As human beings, we all crave a sense of belonging. How should we reach out to others to satisfy this hunger?
Creating an atmosphere of unity and inclusion is certainly easier said than done. But if there is anything to learn from the 2021 BYU Women’s Conference, it’s that we should at least try.
While standing shoulder to shoulder, side by side, the Relief Society General Presidency encouraged women around the world to do the same: to earnestly embrace those around them. Rachel Sterzer Gibson reports on the highlights of the General Presidency’s address in her Church Newsroom article “How to make Relief Society a safe place for every sister, the general presidency emphasizes at BYU Women’s Conference.” In her article, Sterzer Gibson both focuses on the importance of this goal and lists possible ways to make it happen.
She quotes President Jean B. Bingham, who said, “Studies have shown that the number one reason people leave religion is that they feel judged or unwelcome. That is cited more often than doctrinal disagreement or lack of belief.” In order to solve this problem, President Bingham suggested seeing others through the eyes of eternity—from the standpoint of progression, not judgment. She cited a phrase that her mother used to say: “Be a light, not a judge.”
To help viewers gain a sense of what putting this into practice looks like, the Relief Society General Presidency conducted an exercise. Sterzer Gibson outlines how Reyna I. Aburto described a hypothetical situation to the audience, then President Bingham and Sharon L. Eubank each gave possible comments that could be made to the person in that situation. Whatever the circumstance, Sterzer Gibson reports, “The best response was to ‘look, listen, and respond with love.'” A larger sense of belonging will assuredly follow.
Read Sterzer Gibson’s whole article, “How to make Relief Society a safe place for every sister, the general presidency emphasizes at BYU Women’s Conference,” for a full description of the Relief Society General Presidency’s BYU Women’s Conference address.
Source: Church Newsroom
—Caroline Stickel, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY DAAN STEVENS
Find more insights
Read, watch, or listen to Phillip D. Rash’s speech “Looking to the Margins: Creating Belonging” to learn more about Heavenly Father’s and the Savior’s outlook on belonging.
Read or watch Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s general conference address “Hearts Knit Together” for information on the beneficial effects of belonging.
To read about how we all belong to the “body of Christ,” see Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s article “Belonging: A View of Membership.”