Special Needs and Service Rendered
September 2012

“Special Needs and Service Rendered,” Liahona, Sept. 2012, 7

Visiting Teaching Message

Special Needs and Service Rendered

Prayerfully 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 needs of others are ever present,” said President Thomas S. Monson, “and each of us can do something to help someone. … Unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives.”1

As visiting teachers we can sincerely come to know and love each sister we visit. Service to those we visit will flow naturally out of our love for them (see John 13:34–35).

How can we know the spiritual and temporal needs of our sisters so we can render service when it is needed? As visiting teachers, we are entitled to receive inspiration when we pray about those we visit.

Maintaining regular contact with our sisters is also important. Personal visits, telephone calls, a note of encouragement, e-mails, sitting with her, a sincere compliment, reaching out to her at church, helping her in time of illness or need, and other acts of service all help us watch over and strengthen each other.2

Visiting teachers are asked to report the well-being of sisters, any special needs they have, and the service rendered to them. These kinds of reports and our service to our sisters help us demonstrate our discipleship.3

From the Scriptures

John 10:14–16; 3 Nephi 17:7, 9; Moroni 6:3–4

From Our History

Serving one another has always been at the heart of visiting teaching. Through ongoing service we bring kindness and friendship that go beyond monthly visits. It is our caring that counts.

“My desire is to plead with our sisters to stop worrying about a phone call or a quarterly or monthly visit,” said Mary Ellen Smoot, the 13th Relief Society general president. She asked us to “concentrate instead on nurturing tender souls.”4

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) taught, “It is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom.” Yet he recognized that not all service need be heroic. “So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving … help with mundane tasks,” he said, “but what glorious consequences can flow … from small but deliberate deeds!”5


  1. Thomas S. Monson, “What Have I Done for Someone Today?” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2009, 85.

  2. See Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 9.5.1.

  3. See Handbook 2, 9.5.4.

  4. Mary Ellen Smoot, in Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society (2011), 117.

  5. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball (2006), 82.

Photo illustration by Matthew Reier