Relief Society Lesson 24: Righteous Living in Perilous Times

The gospel of Jesus Christ: Making All that is Unfair about Life Right

My Peace I Give Unto YouIn the recent General Relief Society meeting, our new President, Linda K. Burton, encouraged us to focus on the principles of the atonement of Jesus Christ.  The first principle she discussed was as follows:

Principle 1: All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  -President Linda K. Burton

Her message was inspiring.  However, while discussing her words afterwards with other Exponent bloggers and readers, some important questions arose:  “How is all that is unfair made right?  When is it made right?  Is her statement only true if you add the phrase, ‘in the next life’?”

George Albert Smith served as a General Authority during a time when a whole lot of things needed righting in the world, such as the Great Depression and two world wars.  People were discouraged, and with good reason.  However, like President Burton today, Smith had faith in the power of the atonement of Christ to makes things right:

There is only one remedy for the universal distress—a panacea for the sickness of the world. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. —George Albert Smith

While I too wonder if we will have to wait until the next life for a full realization of all that is unfair about life being made right, this lesson offers two important ways atoning power can be applied now to address at least  some of this unfairness during our mortal lives.

  1. We can actively work to make the world a better place.
  2. We can achieve peace in our hearts and homes, even when we cannot change all of the injustices in the world.

Making the World a Better Place

Divide into small groups.  Ask each group to discuss the section titled, “We can be a positive influence on the world.”  How can we be better citizens of our communities?  How can we help to make the world a better place?   What barriers prevent us from blessing others?  How do we address those barriers?

We can be a positive influence in the world.

I want to plead with you, … be as anchors in the community in which you live that others may be drawn to you and feel secure. Let your light so shine that others seeing your good works will have a desire in their hearts to be like you.20

It is our duty to set the example; it is our duty to hold aloft the banner of truth. It is our duty to encourage our Father’s other children to listen to his advice and counsel and so adjust things that wherever we are we will find the spirit of God burning in our souls and our influence will be for good.21

The Lord has not required something that is impossible. On the contrary, he has given us commandments and advice and counsel that it is possible for all of us to follow in this day and age in which we live. …

… Brethren and sisters, we ought to be faithful. The land that we live in should be sanctified by our lives of righteousness. … All that we need is to repent of our sins, turn from the error of our ways, cleanse our lives of impurity, and then to go about doing good. It does not require that we shall be set apart for that purpose. Every man, woman and child in the Church of Jesus Christ may go about doing good and receive the blessing that results therefrom.

… Let us set our hands to the work that he has entrusted to our care, let us bless our Father’s children wherever they may be, and our lives will be enriched and this world will be made happier. This is the mission that has been placed upon our shoulders. Our Heavenly Father will hold us responsible for the manner in which we fulfil it. God grant that in the humility of our souls we will go about with the desire in our hearts to do good to all people wherever they may be, and bring to them the joy that can only come through observing his laws and keeping his commandments. That peace may abide in our hearts and in our homes, that we may radiate sunshine and cheer wherever we may go, that we may prove to the world that we do know that God lives, by the lives that we lead, and receive his blessings therefor, I humbly pray.22

Finding Peace in Our Homes and Hearts

Ask each group to discuss the section titled, “Our homes can be peaceful, holy places, even in the midst of calamities.”  How can we achieve peace in our own hearts? How can we make our homes a refuge? What barriers prevent us from having peace in our homes and hearts?  How do we address those barriers?

Our homes can be peaceful, holy places even in the midst of calamities.

I think that with the distress everywhere, with the prediction that the Lord made in the first Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, that “peace should be taken from the earth,” [D&C 1:35] we must feel that that time has come. Surely we ought to take stock of ourselves, and our homes should be the abiding place of prayer and gratitude and thanksgiving. Husbands should be kind to their wives, and wives considerate of their husbands. Parents should hold the love of their children by their righteous living. Our homes would then not only be the abiding place of prayer and thanksgiving, but would be the place where our Father could bestow His choicest blessings, because of our worthiness.16

I pray that our homes may be sanctified by the righteousness of our lives, that the adversary may have no power to come there and destroy the children of our homes or those who dwell under our roofs. If we will honor God and keep his commandments, our homes will be sacred, the adversary will have no influence, and we will live in happiness and peace until the winding-up scene in mortality and we go to receive our reward in immortality.17

Conform your lives to the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ and when calamities threaten you will feel the support of his all powerful arm. Make your homes the abiding place of the spirit of the Lord; let them be holy places, where the adversary cannot come; listen to the still small voice prompting you to works of righteousness. It is my prayer for one and all that you be not swerved from the path that leads to the knowledge and power of God, the heritage of the faithful, even life everlasting.18

I pray that in our hearts and in our homes there may abide that spirit of love, of patience, of kindness, of charity, of helpfulness that enriches our lives and that makes the world brighter and better because of it.19

April Young Bennett

April Young Bennett is an advocate, mother, professional, lover of the arts, hater (but doer) of housework and seeker of truth. Podcast: Religious Feminism Podcast Twitter: @aprilyoungb

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2 Responses

  1. Pam Haessler says:

    In the case of my abusers, all of whom are now dead, I leave them to God. Some things will only be made right by Heavenly Father and His Son, however I agree that we can work on changing our own lives for the better. My abusers chose their lot in life and what God does with them now is up to Him. I can only concern myself with me, my family and healing myself to the best of my ability with God’s help. That included, in due time, my letting go of the need to visit punishment and vengeance on the abusers, even if just in my thoughts. I feel peace since leaving them to God. He knows better than I do. I work every day to spread positives. I have heavy issues to deal with, including Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and many health issues due to early injuries done to me by those abusers, however I can choose my attitude. I believe I was warned in the Pre-Existence what coming down into these family lines would mean, and I still chose to do it. LDS Therapist Carlfred Broderick spoke on this and it strengthens me to know I’m not the only “Chainbreaker” here on the earth. The abuse stopped with me. I have the damage to prove it but my task is getting back to Heavenly Father, that’s my main focus now. Every positive I can put in my life helps others, helps me be like Jesus and helps me heal.

  2. spunky says:

    Thank you for this wonderful lesson, April. I am not a fan of “group work”, but think that I could really enjoy and appreciate it in the way you have organized this lesson. Thanks for your thoughts and insights!

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