I'm svithing the (slightly revised and expanded) notes I took during Elders' Quorum today. They devolve from our discussion of Lesson 39 in the Joseph Smith manual on the Relief Society. Engage me if you feel compelled.
Notes from prstd 11 Oct. 2008:
The Relief Society sisters saw a need and organized to meet that need even before the Prophet had initiated the organization. They didn't have to be asked---just proactively did what needed to be done. Questions for myself: What can you take from this? What needs have you seen in your various spheres of activity and what can you do (w/out being asked to do it) to fulfil those needs?
As Emma Smith: learn to devote increased (quality? quantity?) time, space, and attention to others. Making/giving space for others---a means of expanding the soul, the influence of the soul, of the person. Like Bella in Breaking Dawn (random association): expanding her natural gift, the "shield" of her love/concern over her friends and family in order to protect them from danger, to give them the chance to reach for their potential.
Spatial relationships and/in the Relief Society. Creating inter- & intra-personal connections and spaces through compassion, charity, and benevolence. The potential of service, passion, and adversity to create an expansive emotional space in which to engage the needs, sympathies, and potential of others. In the end, is this what the kingdom of God is all about, what it means to become possessed of pure love (see Moroni 7:47)?
Second full paragraph on p. 454: As I read it, the Prophet's language is latently erotic, in the purest sense of Eros: "Females, if they are pure and innocent, can come in the presence of God." Offering the deepest in themselves to Deity, their innocence, their purity for the benefit and service of others, of the kingdom. An unselfish pursuit/release of their passions in the presence and service of God, implying that these passions, this inherent nature can and must be directed through the proper channels and that God will accept such an offering when given in righteousness. (Tenuous reading?)