Relief Society general presidency expounds on how the Savior offers spiritual and temporal relief

Temple covenants with Jesus Christ bring peace and power, says President Camille N. Johnson in an interview with Sister J. Anette Dennis and Sister Kristin M. Yee

Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson may be leading the world’s largest women’s organization, but her message is for everyone — not just Relief Society members.

“Jesus Christ is the source of relief for all of us, and as we make covenants with our Heavenly Father, through our Savior, Jesus Christ, we are entitled to priesthood power, all of us, men and women,” President Johnson said. 

After President Johnson and her counselors — Sister J. Anette Dennis and Sister Kristin M. Yee — began their service on Aug. 1, 2022, they brainstormed together, reflecting upon and seeking inspiration about what it meant to be a part of the Relief Society. 

“And the conclusion we drew is that members of the Relief Society bring their sisters — and their brothers also — to the Savior Jesus Christ, who is the source of all of our relief,” President Johnson explained on the Church News podcast.

“He’s the source of our relief from sin. He’s also the source of relief from the burden of mortality,” she said. “And it was from that brainstorming session that that thought started to take flight.”

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The Savior and spiritual relief

President Johnson’s first opportunity to speak in general conference as the Relief Society general president came in April 2023 and allowed her to raise the theme of relief in Jesus Christ.  

“We can partner with the Savior to help provide temporal and spiritual relief for those in need — and in the process find our own relief,” she said (“Jesus Christ Is Relief”).

Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson speaks during the Sunday morning session on April 2, 2023
Relief Society President Camille N. Johnson speaks during the Sunday morning session of the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on April 2, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The next month, at BYU Women’s Conference, she and her counselors continued on that theme in their May 3 address and in President Johnson’s May 5 keynote.

While speaking on the Church News podcast with President Johnson, Sister Dennis explained what “Jesus Christ is relief” means to her: She doesn’t have to navigate this life and all its challenges alone.

“And I don’t have to have all the answers to all of life’s difficult questions. And as I follow Jesus Christ and turn to Him for help and strength, I can find peace, and that peace provides so much relief,” Sister Dennis said.

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Sister Dennis said that 10 years ago, when she and her husband, Brother Jorge Dennis, were mission leaders in Ecuador, they got a phone call that their son serving a mission in El Salvador was in the hospital in serious condition with dengue fever. 

“We were thousands of miles away, and there was nothing we could do but fast and pray. And we wouldn’t be there in the hospital with him. We couldn’t talk to the doctors and make sure he was getting the right care. We couldn’t do anything,” she said.

But as they turned to the Lord in prayer and submitted their will to His, they felt a great deal of peace that everything would be all right, whatever the outcome. 

“That peace provided us great relief, and that peace came through the Savior and the power of His Atonement,” Sister Dennis said.

Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson speaks during the 2023 BYU Women’s Conference with a picture of Jesus Christ behind her.
Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson speaks during the 2023 BYU Women’s Conference on Friday, May 5, 2023. | Devin Anderton, BYU CE Media

When Sister Yee thinks of relief, she thinks of a partnership — someone to carry the load with her, to understand what she is feeling and her concerns. This comes through an eternal companionship through a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.

As a single sister, she said, she faces challenges sometimes where she needs to consult with someone.

“To know I’m heard and understood completely brings great relief. My circumstances don’t always change, but my heart does, and the peace that I receive and the confidence I receive, and the ability to see more as He sees me, gives me that capacity to do what He’s asking me to do,” she said. 

She also talked about redemption from sin through Jesus Christ — knowing that she can try again and receive His forgiveness is a great joy in her life.

Temple covenants mean increased power and capacity

President Johnson said her presidency desires to see every Relief Society sister endowed in the temple and holding a current temple recommend, for multiple reasons.

“One most important reason is that as we make and keep those sacred covenants, we are entitled to priesthood power,” she said. 

And in day-to-day life, it means increased capacity to face challenges, to endure, to solve problems, to gain patience or forgiveness or whatever is needed. 

“The blessing and power of keeping our covenants is a relationship, a covenantal relationship, with our Savior that gives us power and capacity,” she said.

The Relief Society general presidency is President Camille N. Johnson, Sister J. Anette Dennis, and Sister Kristin M. Yee.
The Relief Society general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beginning Aug. 1, 2022: Sister J. Anette Dennis, first counselor, left, President Camille N. Johnson, center, and Sister Kristin M. Yee, second counselor. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sister Dennis said many women she knew in Ecuador were single mothers or did not have priesthood holders in their homes. But through the temple, they had priesthood power in their homes. She wishes every woman understood that.

“As they make and keep covenants with God, they can call down His power to strengthen them and their families — it’s just such an important doctrine to understand,” Sister Dennis said.

Sister Yee added that as people go to the temple, they learn a lot more about the Savior’s role and how He is central to all those blessings. They also understand more of who they were before coming to earth, what they are doing here and what they can become in the eternities.

“That eternal perspective, which comes from the house of the Lord, provides that road map which grounds us to eternity versus the interim — which is our current life situation — which allows us to make decisions that will give us greater capacity,” Sister Yee said.

And people do not have to wait to be perfect to receive this perfect love and power in their lives.

“Don’t wait to receive those blessings of the temple,” Sister Yee said.

The Savior and temporal relief

The Church is making great efforts to bless people around the world — with more than $1 billion dollars in humanitarian aid donations and 6.3 million volunteer hours just in 2022, for example.

President Johnson had the recent opportunity to visit Africa and see some of the humanitarian aid the Church supports. In doing so, she felt an overwhelming love for the women and children there and knew how much Heavenly Father loves them. She hopes Relief Society sisters understand they are a part of that effort.

“Whether they have an opportunity to feed the starving child in Africa or simply help the neighbor across the street, they’re still part of that global effort in providing humanitarian relief,” she said.

Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson walks with a group of young children in Uganda in March 2023.
Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson walks with a group of young children in Uganda in March 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

At the same time, President Johnson said it might seem easier to donate to a cause in another part of the world and harder to come up with solutions for people closer to home, such as neighbors and family members.

“But we go in prayer to our Heavenly Father through the Savior Jesus Christ and ask for inspiration from the Holy Ghost to know what to do next. And then you just take the step,” she said.

And whenever members of the Church provide relief, they are bringing others to Jesus Christ — and finding the Savior for themselves.

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Sister Dennis shared an example from meeting with a group of Relief Society women in Trinidad. A woman talked about losing her husband and how difficult it was. But the other women shared how she was the one who went out and gave them comfort and relief, even during her time of sorrow. 

Sister J. Anette Dennis hugs a young woman at a young adult devotional in Trinidad
Sister J. Anette Dennis, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, at a young adult devotional held at the Port of Spain Trinidad Stake, in September 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sister Yee said in that way, it is like a cycle. “Every time we need help, He points us to someone else in need. And then in there, we find that relief.”  Sisters can call upon Heavenly Father to receive the strength to minister and, in return, receive the gifts and blessings they need.

President Johnson reiterated that Jesus Christ is the source of relief.

“I am certain that He lives, that He loves us,” she said. “And I know that our capacity to love others increases as we keep the covenants we’ve made with Him, as we draw closer to Him and try to become more like Him.”

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