Taught by Terry S.
As my basement flooded a few weeks ago and I was home alone, I panicked! Feeling pretty helpless, I called my son Luke to come and help me. He ran right over and found me in the window well bailing out the water. He asked why I didn't put the pump down in there to pump the water out. I tried, I said, but it was stuck in ice and I couldn't get it out. Well he just walked over and pulled it right out without much trouble at all and then said, "Boy, I would hate to be a woman." I told him sometimes I hate it too.
In trying to get the Relief Society sisters and myself interested in reading "The History and Work of the Relief society", I decided to read it myself and give a lesson on the things I learned from it. I chose some of the things that were interesting to me and that I thought others might also find interesting.
The very first thing I read was a quote by James E. Talmage. He said, "The world's greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ." Even in excruciating pain on the cross, the Savior expressed concern for His mother, who by then was very likely a widow in need of watch care. And, the first person to whom He appeared after His Resurrection was a woman.
In 1842 the Saints in Nauvoo were busy building the Temple and women sought ways to contribute. (Read page 11) Initially membership in the society was not automatic for all female members of the church. Women had to petition to belong. They were accepted based on their goodness and virtue.
In February of 1846 the exodus from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake Valley began. The formal organization of the Relief Society was discontinued. (Read page 31-34). Though the sisters never lost sight of the institution, nor the promises made to them by President Joseph Smith but continued their work whenever and wherever an opportunity presented itself. Relief Society was reestablished in the late 1860's. (Read pages 46-48)
President Kimball emphasized that visiting teachers need complete commitment and dedication. He said, "Your duties are to watch over the church always~ not a knock at the door, but to be with them and lift them and strengthen them, and empower them, and fortify them,... and see that there is no iniquity,...neither hardness,... backbiting, nor evil speaking. (page 114)
There are so many good things in this book, I can't mention all of them. You will have to read it for yourself.
I'll end with a quote from President Henry B. Eyring,
"True chastity is the legacy of Relief Society ... why do we go visiting teaching? Why do we take meals in? Why do we visit and pray for our sisters who are sick or struggling? Out of gratitude for His atonement, His infinite gift of mercy.
And on page 179, President Joseph F. Smith urged Latter-day women to,
"Lead the world and to lead especially women of the world, in everything that is praise-worthy, everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting and that is purifying... You are called by the voice of the Prophet of God to do it, to be uppermost, to be the greatest and the best, the purest and the most devoted to the right."