Monday, September 28, 2009

Super Sisters

This past Saturday (September 26, 2009) was the General Relief Society Broadcast of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Women from around the world gathered to hear the words of our leaders and feel the spirit of sisterhood we share as members of this great organization. This happens every fall (for those who don't know). I especially looked forward to this year's conference, probably because it is something familiar after months of change. I thought about why this meeting is so special to me. Here are a few reasons I would like to share with you.

I am the oldest of six children and the only girl. Growing up with 5 younger brothers was challenging. My brothers were good to me, for the most part. But I have always felt a certain sense of loneliness. There are some things boys just don't get. My parents tried their best to make up for this but most of the time we had a majority rule so we tended to do lots of gender neutral activities...like camping and tree climbing.

One thing my parents did to make me feel special had to do with the Relief Society Broadcast. At that time, it was called the General Women's Broadcast and was for female members of our church over the age of 10. The year I turned 10, my parents made this meeting special by making a "fancy" dinner for my mother and me to share. We went together, as the only "women" in the house. I don't remember much except that Sister Elaine Jack was the General Relief Society President. Over the next several years I had many opportunities to hear her speak and even meet her a few times. I belief that her love for the women of the church is one of the reasons I love Relief Society so much.

Another strong memory I have of this meeting is from college. I attended BYU and was able to attend the General Relief Society Broadcast a few times in the Tabernacle at Temple Square. That was always a wonderful experience. The Tabernacle is specially designed to have exceptional acoustic qualities. Sitting in that beautiful building, surrounded by hundreds of valiant daughters of God, hearing the words of the Lord, and singing hymns of praise to Him...few moments in life can compare! There is a spiritual bond that comes in those moments that stretches over time and distance, testifying to every heart that we are all truly sisters.

In recent years, I have found that even when you are not physically present, that spirit of sisterhood and unity can be felt. For several years I lived in Europe and was not able to watch the conference live. Even watching it days later, by myself on a little computer screen, I could feel that bond with my sisters all over the world. Being so far from familiar people and places sometimes left me feeling isolated. This conference was a way of dissolving the distance. I KNEW that nearly every LDS woman I have ever met would be watching, listening, and feeling the Spirit. I was acutely aware that there were women all over the world being fed by the same spiritual feast. I was now more aware of their sacrifices and struggles to be a part of this great sisterhood and that made me love them even more.

This year, I thought I would get to attend the meeting with the local sisters for the first time in years. But things didn't really work out. I decided to watch it on the Internet again, feeling unexpectedly excited to see it live. There was very little said that was profound or new. To me, it was more of a reminder of who we are as sisters in the Relief Society. The simple truths penetrated my heart and filled me with excitement.

The next day at church was Fast and Testimony meeting. Several of the sisters shared their testimonies about the Broadcast and the spirit they felt. The feelings that were expressed mirrored my own. I was touched that even though I was not able to sit next to them I still shared in the experience.

All of these experiences have given me one very important gift; the knowledge that I am not alone. I may not have a biological sister but I have millions of sisters all over the world. I know that where ever I go in the world, I can find loving Relief Society sisters who share my beliefs, my feelings about the gospel, and my love for the Lord.

2 comments:

Diann Ruesch said...

I just have to say that I love your background. And the part I got to hear of Women's Conference was great. Hopefully I will get to watch or read the whole thing eventually.

toby and amy said...

Thank you for sharing that, I really love the broadcast, too I think because the first time I got to go it was on my birthday!! I can't believe we have been friends for 20 years and I can't wait to see you again!!