Girls’ Night Out: Recap of Relief Society General Meeting

This is me in the black and white with my mom and sister and sister in law. One sister and another sister-in-law couldn’t make it. We are very happy because we have been spiritually and physically fed and didn’t have to fix any dinner.

Last Saturday was the General Relief Society meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Translation: girls’ night out! It was the annual meeting churchwide for all women ages 18 and older. You can go watch it  here, by scrolling to the bottom of the page. I was so happy that I remembered to think ahead and call my  mom and sisters the week before to remind them of it and ask if we could go together and then visit afterwards. This is a rare year when none of us have a nursing baby that we don’t want to leave. I picked my sister Emily’s place to meet because she sort of lives halfway between us all. My mom offered to take us all to a buffet restaurant close to my sister’s. It was a lot of fun to leave so early on a Saturday afternoon to go out to eat before the 6:00 PM meeting, then go to my sister’s meetinghouse to watch the satellite broadcast, and then visit at her home afterwards. This is my sister who is writing the novel that will make Jane Austen jealous.

Last spring she got to go to a writing workshop with Shannon Hale and get her writing critiqued by Miss Shannon. So now that she got that feedback, I am expecting the novel to appear any day now. Ha ha. She would be laughing out loud at that. She is a mom of five children ages 9 and under, and they are the cutest bunch of kids ages 9 and under I have ever seen. They are also very active, so that novel will probably appear in 20 years when the youngest is 21.

This is Shannon Hale in the center, who is the best-selling author of The Princess Academy. My sister is on the right and my sister’s sister-in-law is on the left.

I was sad that one of my sisters couldn’t make it. She is moving to New Mexico. Her boys had a band concert that she couldn’t miss before she moves.

My sister the writer is also an artist. She got a degree from BYU in illustration. Her talent and skill flower in her home. She lives in a house that is on the national register of historic homes. When she got married, her husband already had enough money saved so that they could buy a home. So they got to go househunting when they were engaged. I was eager to see what kind of house she would pick. I thought she would pick a new, big home out in the suburbs. Instead, her desire for all-things historic and old-fashioned in an artistic and quaint way ruled. She picked a small two bedroom home built in the early 1900s, in the oldest section of her city. I have enjoyed seeing her paint and decorate and get the basement remodeled to turn it into her family’s home with her touch.

So because she is an artist whenever I go there everywhere I look I see eye candy to delight my eyes: books, toys, decorations, pictures, knick-knacks, and clothing. Even the mess of toys looks artistic! She always has such festive decorations, like the lanterns below that she gets out for birthdays. It happened to be her birthday a few days before.

I love to look at all the books on her shelves. She even has an autographed copy of a Thyre Ferre Bjorn book. If you don’t know who that is, you are missing out. She was an author from the 1940s-50s who wrote about her happy family life growing up in Sweden and then moving to America. She wrote, Papa’s Wife, Mama’s Way, and a bunch more treasures. I love how she mentions God so much in her books and miracles that God wrought in her life.

Here are gems from the meeting:

From Sister Linda Burton:

Three principles of the atonement:

1. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

2. There is power in the atonement to enable us to overcome the natural man.

  • she quoted Elder Bednar, and this is a paraphrase, “It is one thing to know that Jesus lived and died for us, but please know that Jesus wants to live in us.”

3. The atonement is the greatest evidence we have of our loving Father in Heaven.

From Sister Carole M. Stevens:

She told the story of going on a handcart trek simulation last summer with youth in her stake. She said that for one part of it, the men stepped aside to let the women do the “women’s pull,” where the women get to pull the handcarts up a hill. She said that when she got to the top, she wanted to turn around and help those following her, but she realized that wouldn’t be wise. She was too exhausted. She said that she never wants to be in a place where she can’t turn around and help those who are following her spiritually.

From Sister Linda Reeves:

  • “Cast your burdens, your pains and afflictions on the Savior.
  • She testified that God has not forgotten you or anyone else.
  • She told the story of fearing her husband was dying years ago. She finally submitted to the possible reality and told God she was willing to let him die if that was God’s will. She felt a great peace after she said that in a prayers. God let her husband live. Years later, her teenage daughter was ill. They pleaded with God to let her live, but submitted, saying they would accept it if God wanted her to die. The daughter did die, and Sister Reeves felt the same peace.

I greatly enjoyed Sister Reeves’ remarks. I felt powerful feelings of peace and love as she was talking.

From President Eyring:

  • The women of the Church of Jesus Christ are moving closer to the ideal set forth by Lucy Mack Smith, “We must cherish one another, watch over, one another, until we can sit down together.”
  • The Lord is building a team. Caring for others helps build a team. If someone needs material help, the bishop will first ask family members to help.
  • Those people undergoing trials face a lot of doubt. We can help them by celebrating their goodness.
  • He told the story of his daughter being helped by her friend who was her visiting teaching partner and felt a prompting to check on her. His daughter was pregnant and started bleeding. The daughter called her husband who told her to call an ambulance. Just minutes later the friend knocked on the door and took her to the hospital. The doctor decided she needed an emergency C-section and the baby was born premature. The ward and Relief Society rallied around and assured the family all the meals and child care were taken care of.

I would love to hear any favorite quotes from any of you in the comments below.

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