by Julie Brophy
I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to read Daughters in My Kingdom. I have been uplifted, inspired, filled with a commitment to do better, and overcome with pride to be a part of such a wonderful organization. The stories and testimonies of the dear Relief Society women who have come before me and helped to organize this Society are tremendous examples of courage and strength who served with great faith and obedience.
I have had a love for Relief Society long before I turned 18 years old. My mother was such a wonderful example of service, of true charity, and of giving all she had to reach out to the women in our ward and stake. I remember her gathering items for an auction so that they could raise money for a little boy who needed a liver transplant. I remember driving all across town from gas station to gas station collecting money from jars that was also going to this boy’s transplant.
I remember the countless number of meals that she made, the children she babysat, and most importantly, I remember the ladies that would come to our house that she would comfort and fellowship. She served as a ward Relief Society president four times, once when I was only six weeks old. She served as a stake Relief Society president while I was engaged to be married. She was busy planning my wedding, and in the middle of it all, my grandmother (her mother) was in a serious accident and had to come and live with her.
I remember how amazed I was with her great strength and courage to be able to “juggle” it all. I know that Relief Society blesses lives, and through following its teachings we can help and serve others, and in turn bless our own lives. I am thankful for my mother’s example in teaching me the importance of Relief Society. I love what Emma Smith said in the first meeting of the Relief Society when she said, “We are going to do something extraordinary.” How right she was....Relief Society truly is something extraordinary!
When I was 18 years old I went up to Utah State and was embraced by the Relief Society in Logan, Utah. I was able to meet and reach out to young women from all over the world. We had a variety of cultures, ages, and circumstances, but we had one common bond: we all were members of the Relief Society, and we had one common goal, to live our lives so that we can gain eternal life.
I love the quote from President Joseph Fielding Smith when he says, “You are members of the greatest women’s organization in the world, an organization which is a vital part of the kingdom of God on earth and which is so designed and operated that it helps its faithful members to gain eternal life in our Father’s kingdom.” I have since lived in many different wards, been through many ward splits, traveled different places and attended their Relief Society meetings, and no matter what ward we are in or visiting, one thing remains constant...the love and friendship that Relief Society offers to everyone, everywhere.
My favorite chapter of this book was Chapter 7, “Ministering through Visiting Teaching.” I have a strong love and testimony of visiting teaching, and I know that it is the Lord’s way to watch over each and every person in His church. President Monson said, “We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness....We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.” I love how Sister Julie B. Beck calls visiting teaching a sacred assignment and that we should value it.
I have always gone through the motions of visiting teaching and never missed a month, but I didn’t truly understand the purpose until about six years ago. I had set up an appointment to go visiting teaching to a certain sister, and she called to cancel the morning of, telling me she just wasn’t feeling great that day. I asked her if she was okay and if there was anything I could do, and she told me all was fine and rescheduled for the next week. I called my partner to tell her and went about my day, not really thinking anything about it. The following week we went back to this sister’s home. She warmly embraced my partner and told her thank you for the dinner and for taking the children.
When my partner had found out that this sister wasn’t feeling well, she went above rescheduling and brought her dinner and took the children, and upon talking more to this sister she told us she had suffered a miscarriage and that is why she wasn’t feeling well. What a wake-up call this was for me to not just go “through the motions” of visiting teaching but to truly be in tune to the Spirit, to look for opportunities to reach out and serve the sisters that we teach. My partner was such a testimony-builder to me of the kind of visiting teachers we should be.
I love the Relief Society program, and I love this book. I have a testimony that the purpose of Relief Society (to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, seek out and help those in need) is truly the way for us to live our lives so that we can return to our Heavenly Father again. I am thankful for this organization and hope to be able to help further the Kingdom through it.