The Purpose of Relief Society

Relief Society helps prepare women for the blessings of eternal life.

Relief Society helps prepare women for the blessings of eternal life as they:

  • Increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement;
  • Strengthen individuals, families, and homes through ordinances and covenants; and
  • Work in unity to help those in need.

    Handbook 2: Administering the Church, [2010], 9.1.1

As Relief Society sisters participate in the work of salvation, we become disciples of Jesus Christ. We strive to understand the doctrine of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to increase our faith and our desire to live righteously. We participate in priesthood ordinances and cheerfully cleave to covenants made, which gives us greater access to priesthood power, and strengthens us individually and in our families and homes. Working in unity with priesthood brethren, we minister to and help those in need with charity, the pure love of Christ. As we do these things, we become  “one” with the Father and the Son.

“It is our fervent prayer that each of us will open our hearts and let the Lord engrave in them the doctrines of the Atonement, covenants, and unity.”—Linda K. Burton

Increase Faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement

How can I apply the Savior's Atonement each day?

To receive the gift of eternal life, we must believe in and accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As we strive to understand the Savior's Atonement and what He has done for us, our faith in Him increases and our hearts are changed with a desire to live righteously and love and serve God and our fellowmen.

The Savior's Atonement blesses our lives in our own personal circumstances and situations. Through our faith and righteousness and through His atoning sacrifice, we can be forgiven, cleansed, healed, guided, and protected. Christ can give us capacity and strength beyond our own to overcome all things and “bear up [our] burdens with ease” (Mosiah 24:15), that we may find joy in our life’s journey. 

Relief Society helps us keep our focus on the Savior so He can guide us home.

“Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven” (D&C 6:36–37).

Strengthen Individuals, Families, and Homes through Ordinances and Covenants

How does keeping covenants make a difference in my home?

Our Heavenly Father knows things that we do not know, some beyond our capacity to comprehend. When we trust His knowledge we are willing to trust His promises and His requirements for us. How do covenants provide us with purpose, direction, and confidence that the Lord will bless our efforts? How do they light the way through mortality to return to Him?

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said: “If you truly believe the great mission of our Heavenly Father is to exalt and glorify His children and that He knows best how to do it—doesn’t it make sense to embrace and follow His commandments, even the ones that appear difficult? Should we not cherish the light posts He has given that guide us through the darkness and the trials of mortality? They mark the way back to our heavenly home! By choosing Heavenly Father’s path, you lay a divine foundation for your personal progress as a daughter of God that will bless you throughout your life” (“Living the Gospel Joyful,” October 2014 general conference).

By choosing Heavenly Father’s covenant path, we find purpose, direction, and confidence that the Lord will bless our efforts in our families and our homes. President Henry B. Eyring promised that if “you let Him be the leader of your family, things will work out” (“A Priceless Heritage of Hope,” April 2014 general conference).

Relief Society is organized to help women strengthen homes and families by following the covenant path. 

Never at any time in the history of the world have we needed stronger families and stronger homes. It is out of the homes and families that the next generation comes, and “only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness” (Bible Dictionary, “Temple”). 

Work in Unity to Help Those in Need

Why are we commanded to work in unity with leaders of the priesthood and other auxiliaries? (See John 17:21.)

In order to aid the Savior in His work, we must be unified in purpose with a resolve to help those in need, to carry one another’s burdens, and to lift the load of those who are suffering. Serving in the Relief Society brings us closer to our goal of returning to our heavenly parents.

The Savior taught us, “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27).

“Together, as sisters in unity with living prophets, seers, and revelators, with restored priesthood keys, we can walk as one, as disciples, as servants with willing hearts and hands to hasten the work of salvation. As we do so, we will become like the Savior.” —Linda K. Burton

“Charity Never Faileth”

Joseph Smith taught that the Relief Society was “not only to relieve the poor, but to save souls.” The larger part of the work of Relief Society today is “to look after the spiritual welfare and salvation … of all the female members of the Church” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 185).

“[The Relief] society is composed of women whose feelings of charity spring from hearts changed by qualifying for and by keeping covenants offered only in the Lord’s true Church. Their feelings of charity come from Him through His Atonement. Their acts of charity are guided by His example—and come out of gratitude for His infinite gift of mercy—and by the Holy Spirit, which He sends to accompany His servants on their missions of mercy” (Henry B. Eyring, in Daughters in My Kingdom [2011], 174).

The pure love of Christ continues to motivate Relief Society sisters today as they gather to teach and serve one another and as they strengthen and watch over each other one by one.

“Every sister in this Church who has made covenants with the Lord has a divine mandate to help save souls, to lead the women of the world, to strengthen the homes in Zion, and to build the kingdom of God.” —Elder M. Russell Ballard