Archive for the ‘relief society’ Tag

The Heritage of the Relief Society

Reading: “The Enduring Legacy of Relief Society,” President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, General Relief Society Meeting, September 2009

Since its inception in 1842, the Relief Society has been actively involved in service. In this talk President Eyring gave a brief history of the Relief Society, including many accomplishments I had never heard of before. Some of these include:

  • Started a hospital system in frontier times (was later passed on to other management)
  • Began what was to become LDS Family Services
  • Created a grain storage system relied upon by the federal government
  • Created their own magazine for women
  • Started the primary and young women programs
  • Started visiting teaching from the beginning

Elder Eyring further explained that while many of those programs are no longer ran by the Relief Society, that the passing on of these programs was necessary because now that the Relief Society is spread across the whole world (versus being centralized in Utah) managing such programs would have become burdensome and difficult.  Today the greatest role of the Relief Society is in reaching out to individual sisters in a time when we all have become more isolated from each other.

As I have moved from place to place it has been a great blessing to count on the local Relief Society for help and for companionship.  While some women find it difficult to build a network of friends to help support them, the Relief Society provides a network of women happy to befriend and help wherever you go. Visiting Teaching, when properly done, helps ensure that every sister has someone looking out for them.

What blessings has the Relief Society brought to you in your life? How can you help the Relief Society in its current efforts?

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Relief Society for Every Woman

Reading: “Every Woman Needs Relief Society,” Silvia H. Allred, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, General Relief Society Meeting, October 2009

Sister Allred would like every woman to benefit from Relief Society.  In her talk she encourages every woman to seek out what benefits she could gain from Relief Society. She also assures us that as we come together as righteous sisters, our example will bring many other righteous women into the church. She quoted President Kimball as saying,

Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world . . . will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.Among the real heroines in the world who will come into the Church are women who are more concerned with being righteous than with being selfish. These real heroines have true humility, which places a higher value on integrity than on visibility. . . .

Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.

As a member of the Relief Society, I can think of many ways the gospel helps me to stand out from the world.  It shows in the things we do together as a family, the things I do on my own, my attitudes about the role of women, and so on.  Going to Relief Society helps me find others who share some of those same priorities, and be stronger as a whole.

Recently I met a woman in our ward who works very hard and seems to be a confident and self-driven person, but who expressed to me that she doesn’t like to go to Relief Society.  There have been times when I also did not enjoy going to Relief Society, so I feel sympathy with her. Yet, this talk has helped me to want to reach out to that sister and other sisters who have, for whatever reason, decided Relief Society is not for them and help them to feel welcome and to find the benefits of Relief Society.

What benefits have you gained from participating in Relief Society? How can you help reach out to other women and bring them back into Relief Society?

Purposes of the Relief Society

Reading: “Relief Society: A Sacred Work,” Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President, General Relief Society Meeting, October 2009

In the General Relief Society Meeting about a week ago, Sister Beck, the president of Relief Society, reminded us of the three main purposes of the relief society, which are:

  1. Help sisters increase their faith and personal righteousness.
  2. Help sisters strengthen their families and homes.
  3. Help sisters serve the Lord and his children.

She then talked about the various ways the relief society does this, such as through relief society meetings, through visiting teaching, and through service.

Hearing the purposes of relief society help me be more motivated to attend and participate.  Sometimes it seems like relief society is for socializing, or entertaining, or even a competition. When I lose sight of the real purpose of relief society I often get discouraged because I’m not particularly good at socializing, or entertaining, and I always seem (at least in my mind) to be behind other more spiritual and friendly sisters in my ward. Yet, the purpose of relief society is centered on the gospel and on service.  It is okay that I may not be the “best” because relief society is truly about helping all the sisters wherever they are at in life.

What side purposes sometimes distract you from the real purpose of the relief society? How do you keep the true purposes of the relief society in your heart?

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?