- Offer service
- Build on bedrock of past- Give support
"Today, I lay my small stone at the front gate entrance of Relief Society," Elaine L. Jack declared Sunday afternoon.
A day after being released as Relief Society general president after serving since 1990, Sister Jack spoke of her grandfather, John F. Anderson, who was chief mason for the Alberta Temple. According to his journals, he laid the last stone before the building's dedication in 1923 - "a small stone at the front gate entrance."
"My grandfather offered to the Lord the stone he had placed so carefully. Today, I offer my years of service in the general Relief Society," Sister Jack said, with emotion.
"I find many parallels with building a temple and fulfilling a calling. We begin with bare ground and we start to work. We survey the situation, pray for inspiration, thoughtfully formulate plans, send them for review, adjust and plan again. We firm up a foundation and then add walls, a roof and even gardens. Each administration builds on the solid bedrock of the past.
"For the past seven years this Relief Society presidency has been building," Sister Jack continued. "We have added a Church-wide literacy effort to our education focus; we have emphasized the principle of watching over and caring for our sisters through visiting teaching; we have continued to place home and family at the center of our attention and honored the divine nature of women as they nurture, sacrifice, teach and inspire."
Sister Jack related that one of her prized memories was the 1992 Relief Society sesquicentennial. "It is still thrilling for me to remember the simultaneous broadcast to every continent of the world, linking sisters for the first time from Taiwan, Zimbabwe, Germany, Mexico, Korea, Australia and America."
Continuing, she said: "One of the things I recognize is that if we are obedient, faithful and earnest, the Lord helps us prepare our offerings. When I was called to serve in this assignment, I . . . went to the Lord for help."
In response to that plea, Sister Jack explained, she was blessed with strong and capable counselors, Chieko Okazaki and Aileen Clyde. She also expressed gratitude for the Relief Society general board with which she served, her office staff, and her husband, Joseph E. Jack.
Sister Jack thanked priesthood leaders who have counseled the Relief Society. She added, "I know I speak for the women of this Church when I say to President Hinckley, President Monson and President Faust and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, we stand by you, we support you, we know you are latter-day prophets with the keys of the kingdom of God.
"The time is past when we can merely believe in this gospel," Sister Jack declared. "We must be passionate in our belief and in our commitment to Jesus Christ and His plan.
"Today, we are ready to step over that threshold into a new dimension of spirituality and light. I commit my full support to
newly called Relief Society Gen. Pres. Mary Ellen W. SmootT and her counselors as they add new stones to the building of the kingdom of God."