GCBC Week 2: Priesthood and Handmaidens

General Conference Book Club Week 2:

It’s time to get this party started. In an effort to simplify my life a little bit, we’re going to go through the talks this time in order, from Saturday morning session all the way through to Sunday afternoon session.  (As much as it pains me to skip them, we’ll leave out the Priesthood session and the Young Women’s Broadcast –which was SO great– so please make time to study them on your own.  You won’t regret it.)  I’m actually starting off this round with two talks.  It’s only because there will not be enough weeks to fit in every single talk by the next General Conference in October, and it seemed fitting to begin with a little extra “umph” while we’re still riding high off of our Conference momentum.  Plus these two talks fit so harmoniously together– each focuses on the potential power that men and women have as they fulfill their individual roles with righteousness.  I loved both of these talks, and many of you mentioned in the comments how touched you were by Sister Beck’s message.  Hers is a fantastic talk for mothers.  So come on, everyone.  Grab your testimony by its britches and study and ponder these talks this week.  Share your thoughts, insights, questions, and testimony below.

Go here to find the media versions of the talks (audio, video, mp3, etc.).  If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club, you’re just in time.  Click here to learn how it works, and welcome.

18 thoughts on “GCBC Week 2: Priesthood and Handmaidens

  1. I thought it was interesting that these two talks were given in succession–words to the men, and then words to the women.

    Elder Packer’s talk helped me understand how I can better support my husband in his position as father and head of the family.

    Sister Beck’s talk reaffirmed the message that receiving personal revelation is a talent that needs to be prepared for and practiced.

    Good stuff.

  2. I agree with shoebox princess–interesting that the talks were back to back.

    I think Elder Packer’s talk was so powerful. I have such great respect for the Priesthood. With so many talks about family, I loved when Elder Packer said, “The Priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the Priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.” We as women have such a responsibility. I loved when he said, ” Unless we enlist the attention of the mothers and daughters and sisters—who have influence on their husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers—we cannot progress. The priesthood will lose great power if the sisters are neglected.”

    I love Sister Beck. She is a no-nonsense woman who tells it like it is. I was so motivated to work harder. I loved when she said, “The ability to qualify for, receive and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.” SO TRUE.

    I need to really ponder all of the talks and seek to do better.

  3. Loved the talks and agree with wt had already been said. This conference has me excited strive to do better and to become a better, wife, mother, and sister.

  4. I went to print these talks and remembered the kids used all my paper up (making paper airplanes during conference!). Then last night I realized I could still listen and just take notes. Then I remembered I did listen and take notes…

    What a great way to start conference! I, too, found it interesting that these talks were back to back. A good way to wake up the audience and get them thinking about what they need to be doing!

    Some things I noted in Elder Packer’s talk was when he talked about the difference between priesthood “authority” and “power.” I had never thought about it in those words before. I want to study that out a little more and made note of it.

    I also liked this quote “I include the sisters because it is crucial for everyone to understand what is expected of the brethren. Unless we enlist the attention of the mothers and daughters and sisters—who have influence on their husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers—we cannot progress.” We need to know what is expected our husbands and sons and, well, expect it.

    I have a boy turning twelve in a couple months, so this talk really struck me.

  5. I broke it into 2 comments, because it was getting too long. Here is Sister Beck’s talk:

    I liked the quote from Eliza R. Snow, “Women should be women and not babies that need petting.” It drives me a little nuts when I see women more interested in being pampered than in being a partner, especially when I see myself doing it.

    Anyway, I felt she gave us a list of things we can do to increase our faith and personal righteousness. Here is what I wrote down:

    Remember there isn’t enough time to do everything.
    It is a skill to feel and act of revelation (in other words it can be learned and improved upon).
    Daily scripture study (was this mentioned in every talk or what?)
    Daily prayer
    Diminish Distractions (This hit me on the head. Ouvh!)
    Ask, prepare, move forward

    My favorite quote was, “We can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when we feel the Spirit working through us.” After getting a little beat up in the talk, it was nice to have it end with a simple way I can measure my progress.

  6. Regarding Sister Beck’s talk, I felt like the message to me was to focus on the Lord’s criteria for success and focus on his approval of me rather than others’ criteria of success. I think that even in the church or our social circles we can have a skewed idea of what is a successful woman/mother. It is time to turn from the worldly ideas of success and start doing it the Lord’s way. Lasting peace and happiness will finally come!

  7. WOW! Tons of things running through my head after having read these talks together. Hope what I say makes sense.

    Pres. Packer starts his address to the fathers AND to families. The father’s place, his right and duty is to preside over the family. “Too many of our priesthood brethren are living below their privileges and the Lord’s expectations.” We, as wives and mothers, need to help them “stand, like Gideon’s small but powerful force of 300, in his own place” by standing in our own place – next to them fulfilling our right and duty as women in the home.

    The scripture Pres. Packer quoted from Paul in Ephesians is powerful: “[We] are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

    “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

    “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

    This is why it is so powerful – In the Proclamation we are told happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only that but if we as women (mothers and wives) and the men as priesthood holders build our homes “fitly framed” together we build a habitation of God. In the bible dictionary under temples the first paragraph states, “A temple is literally a house of the Lord . . . A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.” No wonder then that Pres. Packer warns that “there will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary’s mischief will be that power [of the priesthood].”

    Sister Beck tells us how we, as women, can stand in our own place. Personal revelation is key! Her words on how to receive personal revelation echo the Savior’s words to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 17:1-3 – Go to you homes, ponder, pray, prepare our minds to receive direction.

    For me personally I also caught on to her words that “it requires a conscious effort to diminish distractions.” I need to do better at turning off the tv for background noise and even turning off the music we listen to all day long so that there are more moments of quiet and solitude, less distractions.

    And finally, I’m so glad Sis. Beck reminds us about the proper way to measure our success. “We know we are successful if we live so that we qualify for, receive, and know how to follow the Spirit. When we have done our very best, we may still experience disappointments, but we will not be disappointed in ourselves. We can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when we feel the Spirit working through us.” That is true self-esteem – to know that the Lord is pleased with us.

  8. I have only re-read Sis. Beck’s talk so far. She articulated something I had been pondering for a long time. She said we need to stop listening to the world’s message that we are entitled to more time away from our responsibilities.
    A friend of mine told me a few years ago that she knew she was in trouble when she started thinking “I deserve”. For example she had put her kids to bed one night and knew she needed to go clean her kitchen and thought “I deserve a break!” and then thought “but I deserve a clean kitchen more.”
    I read recently that the love of work is success. I think as we learn to fulfill our responsibilities with a good attitude the burden of those responsibilities feels lighter.
    I like that she acknowledged that there are more “good things” to do than anyone can do, but that the Spirit can guide us to our priorities.

    • The “me time” can be a dangerous game, I agree. The world has pushed this message so far that to identify yourself as a mom is selling yourself short! The world wants us to put ourselves first always. It is kind of sad. I like the idea of getting rid of the “I deserve” mentality. I think it a little too often…

  9. Great comments so far. Thank you! Since you’ve all covered so many of the great main points, I just want to mention some of the thoughts that have come to me as I’ve pondered these talks. In no particular rhyme or reason:
    1- My job is important and it requires a strong woman, a woman who knows how to make time for God and listen to Him.
    2- I’ve got to get my priorities in order. Stop thinking about eliminating some distractions and changing my routines and just DO it.
    3- I need to be more supportive of my husband. I need to praise more all the goodness and power I recognize and appreciate in him.
    4- I can draw on that priesthood power, and on revelation from the Lord and literally let that power work through me as I try to do my duty.
    5- I love Sister Beck. Loved that quote about not being babies. I loved how I could walk away from that talk totally humbled and AWARE of things to change and so HOPEFUL about doing it with the Lord’s help. I need to keep up that faithful momentum while I try to implement some of these principles.

    I’m taking quotes from both of these talks, printing them out and hanging them up around my house.

    • I think that is why I am always surprised when I hear that people consider her talks “controversial”, because I always feel that way when I hear her talks. It is hard to achieve humble, aware, and hopeful all in the same talk!

  10. I am kind of late making comments in this, but I will go ahead anyway. 🙂 I am new to participating, but was inspired by Stephanie’s post about how to get more out of conference and writing down questions the week before and praying about them. I did that and had one of the greatest general conferences ever! I felt like received directions and answers for every thing I prayed about! Thank you Stephanie!

    Sister Beck’s talk was one that was an answer to prayers for me. Previously when I had read things by Sister Beck I’ll admit I mostly felt overwhelmed, inadequate and guilty. Maybe I just needed an attitude adjustment! But this talked inspired me so much! I have highlighted so much of her talk. I especially liked her comments on personal revelation and I loved the quote by Eliza R. Snow she used, “Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time.” I needed that!

    I enjoyed Elder Packer’s talk too and especially appreciated his comments about “the priesthood will lose great power if the sisters are neglected.” I myself need to understand the priesthood better.

    I felt so much that this conference focused on the family and things that need to be done to strengthen our families.

  11. Okay–catching up–I was thrilled that you started at the beginning because I actually missed these two first talks due to “technical difficulties.”


    Can I get personal here for a minute and just share that one of the traps I often fall for was one that Sister Beck touched when she talked about the allure that the world teaches women–that women are “Entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence.”

    I fall for that. Sometimes I just “pass off” the kids to my husband as soon as he gets home, because I’m “off duty.” I get a night out, on my own, each week–and I think that is necessary for me own happiness, but I shouldn’t feel “entitled” to it, and I shouldn’t try to add MORE nights away from the home. So that hit me, right where it counts, in a very necessary way.

    And I think that the thing that I love the most about Sister Beck is that her talks to us, as sisters, are not apologetic. I get tired of being coddled. I need to be told what to DO, not told how great I am. So I love her. I love that her words often hit me right in the heart and hurt like crazy, because it feels like it’s working. Love.that.

    On and up!! 🙂

  12. Just an FYI – this post and GCBC week 3 are not categorized under your GCBC…makes it hard to find!

    I have read both of these talks (yay! my Ensign arrived), and I loved them both. I plan to use the priesthood talk for a FHE lesson soon. I learned so much from it about the priesthood. It made me so grateful to have a priesthood worthy husband.

    As for Julie Beck’s talk…I just loved it. She always says what I need to hear. I needed the reminder about distractions and the messages that tell me that I deserve more “me time”. I hope to do better to be a “good woman” – to qualify for the spirit constantly, to act on my feelings, to persist in faith.

  13. Pingback: Tribute to Sister Julie B. Beck « Diapers and Divinity

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