Church President, Relief Society Leaders Discuss Covenants at Annual Meeting
Church President Thomas S. Monson and leaders of the Relief Society, the women’s organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke to Mormon women about making and keeping promises to God at the general Relief Society meeting on 28 September.
President Monson focused his remarks on the infinite love God has for each one of His children, urging them to seek this love through prayer and scripture study.
“My dear sisters, your Heavenly Father loves you – each of you,” he said. “That love never changes. It 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.”
President Monson was the concluding speaker; Relief Society general president Sister Linda K. Burton spoke first, followed by her counselors, Sisters Carole M. Stephens and Linda S. Reeves.
Sister Burton told the worldwide congregation that making and keeping covenants (promises to God) 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.”
Sister Burton said keeping covenants (promises to God) helps us gain strength to assist others. She shared the words of Lucy Mack Smith (mother of Church founder Joseph Smith) in 1842, noting they are more relevant today than ever before: “We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in heaven together.”
Sister Stephens also spoke about covenants, noting that as members are kind, loving and caring, they are keeping the promises made through baptism. “When you love, watch over, and serve others in small and simple ways, you are actively participating in … God’s work to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39),” she said.
Second counselor Sister Linda S. Reeves emphasized that keeping our promises to the Lord will help us in times of difficulty. She drew an analogy between adversity and the fire that gutted the Provo Tabernacle nearly three years ago. Sister Reeves noted that the burned building will be reconstructed into a temple, much as God can create beauty in our lives from what seems like tragedy.
“My dear sisters, the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity,” she said. “We have seen the lives of our loved ones, and maybe our own, figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen. But He doesn’t leave us in the ashes; He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him. He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His Spirit can dwell eternally.”
The choir for the meeting was composed of female missionaries from the Church’s missionary training center in Provo, Utah.
Women often attend the meeting with female friends and family members. For more on the general Relief Society meeting, including summaries of each talk, see coverage in the Church News . View highlights from President Monson’s remarks below, or view the full broadcast here