Relief Society Lesson 19: Leadership

Traducción española/Click for Spanish Translation

This Relief Society lesson which can be found here can be an empowering discussion about how to strengthen our leadership abilities as women.  I would start this lesson by asking the sisters to think about times in their lives when they have been leaders and to contemplate what it was that made them a leader.  Was their leadership effective or powerful?  What qualities helped them to be powerful?

You might share a personal experience to help them to begin the process of self-inquiry.  Last spring I had an experience with my son in which I needed to step up as a leader.  My kids and I were visiting my parents at their home while I was doing some training to become a licensed yoga instructor.  One morning my son was playing the wii and accidently threw the remote control into my parent’s big screen tv, shattering the screen.  When I came upstairs I could feel the charged emotions.  My parents were in shock and didn’t know what to do.  My son looked like his heart was shattered along with the tv screen.  My first thought was that I wanted someone else to take charge of this one, but the mantle of leadership fell to me as the parent.  I had spent all weekend in training, learning how to be a powerful leader.  I had learned how to keep my feelings neutral in order to neutralize the charged emotions of others.  I sat down with my son and talked to him about how this was a big deal and it was going to cost a lot of money to fix.  But I told him that I loved him more than I loved the money or the tv.  I told him that mistakes happen, that there is nothing we can do about it now other than to move forward, and make efforts to be sure it doesn’t happen in the future.  I also shared with him some big expensive mistakes I had made in my life too, like breaking grandma’s car.  I could see the relief flood over him.

My ability to be a leader at a moment when I wanted to scream at my son or hide in my room, came from love, as well as spiritual strength that I had built up through twenty-five hours of yoga training over the course of the weekend.  My ability to be a leader at that moment empowered me to change a bad situation into positive one.  I found that I had power to influence everyone involved.  At this point I would write the words “Love,” and “Spiritual Strength” on the board and ask for more suggestions of qualities that make up powerful leadership.  Some qualities suggested by this lesson are: humility, spiritual strength, knowledge, loyalty, unity, love, and delegation.

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Relief Society Lesson 18: Beware of Pride

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You may find the manual lesson, here.


In Ezra Taft Benson’s first conference talk as President of the Church, he spoke on the relationship between pride and humility, with the first framed as the universal sickness, “the great vice,” and the second as the universal antidote.

While he suggested that “pride affects all of us at various times and in various degrees,” he did not suggest that we tell others at what times, and to what degree we believe they are being prideful. It is better to look into our own hearts and heads, and tell ourselves, both remembering the mote and beam, and fulfilling our task, to “cleanse the inner vessel” (See Alma 6:2–4; Matthew 23:25–26).

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September Visiting Teaching Message- Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ: Powerful and Full of Glory

Link to the message on here.Lioness Roaring

The main story in this lesson is of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead, which admittedly, is some pretty awesome power. However, as I tried to make a list things Christ did with or through power, I noticed they were quite varied. He had physical power over the elements: calming the waves, turning water to wine, feeding the 5000. He had power to heal the blind and sick. He also spoke calmly and powerfully when scriptural and traditional religious arguments were brought to him. He used his power to push cultural norms and customs when it came to talking with and eating with people of varying social levels. His power included showing emotion, being honest about fears and facing them, and forgiveness.

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Relief Society Lesson 17: Keeping the Law of Chastity

Traducción española/Click for Spanish Translation

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, (2014), 217–28

Law of chastityChastity lessons are challenging because people’s life circumstances determine the way they live chaste lives.  Giving this lesson to a group of women with varying marital status will require a lot of forethought.  I recommend reading “Two Sides of Being Single and Chaste” and acknowledging that living out your adulthood as an abstinent person is a quite different thing from being an abstinent teenager or young adult.  Chastity and singlehood deserve a serious conversation and in some wards this could be the main topic of the discussion, but I am going to focus this lesson plan on chastity for married women since this is something I can speak to from experience.



1. Attraction

“The natural desire for men and women to be together is from God. But such association is bounded by his laws. Those things properly reserved for marriage, when taken within the bonds of marriage, are right and pleasing before God and fulfil the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.”

One of my grandmothers remarried when I was in college, and I remember her saying she didn’t think she could still feel giddy when a man called, but she did.  I was surprised, too, that someone her age could still have those feelings.  But the fact is as we age our brains remain totally capable of that dopamine surge that gives us the euphoric feeling of falling in love, and the adrenaline-driven pitter-patter we felt as teenagers when we made eye contact with a crush.

We are wired for falling in love, and a brain in love is often compared to a brain on cocaine.  As the brain becomes tolerant of those highly stimulating hormones, and love changes to secure attachment, vasopressin and oxytocin give a sense of well-being conducive to sticking together.  Finally, your hormones return to normal.  The ideal for Mormons is not to ride this hormonal roller coaster over and over, it’s to form lasting, even eternal, marriages. The main challenge for unmarried people is getting dopamine hits with your loved one without going “too far,” whereas a real challenge for married people is living in long term relationships without the hormonal roller coaster.

“Most people fall into sexual sin in a misguided attempt to fulfill basic human needs. We all have a need to feel loved and worthwhile. We all seek to have joy and happiness in our lives. Knowing this, Satan often lures people into immorality by playing on their basic needs. He promises pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment.”

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Relief Society Lesson #16: The Elderly in the Church

Traducción española/Click for Spanish Translation

In all stages of our lifes there are joys and difficulties – and the older years are no different.

I’ve listed some of the joys here for class discussion. Some are in the lesson manual and some are my own.

  • Continued association with a spouse or other close family member.
  • Children: great nieces and nephews, grandchildren, friends and ward members.
  • Peace: there can be times of rest and peace in later years. A great blessing.
  • Time: often there is more time in later years – to be used for interesting travel, new hobbies, renewed friendships, etc.

Here I’ve listed difficulties in the same way.

  • Unresolved past problems: relational, spiritual, or temporal – these problems can weigh on the mind and heart.
  • Financial difficulties. Financial problems can come in many forms and are not always the result of poor planning. These can be difficult to resolve in later years.
  • Health Concerns – Illness and Pain. As we age, our bodies break down and the elderly can be plagued with many illnesses and also chronic pain. Poor vision and hearing loss can also create frustration.
  • Losing loved ones – including spouses. Many close friends and family members pass away as we age. This can be emotionally painful and lonely.
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One More Example of ETB Lesson 15 (AKA: What Motherhood Looks Like For Me)

Connecticut, Family

I said this to my Relief Society sisters Sunday, more or less. (Not included are the beautiful, thoughtful answers they said back.) (If you happen to still be teaching Lesson 15, please check out Spunky’s inclusive and thorough plan.)

Divinity of Parenthood

What I hope that you will get from this lesson is that both fatherhood and motherhood are godly, and that cooperative parenting is the most godly of all.

Benson said, “A mother’s role is ordained by God. [Mothers] are, or should be, the very heart and soul of the family. No more sacred word exists in secular or holy writ than that of mother.”

Our Differences

Before I go further, I want to acknowledge that this topic can be sensitive. While we are all daughters of God and sisters in the gospel, we have different lived experiences. Some of us have never married, and never had children. Some of us have married, but now carry the load of parenthood by ourselves. Some of us are stepmothers. Some of us are adoptive or foster mothers. Some of us who do not have children, desperately wish to. Some of us who have children, at times desperately wish not to. Some of us are expectant mothers. Some of us are new, new mothers. Some of us are just pretty new. Some of us are seasoned. Some of us are empty nesters. Some of us are grandmothers. Some of us have difficult relationships with our own mothers. Some of us have no desire to be mothers. Some of us are mothers to everyone we meet.

I honor these differences. My hope is that we can draw upon them, and speak honestly and openly from our own experiences, to better learn from each other, and increase in charity and understanding.

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