Hope for the Relief Society
I’ve long been a fan of Neylan’s idea of giving a “major task” (within the church structure) to the Relief Society organization. See Neylan’s article – here.
I think is type of idea would be a great step in making the Relief Society (and its women) more solid, more spiritual, more whole and more equal.
The Relief Society certainly has tasks (ie: teaching gospel lessons, building community, serving food, visiting teaching, coming closer to God), but there is nothing concrete and focused that requires infrastructure within church hierarchy, specific direct action, and unifies the sisters under a single banner.
Having such a task or project could benefit the Relief Society (and its women) in several specific ways.
- It would gives a nod to the original vision (relieving the poor & saving souls) of Joseph and Emma, while allowing us to move forward in our own inspired, original way. (ie: how do we relieve the poor in 2016 & what does it mean to save souls today?)
- It could start to equalize men and women in the church governance structure. If the task was large enough and complicated enough (ie: managing all church welfare including farms, canneries, and distribution or managing all temples including building and training) then the women of the Relief Society would need some sort of middle management (like unto quorums of seventy) to bridge the Relief Society General Leaders with Stake Leaders. It could ultimately build a balancing infrastructure next to the patriarchy.
- The effort would build many skills with the women of the church including managerial skills, speaking skills, organizing skills and leadership skills. (see President Nelson’s talk from General Conference 2015)
- It would also allow the use of myriad spiritual gifts including blessing, healing, faith, nurturing, speaking in tongues, humility. (see my own thoughts on President Nelson’s talk)
In the recent General Women’s session, President Burton announced a new program: I was a Stranger. Could this be a major task / project that could unite the women in the way I envision? Could this be a step in equalizing the Relief Society quorum with the male quorums in the church? Could this be a leap into developing divine skills and Christ-like attributes more deeply within our sisters?
What do you think?