SALT LAKE CITY — Bands of valiant women representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the Earth have turned their faith into action in hundreds of places, said President Henry B. Eyring on Saturday evening.
"What you have done remarkably well together is to cherish, watch over and comfort each other," said the first counselor in the LDS Church's First Presidency.
Speaking to a more than 20,000 women gathered in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City for the church's General Relief Society Meeting, President Eyring emphasized the need for women to care for each other, teach each other and be taught and "sit down together with God."
"My purpose tonight is to help you feel the commendation and appreciation of God for what you have already done to help each other reach that lofty goal," he said. "And, second, it is to describe some of what is yet to come in your unified service."
In addition to President Eyring, Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, and her counselors, Sister Carole M. Stephens and Sister Linda S. Reeves, spoke. President Thomas S. Monson and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, also attended the meeting, which was broadcast to LDS meetinghouses across the globe.
During his remarks, President Eyring told the worldwide congregation that each Latter-day Saint woman is "in a unique place in your journey to eternal life."
"Some have years of experience and others are early in their mortal discipleship. Each is unique in her personal history and her challenges. But all of you are sisters and beloved daughters of our Heavenly Father, who knows and watches over each of you."
President Eyring spoke of a miracle that, one month ago, touched his family.
His daughter, Elizabeth, was six months pregnant and home alone with her 3-year-old daughter when she experienced a medical emergency associated with her pregnancy. Her husband was away at work and told her to call 911. But before she could place the call a knock came at the door. It was her visiting teaching companion.
"They had no appointment for that morning," he said. "Her companion had simply felt she ought to come by to see Elizabeth."
The woman drove Elizabeth to the hospital, where doctors performed surgery just in time to save Elizabeth and the baby — which weighed 1 pound, 11 ounces.
"A faithful member of the Relief Society, prompted by the Holy Ghost, watched over, cherishedand comforted her sister in God's kingdom," President Eyring said. "She and the tens of thousands of others who have given such inspired service over the generations have not only the thanks of those they helped and their loved ones, but of the Lord."
The miracle of one Relief Society sister arriving to help just in time is multiplied through the power of a unified society of sisters, President Eyring said. Soon Elizabeth's family received a message from their bishop who said the ward Relief Society president was building a plan to assist them and help them care for their older children while they spent time at the hospital with the new baby.
President Eyring then spoke to LDS women across the globe. "With all your differences in personal circumstances and past experiences I can tell you something of what lies ahead for you," he said. "As you keep the faith you will find yourself invited by the Lord often to serve someone in need when it will not seem convenient."
The Holy Ghost is sent to Relief Society sisters and to those they care for, he said. "You will be strengthened and yet inspired to know the extent of your ability to serve," he said. "The spirit will comfort you when you may wonder, 'Did I do enough?'
"I testify that the Lord will be with you and that your way will be prepared and marked for you by him in your service to those he loves in their needs and trials."
During her remarks, Sister Burton said making, keeping and rejoicing in covenants will be the evidence that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is truly written in the hearts of Latter-day Saint women.
The Relief Society general president asked women gathered in the Conference Center and around the world to remember three principles: One, all that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Two, there is power in the Atonement to enable church members to overcome the natural man or woman and become true disciples of Jesus Christ. And three, the Atonement is the greatest evidence Latter-day Saints have of the father's love for his children.
"I invite us to ask the Lord to write these principles of the Atonement in our hearts," she said. "I testify that they are true."
Sister Stephens said Relief Society sisters must be spiritually awake to fulfill their duties. "Is our heart soft? Do we have a humble heart, a teachable heart, a gentle heart? Or have our hearts become hardened as we have allowed too much of the noise of the world to distract us from the gentle promptings that have surely come from the spirit?"
Sister Reeves said individuals must turn to the Lord for strength and comfort when they are weighed down by the anguish, sin, adversity and pains of life. "He has not forgotten you," she said. "Whatever sin or weakness or pain or struggle or trial you are going through, he knows and understands those very moments. He loves you. And he will carry you through those moments."