Relief Society: Organization for Women

Reading: “Now Let Us Rejoice,” Barbara Thompson, Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, General Relief Society Meeting, Sept 28, 2008

In Sister Thompson’s talk she discusses the history and purpose of Relief Society.  She first talked about how the early sisters of the church became united together in order to provide “relief” to those around them.  She said,

In the early days of the Church, sisters provided relief as they went from house to house. Doing what we now call visiting teaching, the sisters went about ministering to all—caring for and attending to the needs of others and ensuring that people had food, clothing, shelter and providing relief when needed. If a sister had something to share, she would contribute it to the visiting sisters. If she was in need, the sisters would help provide for her.

Many times in my life I have been helped in great ways by the Relief Society.  Recently, when I had my baby my visiting teachers helped to take care of me, while other sisters in the ward provided meals for us to eat.  Also, when we moved just a few weeks ago the sisters of the Relief Society came and helped me to clean my house and get it ready to go.  I know first hand that the relief society is actively involved in helping people everywhere around the world.

My participation in relief society is a major part of my participation in church.  It is God’s organization for women.  Sister Thompson said,

Relief Society is not just a class on Sunday. It isn’t just a place we go if we are not teaching in the Primary or Young Women organizations. It is the Lord’s organization for women. Participation in Relief Society is part of our glorious heritage and blessing as women in the Lord’s Church.

It does seem to me that in our society we do need women who know who they are and who confidently do the Lord’s work.  So many women are so confused about who they are or who they should be, but through the gospel we can be a beacon in a troubled time. Sister Thompson said,

Sisters, now more than ever, we need women to step up and be strong. We need women who declare the truth with strength, faith, and boldness. We need women to set an example of righteousness. We need women to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause.” We need to live so that our lives bear witness that we love our Heavenly Father and the Savior Jesus Christ and that we will do what They have asked us to do. We need to rescue “all that is finest down deep inside of [us]” so that as daughters of God we can do our part to build the kingdom of God. We will have help to do this. As Joseph declared, “If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.”

Since I just moved I am faced with starting all over again in Relief Society.  Since I am shy, I often have trouble really feeling comfortable in Relief Society, and I am really daunted by the task of trying to make new friends all over again.  However, inspired by Sister Thompson’s talk, I am now resolving to put forth my best effort to both make friends and to participate even if I feel uncomfortable.

How do you feel about Relief Society?  Also, how do you make friends and encourage a spirit of friendship in relief society?


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