“A 150th Anniversary Celebration of Relief Society: An International Sisterhood,” Tambuli, Mar. 1992, 35
With the construction of the Nauvoo Temple underway, the sisters of Nauvoo were asked to contribute their time and resources. To better organize their efforts, Eliza R. Snow drafted a constitution for a ladies’ group, a constitution which Joseph Smith not only approved, but also wished to take one step further. He said, “I will organize the sisters … after a pattern of the Priesthood. This Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized” (Relief Society Magazine, March 1919, page 129).
On 17 March 1842 the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo was formally organized. Emma Smith was called to be the president, and Eliza R. Snow was appointed secretary. Twenty women and three men were in attendance.
Since that time, Relief Society has become an international organization of more than 1.78 million women in more than 128 countries and territories. These sisters work together to develop and share their talents among themselves, their families, and the community. Many have come closer to Christ as a result.
Throughout the years, the emphasis of Relief Society has remained constant: By learning to serve, we become disciples of Christ. On the following pages are specific areas of focus, as defined by the Relief Society General Presidency.