Handbook 2:
Administering the Church


9.9 Adapting the Relief Society Organization to Local Needs

The following guidelines are provided to help wards and stakes adapt the Relief Society organization to local needs. For general information about adapting to local needs, see chapter 17.


More Than One Relief Society in a Ward

Under special circumstances, the bishop and stake president may authorize that more than one Relief Society be created in a ward. Special circumstances might include wards with nursing homes, young single adult wards, wards with a large number of single mothers and widows, and wards that encompass large geographic areas. The intent of creating more than one Relief Society is to facilitate watching over and strengthening the sisters and their families.

In a ward with more than one Relief Society, the leaders in each Relief Society presidency administer the full Relief Society program for their membership, including visiting teaching and welfare. Each Relief Society president has an equal voice in ward council meetings and works individually with the bishop concerning welfare matters and efforts to strengthen the sisters and their families.


Relief Society in Small Units

In a small ward or branch, the Relief Society presidency may be the only Relief Society leaders and teachers. In a very small unit, the Relief Society president may be the only Relief Society leader. Counselors, a secretary, teachers, and others listed in this chapter should be called when possible.

In a very small branch that does not have a Young Women president or Primary president, the Relief Society president may help parents organize instruction for the young women and children until Young Women and Primary presidents are called.

In a small stake or a district, the Relief Society president may be the only stake or district Relief Society leader. When possible, counselors and a secretary should be called.