Strengthening women: 'Daughters in my Kingdom' is to help women in their responsibilities
Robin Pedersen, a member of the Relief Society from Centerville, agreed. Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2002, Pedersen is now battling stage-four, inoperable cancer and has learned much about service.
"For me it is much easier to serve than to be the one on the other end," she said. "But that is not the gospel to just give and give and give. The gospel is that we take care of each other. "
While reading in "Daughters in My Kingdom," she learned of the efforts of early Latter-day Saint women to help build the Nauvoo Temple.
Touched by their sacrifice, she wrote in the margin of her book: "So much work went into the Nauvoo Temple. The Lord knew it would not last. But strength and sacrifice were built."
Now Pedersen applies the lesson to her life. "That is what I kind of think about this time of my life.
"It is building strength and it is building sacrifice. We all have trials."
Other women confirmed feelings they always knew about Relief Society as they read the new book.
As a new convert to the LDS Church, Cecilia Plas-cencia of Kaysville, saw Relief Society as "something extraordinary." The women in Relief Society, she recalled, taught her she "could choose to live a better life."
Julene Butler, BYU librarian, said Relief Society connects women from every culture and circumstance. "We have a lot in common even though it appears on the surface that we are very, very different," she said.
And Vilma Sagebin of Sandy joined the church as a 16-year-old living in Brazil when she watched the example of a Latter-day Saint teenager. Immediately, she felt like she had "found where I belong."
Through the years, that feeling has never left her. Speaking of Relief Society today, she said, "This is not an ordinary association."
Sister Silvia H. Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, said wherever she has lived Relief Society women have become her friends and family. "I have always felt Relief Society was a place for me to learn and use my gifts to bless others," she said.
By the end of January 2012, "Daughters in My Kingdom" will have been translated into 24 different languages and sent across the globe.
It reaffirms the message Latter-day Saints sent the world from a press conference in Utah in 1870 — that LDS women are part of a long legacy of strength.
"The Lord organized the sisters into a discipleship," said Sister Beck. Relief Society helps women share and align themselves with the sacred ministry of Jesus Christ.
"We call it a sisterhood — a great worldwide sisterhood," she said. "It connects us heart to heart."
The example of Relief Society presidents
"Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society" highlights a legacy of strength shared by LDS women. Following are three examples of strong Relief Society presidents from the book:
Lucy Meserve Smith was a Relief Society president in 1856 in Provo. She received word at the October general conference that there were two stranded handcart companies, destitute in the snow in Wyoming, needing all the supplies that could be provided.
"We did all we could, with the aid of the good brethren and sisters, to comfort the needy as they came in with Hand-carts late in the Fall," she wrote in her journal. "As our Society was short of funds then we could not do much, but the four Bishops could hardly carry the bedding and other clothing we got together the first time we met. We did not cease our exersions til all were made comfortable. When the hand Cart Companies arrived, the Desks of the Seminary were loaded with provisions for them" ("Daughters in My Kindgom," p. 37).