What LDS/Mormon Women Do in the Organization Specifically for Them

Review the Relief Society's Motto, Declaration and Finally its Purposes

Relief Society President in South Korea
Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, visits with women in South Korea. The Relief Society program blesses women worldwide. Photo courtesy of © 2014 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

All LDS/Mormon women ages 18+ belong to the worldwide Church's organization for women called the Relief Society. This organization functions as an auxiliary. That means it is under priesthood direction, although it is staffed entirely by women

The Relief Society has evolved over time, while retaining its overall mission. This evolution is evident from circumstances that produced the Relief Society Motto, Declaration and finally, the three distinct purposes it now embraces.

The Relief Society and its Mission Begins

Mormons believe that the Relief Society is an ancient organization that existed in the primitive Church. Along with the gospel of Jesus Christ, it was reestablished in 1830 when the Church was located in Nauvoo, Illinois.

It largely functioned as a welfare entity and addressed the spiritual and temporal needs of the early members of the Church.

Emmeline B. Wells Presents the Motto: Charity Never Faileth

Under Sister Emmeline B. Wells, the fifth General President of the worldwide Relief Society, the motto, Charity Never Faileth was chosen and it still endures. The motto is located on the official seal of the Relief Society program.

The inspiration for this motto comes from passages in both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon where charity is identified as the pure love of Christ.

The Seal Itself Has Changed Over Time

The history of the Relief Society seal is online.

In brief, it incorporates several elements with symbolic meaning:

  • Wheat represents storage and preparedness
  • The torch represents a century of light marking the 100 years the modern Relief Society had existed.

The hand drawn Relief Society monogram was adopted from the beginning, but it has changed form over the years.

Obviously, there are different monograms for different languages.

Blue and gold are the official colors of the Relief Society and are present on the seal. Strangely enough, the term Relief Society was not included until recent times.

Examples of the seal's evolution and official seals used for other languages can be accessed on the above link.

The Declaration of Relief Society Adopted Under Mary Ellen Smoot

In 1999, under the direction of Sister Mary Ellen Smoot, the following ten points were adopted as the Declaration of Relief Society and endorsed in a major General Conference address she gave:

  1. We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
  2. Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
  3. Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
  4. Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
  5. Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
  6. Delight in service and good works.
  7. Love life and learning.
  8. Stand for truth and righteousness.
  9. Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
  1. Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.

The points were designed to be suitable for framing and to complement the principles codified in the proclamation on the family.

Finally, the Purposes of the Relief Society From Julie B. Beck

Under Sister Julie B. Beck's administration, the declaration points were reduced to just three. These are currently the official purposes of the Relief Society which are also suitable for framing:

  • Purpose 1: Increase faith and personal righteousness
  • Purpose 2: Strengthen families and homes
  • Purpose 3: Seek out and help those in need

She introduced these points in a major General Conference address in 2008. In addition, the three purposes also appear at the beginning of the print version of Daughters in My Kingdom, the formal history of the Relief Society initiated under Beck's presidency.

These three purposes are likely to guide the modern Relief Society program for some time. Currently, the Handbook guidance on the Relief Society, begins with these streamlined purposes.