My Sweet Family!
I had the wonderful privilege of seeing Julie Beck speak, last weekend. She was wonderful. I wasn't sure what to expect, though I love her, I thought she might be a bit set apart or distanced. She was so sweet and kind. Many women lined up to give her hugs and kisses or just hold her hand and tell her what she meant to them. She was standing with in my grasp for a few minutes. So, I got to watch her, watch her eyes. She loved them. I felt a little like Matter..."I knew I made a good choice...For my best friend" :) I love Sister Beck, and after I got to see her in person I could say "I knowed I made a good choice".
For those of you who don't know, Julie Beck is the president of the Relief Society, The largest woman's organization in the world. The Relief society is dedicated to helping others and self improvement. It happened that I sat right behind her assistant. I was just that lucky or blessed. This meeting (fireside) was a question and answer session. In the beginning Sister Beck bore her testimony that women are the female half of our Heavenly Fathers plan of happiness. She spoke beautifully of our role as women. Then she opened the discussion up for questions. Imagine if you will, the seen. Every seat in the entire building is occupied. Every Mormon women, and 1 women(she happened to be sitting behind me) who was not Mormon in all of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the southern part of Ontario Canada were there. I didn't even now there were that many Mormons in this area. You got a real feeling of sisterhood and companionship looking out among the crowd.
The first women stands to ask the question, some one hands her a mic. She says, "you have eluded to the fact that we are the female half of Gods plan, how do you propose that we work with the other half." Then the woman sits down as the audience giggles a little. Sister Beck said,"your giggling?" She was pretty stern at this point. She talked about how in order for society to raise the value of a woman, the had lowered the value of a man. She said that was not the Lords way. She said that to work with our brothers, we should know them, understand them and love them- then working with them should be easy. She said she didn't really understand how hard it was on men to provide for their families, until her son grew up and got married. When she watched him struggle to provide, she knew the pressure that he faced, and she gained a greater appreciation for men and their role. She referred to The Family (a proclamation to the world).
The next question was from a young mother-"how do we teach our children to love each other". We all laughed, and Sister Beck giggled a little as well. She told a story from when she was growing up. She said she was raised in a family with 10 siblings. All were dominant personalities. Every family night, they would sing the hymn, Love at Home. When she was a teenager, she said "Dad, there are lots of nice Hymns in the Hymn book, can't we please sing a different hymn." He said, "When you have learned lesson 1, we will move on to lesson two." She talked about how from the beginning there has been sibling rivalry with Cain and Abel-we also have examples in the book of Mormon, with Lamen Lemuel Nephi and Sam. She said that the family was designed to teach social skills, to learn how to love any way, patience, forgiveness and compassion. Again she referred to the proclamation.
Someone then stood and said, "There are women in our ward who no longer actively attend church. When we speak to them, they tell us they are not coming, because they are burnt out. They don't want to help anymore, they are tired, and there for they are afraid to come back, because they don't want to be put to work." "How can we get them to come back, and not share the work load, when we already feel like it would have been easier to be a nun?" Sister Beck said, The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. What ever your percieved work load is, it is self inflicted. He(the Savior) requires very little. Then she told us how she outlines her day. She gets a paper with 3 columns. In the first column head it with things you must do. Only ever put 2-5 things on this list. Musts should include scripture study and prayer. Some days temple attendence might be a must. The second column header is need to do. This list includes things like...if you have children, feed them; if you have a home, clean it; if you have a job, go to work. The third column is the "nice to do' column. Things that would be nice to do, if you get the time...she said read a book on her back porch was on her list. As far as the women who were not coming to church-which I believe she actually addressed first, she said...Love Them! hmm... how profound :) She then refered to Elder Bednars talk on finding the one. She told them to remind the sisters of the miracles that they had seen in there own lives when they served the Lord, also to ask them about their testimonies.
Someone else asked about forgiveness. She quoted some scriptures and then she kind of ended that question by saying..."Just be more like Jesus and you should be OK" :)
One women said, "I know many wome struggle with guilt. I am of the impression that there is a good kind of guilt and a bad kind of guilt, could you ilude to the kind of guilt we should and shouldn't listen to." Sister Beck at this point got pretty teary, then she said, Because you are a Daughter of God, he would never tear you down. Any voice that tells you you are not enough - is from Satan. The voice that says - You can do better, and I will help you - is from the Savior.
The next 2 questions were the last 2 questions, so she took them both before answering. 1st question-What can we say to bring comfort to women who have families struggling with sames sex attractions? and the 2nd Question-What can we do to help women who are married to men who do not share their faith? Sister Beck commented that the answer was actually the same for both of these questions. She said whether your trial is cancer, financial struggles, naughty children, same sex attraction, a lack of unity in marriage, a single member family, a widower, or divorced with children, the answer is still the same. She then referred to the proclamation again. She quoted one of my favorite parts, so I will quote it in here as well. "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of Faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities." No matter what your circumstance is, the gospel and its truthfulness remains the same.
She started to close, then she said, "I feel led to tell you one more thing." She refered to her father-in-law a steal-mill worker. She said he was one of the hardest working man that she knew. He worked shifts. He would work a different shift every day. Either the swing, the morning, or the night shift. She was always in aw at his abilities. She wondered how he did it. Then one day, she realized, he only worked one shift a day. She then went on to say, that Heavenly Father did not mean for women to work all 3 shifts. She said choose your shift, and for that 8 hours do your very best work. For her, it was the swing shift. When every one was tired and hungry she needed to be at her prime. If she was tired and hungry then, she was no good to them and not fulfilling her roll.She started to close again. She then looked right at me for a long moment. She said Heavenly Father loves each of you. Then she looked else where. She closed and we sang. and the night was over to quickly. It was a wonderful meeting. I am so glad I got to go. Now, this week is already General Relief Society meeting on Saturday night. And Next week is General Conference. I do hope you all get to join me in listening to the words of our beloved leaders and their inspired words. Heavenly Father loves each of you!