Female Church members ages 18 and older belong to the Relief Society. The Relief Society was founded by the Prophet Joseph Smith on March 17, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois. In the days of its founding, it had two main purposes: to provide relief for the poor and needy and to bring people to Christ. The organization continues today, staying true to those original guiding principles as women in the Relief Society meet together on Sunday and in other settings as needed.
Throughout the world, sisters in the Relief Society work with priesthood holders to carry out the mission of the Church. They support one another as they:
Increase their testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate themselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.
Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on the earth.
Rejoice in the blessings of the temple. Understand their divine destiny and strive for exaltation.
One way that members of the Relief Society can contribute to the mission of the organization is to accept an assignment to serve as a visiting teacher, a calling in which Relief Society members visit and serve their assigned sisters, taking time to teach the gospel and nurture friendships. In addition to serving individuals, visiting teachers can play an important role in strengthening families.
Leaders in wards and branches ensure that visiting teachers are assigned to each sister age 18 or older. Priesthood and Relief Society leaders follow up with visiting teachers to help meet each sister's spiritual and temporal needs.
Women in Relief Society are members of a worldwide sisterhood, united in devotion to Jesus Christ. They join with other daughters of God as a woman of faith, virtue, vision, and charity, with the sure knowledge that their life has meaning, purpose, and direction. Through their participation in Relief Society, they have opportunities to enjoy sisterhood and companionship, give meaningful service, develop and share their testimonies and talents, and grow spiritually.
—See True to the Faith (2004), 130–31
"The Relief Society and the Church"
Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 1992, 34–37
The Relief Society has great significance for every member of the Church. All of us have been blessed through the example and service of its members.
"Relief Society—Its Promise and Potential"
Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Mar. 1976, 2–5
It is a great blessing to be a woman in the Church today. The opposition against righteousness has never been greater, but the opportunities for fulfilling our highest potential have also never been greater.
"Relief Society: A Balm in Gilead"
Elaine L. Jack, Ensign, Nov. 1995, 90–93
Relief Society is indeed a balm that unites us, that helps us in our families.
"Strong Hands and Loving Hearts"
Liahona, Dec. 2004, 26–30; or Ensign, Dec. 2004, 36–40
Visiting teaching gives us an opportunity to reach out in love and to care for one another as sisters in the gospel.
"How Has Relief Society Blessed Your Life?"
Bonnie D. Parkin, Liahona, Nov. 2004, 34–36; or Ensign, Nov. 2004, 34–36
Because Relief Society is divinely designed, it blesses not only women but the family and the Church.
"Belonging Is Our Sacred Birthright"
Bonnie D. Parkin, Liahona, Nov. 2004, 106–8; or Ensign, Nov. 2004, 106–8
Relief Society is not just a Sunday class: it is a divine gift to us as women.
"Come to Relief Society"
Virginia U. Jensen, Liahona, Jan. 1999, 109–11; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 92–95
Relief Society is an organization of divine origin. We invite all to come to Relief Society. Allow it to bless your life as Heavenly Father intended it to.
"The Relief Society"
Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1998, 72–74
The Relief Society was organized and named by prophets and apostles who acted under divine inspiration. It has an illustrious history.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism
(Please note that the contents of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, a joint product of Brigham Young University and Macmillan Publishing Company, do not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)
"Relief Society: Divinely Organized for the Good of the Saints"
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, Chapter 21
LDS.org: Serving in the Church