Relief Society Birthday

We celebrated Relief Society’s Birthday in our ward yesterday. It isn’t exactly obvious to a lot of people why we would do that. Same with the Restoration of the Aaronic priesthood commemoration, I guess. In an effort to help new members and others contextualize exactly why we were celebrating, I offer the short description below:

Relief Society was established in March 1842

It was originally envisioned by a group of women in Nauvoo, Illinois as a way to support the needy in the community.

Upon hearing the proposal, Joseph Smith elevated Relief Society to be an ecclesiastical office, and claimed that “the Society should move according to the ancient Priesthood.” Emma Smith was ordained as the First President.

Over time, the Relief Society’s authority and activities have expanded and contracted. The Relief Society was an early champion of suffrage, and equal work for equal pay. It has always strived to alleviate the suffering of the sick and the poor.

Today the organization is mostly experienced through our regular Sunday worship, though we have regular activities designed to enrich the lives of all the women in the church. In areas where education is less accessible, the Relief Society operates literacy programs, and job training. The Relief Society president is still a primary administrator of church programs to help those who need financial assistance.

Also something else to celebrate At the Pulpit is available on your Gospel Library App. Go forth and use.


  1. Kevin Barney says:

    Great idea. We should celebrate more “birthdays” at Church.

  2. Used “At the Pulpit” in my talk on Sunday and made sure to plug the online FREE access to it now available to all members. Makes me proud to be a Relief Society member. And happy birthday, Relief Society!!

  3. I missed our wards, but my daughter said her’s was fun.

  4. I love being in Relief Society!

  5. Mortimer says:

    No, the RS has not always stood for equal pay, and even came out against the ERA.

    No, the RS has not always functioned as a entity to serve the needy. In my lifetime, the RS has been a Sunday school-like organization with little to do with humanitarian services.

    No, we don’t need to celebrate the RS birthday. It essentially serves as a “commercial” for participation. Big. Pet. Peeve.

  6. “equal work for equal pay” This is interesting.
    I had previously only heard the phrase “equal pay for equal work.” I’ll have to think more about what “equal work for equal pay” might mean. What’s the source of the quotation?

  7. I am coming to this discussion a little late but appreciate the Relief Society and its history being remembered on this site. Most of the service rendered by Relief Society Sisters is done behind the scenes, one on one; as the Savior served.
    One of my favorite stories has been told twice over the pulpit in Conference. It is the story of a stake Relief Society president who, working with others, collected quilts for people in need during the 1990’s. “She and her daughter drove a truck filled with those quilts from London to Kosovo. On her journey home she received an unmistakable spiritual impression that sank deep into her heart. The impression was this: ‘What you have done is a very good thing. Now go home, walk across the street, and serve your neighbor!” That is the spirit and history of Relief Society; the work never ends; the mission will never change.
    I would take exception to the phrase that, “Today the organization is mostly experienced through our regular Sunday worship.” Most of it’s work is done during the week, again, one by one.
    I hope all members of the church will not underestimate the mission of the Relief Society Organization, it’s women and their power and influence for good.
    Thank you again for remembering the Relief Society; it’s mission and its history. The fact that this was written by a man is wonderful!
    Sources for story-

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