Visiting Teaching Message (Feb '11)

"A Restoration of All Things", Ensign/Liahona, Feb. 2011

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Study this material and, as appropriate, discuss it with the sisters you visit. Use the questions to help you strengthen your sisters and to make Relief Society an active part of your own life.

The Prophet Joseph Smith organized Relief Society as an essential part of the Church. As a presidency, we hope we can help you understand why Relief Society is essential in your life.

We know that New Testament women showed faith in Jesus Christ and participated in His work. Luke 10:39 tells of Mary, who “sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.” In John 11:27 Martha bears witness of Christ: “She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Acts 9:36, 39 speaks of “a certain disciple named Tabitha, … full of good works. … And all the widows stood by … shewing the coats and garments which [she] made.” Phebe, in Romans 16:1–2, was “a servant of the church” and “a succourer of many.”

These patterns of faith, testimony, and service continued in the latter-day Church and were formalized with the organization of Relief Society. Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, taught: “Just as the Savior invited Mary and Martha of New Testament times to participate in His work, women of this dispensation have an official commission to participate in the Lord’s work. … The organization of Relief Society in 1842 mobilized the collective power of the women and their specific assignments to build the Lord’s kingdom.” 1

We accomplish our work as we focus on Relief Society’s purposes: to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those in need.

I testify that Relief Society was divinely organized to assist in the work of salvation. Each Relief Society sister has an essential role to play in accomplishing this sacred work.

Silvia H. Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.

From the Scriptures
Joel 2:28–29; 28. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

Luke 10:38–42; 38. Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42. But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Ephesians 1:10 10. That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

From Our History
Sister Julie B. Beck has taught that “we know through the Prophet Joseph Smith that Relief Society was a formal part of the Restoration.” 2 The process of restoration began with the First Vision in 1820 and continued “line upon line, precept upon precept” (D&C 98:12). When the Relief Society was formally organized on March 17, 1842, the Prophet taught the women about their essential place in the restored Church. He said, “The Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized.” 3

What Can I Do?
1. What help will I provide my sisters this month that exemplifies the faith of female disciples of Jesus Christ?
2. What teaching of the restored gospel will I study to strengthen my testimony this month?

1. & 2.  Julie B. Beck, “Fulfilling the Purpose of Relief Society,” Ensign, Nov. 2008
3. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), "Relief Society: Divine Organization of Women", Ch 39 pg 451.

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Jesus at the Home of Mary and Martha, by Minerva K. Teichert, courtesy of Brigham Young University Museum of Art

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