What is the purpose of the Relief Society? While we think we understand its purpose based on what the women’s organization does today, the things that Relief Society does have changed radically since its founding in 1842. And the Lorenzo Snow lesson on the Relief Society shows this change, since his comments reflect a focus on charity and providing for the poor that we don’t hear much today—since that function is now handled by the welfare program. But before the welfare program was developed in the 1930s, the Relief Society WAS the welfare program. It collected and stored foodstuffs for later distribution to the poor, seeing to the welfare of everyone it could serve. This role can also be seen in the following hymn, which appeared in LDS hymnals in Lorenzo Snow’s day.
From his book review of Elizabeth Edwards’ new memoir, in this month’s Atlantic:
This month’s Ensign contains a talk by Elder Douglas L Callister of the Seventy (a slightly edited reprint of a prior talk, actually) titled, “Our Refined Heavenly Home.” Some thoughts on reading over the talk: