The purposes of Church welfare are to help members become self-reliant, to care for the poor and needy, and to give service. Welfare is central to the work of Relief Society. President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, has taught:
“[The Lord] has from the beginning of time provided ways for His disciples to help. He has invited His children to consecrate their time, their means, and themselves to join with Him in serving others. …
“He has invited and commanded us to participate in His work to lift up those in need. We make a covenant to do that in the waters of baptism and in the holy temples of God. We renew the covenant on Sundays when we partake of the sacrament.”1
Under the direction of the bishop or branch president, local leaders assist with spiritual and temporal welfare. Opportunities to serve often begin with visiting teachers who seek inspiration to know how to respond to the needs of each sister they visit.
On June 9, 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith charged the sisters in Relief Society to “relieve the poor” and to “save souls.”2 These goals are still at the heart of Relief Society and are expressed in our motto, “Charity never faileth” (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Our fifth Relief Society general president, Emmeline B. Wells, and her counselors launched this motto in 1913 as a reminder of our founding principles: “We do declare it our purpose to … [hold] fast to the inspired teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith when he revealed the plan by which women were to be empowered through the calling of the priesthood to be grouped into suitable organizations for the purpose of ministering to the sick, assisting the needy, comforting the aged, warning the unwary, and succoring the orphans.”3
Today the Relief Society has a worldwide reach as sisters extend charity, the pure love of Christ, to their neighbors (see Moroni 7:46–47).