As we were traveling and only planning on attending Sacrament meeting, I sat there throughout the service wondering if I should find out who the Relief Society president was, and ask her if they had received their shipment? If so, I would then proceed to beg her for a copy, before we took off! Instead, I decided to approach the bishop, who was still on the stand. After all, I had already identified him and we were sitting relatively close. So I did. To my delight he said "yes"! However, he informed me that they were still in the trunk of his car! And that is the point that I began to beg. I kid you not, I seriously told him how thrilled I was to find this out -- as I have been waiting d e s p e r a t e l y for a copy --- and would he please consider allowing me to have a copy -- even though I realize that I am not a member of his ward -- and right now, before we left??? As you can imagine, the guy didn't have a chance! Anyway, he kindly agreed to meet me down by his office, if I could give him a few minutes. No problem!
My husband and I headed down the hall to wait patiently. Not. Meanwhile, I decided to take a moment and head over to the ladies room. When I returned my husband was no where to be found, nor was the bishop. So, I casually sat down... I then noticed that my husband and the bishop were carrying in two boxes from the outside and talking as if they were old friends. (copies of the book, of course) And wouldn't you know, they kind of were! Come to find out, that this bishop's father was one of my husband's old bishops, from when he was like 5-years-old! Apparently they lived down the street from each other. No shock to any of you I'm sure, but the Church is really a small world. I had to politely tear them apart and redirect the reason for this blessed event -- the book! So, I want to publicly thank the wonderful bishop of the Morro Bay ward, for his kindness in making my dream come true! And I sure hope that the sisters in his ward received their copy that day, too -- as I'm not sure there was an original plan for immediate distribution -- being in that trunk and all.
My initial impressions of Daughters in My Kingdom...
Perhaps it was my anticipation and preparation prior to receiving Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society that caused me to have a sense of awe and wonder when the bishop finally placed that book in my hand. I'm not sure. But it felt special to me. And I held it closely as we left the building, anxious to sink my soul into its pages...
The first thing that struck me was how small it is -- both in thickness and dimensions. I knew that it was roughly 200 pages, but it still surprised me nonetheless. It's a beautiful book, both inside and out. The corners are rounded, and the layout of each page was no doubt carefully and lovingly thought through. I received it as the gift it is intended to be, for the sisters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints --- His Daughters.
It immediately found a very comfortable home inside my handbag, and would there reside for the next few days, where I could read it whenever I had a few moments. I found that I loved that I could so conveniently have it with me -- but found myself also wondering how soon an LDS developer would create a Relief Society app for it? Now that would be awesome!
I've written a few blog posts already about Daughters in My Kingdom, to both announce its release and to help prepare sisters to receive the book -- by studying the recent words of Sister Julie B. Beck. I confessed my feelings then that I was a bit apprehensive about what would actually be included in the book, and what would not. I didn't realize just how true that concern was until I began to read Daughters in My Kingdom...
After reading the first few chapters I realized that I was physically tense, and not from the excitement of receiving it as I had initially thought. What I realized was, that I was looking to judge the book by my own standards of what I believed it should be. Me, of all people! The one that took intense time to read, several times, Sister Beck's address from Women's Conference, and identified it as a preface to Daughters in My Kingdom! And that's when I realized that I needed to pray, immediately! In my initial preparation I had clearly been impressed how I needed to receive this new history of Relief Society -- and felt so strongly about it, that I shared that with you. And now, I more fully understand why this was so important. Since that experience, I have invited the Spirit along with me as I have studied and read this wonderful book -- and have been blessed to feel that beautiful spirit of peace abide with me throughout my journey. I hope you'll do the same.
For me, Daughters in My Kingdom is many things... It is a resource first and foremost, an introduction to Relief Society, a compilation of personal accounts/stories, a testimony, a lesson manual (although I know we're not supposed to refer to it as such) -- it's magazine-like in parts, historical at times, inspirational, as well as instructive. I could go on... Ultimately, to me, it truly is a gift.
The word INFLUENCE permeates the book, with a call to rise up and claim our privileges as Mormon Women! Beautifully woven throughout the book is the message that, still today, we are part of that restoration organization, Relief Society, authorized by the prophet Joseph Smith -- with a call to work side-by-side, as equals, with the men who are ordained to hold priesthood offices.
POWER is beautifully taught, if you pay close attention. I found myself replacing the word blessings in many places throughout the book, with the word power -- particularly when studying Chapter 8, on Priesthood.
All of the elements of the Plan of Happiness, that you would expect to read about in the history of Relief Society, are included, such as the importance of HOME and FAMILY -- with a call to be "Guardians of the Hearth".
And finally the charge to develop and exercise CHARITY -- thereby becoming as the SAVIOR. This is the Purpose of Relief Society -- to save the souls of others, and ultimately ourselves. This is the WORK of RELIEF SOCIETY.
I read the book, as Sister Beck hopes that every sister will, from cover-to-cover. I'm so glad that I did. This allowed me to truly feel the scope of the rich legacy that Relief Society is, and that we are recipients of today. We are a global Church, with eternal reach. Understanding who we are, as daughters of God, and the purpose of the Relief Society, helps every sister better find her place, wherever she may be. Now, I will take more time to study each of the 10 chapters to better understand the patterns and principles that are taught. I look forward to this endeavor.
As to the smallness of this book... It would be easy to not take it very seriously and just breeze through it -- thinking it insignificant. However, it became clear to me as I read it, that it contained so much more than suspected on initial evaluation. Therefore, I dare not even attempt to rate or actually review this book. Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society is an inspired work. I have no doubt of this. Personally, I felt a great spirit throughout my reading -- with a confirmation that by studying this book with real intent, its magnificence would manifest itself to each sister personally. I rest on that conclusion.
It is my understanding that around mid September Daughters of My Kingdom will be available to read online. One of my hopes is that the references throughout the book will also be accessible via links for greater study opportunities. At that same time the book will become available to order through LDS distribution.
I also look forward to wonderful gospel discussions about the principles, patterns and stories that are presented in this book, with other members of the Church -- both male and female. This is encouraged.
Note: I'd love to add your link here, if you decide to or have blogged about receiving Daughters of My Kingdom.
Preparing to Receive New History of Relief Society - (How I personally prepared and now feel was very very important...)
Mormon Woman: “Daughters in My Kingdom” – New Relief Society book for LDS Women
Chocolate on my Cranium: Daughters in my Kingdom: It’s here!! (Lovely pictures taken throughout the book.)
The Exponent - Review: Daughters in My Kingdom ( Opinions not necessarily shared by this WBMW, but nonetheless I find interesting. )
Lioness at the Gate: Daughters in My Kingdom: Foreword and Preface ( Emily plans to share her thoughts chapter by chapter...)
Women in the Scriptures: Have You Opened Your Gift?
You also might be interested in listening to the Mormon Chanel Relief Society Program