Relief Society Lesson 5: Daughters of God

Because of President Dalton’s recent (and infamous) speech to YSA Relief Society sisters in Salt Lake, there may be some interesting comments about “right way” to be a Daughter of God.

Dalton says regarding the women at the Women’s March in New York City:  “I watched those women marching and yelling, and should I say, behaving anything but ladylike and using language that was very unbefitting of daughters of God,”

Here are 3 responses to President Dalton’s talk

 

Overall, I found this lesson a bit excessive in its accolades to women, which can seem disingenuous. I would be sensitive to this as you prepare and participate in this lesson.  When men talk to and about women, it can feel like condescending respect when the language becomes verbose.

The lesson begins with President Hinckley’s general attitude toward women.

Throughout his life, Gordon B. Hinckley expressed appreciation for the abilities and contributions of women. He also expressed his strong witness of the importance of women in God’s eternal plan. He delighted in women’s increasing opportunities, as well as in their faith in the Savior and their devotion to their families and the Church.

And then breaks discussion into 6 sections.

  1. Women have a high and sacred place in the eternal plan of God.

Joseph Smith said to the Relief Society: “If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates”

President Hinkley does not want women to feel in 2nd place, yet church culture can create an obvious gap between men and women.  In class discussion, I hope we will embrace our place as partners in church and in leadership.

Let me say to you sisters that you do not hold a second place in our Father’s plan for the eternal happiness and well-being of His children. You are an absolutely essential part of that plan. Without you the plan could not function. Without you the entire program would be frustrated.

2. The Lord’s counsel to Emma Smith applies to all. (D&C 25)

While I think that section 25 has some interesting things to say to Emma (i.e.: The Elect Lady), I’m not sure that it specifically applies to all of us.

A discussion on the various meanings of “faithful”, “virtuous” and “gospel study” could be interesting here.

“I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better” [D&C 25:10].

3. Mothers have a sacred calling to bring up their children in righteousness and truth.

I feel it is important to be sensitive to all women in the class. Mothering is not an easy task and those who do it should be supported. Church is a good place to show that support.  There are some in RS classes who are not mothers, which can be painful in a church that often makes motherhood synonymous with womanhood.

4. Women have great responsibilities in the work of salvation.

In General Conference (October 2015), President Nelson gave a talk about the many ways that women helped in the work of the church, the work of the world, and the work of salvation.

See my comments here about the great impact I think these suggestions could have on LDS women.

5. Relief Society is a source of immeasurable blessings.

This week Relief Society is 175 years old. That is a long heritage for us. It is my personal belief that when Joseph Smith “turned the key” to the Relief Society sisters, he gave us the Key of Revelation.  It could be an interesting discussion to hear what the sisters in your RS would like to do with our organizing by using revelation .

6. Rise to the stature of the divinity within you.

Gordon Hinkley: “I feel to invite women everywhere to rise to the great potential within you. I do not ask that you reach beyond your capacity. I hope you will not nag yourselves with thoughts of failure. I hope you will not try to set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. I hope you will simply do what you can do in the best way you know. If you do so, you will witness miracles come to pass.”

 

Suzette

Suzette lives in the Washington DC area and works as a Professional Organizer. She enjoys blogging and serving on the Exponent II Board. Her Mormon roots run deep and she loves her big Mormon family which includes 20 nieces and nephews, 6 sisters, 5 brother in laws, 2 parents – and dozens of cousins. Her favorite things about church are the great Alexandria wards, temple worship, and all things Visiting Teaching.

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Ria Wallmann says:

    Unbelievable that there were comments from the HP about this “woman’s lesson” they had to deal with in their class. My husband took care of it. He noted in his weekly HP lesson write-up: “Several of the brethren wondered how this lesson could apply to the high priests because it was seemingly directed at women. Brother Wallmann noted that we should now have more sympathy for the sisters, who regularly have lessons on the priesthood with quotations from nothing but male leaders of the Church. In fact, the series Teachings of Presidents of the Church is designed for the adult men and women of the Church and all lessons apply equally during the third hour.

  2. Melody says:

    Today was the first time in a long time I left church fuming. I could barely stay in my seat during RS because, in fact “I found this lesson a bit [ridiculously] excessive in its accolades to women.” Once again, a man is pedestalizing women, telling us how “special” we are. [“We’re equal, but men are presiding.”] It was difficult to see so many of my sisters in this ward – with a decent share of relatively progressive members – go along as if everything was fine.

    Thankfully, only one comment was made with subtle allusions to the Women’s March. I chose not to respond because, really, it would have come out hostile and I was doing my best to be gracious and respectful of the RS teacher who had put a lot of work into the lesson. Also, my spouse is the HP group leader. He and I had a fabulous conversation after church about this. Apparently there was a productive discussion in the HP group and the teacher stated right up front, “In fairness, a woman should be teaching this lesson …” for the same reasons stated in Ria’s comment above.

    I came to this post to regain my sanity and to vent a little. Thanks for all the great Exponent RS Lessons and for the links at the beginning of this post.

Leave a Reply