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Relief Society: An Enduring Legacy

Relief Society: An Enduring Legacy

On 17 March 1842 the Prophet Joseph Smith organized the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo. “The Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized,” the Prophet declared. “This is a charitable Society, and according to your natures; it is natural for females to have feelings of charity and benevolence. You are now placed in a situation in which you can act according to those sympathies which God has planted in your bosoms.”

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Emma Smith, the first president, rose to speak, emphasizing the society’s vast potential: “We are going to do something extraordinary.” Relief Society is now the world’s largest and oldest women’s organization, and has blessed the lives of millions of people – its members and their families, and the many people whom they have served.

Sisters share with us how they feel about Relief Society:

Sisters share with us how they feel about Relief Society:
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Patricia Howden Stokes wrote, “When I reflect on my life, it is filled with sweet sisters who have strengthened me in times of stress and grief, who have laughed and served and cried with me. I have seen such examples of strength and love for the Lord in many places in the world. Relief Society provides us all with friends and mentors as well as myriad opportunities to serve and be served. I am so thankful to my Mom and her friends at the old Ramah Branch that instilled in me a love for Relief Society early in my life as they served one another.”

Patricia Howden Stokes
Tarisai Mchuchu said ,  ' Charity never faileth . This is truly reflected in the organisation of Relief Society and I feel honoured and blessed to be part of it. My favourite program within Relief Society is the Visiting Teaching program because through it I get to connect with my sisters not only in the gospel, but in a social way. We lift each other's burdens and talk and laugh, we strengthen one another to keep holding on. I have been blessed with knowing sisters who drop everything to be with each other in a crisis. I remember a few years ago when I went through a hard time and tried to be a silent member for a while and not talk or socialise, and the Meadowridge Relief Society sisters all in their little ways, without pushing me, offered service like making sure I had a lift to church, organised a baby welcome, and always made sure I remembered I was loved despite all that was happening. Some older sisters would come to share with me their personal stories, and reminded me that mine was not unique, and it was a trial I had to bear and get over. It really showed me the strength that women have, and blessed my family tremendously. The silent service and non-judgment helped me to gain strength and work harder on myself, and as a result my family is stronger and blessed.”
Tarisai Mchuchu
Charity never faileth
Thalia Holmes wrote: “Relief Society for me represents a safety net of caring, supportive sisters. When a bird flew into my kitchen the other day, and was crashing into windows & glassware, I could have asked one of many people to help, but I messaged our Relief Society chat group. Within minutes I had suggestions about how to get the bird out and one sister offered to come over and help me. That's what Relief Society is for me - a sisterhood.”
Thalia Holmes
Val Keuning reflected, “Where do I begin to share with you all the difference Relief Society has made in my life? As a young woman, engaged to be married, I was invited to attend Relief Society one Thursday evening. I was horrified because to me Relief Society was for 'old' folk. I think the president was rather concerned at my attitude, but she didn't push me. She just put her arms around me and said to come when I was ready. Little did I know that when I did join and attend Relief Society it would make such an impact on my life. Those 'older' sisters were a great inspiration to me with all their knowledge of homemaking, child rearing, gospel insights, and so much more. The love and joy I have felt since has resulted in lasting friendships through the years. I have been the recipient of service from many of my sisters as well as being able to offer my services when the need arose. My testimony has been strengthened and I learnt exactly what it was to be a 'daughter of God'. Love, service, compassion…. that is what Relief Society is all about.”
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Val Keuning

Read more about the organisation of the Relief Society here.