Relief Society's founding in Nauvoo to be commemorated

Amid the nation's good-natured appreciation of shamrocks and everything Irish on March 17th, 2011, the Temple and site missionary sisters of Nauvoo will quietly gather to remember the first meeting of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As in previous years, the upper room of the Red Brick store, the place where the Prophet, Joseph Smith, "… turn[ed] the key to [the women of the Church] in the name of God…" and promised that "…this Society [should] rejoice and knowledge and intelligence [should] flow down from this time...." (Minutes of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, 17 Mar. 1842, p. 40.) will be the site of this year's remembrance.

The space was more than adequate for the eighteen women who attended the organizing meeting of the society 169 years ago but attendees at the 2011 celebration will have to participate in one of three sessions to accommodate their numbers. In a way, this situation is reflective of the growth that the Relief Society has experienced over the decades—from 18 members in 1842 to over 6 million today. More importantly, it reflects the expansion in the scope and scale of Christian service that the Society has undertaken to accomplish. What started as an extension of sewing clothes for builders of the Nauvoo Temple has become a source of education, inspiration, and quiet expression of the Savior's love for thousands of communities and millions of families around the world.

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