so much more than I ever believed.

“As sisters in the gospel, we have a responsibility to make and keep sacred covenants with God, to share the gospel with others, to comfort those in need of comfort, to set an example of righteousness and morals, to reach out to the ‘lost sheep,’ to use our gift of discernment to recognize the needs of others, and to avoid dangers in the world and help others avoid them too.

“There is so much to our role as women (see Doctrine and Covenants 25), and Heavenly Father has given us specific gifts and qualities that will allow us to exercise our divine abilities.”

Read more in the April 2021 YA Weekly article “Along with Being a Mother, What Can I Contribute to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a Woman?

Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president; holds a bag of popcorn before giving it to Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, who reacts to the gift as Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, reacts as well during a "Sister to Sister" event at Women's Conference at BYU's Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, May 3, 2019.
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president; holds a bag of popcorn before giving it to Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, who reacts to the gift as Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, reacts as well during a “Sister to Sister” event at Women’s Conference at BYU’s Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, May 3, 2019. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News, Deseret News

How can I keep my faith strong when others are leaving?

“When my friend renounced the Church, I of course wanted to know why. I felt that it was important to our relationship to understand what she was going through. As she expressed her questions and concerns, I became increasingly stressed and often felt disoriented. But rather than let the anxious feelings and questions hover over me in an ambiguous cloud, I chose to face them head-on.

“I accepted President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation when he said, ‘Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.’

“He wasn’t kidding when he said it would take spiritual work! Intentionally nurturing your testimony requires diligence, planning, patience, and usually sacrifice. But as President Nelson also said, ‘The Lord loves effort, because effort brings rewards that can’t come without it.’

“Others around us will choose the life paths they feel best about, but we don’t have to blindly follow suit and let our own beliefs dwindle away. Instead, we can be in control of our beliefs by intentionally seeking out more truth. To do this includes putting yourself in situations where you can feel the Spirit.”

Read more in the June 2021 YA Weekly article “How Can I Keep My Faith Strong When Others Are Leaving?

Sister Becky Craven, Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, Sister Lisa L. Harkness and Sister Tracy Browning gather together virtually for the Sister to Sister event featured during the BYU Women's Conference digital event on Friday, May 1, 2020.
Sister Becky Craven, Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, Sister Lisa L. Harkness and Sister Tracy Browning gather together virtually for the Sister to Sister event featured during the BYU Women’s Conference digital event on Friday, May 1, 2020. Credit: Screenshot from Sister to Sister event

How can I feel God’s love when mental health is a constant struggle?

“For so long, I believed that because I wasn’t happy all the time even while living the gospel, I didn’t have enough faith or wasn’t as worthy as other people who did always feel joy and the Spirit. But as I’ve studied the nature of mental illnesses, I’ve realized that such illnesses have nothing to do with the strength of our faith or hope or worthiness.

“When my mind is full of the obnoxious noise of anxiety or numbed by the presence of depression, the quiet, calming voice of the Spirit is difficult to hear. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve been abandoned or am unloved. Sister [Reyna I.] Aburto taught: ‘If you are constantly surrounded by a ‘mist of darkness’ [see 1 Nephi 8:23; 12:4, 17; 3 Nephi 8:22], turn to Heavenly Father. Nothing that you have experienced can change the eternal truth that you are His child and that He loves you.’

“I was relieved when I learned that, in moments when I couldn’t quite detect God’s love, it was because of the cloud over me. It was not a reflection of my faith, my value, or my worthiness. …

“So what do we do if we can’t feel God’s love or don’t experience the joy of the gospel? We trust in Him and keep taking steps of faith, which might include seeking professional help. Exercising faith despite being surrounded by darkness is choosing to believe that there is still light, acting to find it, and believing that it will surround you again.”

Read more in the September 2021 YA Weekly article “How Can I Feel God’s Love When Mental Health Is a Constant Struggle?