An Extensive Sphere of Action
December 2011

“An Extensive Sphere of Action,” Liahona, Dec. 2011, 7

Visiting Teaching Message

An Extensive Sphere of Action

Study this material and, as appropriate, discuss it with the sisters you visit. Use the questions to help you strengthen your sisters and to make Relief Society an active part of your own life.

Relief Society seal

Faith • Family • Relief

The Lord, His Church, families, and communities need the influence of righteous women. In fact, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that “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 of Zion, and to build the kingdom of God.”1

Some sisters may wonder if they can accomplish such lofty aims. But as Eliza R. Snow (1804–87), second Relief Society general president, explained, “There is no sister so isolated, and her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal towards establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth.”2 Sister Snow also taught that Relief Society was organized “for the accomplishment of every good and noble work.”3

Participation in Relief Society enlarges our spheres of influence by giving each sister opportunities to build faith, to strengthen families and homes, and to provide service both at home and throughout the world. And fortunately, our efforts as individuals and as Relief Societies need not be large and overwhelming, but they should be deliberate and consistent. Righteous practices such as daily personal and family prayer, daily scripture study, and consistently magnifying Church callings will help increase faith and build the Lord’s kingdom.

To sisters who wonder if these seemingly quiet contributions make a difference, Elder Ballard affirms: “Every sister who stands for truth and righteousness diminishes the influence of evil. Every sister who strengthens and protects her family is doing the work of God. Every sister who lives as a woman of God becomes a beacon for others to follow and plants seeds of righteous influence that will be harvested for decades to come.”4

From the Scriptures

1 Corinthians 12:4–18; 1 Timothy 6:18–19; Mosiah 4:27; Articles of Faith 1:13

From Our History

Eliza R. Snow, who had served as secretary when Relief Society was organized in Nauvoo, was called by President Brigham Young (1801–77) to travel throughout the Church, helping bishops organize Relief Society in their wards.

Sister Snow taught: “If any of the daughters and mothers in Israel are feeling in the least circumscribed [limited] in their present spheres, they will now find ample scope for every power and capability for doing good with which they are most liberally endowed. … President Young has turned the key to a wide and extensive sphere of action and usefulness.”5


  1. M. Russell Ballard, “Women of Righteousness,” Liahona, Dec. 2002, 39; Ensign, Apr. 2002, 66.

  2. Eliza R. Snow, “An Address,” Woman’s Exponent, Sept. 15, 1873, 62.

  3. Eliza R. Snow, “Female Relief Society,” Deseret News, Apr. 22, 1868, 81.

  4. M. Russell Ballard, Liahona, Dec. 2002, 39; Ensign, Mar. 2002, 70.

  5. Eliza R. Snow, Deseret News, Apr. 22, 1868, 81.

Photo illustration by Jerry Garns