Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency, opened the 2017 BYU Women’s Conference by sharing examples of women who were truly converted. Sister Eubank used an analogy to illustrate that there are basic ingredients to conversion, but there is not one recipe for everyone. Starch, protein and sauce are the basic ingredients to many meals. Similarly, the basic ingredients to conversion will include a foundation of faith, creation and unity.
The first ingredient to conversion is faith or learning to see beyond the mortal limits of time and space.
The ability to see past the limits of mortality (sickness, death, human frailty) is how we can have eyes that see the eternal perspective.
“Women are called to focus on what lasts,” said Sister Eubank.
She defined the ability to see beyond right now as faith.
Speaking of Eve and Adam’s decision to leave the Garden of Eden, Sister Eubank said, “[Eve] could do that because she put her complete confidence in Jesus Christ.”
His Atonement removes the barriers of sin, injustice, mistakes, ignorance and pain. Sister Eubank said that if we have faith and keep covenants with Christ, we will overcome limitations.
“The barriers of this world aren’t real or permanent,” Sister Eubank said. “Priesthood power transcends mortal limits. Experiences with faith lead to testimony. Acting on testimony brings conversion. We, each of us, can be seers for our own lives. Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of this building block.”
The second ingredient to conversion is creation. According to Sister Eubank, the ability to create is a yearning of the soul and one of the highest expressions of creation is employed by married couples to create a child.
“Eternal family results from using the powerful instrument of the body in a specific and ordained way with discipline, covenants, patience, faith, hard work, great love, sacrifice, consecration, chastity, obedience and law. . . . When creation occurs in this way, our creations stay bonded to us forever,” said Sister Eubank.
Sister Eubank shared the grief she felt from not being married and having children. She felt that she was blocked as a creator.
“Do you know what helped me get past this heavy grief – honestly? Relief Society,” said Sister Eubank. Participating in Relief Society surrounded her with women who acknowledged emotionally that she was still a creator.
“Every day I am creating influence, compassion, love and grace that did not previously exist,” said Sister Eubank.
Sister Eubank said that women can be instruments of power and discipline to help those through the veil by death and birth. She spoke of sisters who comforted their dying sister during her last hours on earth.
Sister Eubank warned that there will be much opposition toward women using their body as an instrument to create.
“This is a war that Jesus Christ perfectly understands, and He can heal us from our battle scars and restore our bodies’ strength that earlier we may have misspent,” said Sister Eubank.
The third ingredient of conversion is unity and love. Jesus Christ invites us to strengthen others. Sister Eubank said that strengthening others is the evidence of our conversion to the Lord.
She learned the subtle and powerful ways that women can strengthen others through the example of a woman named Jeri Cook. Cook and her husband were serving a mission in Saudi Arabia. Cook spent most of her day preparing food, helping newcomers feel welcomed and talking with Sister Eubank. That evening, they all shared a meal and stories.
“I realized it was Sister Cook’s gentle ministry of providing a welcome and a meal for everyone which laid the foundation for the rest and faith and happiness we all felt that night,” said Sister Eubank.
Women have a tremendous power to bless and heal those they love, and they often do it in small and subtle ways. Sister Eubank said women create the bonds of unity and kindness. She called this having “sticky hands” that “glue” people together.
Sister Eubank said that we all must throw away the notion that Relief Society is for like-minded women who like to sew. There are many women who do not fit that mold, and Relief Society is just the place for them. She encouraged those in attendance to open up the circle of sisterhood to include those who think and live differently than they do.
“[Relief Society] is organized under priesthood keys for women so that we have a place to grow, progress, build our faith, talk about the reality of family life and mourn with each other for all the stupid, crazy things that are happening to us when we are mortals,” said Sister Eubank.
Eyes to see, discipline to create and glue to bind are the three essential ingredients of true conversion, said Sister Eubank. Each person’s conversion recipe is different, but still conversion. Relief Society helps women to see beyond barriers with faith, be disciplined creators and unify others.
“Relief Society is faith, it’s family and it’s relief,” said Sister Eubank.