7 Fun Facts About the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo

Joseph Smith establishing Relief Society
Image via Utah Valley 360

This article was originally published by Utah Valley 360.

Relief Society, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ organization for women, began in Nauvoo after the women sought Joseph Smith’s approval to organize themselves into a women’s organization similar to others of the day. Joseph Smith said God had something better in mind.

Today, more than 5.5 million women in 170 countries claim membership in Relief Society, which is one of the world’s oldest and largest organization for women. To celebrate Relief Society’s 173rd birthday and the General Women’s Session on Saturday, here are seven interesting facts about the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo.

1. It began as a sewing society

The women of Nauvoo first sought to organize themselves when they observed that the men who were working on the Nauvoo Temple needed provisions. Sarah M. Kimball and Margaret Cook discussed the matter and decided to organize a sewing society to “aid in the erection of the temple.

About a dozen women arrived to participate in the society. They established a constitution and bylaws, which they then presented to Joseph Smith. He replied that they were “the best he had ever seen. ‘But,’ he said, ‘this is not what you want. Tell the sisters their offering is accepted of the Lord, and he has something better for them than a written constitution. I invite them all to meet with me and a few of the brethren … next Thursday afternoon, and I will organize the women under the priesthood after the pattern of the priesthood.’”

Read the rest of the article at utahvalley360.com.

Morgan is a journalism student at Brigham Young University. She enjoys writing lifestyle articles for The Universe at BYU, Sugardoodle, and LDS.net.