Visiting Teaching Message (Aug '11)

"A Society of Holy Women," Ensign/Liahona, August 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.

A Society of Holy Women
Eliza R. Snow, second Relief Society general president, taught: “Paul the Apostle anciently spoke of holy women. It is the duty of each one of us to be a holy woman. We shall have elevated aims, if we are holy women. We shall feel that we are called to perform important duties. No one is exempt from them. There is no sister so isolated, and her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal towards establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth.”1

Sisters, we are not isolated nor is our sphere narrow. By accepting the gift of activity in Relief Society, we become part of what the Prophet Joseph described as a society “separate from all the evils of the world—choice, virtuous, and holy.”2

This society helps us strengthen our faith and grow spiritually by giving us leadership, service, and teaching opportunities. In our service a new dimension is added to our lives. We progress spiritually, and our sense of belonging, identity, and self-worth increases. We realize that the whole intent of the gospel plan is to provide an opportunity for us to reach our fullest potential.

Relief Society helps prepare us to receive the blessings of the temple, to honor the covenants we make, and to be engaged in the cause of Zion. Relief Society helps us increase our faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families, and seek out and help those in need.

The work of Relief Society is holy, and doing holy work creates holiness in us.
Silvia H. Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.

From the Scriptures
Exodus 19:5; Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Psalm 24:3–4; Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

1 Thessalonians 4:7; For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

Titus 2:3–4; The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

Doctrine and Covenants 38:24; And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me.

D&C 46:33; And ye must practice virtue and holiness before me continually. Even so. Amen.

D&C 82:14; For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.

D&C 87:8; Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.

Moses 7:18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.

From Our History
Speaking to the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, the Prophet Joseph emphasized holiness, explaining that as sisters became pure and holy, they would have a marked influence upon the world. He explained: “Meekness, love, purity—these are the things that should magnify you. … This Society … shall have power to command queens in their midst. … The kings and queens of the earth will come unto Zion, and pay their respects.” Relief Society sisters living their covenants command the respect not only of noble people, but “if you live up to your privileges,” Joseph promised the sisters, “the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.”3

As the sisters participated in the work of serving and saving others, they became personally sanctified. Lucy Mack Smith, the Prophet’s mother, shared the good Relief Society could accomplish: “We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in heaven together.”4

What Can I Do?

  1. How am I helping the sisters I watch over to cultivate and achieve “elevated aims”?

  2. What am I doing to make my life “choice, virtuous, and holy”?

Photo illustration by Christina Smith

Notes / References

  1. Eliza R. Snow, “An Address,” Woman’s Exponent, Sept. 15, 1873, 62.

  2. Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 4:570.

  3. Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 4:605, 606.

  4. Lucy Mack Smith, in Relief Society, Minute Book Mar. 1842–Mar. 1844, entry for Mar. 24, 1842, Church History Library, 18–19.

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