"The teachings, examples, and patterns of faith in the book Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society can strengthen you as a leader and inspire the sisters you lead, as well as their families. You and the Relief Society teachers who assist you may use the scriptures, words of the prophets and other approved Church resources, including this history book, to teach gospel principles in Relief Society meetings." LDS.org
In the section "Using Daughters in My Kingdom to Teach and Inspire Sisters", there is a wonderful list of suggested study/lesson topics, for Sunday Relief Society Meetings, with specific resources taken directly from the book. Although this is intended as a resource for leaders, I feel it is an excellent way to enhance a personal study of the book, too. Which is exactly what I will be doing. Besides, what teacher doesn't love having students ready to assist her in presenting a lesson -- and prepared to engage in great discussion! As well, not every sister attends Sunday Relief Society meetings, for different reasons -- many are serving in Primary and Young Women. I am one of those.
Under Additional Relief Society Meetings, for those who have responsibilities to plan these, there is a list of suggested areas, which I personally would be thrilled to see implemented! I often hear comments, and if being honest have made a few myself, that I don't attend because nothing really interests me. I honestly believe that the closer our meetings come to fulfilling the actual purpose of Relief Society, instead of a social gathering, more LDS women will be supportive of the cause. Many of us are so busy with our families, callings, jobs and various responsibilities, that we often see these additional meetings as a burden. However, as we come to a better understanding of the Purpose of Relief Society -- which is ultimately to become like Jesus Christ -- meetings that assist us to do so will be seen as valuable to LDS women. But we must understand and see the connection -- and Sister Julie B. Beck has been doing a great job of instructing the women of the Church on this!
Now, about Other Uses for Daughters in My Kingdom -- the section for general use for Mormon Women -- and everyone else. Here we find the counsel to use the index, an approved resource of sources, to study the history and work of Relief Society. This is significant! As I mentioned the other day, I sincerely hope that when the text for Daughters in My Kingdom is finally made available, online, that so will the accompanying links to these resources. When the word "resource" is used to describe this new book about Relief Society, I believe it is through the index that we will actually come to a deeper understanding and value of Daughters in My Kingdom. Important doctrines, principles, patterns, topics, issues and accounts are briefly presented in the book, but ultimately it has been left up to individuals to pursue more information via personal study, using the index of approved sources. I'm excited to do this -- as we all should be!
Also included is the link to Additional Information on the history of Relief Society. Among other resources here, you will find links to some of the best, recent talks by LDS leaders on the subject.
"As women participate in Relief Society, they serve as valiant disciples of Jesus Christ in the work of salvation. Like the women in the ancient Church, they work alongside men who hold the priesthood to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those in need... They are beloved daughters of God with sacred responsibilities" (Daughters of My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society , 7, 181). When the Prophet Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society on March 17, 1842, he taught that this organization was part of the Restoration. The Relief Society was "not only to relieve the poor, but to save souls" (History of the Church, 5:25).I know that many of you are still anxiously waiting to read Daughters of My Kingdom, and are patiently awaiting receiving your own personal copy. I've been hearing from many different women that their wards/branches have either not received them yet, or they have not distributed the books for different reasons. I've also heard that there are shortages in some places. Word is, that the text will be available, online, by mid September. So, you shouldn't have to wait much longer to read it, whether you get the actual book or not. Hang in there!
I'm grateful to be a member of the Relief Society. I've served within the organization for many years of my adult life. When I was 28-years-old, I was called to serve as the Relief Society President of my ward. A ward that took in a nearby Air Force Base. I learned so much as a young mother of four, at the time. However, I am clearly learning now that there is so much more to the work of the Relief Society than I ever realized then. Of course this has evolved over the years, but I am so thankful to be living at a time where those who lead and guide this organization are directing it in such a way that the clarity and purpose of the "work" is being defined in very powerful ways...
UPDATE: Daughters in My Kingdom is NOW available online and can be downloaded HERE!