The General Relief Society Presidency and President Thomas S. Monson urged the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to keep their covenants and remember God’s love in a worldwide broadcast from the Conference Center in Salt
Lake City on Sept. 28.
Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president
Sister Linda K. Burton discussed ways to become lovingly bound to the Savior by keeping covenants and teaching children to make and keep covenants and promises.
She began with a story about a shepherd whose sheep knew and loved him so well that they would come when he called. When he added a new ewe to his flock, he taught her that he would not tie her up, but rather he hoped that she would come to him out of love.
Sister Burton compared this loyal flock to the women of the Church, who the Savior hopes will choose to bind themselves to Him freely though covenant-making.
“Making and keeping covenants means choosing to bind ourselves to our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ,” she 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 advised the sisters to keep their covenants in a spirit of love.
“Who of us is not moved by Jacob and Rachel’s biblical love story as we read, ‘And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her’?” she asked. “Sisters, do we keep our covenants with that kind of deep and devoted love?”
She also reminded them that love was the motivating power of the Savior’s sacrifice of the Atonement and the Father’s sacrifice of His beloved Son. The best way to show our gratitude for this sacrifice, Sister Burton said, is to keep our covenants.
“Covenant-keeping is one way to express our love for the incomprehensible, infinite Atonement of our Savior and Redeemer and the perfect love of our Father in Heaven,” she said.
Sister Carole M. Stephens, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency
Sister Carole M. Stephens spoke of how those who keep their covenants by serving others feel the joy of the Spirit.
She described a woman from Russia named Marina Kuyzena who keeps her covenants by serving the members around her. Sister Stephens taught that serving and strengthening others is a sign of covenant keeping.
She said Kuyzena lovingly reaches out to members who have been offended.
“Because they know she loves them, she can tell them, ‘Don’t be offended. That’s ridiculous!’” Sister Stephens said.
She added that all “covenant-keeping daughters in the Lord’s kingdom” have the opportunity to do His work in small and simple ways and feel joy.
Sister Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency
Sister Linda S. Reeves urged the women of the Church who are experiencing challenges to remember that God has a plan for their lives.
She told the story of the Provo Tabernacle, the interior of which was completely destroyed by a fire. Some members wondered why the Lord allowed this to happen, but 10 months later, President Monson announced that the Tabernacle, once destroyed, would be rebuilt as a temple.
“(God) didn’t cause the fire, but He allowed the fire to strip away the interior,” Sister Reeves said. “He saw the Tabernacle as a magnificent temple — a permanent home for making sacred, eternal covenants.”
Like the Provo Tabernacle, the Lord sometimes allows misfortune to befall His daughters, she taught. Sister Reeves reminded women that Satan’s plan is to beat them down, but it is not God’s.
“He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His spirit can dwell eternally,” she said.
President Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
President Thomas S. Monson spoke about how although their circumstances are diverse, God’s love from each individual is constant. He addressed the conference center full of sisters and thousands of viewers worldwide.
He discussed some of the challenging roles of women in the Church, such as caring for family members or leading in the Church. He remembered the service of his late wife, Frances Beverly Monson, during his call as the mission president of the Canada Mission at the age of 31.
“During the three years of that assignment, Frances presided over all of the Relief Societies in that vast area,” he said.
Love for Relief Society was something he and his wife had in common, and he bore testimony of the love the Lord has for each woman in that organization.
President Monson gave an example of the Lord’s love using the story of a woman named Tiffany. She was a young mother who felt overburdened with caring for her busy family. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer, and she sank into a depression.
A concerned friend asked her one day if anything could help her and Tiffany said that the only thing that sound appealing was homemade bread. The very next day, a woman Tiffany barely knew delivered a fresh loaf of homemade bread to Tiffany’s doorstep because she had felt like she should.
“And so it happened that the Lord sent a virtual stranger across town to deliver not just the desired homemade bread, but also a clear message of love to Tiffany,” President Monson said.
He reminded all the women that the Lord has that same, unconditional love for all of them.
“(That love) is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful,” President Monson said. “It is simply always there.”