Our Stake Relief Society Presidency, who I love, held a Women's Conference on May 10. It was such a beautiful day and meeting! I invited lots of women from the ward who are less active, but I wish I had invited everyone I knew. It was one of the most wonderful meetings I have attended. The conference started with a choir singing "As Sisters in Zion". Then our Stake Relief Society President spoke about how much our Father loves each of us. Then Sister Elaine Dalton spoke. Then our Stake President, President Hall, spoke. Then they had a video presentation of photos of the women in our stake along with Jenny Phillips' song "As His Daughter". Then they had a brunch and sisters were able to meet Sister Dalton.
Here are some of the things I learned from Sister Dalton.
She spoke about meeting with President Monson and being called as General Young Women's President. As she was set apart, she was blessed with gifts for this calling including the gift of being able to see women and young women as Heavenly Father sees them. She said she feared that once she was released, she would lose this gift, but she has found that she still has it. I know a little bit about how remarkable this gift is as I have experienced it to some degree as I have served as Relief Society President. There have been several times that I have sat in Sacrament Meeting with tears streaming down my face as I have been overwhelmed with a feeling of love for the sisters in my ward and have received glimpses of how loved and precious they are to our Father. I know they truly are His daughters and He is aware of them.
She said that if we really know who we are and see ourselves and others as Heavenly Father sees us, changes things. She said that we women of the church are astoundingly beautiful.
She said it is time to be AMAZING. We cannot let the trials of life bring us down. We have been reserved to be on Earth now when the opposition is great, but the opportunities are great as well.
She said that in the pre-existence we weren't just faithful, we were exceedingly faithful. Our exceeding faith was not in ourselves, but in Jesus Christ and His plan. We were in Heavenly Father and Christ's presence and were tutored before we came to Earth. Something she said that I had never considered before was that because we came to Earth at this time, we had the opportunity to be tutored at their knees longer than any former generation.
She also shared something else I have never heard before in quite this way...Our bodies were custom designed to help each of us fulfill our mission here on Earth. The world would tell us that we must look a certain way or be a certain size, but our bodies were given to us as gifts by our Father who knows us and loves us and knew what body we would need to fulfill our mission...we must take care of them so we can fulfill our mission.
She also spoke about virtue. Our virtue is our power. Our virtue allows us to be endowed with power. We must be pure and virtuous because it entitles us to the companionship of the Holy Ghost. We must learn to hear the voice of the Spirit. When she called for a return to virtue, it reminds us that each person CAN change, each of us can be healed.
We fought a war in Heaven, and we fought with weapons. She asked if any of us remember the weapons we used. Our weapons were our words, our testimony of Jesus Christ. We are still fighting a war, and our weapons today are the same...our testimony and our exceeding faith.
She also spoke about callings. (This part really got to me because I know it is true. So true!). Heavenly Father gives us callings that are way beyond our ability so we can learn to rely on Him. He says that when we learn the lesson, we will be released but He doesn't want us to quit doing what He has taught us to do. He is releasing us from a time of tutoring, but we must continue to live the lessons we have learned and continue to serve.
She shared this quote from President Kimball:
… "My dear sisters, may I suggest to you something that has not been said before or at least in quite this way. Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world. … Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days."
She shared a quote from President Hinckley that said something like this: We call upon the women to stand for righteousness, to teach their daughters. I see this as the one bright shining hope for the future in a world bent on destruction.
I cannot adequately express in words how powerfully the spirit touched me as I listened to Sister Dalton's words. But, I felt of my Father's love. I felt my true worth and my great responsibility. I am so thankful for the gospel.