January 2017 Visiting Teaching Message
2017 commences auspiciously for the female voice in visiting teaching. After a whole year of visiting teaching messages focused on different male-authored paragraphs in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, this month’s message contains quotes from women, scriptures about women, and church history about women. Read it! Share it!!
My only addition to the many women’s voices cited this month is a wonderful historical source now available online. The Joseph Smith Papers contain scanned images and transcripts of the founding Relief Society minutes! Consider sharing the original material on the genesis of the Relief Society as you discuss this month’s message The Purpose of Relief Society with your sisters:
On page 33 of the minutes from the March 30, 1842, Relief Society meeting, Joseph Smith said:
All difficulties which might & would cross our way must be surmounted, though the soul be tried, the heart faint, and hands hang down— must not retrace our steps— that there must be decision of character aside from sympathy— that when instructed we must obey that voice, observe the Constitution that the blessings of heaven may rest down upon us— all must act in concert or nothing can be done— that the Society should move according to the ancient
Priesthood, hence there should be a select Society separate from all the evils of the world, choice, virtuou[s] and holy— Said he was going to make of this Society a kingdom of priests an in Enoch’s day— as in Pauls day—
How are we fulfilling the words of Joseph Smith? In what ways is the Relief Society a kingdom of priests today?
On page 36 of the minutes from April 28, 1842, Joseph Smith said:
No matter who believeth; these signs, such as healing the sick, casting out devils &c. should follow all that believe whether male or female. He ask’d the
Society if they could not see by this sweeping stroke, that wherein they are
ordaind, it is the privilege of those set apart to administer in that authority which is confer’d on them— and if the sisters should have faith to heal the sick, let all hold their tongues, and let every thing roll on.
How do you increase your faith to heal? What examples of women healing, guide you in developing your own spiritual gifts?
In the same meeting minutes Joseph Smith tells the women of Relief Society that the keys of the kingdom are about to be given to them that
They may be able to detect everything false, as well as to the Elders…
I now turn the key to you in the name of God, and this society shall rejoice, and knowledge and intelligence shall flow down from this time
How do priesthood keys help intelligence to flow in your life? What experiences have you had in receiving wisdom or detecting falsehood?
In the same vein that 2016 was spent exploring The Family: A Proclamation to the World, consider further close study of the founding document of Relief Society as an added source of inspiration for monthly visiting teaching.