Strengthening women: 'Daughters in my Kingdom' is to help women in their responsibilities

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 27 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

During World War II in Holland, District Relief Society President Gertrude Zippro visited other Latter-day Saint women on a dangerous road at night during the five-year occupation.

"It became necessary for my mother to have identification in order for her to safely visit the various branches of the Relief Societies," wrote her son, John. "Curfew was imposed and many guards or sentries were posted on major thoroughfares. If you had no business in a particular area, you were stopped and searched, and many times your possessions were taken from you — such as bicycles. ... Can you imagine my mother braving those circumstances and going out at night on her bike many times, to visit another branch? No matter how she felt or what the circumstances, she would take care of her obligation" (Daughters in My Kingdom, p. 76-77).

Rolie Ding, a Relief Society president serving in Taiwan in 1999, rode her bike through the rubble after a huge earthquake. Within hours of the disaster, she visited Bobbie Sandberg, a young mother. Thousands of miles from home, Bobbie had moved to Taiwan with her husband to teach English and was grateful beyond words to see her Relief Society president ("Daughters in My Kingdom," p. 86-87).

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Misperceptions about LDS women

"Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society" will correct many false ideas about LDS women, said Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president. Some include:

Misperception: Relief Society is a Sunday class.

Truth: Relief Society is a way of life.

"It is the way the Lord organizes his daughters as unified disciples," said Sister Beck.

Misperception: Relief Society is not for me.

Truth: Relief Society is a place of influence, a worldwide sisterhood. Sister Beck said some women mistakenly think Relief Society is a place filled with "old ladies and knitting and clichés." In reality, she said, Relief Society "is where we can, together, have a greater influence than doing things alone."

Misperception: Relief Society sisters are "sweet but uninformed."

Truth: History confirms the members of the Relief Society have always cared about significant issues. "The Lord has always expected his daughters to lead and influence for good to make significant contributions to home and family, their communities and to further his work," said Sister Beck.

Misperception: The contributions of women are not enough.

Truth: The Lord values the contributions of women. "To the Lord we are enough," said Sister Beck, noting that if any woman in the LDS Church feels that she does not measure up to what is expected of her this book will help her remember that "righteous offerings are acceptable to God. ... Busyness and competition are not the same as consecration and your best efforts," she said.

Misperception: It's all about me.

Truth: Relief Society provides a way for women to fulfill the Lord's plan. Sister Beck said the world teaches women that everything is about them. "Through Relief Society we learn the Lord has expectations and responsibilities that are eternal and not negotiable."

Misperception: Women don't have a visible role in the church.

Truth: Women have always had an important role in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "History shows that stories about women are as powerful as the stories about men," said Sister Beck, noting that women are not a footnote in the Lord's plan. "They have always been there since the beginning."

— Sarah Jane Weaver

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