‘The Beginning of Better Days’ looks at Nauvoo Relief Society minutes

Published: Thursday, Sept. 6 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

THE BEGINNING OF BETTER DAYS: Divine Instruction to Women from the Prophet Joseph Smith,” by Sheri Dew and Virginia H. Pearce, Deseret Book, $18.99, 129 pages (nf)

As a recently called temple worker in the Salt Lake Temple, Virginia H. Pearce had what she describes as a flash of enlightenment — how life’s journey to the temple and taking part of the ordinances there have helped bridge the distance in getting back to God. And learning more about the temple took her to the “Minutes of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo” and to several other insights.

With this experience and other heart-felt lessons, Sister Pearce, who served as a counselor in the Young Women general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shares how the minutes have helped her understand more about the temple, the priesthood and what role she might play in “The Beginning of Better Days: Divine Instruction to Women from the Prophet Joseph Smith.”

Sheri Dew, who served as a counselor in the Relief Society general presidency and is the CEO of Deseret Book, also includes her perspective and why the sermons given some 170 years ago matter now.

Joseph Smith, who restored the LDS Church, told the women that the Relief Society had a unique place in the church and the women's role was important in moving forth the work of the Lord.

Sister Dew also tackles some sensitive subjects about the priesthood and how some of the practices of the church have changed since then.

The six sermons, as recorded and preserved by Eliza R. Snow, are reprinted in the second half and include room to take notes as the reader studies them. How deeply they are studied is up to the reader.

With both Sister Pearce and Sister Dew’s experiences coupled with the sermons, “Beginning of Better Days” helps show the roles of women and the Relief Society, both as individuals and as the broader organization, and how they can apply to a woman today.

Email: rappleye@desnews.com

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