Diversity of Belief and Practice

Differences in Belief and Practice

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“Every daughter of God who hears and believes the messages of this meeting will ask, ‘What will the Lord have me do to help Him give succor to those in need?’ Each sister’s situation is unique. That is true for my little band of daughters, daughters-in-law, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters. To them, and to all of Heavenly Father’s daughters, I repeat the wise counsel of Sister Linda K. Burton.

“She has asked you to pray in faith to know what the Lord would have you do in your circumstances. And then she spoke of the promise of the sweet comfort the Lord Himself gave to the woman who was criticized for having anointed His head with expensive oil when it might have been sold to help the poor. (Mark 14:6-9).”

Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency
Trust in That Spirit Which Leadeth to Do Good,” April 2016 General Conference

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“To be sisters implies that there is an unbreakable bond between us. Sisters take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other, and are there for each other through thick and thin. The Lord has said, ‘I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine’ (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27).

“The adversary would have us be critical or judgmental of one another. He wants us to concentrate on our differences and compare ourselves to one another. You may love to exercise vigorously for an hour each day because it makes you feel so good, while I consider it to be a major athletic event if I walk up one flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator.

“We can still be friends, can’t we?

“We as women can be particularly hard on ourselves. When we compare ourselves to one another, we will always feel inadequate or resentful of others. Sister Patricia T. Holland once said, ‘The point is, we simply cannot call ourselves Christian and continue to judge one another—or ourselves—so harshly.’ She goes on to say that there is nothing that is worth us losing our compassion and sisterhood over. We just need to relax and rejoice in our divine differences. We need to realize that we all desire to serve in the kingdom, using our unique talents and gifts in our own ways. Then we can enjoy our sister and our associations and begin to serve.”

Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President
Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other,” April 2014 General Conference

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“We sometimes, as women, have a tendency to be very critical of ourselves. During these times we need to seek the Spirit and ask, ‘Is this what the Lord wants me to think about myself, or is Satan trying to beat me down?’ Remember the nature of our Heavenly Father, whose love is perfect and infinite. He wants to build us up, not tear us down.

“As members of the Church, we may sometimes feel that we need to be part of a ‘perfect LDS family’ in order to be accepted by the Lord. We often feel ‘less-than’ or like misfits in the kingdom if we feel we do not fit that picture. Dear sisters, when all is said and done, what will matter to our Father in Heaven will be how well we have kept our covenants and how much we have tried to follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Linda S. Reeves, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants,” October 2013 General Conference

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“We’re all at different places on the path. But we can work together to help each other ‘press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of  hope, and a love of God and of all men.’ ”

Carole M. Stephens, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
We Have Great Reason to Rejoice,” October 2013 General Conference

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“Do you feel the Lord’s love in your life? How I feel His love may be different from how you experience it. The key is to come to understand how you feel that love. And once you’ve felt it, be willing to share it.”

Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society General President
Eternally Encircled in His Love,” October 2006 General Conference

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“My life’s journey is different from yours. Each of you could teach me much from your experiences of submitting your will to the Lord’s as you earnestly seek to know His will for you. We can rejoice together in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, gratefully acknowledging the blessing of having a testimony of the Savior and His Atonement for each of us. This I know—our individual efforts to become instruments in the hands of God have not been easy and have stretched us spiritually, enriching our mortal journeys in the most personal, glorious ways.”

Anne C. Pingree, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Knowing the Lord’s Will for You,” October 2005 General Conference

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“It’s the variety in a garden that contributes to its beauty—we need daisies and lilies and buttercups; we need gardeners who water, nurture, and care. Unfortunately, Satan knows that sharing unites our sisterhood through the everyday and the eternities. He knows that selfishness will begin to destroy sharing, which destroys unity, which destroys Zion. Sisters, we cannot let the adversary divide us. You see, ‘A perfect oneness,’ said Brigham Young, ‘will save a people.’ And I would add that a perfect oneness will save our society.”

Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society General President
Belonging is Our Sacred Birthright,” October 2004 General Conference

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“Unity of purpose, thought, and feeling are exalting qualities. When we can put aside our differences and value each others’ strengths, great things happen. The Prophet Joseph Smith admonished, ‘Don’t be limited in your views with regard to your neighbor’s virtue. … You must enlarge your souls towards each other.’ Such generosity of spirit invites greater unity.”

Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society General President
Developing Inner Strength” October 2001 General Conference

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“Truly, we may each be an instrument in the hands of God. Happily, we need not all be the same kind of instrument. Just as the instruments in an orchestra differ in size, shape, and sound, we too are different from one another. We have different talents and inclinations, but just as the French horn cannot duplicate the sound of the piccolo, neither is it necessary for us to all serve the Lord in the same way. Sister Eliza R. Snow said that ‘there is no sister so isolated and her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal towards establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth’. Our privilege and our responsibility as daughters of God and as sisters of Relief Society, then, is to become the most effective instruments we can be.”

Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society General President
We Are Instruments in the Hands of God,” October 2000 General Conference

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“Everyone is welcome in Relief Society. There is no one kind of acceptable Latter-day Saint woman.”

Virginia U. Jensen, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Come to Relief Society,” October 1998 General Conference

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“We are all at different points on our journey back to our Father in Heaven. Did the Jews and Greeks whom Paul addressed in his epistle to the Galatians stop being Jews and Greeks when they were baptized? Did the men stop being men and the women stop being women? No. But they had all ‘been baptized into Christ’ and had ‘put on Christ’ (Gal. 3:27).”

Chieko N. Okazaki, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Baskets and Bottles,” April 1996 General Conference

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“God has given us many gifts, much diversity, and many differences, but the essential thing is what we know about each other—that we are all his children. Our challenge as members of the Church is for all of us to learn from each other, that we may all love each other and grow together.”

Chieko N. Okazaki, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Baskets and Bottles,” April 1996 General Conference

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“Perhaps our study and faith may be resources for a searching sister, but let us never judge another. We do not know her circumstances.We do not know what soul-searching went into her decisions. …Let us be accepting and supportive as sisters. Let us trust the Lord, trust ourselves, and trust each other that we are trying to do the best we can.”

Chieko N. Okazaki, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Rowing Your Boat,” October 1994 General Conference

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“We knew that women struggling to clarify their identities could best do that not by comparing themselves to other women but by understanding their important place as full and equal partners with men in receiving, in righteousness, the saving ordinances established by Christ. We saw that men and women are baptized, are offered the gift of the Holy Ghost, partake of the sacrament, and make sacred covenants in the temples of the Church in exactly the same ways. We would not try to describe an ideal Mormon woman. We would seek instead to teach that Christ is our model and that as we are filled with his love, we are his disciples.”

Aileen H. Clyde, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Relief Society: Charity, the Guiding Principle,” October 1993 General Conference

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“Formulating priorities is an ongoing process for us all. Sisters throughout the Church, many in circumstances far more difficult than mine, have prayerfully considered the counsel of the prophets and sought the guidance of the Holy Ghost as they too have endeavored to make wise decisions regarding the well-being of their families. And though their decisions have been inevitably varied and diverse, and sometimes misunderstood by others, I believe that they too must and can trust the Lord to help them fulfill their responsibilities.”

Jeanne Inouye, Relief Society sister
Be of Good Cheer,” October 1993 General Conference

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“There’s not just one right way to be a Mormon woman… as long as we are firmly grounded in faith in the Savior, make and keep covenants, live the commandments, and work together in charity.”

Chieko N. Okazaki, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Strength in the Savior,” October 1993 General Conference

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“What you become might be different from anyone else, but you have a distinct responsibility to grow spiritually and to reach out to others. We are important to Heavenly Father as his children. God will never stop being our Father…”

Elaine L. Jack, Second Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
Identity of a Young Woman,” October 1989 General Conference

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“God’s plan is a plan of ultimate joy for each of us. His principles suffice in any situation. But each one of us, young and old, must rise to her challenges in her own way. Each one of us must reach for her own joy.”

Elaine A. Cannon, Young Women General President
Reach for Joy,” April 1982 General Conference

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“The gospel, correctly understood, embraces all that is virtuous, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
Hearts So Similar,” October 1982 General Conference

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“Each mother will have to determine how she can bless her children. Because of the many options from which a woman might choose, it becomes extremely important that she select carefully… In that light of truth each woman can walk with confidence, knowing what is right for her. There is no one way that will fit all circumstances. Some women must come to one solution and some to another.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
Her Children Arise Up, and Call Her Blessed,” April 1982 General Conference

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