I love my visiting teaching companion, Lisa. I look forward to the time we spend together. A positive influence for good, an impressive mother, and an uplifting friend. She taught the lesson this morning and spoke about Relief Society President Julie B. Beck’s famous list:
“Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president: “Latter-day Saint women must be strong and immovable in their faith. They can and should excel in living and sharing their testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. We do this as we:
- Make and keep covenants with Him.
- Are worthy and worship in His temples.
- Study His doctrine in the scriptures and the words of prophets.
- Qualify for, recognize, and follow the Holy Ghost.
- Share and defend His gospel.
- Participate in sincere personal and family prayer.
- Have family home evening.
- Live principles of self-reliance and provident living.
These are essential things which must be done before nonessential things. These are simple, indispensable practices that almost seem mundane. … No one can do these things for us—these are personal practices and habits that set us apart as strong and immovable for that which is correct” (“What Latter-day Saint Women Do Best: Stand Strong and Immovable,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2007, 109–10).”
As she read the list, I immediately remembered where I was the first time that I heard it. I had been sitting with my mother-in-law and Tonya at the Relief Society General meeting Fall of 2007.
As Lisa taught the lesson today, I learned that by doing these 8 things, we will have the strength to accomplish what is needed. I’m looking at the lesson. It did not say that, but that is what I heard. 🙂
Looking in my journal tonight, I found notes from that September evening. The first thing I’d paraphrased was a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley,
“I am convinced there is no other organization anywhere to match the Relief Society of this Church. It has a membership of more than five million women across the earth. If they will be united and speak with one voice, their strength will be incalculable. . . . It is so tremendously important that the women of the Church stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord.”
Then I’d written Sister Beck’s response to this great call was for us women to be as one voice, to Stand Strong and Immovable in our Faith, Family, and Relief.
I did not write her famous list down that night. I sat and listened with my ears and with my heart, and pondered the 8 ways we can stand strong and immovable. For days I checked lds.org for her talk. Once it was up, I poured over the talk several times, searching for a way to engrave the list into my mind. I was so appreciative when her talk during the General Session was the subsequent chapter. It was entitled, Mothers Who Know.
Rereading the talk tonight, some of the same concepts touched my heart. She talks about how Mothers Who know…
- Bear Children
- Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants
- Are Nurturers
- Are Leaders
- Are Teachers
- Do Less
- Stand Strong and Immovable
The parts that I am again enjoying tonight:
“Mothers Who Know Are Teachers
Mothers who know are always teachers. Since they are not babysitters, they are never off duty. A well-taught friend told me that he did not learn anything at church that he had not already learned at home. His parents used family scripture study, prayer, family home evening, mealtimes, and other gatherings to teach. Think of the power of our future missionary force if mothers considered their homes as a pre–missionary training center. Then the doctrines of the gospel taught in the MTC would be a review and not a revelation. That is influence; that is power.
Mothers Who Know Do Less
Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power.”
These are two things I have been pondering lately. Realizing my important role as teacher, today, I pushed aside the desire to have a quiet moment as the grower was napping, and made the almond milk with the dancer. Yes, she licked the agave nectar cap and even tried to drink it straight from the bottle! But it was a teaching moment. Every moment it seems is a teaching moment. No, I don’t grasp each moment, but I am trying. What makes this possible is the Doing less that Sister Beck talks about. It makes me feel better about the days happily spent at home lately, working, playing, and learning together. Ultimately these are the reasons I started the kiddo daily delights (literature-based activities). I want to learn something together each day that is planned and something in which we all look forward.
I do not find it a coincedence that this talk is being revisited at this time. As I review the list I see progress from when I first heard it, and I see more that I can do. I’m grateful for the Visiting Teaching program, for Sister Julie Beck and her courage, for Lisa, Tonya, Heidi, and Jan, that I have to learn from, with, and to enjoy.