It's difficult to believe that a Church organization that now involves millions began with just a few followers in a humble room nearly 175 years ago.
Just prior to the 175th commemoration of that historic meeting, the Church News met with the Relief Society General Presidency to discuss Relief Society’s rich history, its current diversity, and its bright future.
The foundational principles of Relief Society as taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith were to “relieve the poor” and “save souls” (Daughters in My Kingdom, p. 20). The Prophet taught the sisters in six of their meetings to prepare them for the blessings of the temple, noted Sister Carole M. Stephens, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency.
“And here we are doing the same thing today,” Sister Burton added. “We’re here to help prepare women for the blessings of eternal life.”
The women of the Church help in that work as they increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and in His Atonement, Sister Burton continued. They do it as they strengthen themselves individually and as families and participate in ordinances and make and keep covenants. Relief Society’s purpose is also accomplished as women work in unity with the priesthood and with each other, in homes and within communities. (See related story.)
“We’re half the storehouse of the Lord,” Sister Burton said. “There are 7 million of us. When we work in unity, each doing at least one good thing, the result can be ‘something extraordinary!’”