You Can Make Relief Society a Place of True Relief
June 2024

Digital Only: Young Adults

You Can Make Relief Society a Place of True Relief

When I felt lonely at church, I found relief in the examples of sisters who reached out to me.

women sitting and participating in Relief Society

On my first Sunday in a new ward, I was overwhelmed with gratitude when I left Relief Society feeling actual relief!

For a few years before, I had struggled to feel like I was connecting with other sisters at church. I often felt out of place and lonely in Relief Society, but I was at a loss over how to improve my situation.

Camille N. Johnson, Relief Society General President, describes relief as “the removal or lightening of something painful, troubling, or burdensome, or the strength to endure it.” In this new Relief Society, my loneliness and stress lessened, and I felt resolve to carry on through my personal trials. I felt rest.

Over time, I observed that it was a few Christlike individuals in this ward who significantly impacted the atmosphere of Relief Society and made it a loving and accepting environment. They had three things in common they each did to help others feel welcome and comfortable in our meetings, and their examples inspired me to do the same. I eventually came to see that I had more influence over my and others’ experiences at church than I had previously thought.

Ultimately, Jesus Christ is our truest source of relief. When we are worn down and weary, He invites us to come unto Him to find rest (see Matthew 11:28). But it’s also nice to feel and receive that relief from those around us. So whether you sense that others are lonely at church or you yourself are struggling to feel that you belong, here are three things you can try to help make Relief Society a place of true relief.

1. Be a Friend

This sounds obvious, but it’s easy not to do. I know how comfortable it is to sit with the same people every week at church and not notice an unfamiliar face or someone sitting alone. I’ve experienced the pain of being lonely at church, but I’ve also been one to hesitate to reach out to those I don’t know.

Jesus Christ taught us to leave the ninety and nine sheep to find the one who is lost (see Luke 15). To do so, we can embrace even one person into our flock by sitting with them, getting to know them, and extending invitations to them. Some ideas include organizing a group temple trip, inviting someone to your home for lunch or dinner, starting a book club, or offering someone a ride to church or an activity.

As you initiate new friendships and strengthen existing ones, you can help create a culture of inclusivity in your ward meetings. Though you might not realize it, people will notice your efforts and may follow your example.

2. Participate

We often overlook the power of participation, but the Lord mentions its value in Doctrine and Covenants 88:122, saying, “Let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege.”

As you are willing to share insights and personal experiences in your meetings, you can open new avenues of discussion that may help someone in class. Though sharing can be intimidating, the vulnerability that accompanies participation also paves the way for new friendships and connections.

If you are struggling to feel like you belong at church, actively contributing to lessons is an excellent way to integrate yourself into your ward community and feel heard and seen.

3. Be Consistent

Through small, consistent efforts, you can make Relief Society a place of true relief (see Alma 37:6–7).

Consistently attending ward activities, getting to know others, and sharing your thoughts in lessons will not only help you feel a sense of belonging but will also have an impact on those around you. The individuals I mentioned earlier were consistent. I was willing to attend Relief Society and ward activities because I could count on them to be there and knew they would continue to embrace me. Through your consistency, you may become a lifeline for someone without even knowing it—like these individuals were for me.

Don’t Give Up

You may find that strengthening relationships in your ward and Relief Society takes time and work. Please remember that the Lord notices your efforts, and He knows what you need.

When we lack courage, patience, or hope, we can turn to Heavenly Father in prayer and ask for His help. I know that He listens and that He and Jesus Christ are with us in our trials. They can make our burdens light, and They can comfort us when we feel alone. Jesus Christ has promised, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18).

Those who have consistently reached out to me at church have taught me what it looks like to be an answer to prayer and a Christlike ministering sister. Their examples have inspired me to do my part in making Relief Society a place of true relief.

Sister Johnson reminds us that “our covenantal blessing is to partner with Jesus Christ in providing relief, both temporal and spiritual, to all of God’s children. We are a conduit through which He provides relief.”

As you look to Jesus Christ, our source of true relief, He will help you experience His relief—and help you provide it to those around you too.