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The Scope of Relief Society, 1915

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 29, 2011

As we wait for — or get our first look at — Daughters in My Kingdom, see what our sisters/grandmothers saw as the breadth and possibility of Relief Society a hundred years ago —

The Scope of the Relief Society.

The Power of Organized Womanhood.

Who can measure the heights of love, the breadth of charity, or sound the depths of knowledge? He only who created the universe. And He alone may compute the majesty and the power of the Society which was established in Nauvoo, March 17, 1842. The scope of our work, the possibilities of our development, are bounded only by woman’s capacities and woman’s eventualities. The Relief society is as broad as eternity, as far-reaching as love. Any woman of excellent character may achieve membership in the society. While all that is true, all that is beautiful, all hope, faith and mercy are enclosed within its boundaries.

All Women Searching for Light.

Many women in the world, in pagan as well as in Christian lands, have felt the impetus of the key of light and progress turned for women by the Prophet Joseph Smith, in Nauvoo, April 28, 1842. These earnest women have been and are reaching out for truth, for light, and for beauty. They have organized themselves into associations and clubs for education, musical, patriotic, agricultural, artistic, literary, and general cultural purposes. Lacking the gifts and blessings of the gospel, they still have much that is good, true, and beautiful.

A Strong Attraction.

In common, with others, we too have felt the attraction of this organized movement for so-called “uplift” among the women of the world, and have joined hands with them across the mountains and across the seas. We have received some light and help from this contact, and we have also given much in return. There are many praiseworthy things in the Councils and Clubs that cover the social world outside this Church; and although some economic students criticise the club movement severely, we accord to all women who are struggling upward our mead of praise and encouragement.

The Scope of Our Work is Limitless.

The women of this Church have a wonderful opportunity just now to open up new channels of activity, wider fields of opportunity in the boundaries of this Society. There are no limitations to our possible growth and development. We find admirable truth germs in the literary studies carried on in some clubs; we discover elements of rare joy in the art lessons given by some other club; while the patriotic societies, both at home and abroad, certainly are doing a good work in fostering a love for history and genealogy among their members.

Then why not open up in the Relief Society all of these avenues of culture and education, by establishing departments for the study of all these truths and beauties of life and nature?

This Society possesses the principles of light, hope, and education for women – let us go to, and develop those powers into a perfected and divinely appointed whole – a society which will be an auxiliary indeed to the priesthood of the Church of Christ.



3 Comments »

  1. Ardis, if I want to publish this in a RS newsletter or something, what do I write for the source or permission? I’d be happy to advertise for you.

    Comment by Carol — August 29, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  2. I’ll send you the source privately, Carol. It has long been in the public domain — no permissions from anyone required any more.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 29, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

  3. I noted the reference in the 2nd paragraph to Joseph Smith’s “turning of the key” for the women of the Relief Society. How common are current references to that phrase (e.g., ward Relief Society lessons)?

    Comment by David Y. — August 29, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

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