March 2012 Visiting Teaching Message: Daughters in My Kingdom

You and I thought the same thing when we read the title of this month’s message, didn’t we? I thought this was just going to pitch the new Daughters in My Kingdom book. But it isn’t. It is a message of our individual and personal responsibility in building God’s kingdom on earth. There are two points that struck me in teaching this: Heavenly Mother and our personal, individual place here on earth.

To be clear, the formal message does not mention Heavenly Mother. Yet it is evident to me that Her place should be considered, if only in position to our own place in time, on earth and in completing the duty that each of us has in God’s Kingdom. To be clear, “All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother and are literally the sons and daughters of Diety.” (Joseph F. Smith[1]) Because of this, I think that in cases where appropriate, we should remind each other that we are spirit sisters to each other, and when we speak of instruction from Heavenly Father, we would be remiss if we did not consider that same instruction to be from our Heavenly Mother.

From the message: We are daughters of our Father in Heaven. He knows us, loves us, and has a plan for us. Part of that plan includes coming to earth to learn to choose good over evil. When we choose to keep God’s commandments, we honour Him and acknowledge our identity as daughters of God. Relief Society helps us remember this divine heritage.

Relief Society and its history strengthen and support us. Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, said: “As daughters of God, you are preparing for eternal designations, and each of you has a female identity, nature, and responsibility. The success of families, communities, this Church, and the precious plan of salvation is dependent on your faithfulness. … [Our Heavenly Father] intended Relief Society to help build His people and prepare them for the blessings of the temple. He established [Relief Society] to align His daughters with His work and to enlist their help in building His kingdom and strengthening the homes of Zion.”1

I was stuck with the phrase, “align His daughters with His work and to enlist their help in building His kingdom.” The traditional and primary emphasis on women in God’s kingdom is as earthly mothers. This is a wonderful thing! But not all of us are mothers. Not all of us have children at home…. and because of that, there can be a sense that women have a limited scope. That is why I liked the “enlist their help in building His Kingdom” phrase; for me, it invokes a widespread, varied and unlimited sphere of responsibility. Consider this from the BYU studies blog:

“To relegate women to a lesser role in the plan of salvation creates serious problems in Mormon theology. All things have their likeness on earth and in heaven, and as far as I can see women are every bit as smart and creative as men. And although their bodies obviously testify to a childbearing role, their minds obviously testify to a creative force that extends beyond childbearing alone.”- Alan Goff

With that in mind:

From the message: Our Father in Heaven has given us specific work to help build His Kingdom. He has also blessed us with the spiritual gifts we need to accomplish this specific work. Through Relief Society, we have opportunities to use our gifts to strengthen families, help those in need, and learn how to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.

This brings me to the second point that struck me in this message: our individual place here on earth. Or, better yet, what is our individual calling of God? In our lives, we go through a myriad of callings from Beehive counsellors to General Auxiliary Presidencies and everything in-between. But consider this within a bigger frame of existance as your lifelong calling. To what work have you been drawn to since childhood (what do you love)? Art? Theatre? Science? Parenting?  Sports? Games?

Take ownership of your passion, because it is a gift of the spirit. Consider how you already use your passion in your life, just because you love doing it. For example, if you have a love of art, then you likely already make use of it in your callings, your work and your life. Have you considered how this love might be a life-long calling? Or how it could be something that you chose in the pre-existence to do with consistent joy in furthering God’s plan? This spiritual calling is not a temporary calling that fits into the day-to-day operation of a branch or ward. It is a life-long, soul-fulfilling passion that brings you personal joy and satisfaction throughout your life. Your passion is a gift of your spirit; you can and should use this passion to build the Kingdom of God on earth. That is our place as Daughters in God’s Kingdom; recognising and using our life-long passion to become disciples of God’s will. (I like this talk as a resource.)

From the message: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said of discipleship: “By patiently walking in the path of discipleship, we demonstrate to ourselves the measure of our faith and our willingness to accept God’s will rather than ours.”2

Let us remember we are daughters of God and strive to live as His disciples. As we do so, we will help build God’s kingdom here on earth and become worthy to return to His presence.

On that note, I also add:

When we return to our real home, it will be with the “mutual approbation” of those who reign in the “royal courts on high.” There we will find beauty such as mortal “eye hath not seen”; we will hear sounds of surpassing music which mortal “ear hath not heard.” Could such a regal homecoming be possible without the anticipatory arrangements of a Heavenly Mother?- Neal A. Maxwell, The Women of God, Ensign, May 1978.

In summary, as we consider our individual and personal responsibility in building God’s kingdom on earth, we may rest assured that our Heavenly Parents knew us, loved us, and thoughtfully placed us on earth in certain times, places and circumstances, not only for us to participate in achieving the Eternal Plan, but to make meaningful application of the passions of our hearts. Encourage the women you visit teach to apply thier passion as a means of discovering thier place as Daughters in God’s Kingdom.

How can you encourage the women you visit teach to apply the things they are most passionate about into their lives?  

In what way does remembering our Heavenly Parents help us to better personalise the influence of the spirit?   


[1] Smith, Joseph F., Man: His Origin and Destiny, Deseret Book, 1954, p. 75-81.

Spunky

Spunky lives in Queensland, Australia. She loves travel and aims to visit as many church branches and wards in the world as possible.

You may also like...

8 Responses

  1. valeriejean says:

    This is a thoughtful analysis of the visiting teaching message, but I find most VT messages to be along the lines of “whatsoever thing ye do is righteous/ all is well is Zion, now go bake some cookies”. They do not challenge me intellectually or spiritually. I wish that all visiting teaching messages were based on controversial posts from The Exponent and Feminist Mormon Housewives. The LDS blogosphere makes me think, and far from destroying my faith, dealing with difficult issues strengthens my testimony of the Principles of the Gospels and keeps me wary of the danger of blind obedience. In short, you guys are awesome.

    • spunky says:

      Thank you for your comment!!

      I agree, valeriejean, that most of the VT messages are lacking a degree of oomph. But because I can’t seem to ever think inside “the box”…. I always assume that the message is a suggested outline, like a guide to help a visiting teacher seek for inspiration for the women she visits, if a message is necessary. I also think of the women outside of the English-speaking, “western” countries and hope that the bland, broad messages can be suited to include them, even if like me, the message is not a “fit”.

      Hence, why it is that when I read this month’s message, it just smacked of Heavenly Mother and seeking to discover a life-long passion that should be discovered and embraced. It just works in my “outside the box” mind that way.

  2. I really like what you did with this lesson. I really appreciate the focus.

  3. Sistah Fowlah says:

    Un.be.liev.a.ble!!!

    I still remember very well my experiences back east with a certain landlady to us missionaries, and her unbelievable heart, warmth, and care towards us! That was 20+ years ago, and I have thrown out many, many t-shirts over those years, but I just cannot part with my “Am I not a woman and a sister?” tee that she gave us even though we couldn’t attend retreats. I certainly never can part with the memories of my months under her wings. She has no idea how the influence she had on a few of us impacted us for good and for good!!! I do not think I would have near the ability I have to search for answers on everything if I had not had the experiences I had living in that place with her office next door. I’m glad for those experiences she also helped us through. Thanks Sister P!

  4. Beth says:

    I started reading the paragraph about “passion” and I thought-WOW, this is the best VT message I have read in ages!! Then I realised the quote had stopped and it was your commentary 🙂 (For that which they shall write by the power of the Holy Ghost shall be scripture 🙂 )
    Wonderful!

  5. Libby says:

    Love this post! I spent 12 years working for non-profit organizations — 4 of those years at a program that put visual and performing artists in local schools — and definitely felt called to the work. Still do.

  6. ein form says:

    I agreed with Libby. Thank You!

  7. Akuabadoll says:

    Thank you, thank you! I shared the message and your thoughts with my two visiting teachees today. Your commentary is bold and refreshing. I love sister Beck. She evokes a very intense search for who we really are as women in the Kingdom.

Leave a Reply