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  , 2004

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A WORLDWIDE WOMEN’S ORGANIZATION TURNS A YEAR OLDER

By David Winters, March 25, 2004

ATLANTA, GA —

Women all across the world are celebrating a birthday of sorts.  The Relief Society, a women’s organization within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, turns 162 years-old this month.  What began with 20 women in the Mississippi riverside town of Nauvoo, Illinois, in March 1842 has developed into one of the largest organizations for women anywhere in the world.

The Relief Society includes as members all adult women of the Church, totaling 4.7 million people in 165 countries.  The organization includes roughly 20,000 members within the state of Georgia.

Carey Drake, Relief Society President of the Peachtree Corners Ward

 in Norcross, Georgia

Carey Drake, president of the organization in Peachtree Corners discussed their plans to mark the anniversary.  “Service and sisterhood are really what the organization is about, so we’ll celebrate the Relief Society’s creation by working on two different service projects.  Our motto is ‘Charity Never Faileth’ from a verse in the Bible found in 1 Corinthians 13:8.  Our goal is to love others and to demonstrate that love by giving selfless service.  I think everyone in our organization would agree that as we give that service the bonds of sisterhood also increase.”

Anina Reeve, Relief Society President of the Roswell Georgia Stake

Anina Reeve, the Relief Society President for Roswell and the surrounding area stated it this way, "Our organization is made up of women from all races, ages, political views, and economic status, but our faith in Jesus Christ is what binds and unifies us.  It’s truly a wonderful thing to belong to this great global organization that blesses the lives of so many individuals.”

The society’s organization in the beginning focused primarily on helping aid the poor.  To a large extent that mission has not changed.  The Relief Society in recent years has worked on large-scale humanitarian aid projects to help those in need here in the United States and abroad.  The group also works to provide education and basic literacy skills to others.  In addition, the members meet monthly for personal and home enrichment meetings, where the members themselves often learn from one another or from guest speakers.

Service is also provided to other members within the organization.  One of those services is called ‘visiting teaching,’ where once a month, two women visit another member’s home or apartment to share an uplifting message and offer help as needed.

Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently spoke to the global organization as part of a conference, broadcast throughout the world via satellite.  He lauded the women who make up the Relief Society with these words, “May the windows of heaven be opened and blessings come down upon you.  May you reach down to lift up those whose burdens are heavy.  May you bring light and beauty to the world . . . You are the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is no other organization to equal it.  Walk with pride. Work with diligence. . . Pray with faith. You may never know how much good you accomplish."