The Relief Society was organized on March 17, 1842, by the Prophet Joseph Smith with 20 women who wanted to help serve in their community, including supporting the temple-building efforts.
Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham shared a video with her counselors, Sister Sharon Eubank and Sister Reyna I. Aburto, commemorating the anniversary of “180 years of women providing relief to others in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
“Our presidency loves you so much. Thank you for all you do to provide relief to those around you,” President Bingham wrote.
Sister Aburto said: “Relief Society is a divine sisterhood of women who love each other and love the Savior. Each of you belongs here, and you are needed. We love you, and we know the Lord loves you.”
Sister Eubank shared: “Each of us is capable of doing so much, and the Holy Ghost will help us know how. Thank you for everything that you’ve done and everything that you will do.
President Bingham concluded: “We pray that you will feel the Savior’s love in your life as you serve Him.”
Sister Auburto shared about a Relief Society presidency in a retirement home where the presidency members are 91, 89 and 90 years old.
“Dear sisters, whether you are 91 or 19, wherever you live and whatever your circumstances, you have an important part to play in Relief Society. You are so needed here! You are a daughter of God who belongs to a worldwide sisterhood, and your talents and strengths will bless others. On this 180th anniversary of Relief Society, I hope you know how much your voice is valued and needed in Relief Society,” she wrote.
Read more: ‘Everyone belongs and we are all different’ — Relief Society celebrates 180th anniversary of women ministering, serving
Primary General President Camille N. Johnson reflected on when she and President Bingham visited historic Nauvoo, Illinois, last fall and one of the places they visited was the Red Brick Store where the Relief Society was organized. While there, she received the impression that “there is no greater service we can provide to our sisters in Relief Society than to love, care for, and teach their children.”
“As we celebrate the 180th anniversary of Relief Society, I wish to acknowledge all the women who have served and who currently serve in Primary. You are part [of] Relief Society, providing relief to your sisters by loving and serving their children,” she wrote.
Sister Susan H. Porter, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, shared an experience she had as a newlywed in Relief Society and how the sisters reached out to help each other.
“My first visiting teacher was a young mother with five children. She and her husband had no car, but she made the effort to visit me often. I can still picture her seated on our old, broken couch bringing me love and warmth and encouragement,” she wrote. “I will never forget other dear friends who reached out to me during that time, serving me with love and helping me feel a part of the great sisterhood of Relief Society.”
Sister Porter also added that while her current calling is in Primary, she is still a member of the Relief Society.
“I pray that we can each help make Relief Society a safe space — a place free of judgment and criticism and full of loving arms. As we strengthen, comfort, lift up, mourn with, and bear the burdens of our sisters, we are truly doing the Lord’s work.”
More on the Relief Society, past and present
- Church News podcast, Episode 74: Relief Society President Jean B. Bingham on the 180th anniversary of the worldwide women’s organization
- Relief Society women answer the invitation to serve before organization’s 180th anniversary
- After call as Relief Society general president, Eliza R. Snow encourages women to keep covenants, build the kingdom
- Relief Society prepares for 180th anniversary by issuing invitation to serve
- A visit to Nauvoo: President Bingham and President Johnson share pioneer connections and instruction with leaders, missionaries
- In honor of Emma Smith’s 217th birthday, read these 4 articles about her
- Relief Society at 179 years: President Bingham’s message to women, including those doubting their place in the Church
- Jenny Reeder: Unity with Relief Society sisters past and present
- The Relief Society turns 178 today. Here’s a look back at some of its history