Presidents of the Primary, Young Women and Relief Society organizations delivered messages during open house events held in conjunction with general conference. Speaking to several hundred individuals who attended the open houses March 22-23 and 29 were Primary Gen. Pres. Michaelene P. Grassli, Young Women Gen. Pres. Ardeth G. Kapp, and Relief Society Gen. Pres. Barbara W. Winder. Following are excerpts of their addresses:
Pres. Grassli: Primary helps to fortify children
"The Savior came to earth to show us the way. If we respond to the call to come unto Christ, we can become worthy - worthy to acknowledge Him, worthy to return to Him.
"And that is why we are here, to perfect our own lives and to help others. Specifically, we have been called to teach the children the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Our task is more than agendas, it's more than meetings. It goes beyond telephone calls and visual aids. We are here to help children find their places in eternity. If we are able to teach children in their youth the important things, then we can help fortify them for what happens in their teenage years and in adult life. Let us recognize that that is our mission.
"The best place for children to learn the gospel is in the home . . . [but] the Church provides a support system and Primary is a vital part of that support system. . . .
"Thank you, dear sisters, for what you are doing. It is a great blessing to serve children. We received a letter from a sister in Belgium who told us about her love for Primary and her calling and the children and these are the words she wrote:
" `The light of the gospel is flooding the world yet there are still so many children living in darkness.'
"We must find the children who do not have the light of the gospel and bring it to them in a way they can understand. As I was looking in the scriptures, I turned to Matt. 18:14 and the parable of the shepherd who left the ninety and nine and went out after the one.
" `Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.'
"I know that as we perfect our lives and become closer to our Heavenly Father, He will lead us and guide us so that our lives will be perfected through efforts that we make for the children."
Pres. Kapp: Young Women leaders 'have word to do'
"You who are on the front lines know that there is a battle waging. We feel like Jacob in the Book of Mormon who said, `For because of faith and great anxiety, it truly had been made manifest unto us concerning our people [our young women], what things should happen unto them. . . . Wherefore we labored diligently among our people [young women] that we might persuade them to come unto Christ.' (Jacob 1:5, 7.)
"We have work to do. We need a miracle. We must turn the attention of our young women from the glitter of the world to the glories of the gospel. And miracles are happening. . . .
"We must have a vision of what it is we want to have happen in the lives of young women. We want to measure every activity by determining the degree to which this experience will help move them toward making and keeping sacred covenants, beginning with their covenant at the time of baptism. It is not enough to just keep them busy with activities that train their appetites for things of the world that they already have too much of.
"We have the sacred responsibility to provide experiences where they can feel the promptings of the Spirit and rejoice in the appropriate opportunities appealing to young people who are striving to reach their potential as Latter-day Saints. When we provide experiences that relate to service we do more to help strengthen their testimony than in any other way.
"We have a responsibility to `sound the war cry, watch and pray,' and warn and alert every youth to the powers of the adversary, and help prepare them to withstand the temptations of the world. We, as leaders, must be standard bearers, committed to following the guidance of the prophet and the word of God in the scriptures, and help them to stand firm when they are away from parents and leaders. Above all, our commitment is to support parents in their sacred responsibility for strengthening the youths."
Pres. Winder: Relief Society is part of march forward
"We have been watching world history unfold before our very eyes at an unimagined pace during the past few months. The fall of the Berlin wall, the opening of Eastern Europe, the great gathering of thousands of good men and women throughout the earth into the fold of the Church - all this in fulfillment of prophecy to bring about the Lord's purposes.
"This great, broad vision of our day has significant meaning for us in Relief Society as well as for the whole Church. . . .
"We are part of the remarkably exciting march forward of the Church, as we assist the Brethren to proclaim the gospel, redeem the dead, perfect the saints, and care for the poor and needy. We can respond `in the Lord's own way' to bring souls to Christ, sacrificing whatever is necessary to do so. We can be aware of the needy about us and respond to them appropriately. Where it is possible, we can attend the temple with greater frequency and greater regularity, thereby strengthening ourselves and our eternal families.
"In Relief Society we can teach and train and lead by proper example. We can do all the little daily, caring things that express our love for others. We can show our love for the Savior by the way we live our lives.
"We do not know exactly what lies ahead. We do know there will be wonderful responses to the gospel from people who have not yet heard the message or felt its blessings. We do know that opposition and calamity will come, as our prophets have reiterated. We do know that change will come, even in the Church - of programs or structure or understanding, but not of principles. Learn those principles, the divine law. The Church provides policies and guidelines and as you teach one another, you will each have your own individual style.