President Camille N. Johnson encourages individuals to find relief through the Savior’s Atonement

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General Relief Society President Camille N. Johnson addresses the audience at the Marriott Center as the concluding keynote speaker of BYU Women’s Conference. President Johnson’s remarks focused on how sisters can lighten the burden in their lives through Jesus Christ. (Payton Pingree)

Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson discussed the Atonement and finding relief from trials during the closing session of BYU Women’s Conference on Friday, May 5.

Carolyn Andrews, associate dean of BYU Continuing Education, conducted the session.

President Johnson began by expressing her gratitude for BYU Women’s Conference and influential women in her life. “I have been blessed by the influence of smart women, courageous women, virtuous women, women of faith,” she said.

President Johnson invited the audience to sit up straight and check their alignment. She also encouraged the audience to consider the alignment of their desire, including how their hearts and minds are aligned with the Savior.

“Alignment of our heart and mind with Jesus Christ is at the very heart of how we keep our baptismal and sacramental covenant, to take the Savior’s name upon us and always remember Him,” she said.

President Johnson said there are several ways individuals can maintain a healthy alignment: praying, studying scriptures, repenting, serving and using virtuous words.

She used the metaphor of a backpack to describe how people are constantly carrying trials and burdens along with them as they navigate the straight and narrow path back to Heavenly Father. “The load varies from person to person and certainly changes as we age,” President Johnson said. “But we all get a backpack.”

President Johnson said individuals can lighten this load through removing the “pesky pebbles” of sin that way people down. By applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ, she taught, they align ourselves with the Lord.

Forgiveness also allows individuals to lighten their load. “Forgiveness is a process facilitated by the Savior,” she said. “It is part of the relief He offers us.”

According to President Johnson, other burdens in spiritual “backpacks” can be explained as the results of living in mortality — aging, sickness, loneliness and accidents.

She shared a personal story about how her husband, Doug, had to get back surgery because of issues with his spine. However, the surgery did not help the pain — instead, it grew worse. She explained she felt disappointed, especially considering they had just finished a mission serving the Lord for three years.

“Alignment of our heart and mind with the Savior is not a free pass to a life of ease,” she said. “Instead, it is a fast pass to His relief.”

President Johnson went on to share a recent experience while in St. Louis for another, this time successful, spinal surgery for her husband.

She said Sister Diana Taylor, a stake Relief Society president in the area, reached out to her and offered to sit with her during her husband’s 10-hour surgery. Despite wanting to politely decline the offer and take on the burden by herself, President Johnson accepted the offer. Sister Taylor joined President Johnson for lunch at the hospital.

“If I failed to receive her, I would have failed to receive Him,” President Johnson said of the Savior’s hand in her life.

“For me, bearing another’s burden is a simple but powerful definition of the Atonement of Christ,” she said. “When we seek to lift the burden of another, we are saviors on Mount Zion. We are symbolically aligning ourselves with the Redeemer of the world and His Atonement.”

Women exit the Marriott Center after hearing from BYU Women’s Conference’s keynote speaker President Camille N. Johnson. President Johnson gave the final address, signaling the end of the three-day conference. (Payton Pingree)

President Johnson concluded by bearing her testimony. She shared that, as members of the Relief Society, sisters help bring each other to the Savior.

“As covenant-keepers aligned with Jesus Christ, we can be instruments in His hands to help others experience His relief,” she said. “As we do, we will come to know the Savior, be like the Savior and find for ourselves His everlasting relief.”

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