Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
God's love never changes, said President Thomas S. Monson Saturday evening at the General Relief Society Meeting for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“My dear sisters, your Heavenly Father loves you — each of you,” said President Monson, speaking to a capacity congregation in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City. “[His love] is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you deserve love. It is simply always there.”
Speaking at the Relief Society general meeting, President Monson addressed the topic, “We Never Walk Alone.” The meeting was translated and sent live, via the LDS Church’s satellite system and the Internet, across the globe. The Relief Society general presidency, Sister Linda K. Burton and her counselors, Sister Carole M. Stephens and Linda S. Reeves, also spoke.
During his remarks, President Monson said as Latter-day Saint women seek their Heavenly Father through fervent, sincere prayer and earnest, dedicated scripture study, their testimonies will become strong and deeply rooted.
“We will know of God’s love for us,” he said. “We will understand that we do not ever walk alone. I promise you that you will one day stand aside and look at your difficult times, and you will realize that he was always there beside you.”
President Monson told the women that as he contemplated his opportunity to address them, he was reminded “of the love my dear wife, Frances, had for Relief Society.” Sister Monson died May 17.
”I, too, love Relief Society,” he said. “I testify to you that it was organized by inspiration and is a vital part of the Lord’s Church here upon the earth. It would be impossible to calculate all the good which has come from this organization and all the lives which have been blessed because of it.”
Relief Society is made up of a variety of women, he said. “Wherever we are in life, there are times when all of us have challenges and struggles. Although they are different for each, they are common to all.”
President Monson told the congregation that there will be times they will walk a path strewn with thorns and marked by struggle. “There may be times when you feel detached — even isolated — from the giver of every good gift. You worry that you walk alone. Fear replaces faith.
“When you find yourself in such circumstances, I plead with you to remember prayer.”
God’s children were not placed on this earth to walk alone, said President Monson. “What an amazing source of power, of strength and of comfort is available to each of us. He who knows us better than we know ourselves.”
Allied with prayer in helping Latter-day Saints cope in the difficult world is scripture study, said President Monson.
“The words of truth and inspiration found in our four standard works are prized possessions to me,” he said. “I never tire of reading them. I am lifted spiritually whenever I search the scriptures. These holy words of truth and love give guidance to my life and point the way to eternal perfection.”
President Monson promised the women that remembering prayer and taking time to turn to the scriptures, will bless their lives and make their burdens light.
In her remarks, Sister Burton asked women to “go forth with faith, cheerful hearts, and a great desire to be covenant keepers.”
“This is how we demonstrate our love for our Father in Heaven and for our Savior,” she said.
Addressing the topic, “The Power, Joy and Love of Covenant Keeping,” Sister Burton told the worldwide congregation that making and keeping covenants means choosing to bind themselves to their Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.
“It is committing to follow the Savior,” Sister Burton said. “It is trusting him and desiring to show our gratitude for the price he paid to set us free through the infinite gift of the Atonement.”
She told Latter-day Saint women that there are three reasons to make and keep covenants:
1. Covenant keeping strengthens, empowers and protects.
2. Keeping covenants is essential for true happiness.
3. Keeping our covenants demonstrates our love for the Savior and our Father in Heaven.
“Tonight I invite each of us to evaluate how much we love the Savior, using as a measure how joyfully we keep our covenants,” she said.
Sister Stephens said told the worldwide congregation that they are covenant-keeping daughters in the Lord’s kingdom, who have the opportunity to be instruments in his hands. “When you love, watch over, and serve others in small and simple ways, you are actively participating in the work of salvation,” she said.
Sister Reeves asked Latter-day Saint women to “claim the blessings of your covenants.”
“Dear sisters, when all is said and done, what will matter to our Father in Heaven will be how well we have kept our covenants and how much we have tried to follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ,” she said.
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