Wednesday, March 1, 2017

2017 Theme: In the beginning

175 years ago, twenty women sat together in the upper room of a red brick store. They were organized under the pattern of the priesthood, and counseled by Joseph Smith to encourage “the brethren to good works in looking to the wants of the poor – searching after objects of charity, and in administering to their wants – to assist by correcting the morals and strengthening the virtues of the female community.” They called themselves the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, and Emma Smith declared, “We are going to do something extraordinary … We expect extraordinary occasions and pressing calls.”

This month, I want to tell their stories.

In honor of the 175th year of Relief Society Celebration, I’ve decided to highlight the twenty founding members of the Relief Society. If you’ve noticed my current production rate, you’ll realize I won’t finish this in the month of March – I’m shooting for once a week during women’s history month, and the rest as life allows.  

The format will also be a little different this time because of the fact these twenty women lived very different experiences. Some stayed in the church until they died; others did not. Some lived very public lives; others left few records. My usual format of sharing how their stories have influenced me won’t always apply.

That said, I believe wholeheartedly that all their stories need to be told, because isn’t this the form our Relief Societies take?  We come from different backgrounds, we bring different skills to the table, some thrive in the limelight while others move in quiet ways, and yes, some leave our ranks.

They all make up our story. It is a story of miracles, heartbreaks, progress, setbacks, faith, questions, love, strength, revelation, and uncountable acts for good. It is a story that matters deeply to me, and that has shaped me into who I am and how I see the world.

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