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Relief Society Leaders Open BYU Women’s Conference: We ‘Stand Ready to Provide Relief’

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The 18th Relief Society General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opened the 2023 BYU Women’s Conference saying that Latter-day Saint women “stand ready to provide relief.”

President Camille N. Johnson and her counselors, Sister J. Anette Dennis and Sister Kristin M. Yee, kicked off the conference Wednesday evening, May 3, 2023, by welcoming the audience back to one of the largest gatherings of women in the world after a year’s pause and two years of online presentations.

 

The leaders spoke of temporal relief, the relief that comes through the Master healer, and relief through sacred covenants made with God.

“As members of the Relief Society, we point one another to the Savior for relief and follow the Savior’s example in giving Christlike love,” President Johnson told a crowd of thousands of women gathered in the Marriott Center on the campus of Brigham Young University.

“We provide relief — temporal and spiritual — through the power of the Savior, and in the process find our own relief. We find Jesus Christ,” she said.

Temporal Relief

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Providing temporal relief that the Savior offers — through serving others — changes natures and prepares people for the temple, taught President Johnson.

She recently traveled to Uganda in Central Africa where she saw how the Church has partnered with UNICEF to provide temporal relief to mothers and children.

“The Good Shepherd’s flock is known and numbered. He knows His children even in a remote corner of Uganda,” she said.

President Johnson said it is both a blessing and a covenantal responsibility for members of the Church to provide temporal relief to others around the world. These efforts have added up to more than $1 billion in expenditures and 6.3 million hours of volunteer work.

“Sisters, your hours are represented in those grand sums,” President Johnson said.

When speaking of the mission of the newly organized Relief Society on March 17, 1842, Emma Smith said, “We are going to do something extraordinary … we expect extraordinary occasions and pressing calls.”

President Johnson said, “The global effort of which we are a part is an extraordinary occasion, a pressing call, just as Emma had anticipated.”

Relief Through the Master Healer

Sister Dennis, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, shared some of her daughter’s journey through mental and emotional health challenges — but how she began to see the Lord’s hand in her life and experience His healing power.

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“Sisters, Jesus Christ is the Master Healer and our greatest source of relief,” Sister Dennis said. She said her daughter is doing so well now because of Jesus Christ’s healing power, and His working through others to provide relief.

“What a blessing it is that we can partner with the Master Healer to help bring emotional relief to those around us.”

Sister Dennis quoted from several scriptures, including Isaiah 43:2-5: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; … when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned … . For I am the Lord thy God … thy Savior … Thou [art] precious in my sight.”

She witnessed through her own personal experience that Jesus Christ is the ultimate source of relief.

“He knows each one of us intimately, He loves each one of us dearly, and He desires to be a part of our lives and bless us with the divine relief we each so desperately need,” she said.

Relief Through Covenants

Sister Yee, Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, spoke about spiritual relief through partnering with the Lord through covenants made with Him.

“He desires to be with us in our concerns and our decisions. We need not navigate the challenges, sorrows, insecurities and heartaches of life alone. He will be beside us,” Sister Yee said.

Sharing her own example of being a woman who has not yet married, Sister Yee said she has felt the Savior’s love and relief in her personal needs and concerns — receiving healing, wisdom and strength beyond her own.

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She spoke of her recent trip to the small islands of Chuuk in Micronesia about 1,500 miles southeast of Japan. There she found women who felt alone but who have kept their covenants.

“These sisters are known to their Heavenly Father and Savior; they are not alone. And neither are you and I in our trials and challenges,” Sister Yee said. “The Lord sent me roughly 8,500 miles by plane, train, car and boat to bring relief to ‘the one’ on the isles of the sea.

“And so, He will find you and I on our personal islands where we might feel alone in the concerns and the burdens we carry in our hearts. He is present and prepared to bless, guide and comfort us.”

The Lord is willing to help and lift in the big things and the small ones. He offers relief through His Atonement, she taught.

About BYU Women’s Conference

BYU Women’s Conference has been bringing women together since 1976.

The conference draws more than 12,000 attendees each year. Since its beginning, more than 1 million service projects have been completed.

The event can be a time to gather with other women of faith, develop friendships, learn from the speakers and participate in service, said the website. Conference content is planned for those who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; however, those of all faiths are welcome to attend.

Traditionally co-sponsored by the Relief Society organization, BYU Women’s Conference is now a BYU program coordinated by Continuing Education, like BYU Education Week.

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