News Release

Sister Beck meets senior political and Judicial Leaders at Luncheon

Sister Julie B. Beck serves as the Relief Society General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On Saturday, 16 October 2010, Sister Beck hosted a luncheon in Sydney at the Hyde Park Marriott Hotel. Guests included a former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, Local and Federal politicians, Religious groups' representatives, and members of the 2013 World Congress of Families Bid Committee.

Presiding was Elder Tad R. Callister, President of the Pacific Area, who was accompanied by his wife, Kathryn. Also in attendance were Elder Terence M. Vinson, Area Seventy, and his wife, Kay.

In extending a warm welcome, Elder Vinson expressed how refreshing it was to be with a group of like-minded people who are allies in supporting the position of the family; a group who are, together, battling forces intent on destroying the most important and basic unit of society in our increasingly secular and hedonistic world.

Elder Callister spoke briefly on the family, relating the true account of a young man in the U.S. who was brought before a judge on a charge. The young man's father was a Supreme Court Judge and, when asked how he felt about his wrongdoings given his father's high legal profile, the young man replied that he never knew his father; that response changed the whole mood of the courtroom. Elder Callister impressed the sacredness of families, and the importance of the responsibility of parents to spend time with their children. 

In her opening remarks, Sister Beck said, "In the Church we believe that we were families before we were born and that families will endure after we die."

Sister Beck spoke of the Church's beliefs on families and family values, and said, "Successful families are not an accident!" and, quoting Elder David O. McKay, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home." She spoke of the importance the Church places upon Family Home Evenings and how such weekly gatherings help to strengthen the family.

Sister Beck acknowledged that all present were concerned about the plight of the family in these trying times; that inducements and temptations are constantly weakening family ties, in turn affecting whole communities and nations adversely.

She then related stories of her travels to visit the sisters in India, Ghana, Mexico, Switzerland and Brazil, and of those sisters' challenging family circumstances.

"In India," she said, "where arranged marriages are the custom, sisters are now trying to raise their families against the generations before that are trying to preserve the old customs." The sisters in India told Sister Beck, "We want our children to make their own choices."

In Ghana, Sister Beck travelled 5-6 hours into the bush then on foot for another hour or so, to visit with a sister, the mother of 5 children, all of whom were living in very humble circumstances and with limited means. Sister Beck found that resourceful mother cooking palm oil – to sell. And, to Sister Beck's surprise, hanging on the wall in that bush home, was a list of mobile telephone numbers which she was advised were the sister's business numbers! That information was met with laughter from all present at the luncheon. The mother of 5 children spoke to Sister Beck about her concerns, and of her desire to try to educate her children.

Sister Beck shared similar accounts of a sister in Mexico whose home, though humbly furnished, was well endowed with books with which to educate her children; in Switzerland, a mother had learned how to manage her 8 sons towards attending university and attaining their Degrees; in Brazil, two hours outside of Buenos Aires in red-dirt country, a sister's intentional, precise thinking of educating families was displayed, "If we pay the cost, it will work."

Sister Beck invited questions from her guests. One question asked was, "What does 'Relief' mean, in your organisation's title?"

Sister Beck spoke about the Relief Society organisation, its beginnings and why it was formed. She said that Christ-like service is the nucleus of the Relief Society organisation, and spoke of Visiting Teaching, education, health, humanitarian aid, teaching welfare principles and self-reliance, caring for, uplifting and nurturing each other. She also shared an account of an occasion when she was prompted by the Spirit to visit a sister in need, and expressed gratitude that she did heed the promptings of the Spirit.

Each guest was presented with a copy of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, the booklet For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.


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