Thursday, October 17, 2013

Unity of Priesthood and Relief Society

Excerpt from "Daughters in My Kingdom" Chapter 8, pages 140-141

When Sister Bathsheba W. Smith served as the fourth Relief Society general president, she remembered Joseph Smith’s teachings and example. She instructed Relief Society sisters to work in harmony with priesthood leaders. She said: “We humbly desire to magnify the callings given to us of the Lord, and in order to do so acceptably, we shall need the faith and support of the First Presidency of the Church, the Apostles, presidents of Stakes and Bishops, whom we ever feel to uphold, and with whom we desire to work in harmony.”

This pattern has endured through the decades. President Henry B. Eyring, a counselor in the First Presidency, said, “A wonderful part of the heritage of Relief Society is evident in the way the priesthood has always shown respect to and received it from the Relief Society in turn.”

When Sister Barbara W. Winder began her service as the eleventh Relief Society general president, President Gordon B. Hinckley, who was then serving as a counselor in the First Presidency, asked her to unite the sisters who served in Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary under the priesthood. Sister Winder realized that unity is “not simply a matter of the sisters working together, but that we are partners with the priesthood brethren. We are companions in the work.”

Sister Winder said that shortly after she was called to serve as Relief Society general president, Elder Dallin H. Oaks asked to meet with her. He had been asked to prepare a statement for the Church on an important issue, and he felt that he must have input from the female leaders of the Church. He showed respect and gratitude for Sister Winder’s knowledge, opinions, and inspiration by asking for and using her help.

Sister Winder later taught that men and women in the Church need each other’s help in the work. “I learned that when you are invited to a meeting,” she explained, “you are not invited to come and complain about all your problems, but you are invited to come with solutions. Then together you can talk about ideas to see what will work. The priesthood brethren expect and need the perspective of the women of the Church. We need to be prepared and assist them.”

men and women in council
In the Church, men and women work together in unity.

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